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by Luke Davis, independent contractor

Self-employment is under scrutiny with crackdowns on scam contracting and unions campaigning against insecure work models. But are workers better off operating as independent contractors or holding a full time position with an employer? What are the risks and the benefits of self-employment? And is there a shift towards more contract work?

I was recently asked to be interviewed for 2 min on the ABC Radio National Australia Talks program as part of a debate about contracting as a form of employment. I was asked as an example of a contractor within the debate to give some of my views on the subject.

The main debate was between Ged Kearney from ACTU and Ken Phillips from the Independent Contractors Association with the main focus being about sham contracting and job security within the workforce. From where I stand both Ged and Ken both had valid points of view on contracting and sham contracting, sometimes even agreeing with each other. As a contractor though my main worry is that the ACTU point of view is over stated and we will end up with legislation that tars all contractors with the same brush. Already I have seen the ATO start to highlight sham contracting as an issue on the small business forum as though sham contracting is a new problem and is increasing rapidly. Sham contracting should be stamped out but not at the expense of those who validly seek employment as a contractor or small business.

For those of you who have an interest in this topic feel free to listen to this podcast. It runs for about an hour but the main debate occurs over the first half hour.