Blogs under ‘Influences’

Robert Aurbach | Published: September 12, 2017

The terms of reference for a recent Parliamentary inquiry into workplace bullying reference a Productivity Commission estimate, stating that bullying costs the Australian economy between $6 billion and $36 billion annually. The toll is staggering and begs for a response to the question, “What can be done?”

Readers of this column would be aware that I am no fan of the term “bullying”. It carries the implicit labels of victim and perpetrator, which are disempowering and binary – you either are bullied or you’re not, either the victim or not.

The instances of the legitimate use of...

Robert Aurbach | Published: September 29, 2015
The trouble is that most of this advice, regardless of the qualifications of the speaker, seems of limited benefit in the real world.
Academics have done lots of studies, showing lots of correlations. If A happens then B happens too. It’s easy to take the next illogical step and say that A causes B… but of course, that’s not true. Famously, the number of priests and the number of prostitutes in Las Vegas has shown a strong correlation, although people are reluctant to say that one causes the other.
Resilience is correlated with higher self-esteem, better...
Dr Mary Wyatt | Published: July 13, 2015
If a person believes their work contributed they may be understandably worried that going back to that activity / job will do more harm. 
Basing assessments of work contribution on beliefs, including the employee’s beliefs and the employer’s beliefs, can cause all sorts of complications.  
Employee beliefs
We are a determinist people.  We look for a cause for whatever health problem we face. The mother who has a child with cerebral palsy looks for what might have occurred during the pregnancy to cause the condition. The person who gets cancer looks to...
Robert Aurbach | Published: February 24, 2015

"The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about these circumstances."

— Andrew Bernstein

This quote was among several that the resilience coach, Graeme Cowan recently posted. I'm not sure who Andrew Bernstein is but it strikes me as profoundly true and potentially helpful.

Have you ever been in a car, having an animated conversation with a friend and failed to notice that the traffic was barely moving? Have you ever been in a hurry to get somewhere...

Robert Aurbach | Published: October 28, 2014

Workers' compensation is a strange kind of insurance. The employer pays for it, but only gets the indirect benefits of compliance with the law and immunity from many common law actions. It's the injured person who is supposed to get the services and benefits.

So we have to ask "Who does the insurer work for: the employer who pays the premium, or the person who has the injury and is covered by the policy? " To whom does the insurer owe its allegiance?

The people in charge of workers' compensation schemes sometimes seem to get confused about this issue.

The statutory agency's...

Robert Aurbach | Published: October 14, 2014

We see it over and over again. People, and the institutions that they run, resist change. They resist it even when the evidence for change is overwhelming and the benefits are beyond question.

Doctors keep certifying people unfit for work despite the known health benefits of work.

Workers get stuck with the labels that doctors or lawyers have given them.

Policy makers keep trying to control every aspect of the system and are perplexed when the system isn’t individually responsive.

It occurred to me to ask the question “why?” I think there are four answers:


Dr Mary Wyatt | Published: September 30, 2014

I’m Victoria based. Once a month I travel to South Australia and Western Australia to see patients. Over the last few years it has been fascinating to compare different compensation systems through the lens of the patient. There is a notable difference in how the schemes affect people.

When patients provide a history they are essentially tell their story. How the system is treating them impacts how they tell their story.

For example, patients going through a common law process commonly start their history differently. Instead of “I started getting a sore back two years ago”, the...

Robert Aurbach | Published: September 16, 2014

I saw an interesting headline a couple days ago in an insurance trade newsletter. It said “2013 Property/Casualty Results Show Net Gain on Underwriting – First Since 2007.” The portion of the insurance industry that writes workers’ compensation insurance made $63 billion in the US last year. But for the first time in six years “underwriting” was a profit item, rather than a loss.

Underwriting is the insurance name for the difference between the premiums they collect and the benefits they pay. Saying they had underwriting losses for the last six years means that the company collected...

Robert Aurbach | Published: September 02, 2014

I have had the privilege of working for over 19 years with the largest indigenous population in the US on their workers’ compensation laws.

Through a series of historical precedents, the indigenous populations of the US have sweeping powers to make many of their own laws for self-governance, and a few tribes have exercised that right with great sophistication. 

The Navajo Nation workers’ compensation scheme is approximately half as expensive as most Australian schemes, pays adequate benefits and has virtually no litigation. In that scheme, people get the best treatment that can...