Independent Contractors of Australia

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

Independent Contractors of Australia (ICA) (also known as the Independent Contractors Association) is a front group for the Australian labour hire and recruiting industry, and employer groups. It campaigns to strip protections from contractors, often representing those campaigns as the opposite of their true purpose.

It has close links to right-wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, the anti-union HR Nicholls Society, and the powerful IT recruiting industry lobby group ITCRA.


ICA was founded in 2001 by Ken Phillips - Director of the Work Reform Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs - and Bob Day - a member of the Centre for Independent Studies board, and owner of building company Home Australia. Day is also the President of the Australian Housing Industry Association, and in the 2007 federal election, he ran unsuccessfully as the Liberal Party candidate for the South Australian federal seat of Makin.

The ICA's website is also designed and hosted by Chris Ulyatt, former Editorial Director of the Institute of Public Affairs.

The ICA claims on its website to "protect the rights of independent contractors to be treated fairly, justly and equitably in Australia" [1], but was in fact set up by the president of an industry employer group, and run by a corporate-funded think-tank researcher.

In an article in the Daily Telegraph on May 23, 2006, Australian Labor Party MP Tony Burke noted that "the Independent Contractors Association . . . are heavily linked to the Institute of Public Affairs"


Although it purports to represent contractors, it has only "a couple of hundred members" - less than 0.1 percent of Australian contractors - according to testimony by ICA Director Ken Phillips at an Australian senate inquiry.[2]

ICA has travelled to ILO conferences in Geneva for each of the last two years purporting to represent Australian contractors, while actually lobbying against fairer arrangements for independent contractors. It makes detailed submissions to numerous Australian parliamentary committees, writes several op-eds each year and personally lobbies government members of parliament, pushing an anti-contractor agenda.[3]

On top of that, it has started to breed front organisations of its own - most recently, Owner Drivers Australia, a paper entity, based at the Independent Contractors website, that also specialises in making submissions to parliamentary committees.


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Contact Details

Independent Contractors of Australia
PO Box 2191, Oakleigh VIC 3166

External Resources