This conference held in Melbourne on August 2, 2004 brought together some of Australia’s leading thinkers and commentators and policy makers from business, unions, academia, politics, and the media to further this important debate on casual and insecure employment.

Media Releases and Fact Sheet

Research Shows Casual & Insecure Jobs Are Taking Over – new ACTU research shows that around one in three women are now employed casually and have no access to paid sick leave or annual holidays or even paid leave on a public holiday.

Major New Research Explodes Myth Of The ‘Happy Casual Worker’ – A major new study explodes the myth that Australia’s 2.2 million casual workers are happy being casual with the finding that 75% of respondents would prefer a permanent job.

Fact Sheet On Casual & Insecure Employment in Australia


Only A Casual: How Casual Work Affects Employees, Households and Communities in Australia – this study reports on the experience of 55 casual workers and their attitudes towards casual work, be it positive, ambivalent or reluctant. Download the Executive Summary (PDF) or the Full Report (PDF).

Casual Work and Casualisation – How Does Australia Compare? – a report by Prof Iain Campbell, Centre for Applied Research, RMIT, which explores international comparisons, centring on the pivotal issue of the peculiarity of casualisation in Australia.

Paradoxes of Significance – Australian Casualistion and Labour Productivity – a report by Dr John Buchanan, Deputy Director of Research, acirrt, University of Sydney, looks at the economic significance of casualisation.


ACTU Secretary Greg Combet’s Address To ACTU Casuals Conference – personal relationships lasting years aren’t regarded as casual and neither should long term employment relationships says ACTU Secretary Greg Combet.

Casual Employment – What Price Do Women Pay? – instead of showing leadership, the federal government is doing every thing it can to encourage the unfettered growth of casual jobs in Australia says ACTU Secretary Sharan Burrow.

Chicken Little, Henny Penny And Labor’s Casuals Policy – Despite the squarking to the contrary by the Federal Government and business groups, the sky will not fall if the working conditions of casual workers are improved argues Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations, Craig Emerson.

Casuals In The Retail Industry – the SDA is determined to reduce the level of casualisation in the retail industry and increase the level of permanency says the union’s Secretary Joe de Bruyn.

Emancipation Incomplete – if the Government wants to keep women in the workforce, it will need to get involved in forcing industry to accommodate the lives of all workers argues The Age columnist Pamela Bone.

Other Information On Casuals

ACTU Congress 2003

Future of Work: Casual and Insecure Forms Of Employment – background paper from ACTU Congress 2003.

Casual And Insecure Forms Of Employment Policy – from ACTU Congress 2003.

Future Of Work – Wages And Collective Bargaining Policy – from ACTU Congress 2003.

Superannuation and Retirement Incomes Background Paper – from ACTU Congress 2003.

Your Rights At Work

Casual, part-time and temporary employment – all your questions answered about casual, part-time and temporary employment. Find out about employment contracts and your rights regarding them.

Other Documents On Casuals

ACTU Welcomes Labor’s Casuals Plan – the ACTU has today strongly welcomed the Labor Party’s plan to support a choice for up to 1.3 million long-term casual workers to convert to ongoing employment and access basic job entitlements such as paid sick leave and annual holidays. (Media Release – 19 April 2004)

Mark Latham’s Speech To ALP Conference – work and family balance, a fairer workplace, casuals, Medicare and better opportunities for working Australians and their families were key issues for Mark Latham in his speech to ALP conference today. (Speech – 29 January 2004)

Labor’s Industrial Relations Policy – in this speech to ALP Conference Craig Emerson, Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations, outlines how a Latham Labor Government will promote productive, harmonious and family-friendly workplaces where the benefits are fairly shared. (Speech – 01 February 2004)

Greg Combet’s Speech To Future Of Work Conference – income inequality, job insecurity and the increasing intensity of work are the key issues for unions arising from workplace change says ACTU Secretary Greg Combet. (Speech – 12 June 2003)

Women and Work – Harvester Man and his model family are officially dead and we need a raft of new measures to re-calibrate work and family life in Australia argues ACTU President Sharan Burrow. (Speech – 25 July 2003)

Workplace Change Demands New Standards – new standards for workplace flexibility are required to prevent growing disadvantage and inequality of opportunity, security and income says ACTU Secretary Greg Combet. (Opinion – 10 June 2003)

Improving Rights for Casuals – the purpose of this document is to assist unions with award applications aimed at increasing the rights of casual employees, particularly those employed on a regular and long-term basis. (Background Paper – June 2002).

Part-timers, Casuals, Women Workers Benefit Most From Union Membership – part-time, casual and women workers are benefiting most from union membership, earning up to 43% more than their non-union colleagues, according to Australian income figures released today. (Media Release – 25 March 2002)

ACTU Wins Maternity Leave For 2 Million Casuals – the ACTU has welcomed today’s decision by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission awarding maternity and parental leave rights for more than two million casual workers. (Media Release – 05 June 2001)

The New World Of Work – What Does It Do For Women? – part-time and casual work, contracting out and working at home, are the issues coming to the forefront of the trade union agenda in this and many other countries says ACTU President, Jennie George. (Speech – 12 March 1999)

Precarious Employment And Working Time – changes at the workplace are impacting unfairly on many women workers says Susan Kenna, ACTU Research Officer. (Speech – 02 August 1998).

Working Time Arrangements And Economic Security: Issues For The Labour Movement – members’ anxiety over job insecurity, work intensification, and the difficulties of providing sufficient income from current working hours prompted the ACTU to put working hours in a prominent place on the union agenda says Tim Harcourt, ACTU Research Officer. (Background Paper – 05 March 1998)