Thursday evening at Melbourne Uni Law School there’ll a debate around defining the ‘Sharing Economy‘, a term associated with companies such as TaskRabbit, AirbnB and Uber, which operate by providing platforms for people to rent-out, or rent, resources such as cars or spare rooms. It is claimed that this opens up under-utilised resources to consumers, and provides flexibility and autonomy, access to the labour market and greater earning potential to workers.

Sharing Platforms Are Legally Structured…

“Sharing platforms such as Uber, however, are legally structured as companies owned by investors and run for profit, sometimes extraordinarily successfully so. Uber, for example, was recently valued at $50 billion. This has led to charges that such companies operate through exploiting workers, who often receive less than minimum wage without any benefits or job-security. Traditional models where minimum wages and other benefits are ensured are also undermined, such as taxi companies and hotel companies.”

You can join the discussion as to whether the ‘Sharing Economy’ may require more than the sharing of private resources – whether it requires the sharing of power.

  • Does the sharing economy require a legal structure which ensures decentralised power, such as in the cooperative company model?
  • Should platforms be owned and governed by the people who rely on them, rather than by investors?
  • What would the social, environmental and economic consequences be of such a move?

Is there a case for Platform Cooperativism?

Public Interest Law Network – Debate Organizer

The Public Interest Law Network, the debate organiser, is a student organisation based at Melbourne Law School which aims to raise awareness of public interest law issues and connect students with opportunities to volunteer and work in the public interest law sector. PILN works to achieve these aims primarily through running events and sharing information about social justice issues or external events.

The Debate Will Feature

Professor Bronwen MorganAustralian Research Council Future Fellow
Angela Perry – Chair of Employee Ownership Australia
Michelle Maloney – Co-founder & National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance
Les Cameron – Founding member of the Goulburn Valley Food Co-op
MC Brendan Sydes – CEO of Environmental Justice Australia


Thursday, February 18, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Room G28, Melbourne Law School – 185 Pelham Street Carlton, VIC 3053 AU – View Map

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