Quality of Work and a New Politics of the Quality of Life

June 21, 2008

Work and Workers

New Progressive Agendas in the World of Work

By David Coats

The goal of this short paper is to explain why labour parties must rethink their approach to the place that work has in all our lives – and in a wider progressive narrative. Of course, the focus of the Australian conversation in recent times has been on the legal rights of individuals and the regulation of trade union activities. But the case I want to outline here is that progressives should have more to say about the world of work beyond the arguments for a modest extension of employment protection legislation. Our starting point has to be that the contract of employment is more than a merely economic relationship.