So, the Australian Labor Party (ALP), the political arm of the trade union movement, the friend of all Australian workers, failed to win government from the Conservative parties. Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) improvements are likely to be left to the magnanimity of the employers, Persons in Control of a Business or Undertaking (PCBUs) and those ideologically opposed to regulatory impositions.
But does the OHS future under Conservative governments mean that workers will be worse off? Sadly, Yes, if the experience of the United States is anything to go by, as illustrated in the analysis of the “Laissez-Faire Revival” by Thomas O. McGarity.
On May 13 2019 the Australian media published articles based on research (released after embargo) conducted by the RMIT’s Centre for Innovative Justice and about victims of crime which those advocating for Industrial Manslaughter laws should seriously consider.
The Age newspaper reports
“Victims of crime felt let down by the system when offenders pleaded guilty to a less serious charge and did not proceed to trial ‘‘ because they wanted the opportunity to tell their story’’ , …..”
“One victim interviewed during the research said they felt left out of discussions with the OPP when charges in their case were downgraded from murder to manslaughter for a plea of guilt …”
Occupational health and safety (OHS) seems a little ahead of the game here as relatives of deceased workers have been integrated into OHS consultation in both Queensland and Victoria. Relatives had a very strong voice through the Senate Inquiry into Industrial Deaths. Victim Impact Statements have been possible in the Courts for many years but Industrial Manslaughter laws add an additional depth to the participation of victims of industrial crime, and an additional risk of false promises.
SafetyAtWorkBlog occasionally receives confidential documents and phone calls about workplace health and safety incidents, investigations and reports. It is time that this process was given some formality in order to encourage transparency on issues while, if necessary, preserving anonymity. To achieve this aim a “tip-off” line has been created by SafetyAtWorkBlog using the Whispli whistleblowing platform. The workplace health and safety information line was launched in March and will continue to be refined over the next few months.
If you have some information related to workplace health and safety that you think would be of interest to SafetyAtWorkBlog readers, please let me know by clicking this gateway.
Continue reading “SafetyAtWorkBlog “tip-off” line”
Some of the Australian media on May 8 2019 began quoting the current Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, over his concerns about the “green tape” of environmental laws and something called “the expansion of union “red tape””. (Nine Australia’s papers, paywalled) Crikey’s Bernard Keane asks “Does Australia really have a ‘green tape’ crisis?” (paywalled) and proceeds to answer, No we don’t. But where there is Green Tape, the Red Tape of occupational health and safety (OHS) follows.
What Morrison means by “union red tape” is unclear. The newspapers included this quote from him:
Shortly after a SafetyAtWorkBlog article on occupational health and safety in the Australian federal election campaign, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) release media statements. It is a coincidence but one I should have anticipated as yesterday was International Workers’ Memorial Day.
The Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Brendan O’Connor, and Shadow Assistance Minister, Lisa Chesters, said that Australia’s work health and safety laws:
“are no longer harmonised or adequate,…..
This is the closest we will get to an admission that the harmonisation of occupational health and safety (OHS) laws in Australia has been a failure. Both the ALP and the Liberal/National coalition have responsibility for this failure. the harmonisation process was announced by the Liberal’s John Howard, but the Labor Party had the running of the process for most of its length. Many States introduced the laws but both political parties in Victoria have refused to participate, based on flawed economic assessments. The continued disinterest from Victoria’s Labor Party in harmonisation remains puzzling.