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Australian candidate nominated to lead the International Labour Organization (ILO)

Attorney-General for Australia and Minister for Industrial Relations
9 July 2021

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For media requests, please contact media@ag.gov.au.

For all other enquiries, please contact australiaILOcandidate@ag.gov.au.

Frequently asked questions

Mr Vines is currently ILO Deputy Director-General for Management and Reform. He has significant experience in the ILO. He is a well-respected and exceptionally skilled leader and consensus builder, with decades of experience working with governments, workers and employers across the Asia-Pacific region, internationally and in multilateral networks.

Mr Vines has been a Deputy Director-General since 2012 and his leadership has established strong foundations from which he is uniquely positioned to lead the ILO.

Mr Vines is a highly experienced international public servant, an expert in diplomatic negotiations and has a deep understanding of employment and labour issues. Throughout his career, Greg has represented governments, employers and workers, making him uniquely placed to understand the needs of the ILO’s membership.

Read Greg Vines' CV

Greg’s vision is for a world that ensures social justice and decent work for all. To deliver this vision, Greg will:

  • Ensure ILO labour standards and the supervisory system are globally recognised and respected as the basis on which to advance the decent work agenda and a human-centred future of work.
  • Reinvigorate social dialogue, shared ambition and trust, to respond to the changing realities of the world of work.
  • Equip the ILO to deliver transformation in the world of work, including in gender equality, and through just transitions for climate change, digitalisation and intergenerational challenges.
  • Engage strategically, globally and regionally to build partnerships for success.
  • Represent and respond to the constituents the ILO serves.

Read Greg Vines’ vision statement

Elections will be held on 25 March 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland. The election is held by secret ballot. To be elected, a candidate must receive the votes of more than one half of the members of the Governing Body entitled to vote.

The Governing Body consists of 56 voting members – 28 Governments, 14 Workers and 14 Employers. The Australian Government is a titular (voting) member of the Governing Body for 2021–24.

No. This is the first time a candidate for Director-General had been put forward by the Australian Government.

Australia has only held two head of agency positions in the United Nations since the Second World War (World Intellectual Property Organization Director-General, Francis Gurry, 2008-2020; and ITU SG, Richard Butler, 1983-1989). In the ILO’s 102-year history, only one Director‑General has been elected from the southern hemisphere (Chile, 1999-2012).

Mr Vines is one of the most senior Australians employed as an international civil servant in the United Nations system and is well qualified to nominate for election as the next ILO Director-General.

The Australian Government’s efforts to support meritorious Australians like Mr Vines to secure or maintain United Nations leadership roles reflects our prerogative to see key institutions, such as the United Nations’ ILO, led by those who will ensure they are fit-for-purpose, effective, open and transparent, and accountable to member states.

The ILO is a United Nations agency with a mandate to advance social and economic justice through setting international labour standards. Founded in 1919 under the League of Nations, it is the first and oldest specialised agency of the United Nations and its only tripartite agency.

The ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member states to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all. As the United Nations’ specialised labour agency, the ILO will play a critical role as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on the ILO go to www.ilo.org.

The ILO’s 187 member states provide funding to the ILO. Australia’s annual membership fee to the ILO is mandated by a scale of assessment set by the United Nations. For 2021, Australia’s membership contribution is $13,277,419.11.

Australia also provides program funding to the ILO to deliver projects in the Indo-Pacific. For example, Australia is a significant donor to the ILO’s flagship Better Work program; the Roads for Development program in Timor-Leste; and to TRIANGLE II (Tripartite Action to Enhance the Contribution of Labour Migration to Growth and Development in ASEAN).