Mihajla Gavin

BComm (Hons) Sydney
PhD Candidate

The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia


Mihajla completed her undergraduate studies in human resource management and industrial relations with the WOS discipline in 2012. Her Honours thesis examined key staffing and hiring issues affecting public schools in hard-to-staff areas of New South Wales following the introduction of the Local Schools, Local Decisions policy. Her doctoral thesis explores how teacher unions have responded to neoliberal educational reform as it affects the working conditions of public school teachers.

Throughout her studies she has worked for the Australian Public Service in the area of workplace relations, performing various advisory, research and project roles. She has also undertaken roles as a Research Assistant and Tutor.

Thesis working title

The strategic response of the New South Wales Teachers’ Federation in times of neoliberalism: The case of teachers’ work and conditions

This thesis investigates how the New South Wales Teachers’ Federation has strategically responded to neoliberal educational reform that has affected the work and conditions of public school teachers in New South Wales since the mid-1980s. Despite the significant effects felt by teachers as a result of neoliberalism, marketisation, choice and competition, teacher unions have typically been absent within discussions on educational policy and reform. Through undertaking document analysis and interviews, this research will analyse how the Federation has protected and advanced the interests of their members and the teaching profession overall in the last 30 years across key areas such as salaries, staffing and professional status.

Supervisors: Susan McGrath-Champ, Marian Baird

Selected publications


Journal Article

Fitzgerald S, McGrath-Champ S, Stacey M, Wilson R, and Gavin M (2018) Intensification of Teachers' Work under Devolution: A "Tsunami" of Paperwork Journal of Industrial Relations, In Press. [More Information]


Journal Article

Gavin M, and McGrath-Champ S (2017) Devolving authority: the impact of giving public schools power to hire staff Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 55 (2), 255-274. [More Information]


Conference Proceeding

Gavin M (2016) New understandings of renewal: a literature review of the strategic response of teacher unions in times of neoliberal educational reform 30th Annual Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ) Conference; Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ), Sydney.