Anthony Forsyth

Distinguished Professor Anthony Forsyth

Distinguished Professor

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Anthony Forsyth wears a suit and is smiling

Contact details

COBL | Graduate School of Business & Law


Centre for People, Organisation & Work (CPOW)


Emailanthony.forsyth@rmit.edu.au


Phone: +61 39925 0962


Campus: Melbourne City


 

Programs

 MC161 - Juris Doctor


 BP335 - Bachelor of Laws)


More information

Anthony Forsyth wears a suit and is smiling

Contact details

COBL | Graduate School of Business & Law


Centre for People, Organisation & Work (CPOW)


Emailanthony.forsyth@rmit.edu.au


Phone: +61 39925 0962


Campus: Melbourne City


 

Programs

 MC161 - Juris Doctor


 BP335 - Bachelor of Laws)


More information

Anthony Forsyth teaches and researches all aspects of work and the law, specialising in collective bargaining, trade unions, union education, labour hire and the gig economy.

Overview

Anthony Forsyth is a Distinguished Professor in the Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University. His research focuses on collective bargaining, trade unions, union education, labour hire and the gig economy. He chaired the Victorian Government Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work (2015-16), and is the author of: The Future of Unions and Worker Representation: The Digital Picket Line (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2022). He also runs the Labour Law Down Under Blog.

At RMIT, Anthony has worked in senior leadership roles including Director of Juris Doctor Programs (2012-2015) and Head of Department, Law (2019-2022). In 2019-2020, Anthony oversaw the development and accreditation of the RMIT Bachelor of Laws and combined law/business degrees. He runs the RMIT Law Advisory Board and the Higinbotham Lecture Series.

Anthony is closely engaged with industry, working on research projects and research/education collaborations with partners including the United Workers Union and Australian Council of Trade Unions/Australian Trade Union Institute.

In November 2021, Anthony was elected as President of the Australian Labour Law Association. He is a Member of the Advisory Committee, Centre for Future Work (Australia Institute); and sits on the advisory boards of several Australian and international academic journals.

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Industry experience

2021, 2015 -  External Consultant, International Labour Office

2005-2019 - Consultant, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Employment Labour & Safety Team

<2000 - Prior to entering academia in 2000, extensive experience in the legal sector including at Blake Dawson Waldron (now Ashurst); Norton Rose (London); Maurice Blackburn; & Transport Workers Union.

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Research

Anthony's research in labour and employment law traces the shifting legislative agendas of Coalition and Labor Governments in Australia and connects our national discourse on workplace regulation with international debates. In particular, he focuses on the legal framework for negotiation of wages and employment conditions through collective bargaining; the relationship between trade unions and the regulatory state in countries including Australia, USA, UK and Italy; and the impact on workers and unions of multilateral business models including labour hire, supply chains and the gig economy. He examines how society can ensure that innovative technologies produce equitable outcomes consistent with the social licence of responsible businesses, through evidence-based regulatory interventions and legal support for worker representation.

His work contributes to Australian and global labour law scholarship addressing the implications of digital platforms for workers’ rights to collective representation. Much of the academic research on platform work in the last decade has focused on the effects of gig economy companies in driving down employment conditions and reducing job security, by engaging workers as independent contractors rather than as employees. In addition to those dimensions, he examines how unions and self-organised worker groups have begun to successfully turn the technology used to exploit workers engaged via apps (including through algorithmic surveillance and performance targets), back onto the platforms. Smart-phones, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of ‘WorkerTech’ have become effective tools enabling workers to mobilise and organise protests, strikes and log-offs, occupying both the new ‘virtual space’ and the traditional terrain of workplace activism to contest their precarity.

Research keywords

Labour law, Employment law, Workplace regulation, Collective bargaining, Trade unions, Labour hire, Gig economy, Union education

Research output summary

26

Publications

2

Projects

5

Awards

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Supervisor interest areas

  • Any aspect of labour and employment law

Supervisor projects

  • External Controls and Regulation of the Internal Affairs of Australian Trade Unions - PhD student, Peter Punch

Feature publications

The Future of Unions and Worker Representation: The Digital Picket Line 

Hart Publishing, Oxford

Anthony Forsyth (2022).

COVID-19, Employee Stand Downs and the Transfer of Economic Risk

34:1&2 Australian Journal of Labour Law 95-111

Anthony Forsyth and Andrew Stewart (2021).

Regulating Australia’s ‘Gangmasters’ through Labour Hire Licensing

47:3 Federal Law Review 469-493

Anthony Forsyth (2019).

Key publications by year

  • Anthony Forsyth, The Future of Unions and Worker Representation: The Digital Picket Line (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2022)
  • Tim Kennedy, Ben Redford, Renee Burns and Anthony Forsyth, ‘Rebuilding Worker Power in Australia through Multi-Employer Bargaining’ (2021) 31:3 Labour and Industry 225-234
  • Anthony Forsyth and Andrew Stewart, ‘The Impact of COVID-19 on Labour Regulation in Australia’ (2021) 34:1&2 Australian Journal of Labour Law 1-9
  • Anthony Forsyth and Andrew Stewart, ‘COVID-19, Employee Stand Downs and the Transfer of Economic Risk’ (2021) 34:1&2 Australian Journal of Labour Law 95-111
  • Anthony Forsyth, ‘“Is There an App for That?” Worker Representation, Unions and the Gig Economy’, in Joo-Cheong Tham and Caroline Kelly (eds), Democracy, Social Justice and the Role of Trade Unions: We the Working People, Anthem Press, London, 2021, 119-138
  • Anthony Forsyth, ‘“Prova di Solidarietà”: How Effectively are Unions and Emerging Collective Worker Representatives Responding to New Business Models in Australia and Italy?’, in Tindara Addabbo, Edoardo Ales, Ylenia Curzi, Tommaso Fabbri, Olga Rymkevich and Iacopo Senatori (eds), The Collective Dimensions of Employment Relations - Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Workers’ Voice and Changing Workplace Patterns, Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2021, 205-238
  • Anthony Forsyth, ‘Playing Catch-Up but Falling Short: Regulating Work in the Gig Economy in Australia’ (2020) 31:2 King’s Law Journal 287-300
  • Anthony Forsyth, ‘Ten Years of the Fair Work Act: (More) Testing Times for Australia’s Unions’ (2020) 33:1 Australian Journal of Labour Law 122-138
  • Anthony Forsyth, ‘The Identity of the ‘Employer’ in Australian Labour Law: Moving Beyond the Unitary Conception of the Employer’ (2020) 13:1 Italian Labour Law e-Journal 13-28
  • Paolo Tomassetti and Anthony Forsyth, ‘Different Legal Systems, Same Normative Contents? Collective Bargaining at Apple, Ikea and Tiffany Stores in Australia and Italy’ (2019) 32:2 Australian Journal of Labour Law 192-218
  • Anthony Forsyth and John Howe, ‘Reaching Across the Ditch? Similarities and Differences in the Trajectory of Australian and New Zealand Regulation of Collective Labour Relations 1988-2018’ (2019) 50:2 Victoria University of Wellington Law Review 215-231
  • Anthony Forsyth, ‘Regulating Australia’s ‘Gangmasters’ through Labour Hire Licensing’ (2019) 47:3 Federal Law Review 469-493
  • Shae McCrystal, Breen Creighton and Anthony Forsyth (eds), Collective Bargaining under the Fair Work Act, The Federation Press, Sydney, 2018
  • Breen Creighton, Anthony Forsyth and Shae McCrystal, ‘Evaluating the Australian Experiment in Enterprise Bargaining’, in Shae McCrystal, Breen Creighton and Anthony Forsyth (eds), Collective Bargaining under the Fair Work Act, The Federation Press, Sydney, 2018, 1-24
  • Anthony Forsyth and Bradon Ellem, ‘Has the Australian Model Resisted US-Style Anti-Union Organising Campaigns? Case Studies of the Cochlear and ResMed Bargaining Disputes’, in Shae McCrystal, Breen Creighton and Anthony Forsyth (eds), Collective Bargaining under the Fair Work Act, The Federation Press, Sydney, 2018, 45-68
  • Anthony Forsyth, ‘‘Restoring the Rule of Law’ through Commercial (Dis)incentives: The Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016’ (2018) 40:1 Sydney Law Review 93-122
  • Anthony Forsyth, ‘Law, Politics and Ideology: The Regulatory Response to Trade Union Corruption in Australia’ (2017) 40:4 University of New South Wales Law Journal 1336-1365
  • Anthony Forsyth, John Howe, Peter Gahan and Ingrid Landau, ‘Establishing the Right to Bargain Collectively in Australia and the UK: Are Majority Support Determinations under Australia’s Fair Work Act a More Effective Form of Union Recognition?’ (2017) 46:3 Industrial Law Journal 335-365
  • Andrew Stewart, Anthony Forsyth, Mark Irving, Richard Johnstone and Shae McCrystal, Creighton and Stewart’s Labour Law, 6th edition, The Federation Press, Sydney, 2016
  • Anthony Forsyth, ‘Australia’ (From Collective to Individual Dispute Resolution: Adaptation of the Australian Model to the New World of Work), in Minawa Ebisui, Sean Cooney and Colin Fenwick (eds), Resolving Individual Labour Disputes: A Comparative Overview, International Labour Office, Geneva, 2016, 32-62
  • Anthony Forsyth and Andrew Stewart, ‘Swimming against the Tide: New Challenges for Unions under Australian Labour Law’ (2016) 38:1 Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal 99-121
  • Anthony Forsyth, ‘Could Canadian-style Interest Arbitration Work in Australia?’ (2015) 43 Australian Business Law Review 121-137
  • Anthony Forsyth and Sara Slinn, ‘Promoting Worker Voice through Good Faith Bargaining Laws: The Canadian and Australian Experience’, in Alan Bogg and Tonia Novitz (eds), Voices at Work: Continuity and Change in the Common Law World, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014, 163-193
  • Alan Bogg, Anthony Forsyth and Tonia Novitz, ‘Worker Voice in Australia and New Zealand: The Role of the State Reconfigured?’ (2013) 34:1 Adelaide Law Review 1-20
  • Anthony Forsyth and Andrew Stewart, ‘Of ‘Kamikazes’ and ‘Mad Men’: The Fallout from the Qantas Industrial Dispute’ (2013) 36 Melbourne University Law Review 785-830
  • Breen Creighton and Anthony Forsyth (eds), Rediscovering Collective Bargaining: Australia’s Fair Work Act in International Perspective, Routledge Studies in Employment and Work Relations in Context, Routledge, New York, 2012
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Feature projects

Trade Union Training: Reshaping the Australian Industrial Landscape

Funding - Australian Research Council Linkage Grant with University of Melbourne colleagues and Australian Council of Trade Unions/Trade Union Education Foundation (industry partners) - $167,395 

2019 - 2021

Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work

Funding - Victorian Government acting as Chair of the Independent 

2015 - 2016

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Awards


RMIT University Award for Research Impact (Enterprise)

Award date: 2018

Recipients: Forsyth Anthony

RMIT Media Stars 'Hall of Fame' 

Award date: 2020

Recipients: Forsyth Anthony

Key awards by year

  • College of Business and Law, Media Stars Top Performer Award 
  • RMIT University Media Stars 'Hall of Fame' Award 
  • College of Business and Law, Media Stars Top Performer Award 
  • RMIT University Award for Research Impact (Enterprise)
  • RMIT College of Business Awards for Research Impact, Research Excellence - Journal Publication by an Academic, and Best Journal Publication (by School) by an Academic 
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Public and media engagements

Anthony Forsyth is a frequent contributor to public policy debate on industrial relations and workplace regulation in Australia, through opinion pieces, interviews and commentary in:

  • The Conversation
  • Australian Financial Review
  • The Age
  • Sydney Morning Herald
  • The Guardian
  • The Saturday Paper
  • Canberra Times
  • Daily Telegraph
  • West Australian
  • ABC TV (News 24, News Breakfast, 7.30, The Drum)
  • ABC Online
  • ABC/RMIT Fact Check
  • ABC Radio National (PM, Law Report, Life Matters, This Working Life)
  • ABC Radio (local/regional)
  • SBS World News
  • Sky News Australia
  • BBC News
  • Newstalk ZB (NZ radio)
  • The Irish Times
  • GQ
  • Il Globo
  • The Australian
  • 10 News First
  • 7 am (Schwartz Media daily podcast)
  • Fear & Greed (business podcast)
  • Workplace Express
  • Policy Forum
  • Yahoo Finance
  • Australian Unions Media and commercial radio stations around the country.
aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.