The ACTU welcomes this opportunity to submit comments to the ILO’s Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) on Australia’s compliance with the relevant Conventions.  The ACTU recognises the critical importance of ILO Conventions and international scrutiny in ensuring that all workers have access to decent work.

In this report we offer comments in relation to the following Conventions: C29 (Forced Labour) and C122 (Employment Policy Convention), and we refrain from commenting on C10 (Minimum Age [Agriculture]); C105 (Abolition of Forced Labour Convention); C123 (Minimum Age [Underground Work] Convention); and C182 (Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention).

The Liberal/National Government which has been in power in Australia since 2013, presently under the Prime Ministership of Scott Morrison (previously Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott), has overseen a period of increasing insecure work, wage stagnation, underemployment, and industrial relations reforms that attempt to limit freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.  The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these trends.

In our last report commenting on C29 and C122, submitted to CEACR in 2017, we noted the impact of these factors on forced labour and employment policy.  Regrettably, as we will outline in this report, the Australian Government still has not taken the necessary measures in law and practice to fully implement these Conventions.