The ACTU pays tribute to the Honourable Justice Iain Ross AO who has today announced he is stepping down from his position as the President of the Fair Work Commission. President Ross has made an extraordinary contribution to the lives of working Australians and their families and has dedicated a lifetime of service to the Australian community.

Justice Ross has served as a Vice President of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, a Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, a president of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, and a Commissioner of the Victorian law Reform Commission amongst other esteemed positions.

Most recently, for the last decade Justice Ross has presided over the Fair Work Commission. His legacy there is considerable.

Justice Ross has been a mainstay of the workplace relations system in Australia for a decade, serving alongside eight Ministers during his tenure. He has overseen significant cases, the annual wage review, and extensive reviews of modern awards. Over the last 10 years, almost single handedly, he has worked to uphold the prestige and integrity of a uniquely Australian institution, protecting its independence and its reputation for fairness.

Quotes attributable to Sally McManus:

“The union movement acknowledges and plays tribute to the very considerable contribution Justice Ross has made over his time as the President of the Commission. Justice Ross has shown tremendous strength and leadership during his time as President. He is incredibly hard working and focused especially on the needs of the low paid.

“His leadership was essential during the difficult days of the pandemic, assisting in bringing about JobKeeper and bringing employers and unions together to make changes that both protected workers and saved businesses.

“Australia’s minimum and award dependant workers, some 25 per cent of the workforce have seen some of the largest real wage increases in award wages under his leadership. If it were not for the annual wage decisions under his leadership Australia’s wage crisis would be even deeper. As bargaining has diminished, minimum wages have had to do more and more heavy lifting to protect the wages of the low paid.

“His understanding of the plight of the lowest paid workers was also demonstrated in his final judgement, which awarded a 15 per cent pay rise to aged care workers.

“Whilst we might not have always agreed with all of his decisions as one would expect given the independence of his office, he brought intellectual rigour, and an admirable sense of fairness to the exercise of his role.”

“Justice Ross’s world-leading decision recognising paid Family and Domestic violence leave in the Awards system will undoubtedly save lives.”