Release type: Media Release


Simpler, fairer, faster unfair dismissal system


The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Minister for Education. Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for Social Inclusion
Deputy Prime Minister

The Howard Government’s extreme and unfair Work Choices laws stripped away the right to challenge harsh, unjust or unfair dismissal from an estimated 4.6 million or 56 per cent of Australian employees.

As promised at the last election, the Rudd Government has delivered a simpler, fairer, faster unfair dismissal system for Australian employers and employees.

Under Fair Work, employers have 6 months to trial new employees and small businesses have a full 12 months.

If a small business follows the simple to read and apply Fair Dismissal Code, then the dismissal will not be unfair.

As outlined in the Explanatory Memorandum of the Fair Work legislation, it was anticipated that there would be an increase in the number of unfair dismissal claims being lodged due to coverage being extended to around 3 million additional employees.

Under the new simpler and fairer workplace relations system which commenced on 1 July 2009, there have been 2 570 applications made across Australia for unfair dismissal.

1 704 or 66 per cent of those applications are being dealt with efficiently through the new conciliation process.

1 420 or 81 per cent of cases processed have already been resolved at or before conciliation.

1 533 applications have been dealt with through telephone conciliation and 171 in person.

At the last election, the Australian people made it clear that they believed the Liberal Party’s Work Choices laws went too far.

Work Choices allowed hard working employees to be dismissed for no good reason or no reason at all and without remedy.

The Rudd Government’s new workplace relations system, Fair Work, gets the balance right and ensures all Australian employees are treated decently and fairly at work.