President's Annual Report 26 March 2002


Since the Annual General Meeting 10 April 2001 the Industrial Relations Society of Western Australia has provided its membership with a seminar programme and annual convention which have been informative, topical and relevant to industrial relations practitioners. The objects of the Society, in accordance with our constitution, are to organise and foster discussion, research, education and publication within the field of industrial relations. I consider that the committee elected at the last Annual General Meeting strived to do just that.
On Coming to Office
Shortly after taking office the committee engaged in a review of the Society activities and future directions in a session facilitated by Ray Fells. On the whole it was felt that membership had been maintained despite a shift away from traditional industrial relations attitudes and practices. However, there are a significant number of industrial relations and human resource practitioners in the private sector together with union officials who are not members. Part of the committee discussions focused on the value of being a member of the Society and it was suggested that receiving the Journal of Industrial Relations, networking and participating in the various Society-hosted events to share experiences with colleagues was of some worth. A number of initiatives on future directions and activities were identified . These included: Maintaining the convention in its present format : non-Perth locations; more prominent speakers; more extensive publicity and ensuring that convention brochures are distributed to non-members • Undertaking a market analysis of the needs of current members and the needs of potential members • Producing an information package. • Committing funds to the development of a database of potential members. • Providing prizes at universities and that the Society be promoted at universities through speakers and publicity • Continuing to organise seminars across the full range of workplace topics, which could be targeted towards specific membership interests or centred on more contentious issues to encourage debate . In addition, venue and costs could be commensurate with a high status event. • Organising independently or in partnership training seminars on unfair dismissals and/or advocacy. • Publishing a newsletter four times a year • Continuing to develop the web site. • Providing media releases and using web links (HR Share and others) to promote the Society and its activities. I believe as a committee we have worked well together to deliver on a number of the initiatives we identified early in our term of office . I trust the 2002 committee will continue to build on the current initiatives and offer new initiatives to ensure that the Society remains relevant to its membership. Membership
The Society can be proud of retaining a healthy membership base but there is room to grow. As I mentioned earlier, industrial relations and human resource practitioners in the private sector together with union organizers and officials are an untapped pool of potential membership growth. At the end of 2001 our membership base peaked at 348. However, Tom Rynn who is diligent in maintaining the membership base has purged those members who are no longer financial and we are currently just under 300.
The Seminar Programme
 At the outset we were keen to provide members with a stimulating array of seminar topics and to have these hosted in a variety of venues as well as in partnership with as it turned out a number of legal firms. 1. Bruce Williams, (CCIWA), Wally Pritchard, (MUA) and Maria Saraceni(Jackson MacDonald)provided a lively panel presentation and discussion on Transmission of Business 2. In partnership with Freehills, two seminars were conducted - Workplace Bullying and Industrial Relations Reform. 3. Professor Andy Khan from Athabasca University spoke on Canadian Employment Relations. 4. For the Xmas Function - we had the privilege of hearing the Director of Public Prosecutions Robert Cock QC reminisce on his days as Crown Counsel specializing in industrial law. 5. The 2002 programme, in partnership with Clayton Utz, commenced with Rob Guthrie, senior lecturer in the Department of Business Law, Curtin University, speaking on the topic of Workers Compensation as an industrial issue The Poor relations come knocking-the Guthrie Report 2001
The State Convention
Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the 30th annual state convention Individualism versus Collectivism but I know from our Editor Chris Panizza that it was a great success. Chris has provided a great overview of the convention and speakers in the latest newsletter posted on our own web page. The Web Page The Society has entered the information technology age and can boast to having registered a relevant web address at Between the efforts of Natalie Van der Waarden, Tom Rynn, and more recently John Spurling, the site is operational and we will be providing you with an up to date site, which will be of great benefit. I hope the site has already been added to your favourites bookmark. The Finances and the Fees Our Treasurer Tom Rynn will provide you with the audited reports and will show that the finances are in a healthy state and it has not been felt that we should increase fees in comparison to other Societies our fees are at the lower end. The national Scene Christine Short's term as National President ended in December 2001. Christine played a key role in organising the 2001 National Convention on the Gold Coast and her capacity to bring divergent interests of the other state societies together in a national structure has been commendable. The President for 2002 is Neil McHattie who is the Deputy Registrar in the Northern Territory. Sue Bastian and I had the opportunity to attend the Tasmanian state convention followed by a national council meeting in February. Despite the efforts of a handful of activists, the membership base of the Society is small and it was hoped that having members of the national council attend their convention could trigger an interest in and revival of the Society. Planning is under way for the next National Convention to be hosted by the South Australian Society in March 2003 and the next national council meeting will follow the our annual convention in 2002.
My Thanks
I would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank all members of the committee for their support and contributions that have made my time as President trouble free. The efforts all put into keeping the Society operational and organising the convention and seminar programme whilst I was in New Zealand attending to the passing of my Mother are particularly appreciated.