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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (27 November) . . Page.. 4893 ..

Clause 5.

MR PRATT (9.10): I seek leave to move my two amendments on the pink sheet together.

Leave granted.

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, I move the two amendments together [see schedule 2 at page 4919].

The aim of these two amendments is to ensure that the offences prescribed here apply both to managers and workers. A worker is defined in the Crimes Act as a person who is an employee, an out-worker or an independent contractor. We think it is very important to embrace all those people in a company. We think, from the boss down, it is important that anybody be held accountable, where appropriate, for workplace deaths. It is to that end, Mr Speaker, that I put forward these two amendments.

MS GALLAGHER (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (9.13): The government won't be supporting these amendments. Section 15 of the Crimes Act already covers the general offence of manslaughter, which would apply to workers in this instance.

MRS CROSS (9.13): I also won't be supporting them, not because they are not good amendments but because we already did the work behind the scenes with the minister to address the issue. This is covered in the minister's second amendment which says that the general offence of manslaughter in s.15 applies to everyone, including workers. I feel that that is covered under the term in this clause, so I won't be supporting these amendments.

MS DUNDAS (9.13): Mr Speaker, I would like to address the amendments on the pink sheet of paper as moved by Mr Pratt. I won't be supporting them because I don't actually think they do what the opposition want them to do. We heard through the debate at the in-principle stage about shared responsibility and how everybody should be responsible for looking after other workers. But what this amendment actually says is:

An omission of a worker to act can be conduct for this part if it is an omission to perform the duty to avoid or prevent danger to the life, safety or health of another worker of the employer ...

I think the problem with this is that it is assuming that the worker knows all about health and safety responsibilities, can be everywhere at once and can see what is going on across the entire work site. It also talks about-

Ms Tucker: You didn't explain it very well, Mr Pratt.

MS DUNDAS: Ms Tucker pointed out that, if I have misinterpreted this, you haven't explained it very well.

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