Finding common ground is hard when even business groups disagree

The last of 10 weeks of confidential meetings is due on Friday with little information about developments until The Australian Financial Review ran an exclusive report this week.

Despite the willingness of the ACTU to work with a co-operative minister and a government that had previously shut it out, hopes of using this opportunity to deliver substantial improvement are diminishing.

At least everyone can agree that the overall system of enterprise bargaining is no longer working.

The Australian industrial relations system has never been for the faint-hearted – or for an efficient, modern economy in urgent need of a COVID-19 reboot.

The current dispute locking up Australia’s ports provides grim evidence of that with an emergency hearing in the Fair Work Commission scheduled on Saturday given the widespread economic damage being inflicted.

Nor does any other country have a similar complicated award structure underpinning wages and conditions for much of

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