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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 3496 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

"We have seen the increasing use of contracting arrangements as a means of avoiding the obligations of employers to their employees."That is a direct quote from the report. I don't think I will go into the detail and repeat it all now because people are well able to read it themselves and hopefully will do so.

But this is a fundamental issue that is being faced not only in Canberra, not only in Australia, but around the world, where basically structures of corporations effectively remove responsibility being taken by anyone even after catastrophic events which we should all be quite familiar with-whether it is about no responsibility being taken for shareholders or whatever; whether it is about the corporate crimes of Enron, World Com Tyco or HIH in Australia; whether it's about Bhoper where 8,000 people died or Dyncorp, more recently, drenching Equadorian peasants with toxic chemicals in the so-called US war against drugs; or whether it's Exxon Mobil who, after polluting Alaska, saw their gas plant in Australia explode and kill a number or workers. There are endless examples that we can give of corporate crime which is not actually able to be addressed.

This is an international debate that is occurring. The fact that the ACT is looking at this is totally consistent with the discussion that is occurring across the world. As I said, the argument that we don't have a huge occurrence of this would not sit well with the loved ones of any victim of such crime.

The other point that is sometimes made by people is that they don't like the idea of having a penalty; they think we should just be encouraging corporations to do the right thing. That again is a very strange argument. I would like to see the people who are proponents of it make it apply to, say, domestic violence. "Let's not punish people. Let's not call domestic violence a crime after all, even though we have decided to do that because basically we know that this can be tough on the people who might be found guilty and after all they were just a bit upset or whatever the excuse was. Let's just work with prevention and education."I don't think people would say that.

What you have to acknowledge is that there is a spectrum here, and of course you have prevention and you have education and you strengthen OH&S. But finally, if people are dying in the workplace and you prove beyond reasonable doubt that management were reckless and negligent, it is a very serious matter and it needs to be regarded as such by the society.

Consumers all over the world, as I said, are arguing this argument, and corporations and people like the chambers of commerce are saying what they are saying. I feel very confident that this is important legislation. It's overdue and we need to progress it.

MR PRATT (11.56): Mr Speaker, I stand to strongly oppose the findings of this committee report. I believe this has probably been a waste of time and effort. It is a committee report which seeks to recommend the introduction of a very divisive piece of legislation. I am at least pleased to see that one member of that committee exercised some sensibility and submitted a dissenting report.

Mr Speaker, industrial manslaughter legislation is an unnecessary piece of legislation. It is another layer of bureaucracy. We currently have OH&S regulations and laws which meet all the requirements where managers do not exercise a duty of care and are held responsible for the death of an employee. Therefore, the introduction of a new law will

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