Michael Rawling is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law UTS. His main research interests are within labour law including regulating business networks (such as supply chains) to protect workers. Michael obtained his PhD in law from the University of Sydney on regulating supply chains to protect workers. Prior to joining UTS he was a faculty member at the ANU College of Law and before that he held a Ross Parsons PhD Scholarship and was an Associate of the Ross Parsons Centre of Commercial, Corporate and Taxation Law at the Sydney Law School. Prior to that he taught at Macquarie Law School and practised as a solicitor.
Michael was co-convenor and a founding member of the Business Outsourcing and Restructuring Regulatory Research Network (BORRRN) 2009-2016. Michael was also a Chief Investigator on a Discovery Grant Project funded by the Australian Research Council which examined the practical operation and effectiveness of innovative regulatory models designed to improve working conditions within supply chains in the textile clothing and footwear (TCF) and road transport industries. Michael has appeared in the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal as an expert witness. He has also been a consultant to the Sectoral Policies Department, International Labour Office, International Labour Organisation (ILO) regarding best practices in road transport industry safety regulation. He is currently a member of the Centre for Business and Social Innovation, UTS Business Faculty.
Can supervise: YES
- Labour law
- Employment Law
Australian labour law, at least from the mid-twentieth century, was dominated by the employment paradigm: the assumption that labour laws scope was the regulation of employment relationships full-time and part-time, and continuing, fixed term or casual with a single (usually corporate) entity employer. But no sooner had the employment paradigm established and consolidated its shape, it began to fall apart. Since the 1980s there has been a significant growth of patterns of work that fall outside this paradigm, driven by organisational restructuring and management techniques such as labour hire, sub-contracting and franchising. Beyond Employment analyses the way in which Australian labour law is being reframed in this shift away from the pre-eminence of the employment paradigm. Its principal concern is with the legal construction and regulation of various forms of contracting, including labour hire arrangements, complex contractual chains and modern forms like franchising, and of casual employment. It outlines the current array of work relationships in Australia, and describes and analyses the way in which those outside continuous and fixed term employment are regulated. The book seeks to answer the central question: How does law (legal rules and principles) construct these work relationships, and how does it regulate these relationships?
In this 2019 electoral year, a federal Morrison Liberal Government was returned to
power with little in the way of an industrial agenda. It failed to implement its key
legislation, which mainly included reform to union governance and changes to religious
freedom in the workplace. Meanwhile, the state governments, particularly the Victorian
Andrews Labor Government, reviewed a swathe of labour law, including wage theft,
industrial manslaughter, owner–driver legislation and workers' compensation laws and
implemented a host of progressive changes. This year has also seen the continuation of
a key policy trend, observable at both state and federal levels of government, towards
regulation of aspects of industrial relations by the state that were once exclusively the
province of employers and trade unions through a twentieth-century system of conciliation
This article examines the development of the Cleaning Accountability
Framework (CAF) in Australia. The CAF is a multi-stakeholder initiative
comprising of representatives from along the cleaning supply chain. A
growing body of evidence suggests there is a need for a consistent
industry-wide approach to employment standards in the cleaning industry.
Given the extent of noncompliance in the industry and price/cost pressures along the supply chain, it would appear that some form of co-enforced supply chain regulation might be warranted. This article assesses the extent to which the CAF is a multi-stakeholder version of such regulation. The article draws on enforcement theories with a focus on 'co-enforcement' to assess the CAF and highlights the implications of the CAF case study for that approach. The article uses this analysis to identify the preconditions for co-enforcement within supply chains in an unsupportive or complex political environment.
© 2019, Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association (ALERA), SAGE Publications Ltd, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC. It has been a quiet year like last year for the passing of federal industrial legislation (due to a number of factors, including the political turmoil of the federal coalition government and their lack of an overall labour law reform agenda). This article examines key federal industrial legislative developments including the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth). The article identifies that the federal Act contains much weaker compliance measures than the counterpart New South Wales legislation also passed in 2018 – the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (NSW). Also, although the Coalition government has attempted to continue to prosecute its case for further union governance measures, this agenda has been less successful than in previous years, with key government Bills not yet passed by the Parliament. The stagnation in the federal Parliament continues to motivate certain State Parliaments to address worker exploitation, and the article goes on to examine key State industrial legislation passed in 2018 including the Victorian labour hire licensing statute. In light of the continuing dominant position of the federal Labor opposition in opinion polls and an impending federal election in 2019, the article concludes by briefly considering the federal Labor opposition's agenda for industrial legislation.
Rawling, MJ, Johnstone, J & Nossar, I 2017, 'Compromising Road Transport Regulation: The Abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal', Sydney Law Review, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 303-332.
Many truck drivers and other road users are killed each year in heavy vehicle
crashes. Client influence over road transport supply chains, weak bargaining
power of drivers, unpaid working time, intense competition and trip-based or
incentive-based payment methods have resulted in reduced driver pay. In this
context, remuneration-related incentives to engage in hazardous practices can
lead to poor safety outcomes. To address these factors, the Road Safety
Remuneration Tribunal was established and began operation in July 2012, only
to be abolished by the Turnbull Coalition Government in April 2016. This article
examines the Tribunal's Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety
Remuneration Order 2016 (Cth) ('2016 RSRO') and the political backlash to the
Order. The 2016 RSRO set minimum pay rates for contractor drivers on a national
basis for the first time and established supply chain accountability provisions
with the potential to address the causes of low pay and poor safety in the road
transport industry's supermarket and long haul sectors. We argue that the
Tribunal should have been given the opportunity to introduce the 2016 RSRO,
instead of being prematurely abolished. We suggest that concerns about the 2016
RSRO could have been addressed by the Tribunal amending the Order.
Nossar, I, Johnstone, R, Macklin, A & Rawling, M 2015, 'Protective legal regulation for home-based workers in Australian textile, clothing and footwear supply chains', Journal of Industrial Relations, vol. 57, no. 4, pp. 585-603.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Supply chain outsourcing has posed problems for conventional labour regulation, which
focuses on employers contracting directly with workers, particularly employees. These
difficulties have been exacerbated by the traditional trifurcated approach to regulation
of pay and conditions, work health and safety and workers' compensation. This paper
analyses the parallel interaction of two legal developments within the Australian textile,
clothing and footwear industry. The first is mandatory contractual tracking mechanisms
within state and federal labour laws and the second is the duties imposed by the
harmonised Work Health and Safety Acts. Their combined effect has created an innovative,
fully enforceable and integrated regulatory framework for the textile, clothing and
footwear industry and, it is argued, other supply chains in different industry contexts.
This paper highlights how regulatory solutions can address adverse issues for workers
at the bottom of contractual networks, such as fissured workplaces and capital fragmentation, by enabling regulators to harness the commercial power of business
controllers at the apex to ensure compliance throughout the entire chain.
Rawling, M 2015, 'Legislative regulation of global value chains to protect workers: A preliminary assessment', The Economic and Labour Relations Review, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 660-677.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Today millions of Australian workers are engaged in precarious work. As yet there has not been an adequate federal government response but a recent report commissioned by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) indicates that the ACTU sees precarious work as a central issue. This article considers policy options to adequately regulate precarious work recently discussed by the ACTU and an ACTU commissioned report. The article argues that an innovative and coherent set of measures to address the root causes of precarious work and those with the potential to be popular with Australian workers should be pursued
Johnstone, R, Nossar, I & Rawling, MJ 2015, 'Regulating Supply Chains to Protect Road Transport Workers: An Early Assessment of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal', Federal Law Review, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 397-421.
Rawling, MJ 2014, '"Cross-Jurisdictional and Other Implications of Mandatory Clothing Retailer Obligations"', Australian Journal of Labour Law, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 191-215.
This article is about the imposition of mandatory obligations upon effective business controllers of supply chains for the protection of workers. Specifically, the article analyses the genesis, design and operation of New South Wales, South Australian and Queensland mandatory clothing retailer codes and their broader implications, including for the cross-jurisdictional regulation of international supply chains. The extent to which those state mandatory codes already operate cross-jurisdictionally to regulate supply chains spanning across jurisdictions throughout Australia is analysed. It is argued that imposing mandatory obligations upon effective business controllers of supply chains is necessary to adequately address the exploitation of domestic and overseas supply chain labour. In an analogous fashion to the operation of the mandatory clothing retailer codes, domestic legislative regulation of international supply chains can be achieved by piggybacking mandatory requirements onto the intrinsically cross-jurisdictional agreement between an effective business controller and its outside supplier.
Business outsourcing and restructuring has contributed to the growth of precarious work arrangements in Australia and around the developed world. Precarious work results in adverse health and safety outcomes for workers and has challenged conventional regulatory regimes based on the standard employment relationship. This article examines a current attempt to regulate for a particular sub-set of precarious workers those working at the base of vertical supply chains in the Australian road transport industry. It charts the influence of commercially dominant clients with effective control over the pay and conditions of workers engaged through their transport supply chain.The article also summarises evidence linking pay rates of truck drivers to safety outcomes. It is argued that regulatory innovation is required to address this link between pay and safety as well as the role of the client. The article explores the potential for the Road Safety Remuneration Act 2012 (Cth) to improve conditions for transport supply chain labour through such regulatory innovation. Business outsourcing and restructuring has contributed to the growth of precarious work arrangements in Australia and around the developed world. Precarious work results in adverse health and safety outcomes for workers and has challenged conventional regulatory regimes based on the standard employment relationship. This article examines a current attempt to regulate for a particular sub-set of precarious workers those working at the base of vertical supply chains in the Australian road transport industry. It charts the influence of commercially dominant clients with effective control over the pay and conditions of workers engaged through their transport supply chain.The article also summarises evidence linking pay rates of truck drivers to safety outcomes.
Kaine, SJ & Rawling, MJ 2010, '"Comprehensive Campaigning" in the NSW Transport Industry: Bridging the Divide between Regulation and Union Organizing', Journal of Industrial Relations, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 183-200.View/Download from: Publisher's site
he transport industry in New South Wales is characterized by widespread precarious employment in the form of a workforce of truck owner-drivers who largely fall outside the scope of common law protections for employee drivers. A sizeable proportion of these contingent owner-drivers have been successfully organized to become active members of the New South Wales Transport Workers Union (TWU). This article briefly examines the industry structure within which this contingent workforce of truck owner-drivers has arisen. It analyses the strategic campaign strategy that underpins the leading role of this trade union in its (so far) successful struggle to obtain and maintain innovative regulatory protections providing substantial material benefits to this workforce, in the form of enforceable minimum working conditions. In so doing, the article demonstrates the considerable potential for union involvement in diverse regulatory frameworks, which may expand existing approaches to organizing and building union capacity.
Rawling, MJ 2009, 'The Impact of Federal Legislation upon the Scope of State Jurisdictions to Regulate Outwork', Australian Journal of Labour Law, vol. 22, pp. 147-160.
This article examines the potential scope of legal protections for certain outworkers as a result of recently enacted federal legislative provisions. The article begins with an overview of existing legal protections under state and territory laws for independent contractor outworkers labouring in industries outside the textile, clothing and footwear sector protections which survived the Howard governments federal takeover of labour law. The article then examines how the further centralisation of labour law under the Rudd Labor government has affected these existing legal protections. In particular, the article analyses the impact upon these state jurisdiction legal protections from the Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Act 2008 (Cth) and the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
Rawling, MJ 2007, 'The Regulation of Outwork and the Federal Takeover of Labour Law', Australian Journal of Labour Law, vol. 20, pp. 189-206.
This article examines how the legislative regulation of outwork has survived the federal takeover of labour law. Outwork regulation has survived both the Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Act 2005 (Cth) the first component of this federal takeover and also the second component, in the form of the Independent Contractors Act 2006 (Cth). The article begins by briefly examining the phenomenon of outworkers in the context of state-based regulatory schemes regulating outwork prior to these latest federal legislative developments. The article then analyses in more detail the impact of the federal takeover on legislation regulating outwork, particularly the impact on pre-existing state-based outwork statutory schemes. This analysis highlights the retention of crucial state and federal outworker protections. The preservation of legislative outworker protections is contrasted with the fate of many other forms of workplace regulation. The article concludes that the development of outwork regulation is instructive for future directions in the regulation of both outsourced work and work otherwise performed off-site
Rawling, MJ 2006, 'Satisfying Employee and Shareholder Demands in an Era of Shareholder Activism', Keeping Good Companies, vol. 58, no. 2, pp. 104-108.
LL abour activism in the corporate sphere has been a feature of corporate governance for a number of decades in the United States of America. In the last few years, Australian trade unions have followed the lead of their US counterparts by proposing resolutions at annua l general meetings. This shareholder activism is an important avenue for employees to pursue their concerns
Rawling, MJ 2006, 'Australian Trade Unions as Shareholder Activists: The Rocky Path Towards Corporate Democracy', Sydney Law Review, vol. 28, pp. 227-258.
This article examines the use of the "100 shareholder rule' by trade unions to address the common concerns ofworkers and shareholders such as the work safety perfonnance of corporations. The shareholder action by the Transport Workers' Union at the 2003 Boral Annual General Meeting is used as an illustrative example of union shareholder activism. In light of the withdrawal ofconsultation with trade unions by way of labour law mechanisms, particularly tbe individualisation and union exclusion tbat has marked Australian workplace relations in recent years, shareholder activism is an important avenue for trade unions to pursue their concerns. Consequently, this article argues for maintaining the' 100 shareholder rule' (part of which is undcr threat by federal governl11ent proposals) pal1icularly so that it can continue to be used by worker shareholder groups. Two theories of the corporation - the director-centrcd stakeholder theory and the del110crutic theory - are considered as theoretical devices to .i ustify un ion shurcholder activism. It is argued that whilst both theories may huve some merit in this context, the democratic theory provides the best foundation for union shareholder activism.
Rawling, MJ 2006, 'Capital Reintegration into Supply Chains and its Implications for Labour Law', Employment Relations Record, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 1-19.
The task of regulation, particularly the regulation of work is becoming more complex. Consequently, labour law initiatives are becoming more sophisticated. This paper uses supply chain or commodity chain analysis (2) to assist with an understanding of the causes of contingent work (3) and to comment on the best way of regulating work. To that end, the paper examines the reintegration of large-scale profit-making organizations into chains characterized by hierarchy and control. It will be shown that this aspect of commodity chain analysis resonates with explanations of contingent work drawing on 'macro-social factors'--such as change in state regulatory approaches, the changing balance of power between capital and labour, and the constant pursuit of profit by capital. It is argued that an explanation drawing on business integration into commodity chains and macro-social factors has significant advantages over alternative explanations of the rise in contingent work, such as those that focus on a paradigm shift from Fordism and the large firm to flexible specialization and 'flat' networks of smaller firms.
Rawling, MJ & Howe, J 2013, 'The Regulation of Supply Chains: An Australian Contribution to Cross-National Legal Learning' in Stone, KVW & Arthurs, H (eds), Rethinking Workplace Regulation: Beyond the Standard Contract of Employment, Russell Sage Foundation, New York, pp. 233-252.
ONE OF the key features of the standard employment contract is a direct relationship between an employer and an employee. Labor law scholars have for some time highlighted the artificiality of this restriction on the regulatory scope of labor law, in that it excludes workers deserving of social protection but engaged under nonstandard work arrangements (for Australia, see Stewart 2002). Moreover, in the last three decades, business and government have become increasingly decentralized as a result of contracting out or outsourcing the provision of goods and services. This vertical disintegration or fragmentation of large organizations has meant that many workers are no longer directly employed by core businesses or government.
Rawling, MJ 2006, 'A Generic Model of Regulating Supply Chain Outsourcing' in Arup, C, Howe, J, Mitchell, R, Gahan, P, Johnstone, R & Donnell, AO (eds), Labour Law and Labour Market Regulation, The Federation Press, Leichhardt, Australia, pp. 520-541.
In Australia and other common law countries, judicial, statutory and contractual definitions of employment have traditionally defined the purview of labour laws. This focus on the employment relationship has been ingrained in labour law to the extent that a branch of law (employment law) and a field of work relations (employment relations) have been founded on the concept of direct employment. Moreover, industrial legislation and industrial instruments have been substantially confined to matters pertaining to employers and employees. Consequently, a crucial task of judicial deCision-making in labour law proceedings has been to determine whether a worker is an employee whose engagement is governed by social and industrial regulation as distinguished from an independent contractor engaged under commercial contractual principles
Rawling, M 2019, 'Key note address and panel presentation, on panel 'Making transport and logistics standards a reality in 2019'', Safe Rates Summit 2019, Parliament House Canberra.
Rawling, M 2017, 'Panel Discussant 'Economic Drivers in Transport'', Safety Summit, Fraser Suites, 488 Kent Street Sydney.
Rawling, M 2016, 'Prevention of Effective Implementation of Supply Chain Regulation: A Road Transport Industry Case Study', Australian Labour Law Association 8th Biennial National Conference, Novotel St Kilda, Melbourne.
Rawling, MJ 2014, ''Regulating supply chains to protect road transport workers: An assessment of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal'', Australian Labour law Association 7th Biannual conference 'Under the Microscope: The next Phase of Australian Labour Law?', Novotel Manly Pacific Sydney.
Rawling, MJ 2014, 'Mandatory Regulation of Supply Chains to Protect Workers: How it works and the next logical step', Anti-Slavery Australia - Ethical Supply Chains: How do we ensure that Human Rights are Protected?, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney.
Nossar, I, Johnstone, R, Macklin, A & Rawling, MJ 2014, 'Protective Legal Regulation for Home Based Workers in the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Industry', Journal of Industrial Relations 'Supply Chains' Symposium, Business School, University of Technology Sydney.
Rawling, MJ & Johnstone, R 2009, 'Regulating Supply Chains', Paradoxes of the supply chain workers' health and safety: An international seminar on the role of the supply chain in health and safety management and performance, Cardiff University, UK.
Rawling, MJ 2008, 'Will the Rudd Federal Labor Government Abolish Key Legal Protections For Certain Exploited Vulnerable Workers?', Australian Labour Law Association Fourth Biennial Conference, Rydges Hotel. Exhibition Street Melbourne.
Rawling, MJ 2008, 'Using Supply Chain Regulation to Promote Precarious Workers' Health', Third International Commission on Occupational Health International Conference on Psychosocial Factors at Work: From Knowledge to Action, Quebec.
Rawling, MJ 2006, ''Union Shareholder Activism at Boral: The Rocky Path Towards Corporate Democracy'', Corporate Law Teachers Association Conference 2006, Corpoarte Law Teachers Association Conference, The University of Queensland,Australia.
Rawling, MJ 2006, 'Outworkers and the Federal Takeover of Labour Law', Australian Labour Law Association Third Biennial Conference: The Challenge for Contemporary Labour Law - New Directions and Disciplines, Brisbane, Australia.
Rawling, MJ 2005, 'Altering Labour Markets in Hierarchically Organised Industry through Supply Chain Regulation : A Generic Model of Outworker Regulation', Labour Law, Equity and Efficiency : Structuring and Regulating the Labour Market for the 21st Century, Faculty of Law, University iof Melbourne.
Rawling, MJ 2005, 'Autopoietic Legal Theory and Labour Law: The Politics of Applying The Regulatory Trilemma', Surviving (and Thriving In) Post Graduate Legal Research, Sydney.
Rawling, MJ 2005, 'Supply Chain Regulation as a Continuation of the Protective Labour Law Project in NSW', Supply Chain Strategies: At the Frontiers of Regulatory and Labour Organising Initiatives, Sydney.
Kaine, S, Josserand, E, Rawling, M, Boersma, M & Johns, K Economics References Committee 2020, Inquiry into unlawful underpayment of employees' remuneration: Submission of the Centre for Business and Social Innovation UTS Business School, pp. 1-10, Canberra.
Rawling, M Commonwealth Senate 2019, Submission to Commonwealth Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport - The Importance of a Viable, Safe, Sustainable and Efficient Road Transport Industry, pp. 1-12, Canberra, Australia.
Kaine, S, Rawling, MJ, Josserand, E, Boersma, M, Johns, K & Ryan, R Commonwealth Senate Education and Employment Committee 2018, 'Submission to Inquiry into the Exploitation of General and Specialist Cleaners Working in Retail chains for contracting or subcontracting cleaning companies' Centre for Business and Social Innovation UTS, pp. 1-8, Canberra.
Rawling, MJ, Shepherd, N, Johnstone, R & Nossar, I 2017, Australian Supply Chain Regulation Project: Draft Report on Road Transport Sector Regulation, Sydney.
Nossar, I, Tennent, R, Johnstone, R, Shepherd, N & Rawling, MJ 2017, Australian Supply Chain Regulation Project: Draft Report on Textile Clothing and Footwear Sector Regulation, Sydney.
Nossar, I & Rawling, MJ 2016, Short Paper on the Australian Safe Rates Approach.
Rawling, MJ 2011, Submission to the Commonwealth Senate Inquiry into the Fair Work Amendment (Textile, Clothing and Footwear Industry) Bill 2011 (Commonwealth), pp. 1-7.
Rawling, MJ Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee 2009, Senate Submission: Inquiry into the Fair Work Bill 2008- Will The Rudd Federal Labor Government Abolish Key Legal Protections For Certain Exploited Vulnerable Workers?, pp. 1-19, Canberra, Australia.
This article examines the potential loss of legal protections for certain outworkers as a result of recently enacted (or foreshadowed) federal legislative provisions. The article begins with an overview of existing legal protections under State and Territory laws for independent contractor outworkers labouring in industries outside the textile clothing and footwear sector - protections which survived the Howard governments federal takeover of labour law. The article then examines how the proposed further centralization of labour law under the Rudd federal Labor government may lead to the abolition of these existing legal protections. In particular, the article focuses upon the threats posed by provisions of the Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Act 2008 (Cth) and the Fair Work Bill 2008 (Cth). The article concludes by setting out the necessary steps to avoid the unjust obliteration of key legal protections for these exploited vulnerable workers.]
McCallum, R & Rawling, MJ Standing Committee on Social Issues, Legislative Council of New South Wales 2006, Inquiry into Impact of Commonwealth WorkChoices Legislation, pp. 1-41, NSW, Australia.
Rawling, MJ 2009, 'Working Paper 64: Will the Rudd Federal Labor Government Abolish Key Legal Protections For Certain Exploited Vulnerable Workers?', Regulatory Institutions Network.