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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 September 2011) . . Page.. 4092 ..


Privileges 2011—Select Committee

Membership

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Le Couteur): Mr Speaker has been notified in writing of the following nominations for membership of the Select Committee on Privileges: Ms Bresnan, Mr Corbell and Mr Seselja.

Motion (by Mr Corbell) agreed to:

That the Members so nominated be appointed as members of the Select Committee on Privileges 2011.

Work Health and Safety Bill 2011

Detail stage

Clause 172.

Debate resumed.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (4.28): The government will not be supporting Mrs Dunne’s opposition to this clause, which would remove the ability of the regulator to abrogate the privilege against self-incrimination.

The right to silence and the privilege against self-incrimination are important individual rights, as Mrs Dunne has explained in her speech on this matter. However, the government believes that these rights are not absolute; they must be balanced against the public interest. In the field of regulation, particularly in the regulation of workplace safety, which is a matter of major public importance, one crucial public interest is securing effective compliance or prosecution.

It is well established that the abrogation of individual rights may be justified if the information to be compelled concerns an issue of major public importance that has a significant impact on the community in general or a section of the community. Safety in the workplace is such an issue of major public importance.

Abrogation of the right to silence and the privilege against self-incrimination may also be justified where there is an immediate need for information to avoid risk, such as danger to human life, serious personal injury or damage to human health, or where there is compelling argument that the information is necessary to prevent further harm from occurring.

The Work Health and Safety Bill seeks to ensure that the strongest powers to compel the provision of information are available for securing ongoing work health and safety. This means abrogating the right to silence and the privilege against self-incrimination. However, the bill balances the loss of a person’s right to silence by limiting both the direct and indirect use of forced disclosure against the person required to provide the information.


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