Guidice quits after 14 years at top of IR system

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Guidice quits after 14 years at top of IR system

The president of Fair Work Australia, Justice Geoffrey Giudice, has resigned after 14 years as head of the industrial relations watchdog.

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The president of Fair Work Australia, Justice Geoffrey Giudice, has resigned after 14 years as head of the industrial relations watchdog.

Justice Guidice announced his resignation yesterday, saying he felt it was time for a change.

‘After more than 14 years it is time for a change in the leadership of the national industrial relations tribunal,’ he said in a statement.

‘I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve in what continues to be a most important national institution.’
 
Flourish

‘Fair Work Australia is a strong organisation and I am sure it will continue to flourish.’

Justice Giudice was appointed by the Howard Government to head Fair Work Australia’s predecessor, the AIRC, in 1997.

At the time, he was a barrister at the Victorian Bar, practising principally in IR and employment law.

Prior to this appointment, Justice Giudice was employed by the Hospital Employees’ Federation as an industrial relations research officer and by the Myer Emporium as the group industrial relations manager before practising for nearly 20 years as a labour lawyer ― first as a solicitor then at the Victorian bar.

‘Dedication and service’: Evans
 
Workplace Relations Minister Chris Evans thanked Justice Giudice for his ‘service to the nation, professionalism and dedication to the role’.

‘During his tenure as president, Justice Giudice presided over a number of significant cases, including those that dealt with minimum wage fixation, award modernisations and the setting of new community standards,’ Senator Evans said.

‘His long list of achievements as President included overseeing the implementation of the Fair Work Act 2009, the new national system for workplace relations, streamlined Modern Award system and Annual Wage Reviews.’

‘Over the past 14 years, Justice Giudice has served as President of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC), a judge of the Federal Court of Australia and the President of Fair Work Australia.’

‘During this time he has seen significant changes in our country’s Workplace Relations system.’

‘Integrity and impartiality’: ACTU
 
ACTU president Ged Kearney said Justice Giudice had shown integrity and impartiality in the performance of his duties, and his successor would have ‘very big shoes to full’.

‘Since he was first elevated to the bench in 1997, Justice Giudice has discharged his duties impartially and fairly, including when he has been at the centre of some of the most significant political maelstroms that have engulfed industrial relations over the past decade or so, including the waterfront dispute and the changes caused by WorkChoices,’ Kearney said.

‘He has also presided over numerous important test cases and minimum wage hearings that have maintained or improved the wages and conditions of working Australians, particularly over issues of work and family balance.’
 
‘Tower of strength’: ACCI
 
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s workplace policy director, David Gregory, said Justice Giudice had been a ‘tower of strength’ during a period of legislative turbulence.

Gregory said he demonstrated impartiality and independence.

Opposition IR spokesman Eric Abetz said Justice Giudice will be retiring with the good will and high regard of all stakeholders in the workplace relations area.

‘His Presidency of Fair Work Australia and the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (its predecessor) has been exemplary,’ he said.

He was appointed to the bench because of the high regard in which he was held as an advocate. He enhanced that high regard during his service to the nation on the bench and as the President.

Justice Giudice’s resignation will take effect at the end of February.
 
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