Despite the lamentations of neoliberal commentators and businesses, and their media supporters, about the lack of industrial relations reform in Australia since WorkChoices, they have little to complain about. Australian workers have endured years of wage stagnation and, in many industries, real wages cuts.
Industrial disputation has virtually vanished. Unions have continued to shrink. Company profits have soared. For industrial relations reform failure, it looks an awful lot like success.
Part of that success lies in how the issues are framed in public debate. The framing we've had for a long time is that trade unions are reflexively evil and an economic threat, as are rising wages; that industrial disputation is a relic of the dark ages; that the only relevant context for industrial relations is the impact on business bottom lines.