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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (27 November) . . Page.. 4891 ..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

In time, the government will review other fatal offences in the Crimes Act and apply the corporate responsibility provisions to the other offences, but the government's priority is to apply these provisions to workplace deaths as most people are employed by corporations. The bill also introduces special penalties for corporations that are not available under the general manslaughter offence, such as community service orders, publication of offences and notification of shareholders.

You also mentioned there was a recent Victorian prosecution for manslaughter. There has only ever been one successful prosecution of a corporation for manslaughter in Australia, and that was in 1994 in the Queen v Denby. Mr Stefaniak, you may be referring to a prosecution under Victorian OH&S legislation, but prosecutions under OH&S legislation have consistently resulted in low penalties, such as the case relating to Dean McGoldrick. His employer was fined $20,000.

The government does not consider that it is good enough to prosecute employers under OH&S legislation where they have been criminally reckless or negligent and this causes a worker's death. In this case, appropriate criminal sanctions should apply, and this is what industrial manslaughter will do.

Finally, I would sincerely like to thank the officers of the Chief Minister's Department, particularly Penny Shakespeare, Shelley Schreiner and Fiona Gallaugher; along with Garrett Purtill and Brendan Ryan from my office. To get the bill to this stage has required enormous effort from all those involved, and on behalf of the government I would like to recognise that tonight.

This bill is a good one. It is one which protects workers and employers who do the right thing. I urge members to look to their conscience, to think about their own families and the value of working people's lives and show some respect and support the bill.

Question put:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Assembly voted-

Ayes 10

Noes 5


Mr Berry

Ms MacDonald

Mrs Burke

Mrs Cross

Mr Quinlan

Mr Cornwell

Ms Dundas

Mr Stanhope

Mr Pratt

Ms Gallagher

Ms Tucker

Mr Smyth

Mr Hargreaves

Mr Wood

Mr Stefaniak

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

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