Tim Blair


New Criterion



Thursday, July 10, 2003

No sooner has the Australia Institute released its anti-work balloon for the ACTU, to be ignored by everyone except Auntie, than a reputable researcher, the Australian Institute of Family Studies, steamrolls the whole exercise.

While fathers working very long hours (more than 60 a week) were more likely than those working a standard 35-44 hour week to say they would prefer to reduce their hours, most said they were highly satisfied.

"Contrary to the discussions in the literature about the negative impact of long working hours . . . very few significant differences emerged in the average wellbeing scores of fathers working 35-44 hours and those working longer hours," the study concluded

Significantly, partners of happy marathon men reported they were also satisfied with their family relationships, discounting the possibility that the men were simply work-obsessed and unaware of the effects their long working hours had on their home life.

Can this mean that Australian families can make the right choices about their work and family lives, and that employers can offer appropriate opportunities, all without the guidance of a shop-steward backed by government legislation?