Twenty Years since the Waterfront Dispute: The Beginning of the End for Strike Activity in Australia? (April 2018)
Mr Steven Amendola, K&L Gates, Justice Bromberg, Federal Court of Australia, Professor John Howe, Melbourne School of Government, Professor Anthony Forsyth, RMIT and Dr Tess Hardy, Melbourne Law School
Twenty Years since the Waterfront Dispute: The Beginning of the End for Strike Activity in Australia?
Tuesday, 10 April 2018: 6 - 8 PM at Melbourne Law School
About the event
The waterfront dispute was the defining industrial relations episode of the Howard Coalition Government's first term of office. On 7 April 1998, Patrick Stevedores dismissed and locked out all of its waterside workers, triggering large-scale protests and picketing at ports around the country. Legal proceedings instigated by the Maritime Union of Australia ultimately led to the High Court's landmark ruling in Patrick Stevedores Operations (No 2) Pty Ltd v MUA. The 'wharfies' were reinstated, but over the following months many took redundancy packages as part of a broader process to improve workplace productivity on the docks.
On the 20th anniversary of these tumultuous events, our panel of speakers will reflect on the long-term significance of the waterfront dispute for Australian workplace relations. They will also discuss the contemporary implications of the dispute, linking it to the current debate over the right to strike, the limitations imposed by the Fair Work Act and the ACTU's #changetherules campaign.