The Gordonstone Coal Dispute: Rights, Remedies and Union Exclusion Under the Workplace Relations Act
In this article, the relationship between legal strategy, industrial relations strategy and the framework of rights and remedies provided by the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cth) is examined through the lens of a lengthy industrial dispute over individualisation and union exclusion. The parties engaged in complex legal manoeuvring to support their industrial relations positions, playing out their strategies before the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, the Supreme Court of Queensland, the Federal Court and the High Court. An examination of the resultant web of decisions suggests that the remedial framework acts as a navigating tool as the parties adjust and re-draw their tactics in the course of a dispute. Further, how the parties perceive the practical operation of this framework is crucial, since the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cth) provides a host of rights for employees and their unions, but in many respects these rights cannot be enforced by adequate remedies.
Griffith Law Review