H.C. Coombs Lecture - 1995

The Honourable Justice Deirdre O’Connor delivered the 1995 H.C. Coombs lecture with an address titled “Bargaining - The Role of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission”.

Justice O’Connor came to the Industrial Relations Commission at a time of enormous change, and that change was to focus upon enterprise bargaining. In her address she discusses how there was a need to decentralise the system in order to achieve greater flexibility and therefore greater productivity as a result of economic structuring. This, together with a desire to force the pace of enterprise bargaining, led to the Industrial Relations Reform Act of 1993.

About Deirdre O’Connor

Justice Deirdre O’Connor was born in 1941 and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Sydney in 1961 and later returned to the University of Sydney in 1974, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree with First Class honours. She continued her academic career as a lecturer at the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University.

In 1978 Deirdre was appointed as an Australian government representative at UNESCO in Vienna on the teaching of human rights. She was admitted to the New South Wales bar in 1980 and practised as a barrister until 1983.

Justice O’Connor was appointed as chairman of the chairperson of the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal in 1986, a position which she held until 1990, when she was appointed as the first woman judge of the Federal Court of Australia. At the same time as she was appointed as president of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and president of the Security Appeals Tribunal in 1992.

She was also the first President of the National Native Title Tribunal in 1993, and President of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission in 1994.

She retired in 2001.

O’Connor, D. (1995, April 12). Bargaining – The Role of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission [Conference Presentation]. Herbert Cole Coombs Annual Lecture, East Perth, WA, Australia.

Honourable Justice Deirdre O'Connor - Bargaining: The Role of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission

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