Class politics in Australia has been "labourist" in its orientation, focusing primarily on the needs of wage earners in terms of both economic and social security. In satisfying these needs, trade unions have relied heavily on the mechanisms of the state, particularly those of compulsory conciliation and arbitration. However, it was not until 1983, with the election of a Labor Government, that a "consensual corporatist" framework was established between the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and the Labor Government. Within this framework wage and social wage policies were negotiated in line with the overarching macro-economic agenda (Gerritsen, 1986).