Page 1822 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 4 May 2005

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Leave granted.

The document appears at attachment 1 on page 1829.

MR SMYTH: Thank you, members. I will read just two of the concluding lines from Brian’s speech:

Fr Lynch is, I believe, a great priest upon any standard both in himself and in the effect produced upon his people by his life work.

We wish to thank him:

for his 60 years as priest and his 58 years of labour in Australia.

MR SPEAKER: The member’s time has expired.

International day of mourning

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (6.05): I rise tonight to acknowledge, in the chamber, the international day of mourning held every year on 28 April, just last week. The day commemorates those workers killed on the job across Australia and across the world every year. We also remember those workers and trade unionists tortured, imprisoned, murdered and oppressed because of their activism, and the pollution, degradation and destruction of our communities due to unsustainable work practices. A ceremony was held in the reception room of this very building to commemorate those ACT workers killed and injured on the job and to participate in an international commitment to continue to fight for decent and sustainable work practices.

The international day of mourning arose out of a concern for the occupational health and safety and trade union rights of workers in Canada. This concern clearly pre-dates the Canadian response. Since the Industrial Revolution workers have been organising decent pay and conditions and for protection of their physical, mental and social wellbeing on the job. More than 40 years ago, the International Labour Organisation defined the objective of occupational health as “the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social wellbeing of workers in all occupations”.

In 1986, the Canadian trade unions organised a workers memorial day to remember those killed or injured as a result of their work. The day marked the third reading of the first comprehensive workers compensation act in Ontario in 1914. It was moved as a private members bill by NDP MP Rod Murphy, and the day was given official recognition in Canada in 1991. The idea was supported 10 years later in 1996 by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. Since then, the ICFTU and the Australian unions have recognised 28 April as the international day of mourning.

Currently the international day of mourning is commemorated in more than 100 countries. And the need for commemoration and for ongoing commitment to fighting for improvements is apparent when the figures are considered. Across the world there are at least 1.3 million worker deaths every year—nearly double the number of those killed in war. At least 12,000 of those killed annually are children. Over 160 million new injuries and work-related diseases are recorded every year. And it is

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