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Dr Iain Ross delivers 21st Kingsley Laffer Memorial Lecture

16 Jun 2013

Dr Iain Ross, AO, President of the Fair Work Commission has presented the 2013 Kingsley Laffer Memorial Lecture at the University of Sydney Business School. More than 60 guests were on hand to hear Dr Ross speak at the event, held for the first time at the Business School's purpose-designed CBD campus.

Dr Ross, who is also a Judge of the Federal Court, was appointed to head the Fair Work Commission in early 2012. His lecture addressed the nature of workplace change in Australia, and brought to light the consequences of such changes in areas like productivity, industry structures and unionisation, and how the Fair Work Commission responds to these issues.

"As President of the Commission, Dr Ross has one of the leading roles in what has been, and still remains, a time of change and controversy in work, industrial relations and public policy," said Professor Marian Baird, Research Coordinator for the Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies and Director of the Women and Work Research Group. "Dr Ross was more than well equipped to present this year's Laffer Lecture, and he continued the fine tradition of bringing industrial relations enquiry to a wider audience."

Distinguished guests at this year's lecture included Anna Booth, Deputy President, Fair Work Commission and Chair of the Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies Advisory Panel; Senior Deputy President Jonathan Hamberger, Fair Work Commission; Professor Emeritus Ron McCallum, Chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and Ms Sue Bussell, Group General Manager QANTAS and former Laffer Lecturer.

The Kingsley Laffer Memorial Lecture is an annual event, presented by the Business School's Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies. Kingsley Laffer (1911-93) introduced industrial relations as a field of study to the University of Sydney in the early 1950s. He was a founding editor of the Journal of Industrial Relations and a founder of the Industrial Relations Society of NSW.

The inaugural Kingsley Laffer Memorial Lecture was delivered in 1993 by former prime minister The Hon. Bob Hawke. Past lectures have been delivered by The Hon. Julia Gillard, The Hon. Kim Beazley, AC and Reverend Tim Costello. This year's lecture celebrates 60 years of teaching employment and industrial relations at the University.

"We are very proud of the breadth of expertise within our department and the long tradition, the longest in Australia I believe, of teaching and researching the workplace and the employment relations from a multi-disciplinary and ever-changing set of perspectives," concluded Dr Baird.