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Government Agency entry Commonwealth Industrial Court (1956 - 1977)

Regulatory Body


The machinery of commonwealth conciliation and arbitration underwent a fundamental change in 1956 following the decision of the High Court in the Boilermakers case (R v. Kirby and others; ex parte the Boilermakers' Society of Australia, 1955-1956).

The High Court held that it was unconstitutional for the Arbitration Court to be vested with both arbitral and judicial powers because of the acceptance in the Constitution of the separation of legislative and judicial powers. As a result, the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904 was amended to establish two separate bodies, the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission (renamed the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in 1973) to exercise the conciliation and arbitration power; and the Commonwealth Industrial Court. In 1977 the Commonwealth Industrial Court became the Industrial Division of the Federal Court.


 1904 - 1956 Commonwealth Court of Conciliation & Arbitration
       1956 - 1977 Commonwealth Industrial Court
             1977 - 1993 Industrial Division of the Federal Court
                   1993 - Industrial Relations Court of Australia

Ross G. Elford