1996年以后，自由党 – 民族联合政府执政时，对劳动力市场改革采取了比较“硬道理”的立场。由于这种“强硬”的政策方式，政府和工会运动之间出现了几次冲突和摩擦。这主要是因为在新政府的推动下，工作场所的变革和改革主要是由雇主自己驱动的，这逐渐导致了工会的无知（Fairbrother＆Yates，2013）。另外，1996年的政府职位支持个人的成长，而不是推动工作场所改革的集体成长。
Phase from 1980-1996 saw a major reform in terms of decentralization of employee relations system. This was achieved by The Labor Government through support provided by various unions (Australian Council of Trade Unions, 1987). Early 1990s, further flexibility in the labour market was introduced by The Labour government, when permission was granted for non-union agreements in the workplace. Presence of non-union agreements in workplace although was termed as a major controversial decision, however it resulted into further radical changes in late 1990s, when The Labor Government had to quit their office post defeat in the poll.
Post 1996, when Liberal-National Party Coalition government came into power, a relatively ‘hard line’ stand was taken towards reform of labour market. As a result of this ‘tough’ policy approach, there were several instances of conflicts and frictions between government and the union movements. This was majorly due the fact, that under the new government changes and reforms at the workplace were majorly driven by the employer itself, which gradually led to ignorance of unions (Fairbrother & Yates, 2013). Also government post 1996 was supportive towards growth of an individual rather than making policy which could have pushed the collective growth of the workplace reforms.
In order to assess the accord between the unions and the federal Labor government in the 1980s and 1990s, it is critical to analyse the interrelationship between worker/employee relations at national level, and workplace related changes and innovation at enterprise level. This is necessary to analyse, especially due to high institutionalization of employee relations since early part of 20th century, and important role played by the unions towards the regulation related to labour market.