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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 3491 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

the ghost. What's the point of potentially going to jail for something outside our control, effectively?"There is some real angst in the community in relation to this legislation, and I don't think that is sensible when we have good laws at present which can be used and used effectively.

In terms of corporate responsibility, we have that in the criminal law now. That is something that came in 2002, so the argument that you can't really attack a corporation goes out the window. They can be attacked now for manslaughter. Some additional penalties might need to be included; let's do that through the normal criminal law and not through this particular piece of legislation which, in my view, is bad law.

As I have said earlier, there are strong penalties, but I think they are more appropriate in other laws rather than in this one. (Extension of time granted.) If the government has to go down this path I think a much better way of doing it-and it is a way I am sure the employers would necessary like-is to perhaps look at what Queensland is considering, that is, a negligent act causing death in the workplace which is akin to a negligent driving act causing death, which is culpable driving. There is a much stronger legal basis for that than there is for this particular bill, and I would urge both members of the Assembly and the government to have a very serious rethink about the need for this legislation and urge them to do something very different to what they are doing in this particular bill.

MR HARGREAVES (11.33): Mr Speaker, this legislation is a courageous piece of legislation which actually leads the country because the other jurisdictions haven't got the guts to get on and do it. Mr Speaker, they all balked. They all blinked. Mr Speaker, when the corporate giants twitched their noses at them they blinked. Victoria, I have to say, had a fundamental flaw in their legislation, and that was the vicarious liability clause which, you will note, from reading this bill, is not included. The ACT does not intend to include vicarious liability as part of this package.

I wish to commend the minister and your good self, Mr Speaker, because I know the commitment you had, before this Assembly actually came to be, to this particular piece of legislation. I commend the union movement for coming in and saying to the government, "We support this initiative."I condemn those people who have opposed the legislation because I wonder whether or not they suffer from gross ignorance, a lack of ability to read a simple piece of legislation, or are trying to protect their own back. I will come to that a little bit later.

Mr Speaker, I have a particular criticism of the media again. The media reports on this legislation have been biased, misleading and totally inappropriate. What they have succeeded in doing, Mr Speaker, with aiding and abetting from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, for which they need to be grossly ashamed, is putting the frights up a whole series of small business people without justification and without cause. Mr Speaker, I find this particularly appalling. In fact, I heard from a small business person today, a person who is a director of a very small franchise who was frightened by the publicity-by what the person heard on the radio this morning and read in the Canberra Times.

Mr Speaker, the portrayal of this legislation in the media has been unbalanced, has not provided both sides to the issue and has quoted the opinions of only one member of the Assembly committee that considered it. Had the reporter bothered to check, there would

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