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Good Faith and the Fair Work Act: Its Potential, in Light of the New Zealand Experience

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2023

Shaunnagh Dorsett
Faculty of Law, University of Technology, Sydney
George Lafferty
School of Management, University of Western Sydney


This article addresses the potential of the Fair Work Act’s good faith bargaining provision to enhance good faith bargaining and employment relationships, using New Zealand’s good faith provisions under the Employment Relations Act 2000 as a comparative frame of reference. It explores the limitations of the Fair Work Act’s compliance-based approach to good faith, which consists mainly of the parties presenting a legally defensible appearance of not acting in bad faith. In contrast, the New Zealand legislation aims to suffuse good faith with considerable content and definition, enabling parties to the employment relationship to extend good faith well beyond bargaining. In contrast to the Employment Relations Act, the formalistic, procedural approach promoted by the Fair Work Act is unlikely to encourage a significant cultural change towards meaningful good faith principles and practices.

Symposium: Assessing the Fair Work Act
Copyright © The Author(s) 2010

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