Is Australia ranked equal with East Timor, Greece and Pakistan on a world industrial relations cooperation index?

By Louise Evans, James Lane and Tiffanie Turnbull

The Statement

“Australia ranks 72nd in the world [for industrial relations cooperation]. We’re in tie with Timor Leste, with Greece, with Pakistan.”

AWU national secretary Daniel Walton. June 16, 2019.

The Analysis

Australian Workers Union national secretary Daniel Walton says a key to improving productivity is to cease the adversarial see-saw industrial relations battle. He says the most productive countries have “huge collaboration in industrial relations” but that Australia has a massive problem getting workers and employers together to produce the best outcome. [1]

AAP FactCheck examined Mr Walton’s claim that Australia ranked 72nd in the world and was tied with East Timor, Greece and Pakistan on a global index for co-operation in labor-employer relations.

A spokesperson for the AWU told AAP FactCheck that Mr Walton’s claim was based on the 2017-18 World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index which measures “co-operation in labour-employer relations”.

Based on this 2017-18 WEF report Australia ranked 72nd for co-operation in labour-employer relations with an index score of 4.3 out of seven. Greece was ranked 97 with a 4.0 score and Pakistan ranked 125 with 3.6. East Timor wasn’t included in the report which ranked 137 countries. The top five countries were in order Switzerland, Singapore, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands. The worst country was South Africa. [2]

Mr Walton’s claim that Australia ranked 72nd was correct, but his claim that Australia tied with East Timor, Greece and Pakistan was false, using either or both the index score and ranking. No country shared the same rank of 72 with Australia. Countries with the same index score of 4.3 were Kenya, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Seychelles, Slovak Republic, Bangladesh, Hungary, Spain, Poland and Ecuador. [2]

Mr Walton was also not using the most recent WEF data. The 2018 calendar year WEF report ranked Australia at 66 with a 4.4 index score for co-operation in labour-employer relations. Greece was 105 with a 4.0 index and Pakistan 108 with a 3.9 score. Again East Timor was not ranked in the list of 140 countries. Countries with a 4.4 score equal to Australia were Jamaica, Seychelles, Cambodia, Mexico, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Uganda, Chile, Kazakhstan, Romania and Colombia. The top five countries were Switzerland, Singapore, the Netherlands, Denmark and Japan in that order. The worst country was Trinidad and Tobago. [3]

Mr Walton’s claim Australia ranked 72nd in 2017-18 was correct, but his source was outdated and Australia has since advanced six places in the world.

His claim that Australia tied with Greece and Pakistan is false, on both the index score and ranking, in both the 2017-18 and 2018 reports.

East Timor wasn’t included in the WEF Global Competitiveness Index and an AWU spokesperson told AAP FactCheck he did not know the source for that part of Mr Walton’s claim.

The Verdict

  • Mostly False - Mostly false with one minor element of truth.

The References

1. Speers on Sunday, Sky News. June 16, 2019: https://twitter.com/SkyNewsAust/status/1140029618587488256

2. ‘Cooperation in labour-employer relations’, The Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018. World Economic Forum. 2019: http://reports.weforum.org/global-competitiveness-index-2017-2018/competitiveness-rankings/#series=EOSQ135

3. ‘Cooperation in labour-employer relations’, The Global Competitiveness Report 2018. World Economic Forum, 2019: http://reports.weforum.org/global-competitiveness-report-2018/competitiveness-rankings/#series=EOSQ135

  • First published June 17, 2019 15:18 AEST