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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (27 November) . . Page.. 4894 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

Mr Speaker, this amendment was circulated quite late in the day, even though this has been on the agenda for over a year now from the time this bill dealing with industrial manslaughter was first introduced into the Assembly. The way I look at this is that it seems to say that every worker must be responsible for the health of every other worker on the site. I think we have just had the debate that a lot of that responsibility lies with the employer to make sure that workers are educated. So I don't think I can support this because I don't think it does what Mr Pratt wants it to do. It goes against the whole idea of industrial manslaughter which is talking about the responsibility of corporations and employers.

MR STEFANIAK (9.16): I don't know if it's going to be of any assistance to Ms Dundas, but I will seek to elucidate her in terms of what this actually means because it really is quite basic. I think Mrs Cross probably has got a pretty good idea of what it actually does. Ms Gallagher, I will come to your amendment No 2 which you have mentioned because that I think tends to wreck your argument in relation to this bill.

But my point, Mr Speaker, is that what Mr Pratt's two amendments do is this: the first one actually includes, apart from employers and senior officers, the two categories covered by this bill to date, workers as well.

What this bill, which has now been passed in principle and obviously has the numbers, is seeking to do is prosecute people who, through their omissions and actions, cause deaths which, under the criminal standard, form the offence of industrial manslaughter. It currently covers employers and senior officers who are defined.

I think we have heard today that there are other deaths in the workforce which sometimes are caused by actions, which indeed also can be criminal, by workers as well. In fact Lyall, Watson and Purnell mentions a case of a foreman, who might have under this act been classified as a worker and who didn't safeguard the lives of his fellow employees, who was found guilty of manslaughter. So this act covers two classes of people.

I come to the second of Mr Pratt's amendments. What he replicates there is exactly what is replicated on page 6 and page 7 of the bill, clauses 49B (1) and 49B (2)-in terms of the employer in (1), and the senior officer in (2). He adds a new subsection, (2A), at the bottom of (2), to include-and if you just have a look-a worker, because workers too can be negligent and cause the death of their fellow workers. This actually picks up-and I think in a much better way-what Ms Gallagher, with respect, is doing in her second amendment where she seeks to include workers by harking back to section 15 of the Crimes Act. If she does that-and I will speak more on that when that turns up-that is actually saying that you probably just need section 15 of the Crimes Act.

But we have this new act here now, and this I think is a much better way, a tidier way, of actually doing that because it includes a negligent or reckless worker who is negligent or reckless to the criminal standard, along with a negligent or reckless employer or senior officer. So you have covered all the types of persons who may, by their criminal activity in a workplace, cause the death of a worker, be it an employee or be it indeed a fellow worker.

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