International labour organization

Australia has been a member of the International Labour Organization (ILO) since it was founded in 1919, and the department has primary responsibility for the Australian Government’s ILO engagement. Australia is required to report on the tripartite (three-part—employers, workers and government) consultations concerning international labour standards in accordance with obligations under the Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards) Convention, 1976 (No. 144). Australia ratified the convention in June 1979.

Tripartite consultation on ILO international standards occurs in a number of ways. Meetings of the International Labour Affairs Committee—a committee of the National Workplace Relations Consultative Council—are held twice each year. Direct consultation also takes place regularly between the department and the representative employer and employee organisations, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

The International Labour Affairs Committee was established in 1978 under section 12(1) of the National Labour Consultative Council Act 1977. Its terms of reference are to consider matters of substance relating to the ILO and other relevant international bodies. The committee met twice during the reporting period, on 17 October 2014 and 27 February 2015.

Article 5 of Convention 144 requires consultation on several matters. These are discussed in the following sections, together with the action that took place during the reporting period.

Forced labour protocol and recommendation

Following the adoption in June 2014 of the Forced Labour Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention 1930 (P029) and the Forced Labour (Supplementary Measures) Recommendation 2014 (No. 203), the documents were tabled in the Parliament of Australia on 13 May 2015. Prior to tabling, the department provided a copy of the submission report to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

Re-examination at appropriate intervals of unratified conventions and recommendations

In February 2015, in accordance with Article 19 of the ILO Constitution, a report was submitted to the ILO on the following ILO instruments that Australia has not ratified:

  • Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949 (No. 97)
  • Migration for Employment Recommendation (Revised), 1949 (No. 86)
  • Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 (No. 143)
  • Migrant Workers Recommendation, 1975 (No. 151).

Prior to submission, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Council of Trade Unions were given the opportunity to review and comment on the report.

Under the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, countries that have not ratified the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) are requested to provide an annual review report on new developments over the last 12 months. Australia provided a report to the ILO in August 2014 and copies of the report were sent to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

Questions arising out of reports made to the ILO under Article 22 of the ILO Constitution

In September 2014, in accordance with Article 22 of the ILO Constitution, reports were submitted to the ILO on the following ILO conventions that Australia has ratified:

  • Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)
  • Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105)
  • Employment Policy Convention, 1964 (No. 122)
  • Workers’ Representatives Convention, 1971 (No. 135)
  • Dock Work Convention, 1973 (No. 137)
  • Labour Administration Convention, 1978 (No. 150)
  • Termination of Employment Convention, 1982 (No. 158)
  • Labour Statistics Convention, 1985 (No. 160)
  • Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)
  • Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.