Graduate Research Supervision

The Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law and its members are active in encouraging and supervising the work of students working towards a research higher degree. Candidates are supervised by a Centre Member and have the opportunity to participate in Centre projects and activities while completing their research. An overview of current research projects in the Centre for is available here.

Current Projects

Do Hai Ha

The Right to Strike in Vietnam: Toward a Better Regime

The Vietnamese economic reforms (Doi Moi) launched in late 1980s led to substantial changes in the Vietnamese labour regime, including the introduction of a new framework for industrial conflict resolution. Preliminary research shows that this legal framework was by and large developed through legal transplantation.

Though the new legal framework for industrial conflict resolution appears comprehensive, it seems to have had little real impact. Until recently, all strikes that have taken place were wildcat and technically unlawful. In most if not all cases, strikes occurred without prior resort to legal institutions for dispute resolution. Instead, local administrative agencies have gradually developed an ad hoc mechanism to deal with wildcat strikes.

This thesis seeks to evaluate the effect of Vietnam's legal borrowings in the area of industrial conflicts. In particular, it aims to address the following questions:

  • To what extent was the law on industrial conflict resolution transplanted?
  • How have legal drafters and other actors involved in lawmaking activities discussed, interpreted, communicated and debated foreign legal concepts, and what factors have affected these processes?
  • How, if at all, were foreign legal concepts adapted to local circumstances?
  • How have the regulators, the regulatees and other actors responded to transplanted laws, what factors have influenced their responses, and how have these responses shaped the implementation of the imported laws and institutions?

Legal transplants in Asia and especially in Vietnam are an under-researched area of study. This research will be one of the first studies that explores the absorption of transplanted legal processes and institutions in Vietnam. The thesis will assess the transplant's impact and whether the transplant could have been better designed and enabled. As such, it aspires to provide new findings in this area and contribute to the ongoing reform of industrial conflict resolution.

Ingrid Landau

From Rights to Risks: Transnational Labour Regulation and the Emerging Business of Human Rights Due Diligence

Human rights due diligence is an increasingly ubiquitous concept in transnational labour regulation. Yet there is little scholarship evaluating human rights due diligence as a form of labour regulation or considering how it fits within an already crowded, complex and highly contested regulatory landscape. Located at the interstices of three broad but overlapping fields of scholarship – transnational labor regulation, business and human rights, and regulation and governance – this project engages in a conceptual and empirical socio-legal analysis of the implications of human rights due diligence for the promotion and protection of labour standards in the global economy.

Andrew Newman

Protection, Precarity and Temporary Migrant Work: An Examination of the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Australian Seasonal Worker Program

Both Australia and Canada have in recent years experienced a growth in legally precarious non-standard forms of work, which are frequently characterized by low wages, lack of employment security and a low incidence of collective bargaining. The increased prevalence of precarious work is frequently attributed in the academic literature to gaps in the network of employment law protections and benefits, which continues to focus primarily upon the protection of the 'standard' full-time, ongoing, resident worker.

Accompanying the growth of precarious employment in both countries has been the proliferation of temporary migrant worker programs. In response to a perceived shortage of local workers willing to undertake seasonal harvesting work, both the Canadian and Australian governments have created temporary migrant worker schemes in the agricultural sector. In both countries, a key stated government policy objective of such schemes is to protect temporary migrant workers from exploitation through the application of migration and employment law tools. However, to what extent are such measures effective in protecting temporary migrant workers from precarious employment?

This thesis will critically examine the tension between protection and precarity with respect to temporary migrant workers admitted under the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Australian Seasonal Worker Program. It will expressly consider the ways in which migration laws constitute the labour market and impact upon the operation of employment law in both countries. In so doing, it will expand the traditional scope of employment law analysis and examine how the differing regulatory regimes of Canada and Australia achieve protection or entrench precarity among temporary migrant agricultural workers.

Adriana Orifici

Workplace Investigations: Interactions with Regulation and Pathways for Reform

Workplace investigations are an essential management tool for employers, including to address allegations of employee misconduct and discharge statutory obligations. In addition, conducting workplace investigations has, over the last decade, become a burgeoning industry. Little is known, however, about the actual practices of workplace investigations and the interface of investigations with public regulation. This project will be the first detailed analysis of the law and policy dealing with workplace investigations in Australia. It will include empirical research on the process and outcomes of workplace investigations, which will explore the experiences of employers, employees, investigators and advisors. As well as examining the history of regulation of workplace investigations, and the current regulatory framework covering this growing field, this project will canvass what might be done in the future to improve the protections for employees, and others, who are involved in workplace investigations.

Maria Azzurra Tranfaglia

Regulating agency work to balance employees’ needs and business’ interests – a comparative study of different regulatory approaches in Italy and Australia

The thesis will draw on the international debate around the causes and effects of agency work as a form of non-standard work. It will assess and evaluate the different regulatory approaches to agency work taken in Italy and Australia using a new analytical framework developed from previous studies of agency work regulation and employing regulatory theory. The analysis will compare agency work regulation in the two countries, and will evaluate the extent to which each system balances employers’ interests and employees’ needs. Finally, in light of the comparative assessment, it will conclude by offering suggestions as to how specific regulatory issues relating to agency work in each country can be addressed in order to set these systems on the path towards balancing employees’ needs and business’ interests. In Australia there is a call for regulation to provide a stronger protection for labour-hire employees, while in Italy, on the contrary, there is a call for deregulation aimed at ensuring a higher level of flexibility for businesses and encouraging hiring. Considering this divergent trend, this research intends to generate regulatory proposals that can inform future policy making in the area of agency work in both countries and possibly in other jurisdictions.

More information

The Centre welcomes inquiries about the higher degree by research program. Prospective applicants should contact John Howe or Anna Chapman with any further queries.

Melbourne Law School offers research programs at masters and doctoral level:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

With outstanding facilities, dedicated support for students and some of the best supervisors in Australia, the Law School's research higher degree programs have been recognised for their excellence at a national and international level. To enquire about applying for a research higher degree program at Melbourne Law School, please contact the Law Research Office directly:

Building 142, The University of Melbourne
VIC 3010
+61 3 8344 8946
Go to Graduate Research Degrees