The Australian newspaper’s Robert Gottliebsen continues to bash the Victorian Premier and WorkSafe Victoria over the outbreak of COVID19 that originated from workers in the Hotel Quarantine Scheme. He insists that the government has occupational health and safety (OHS) responsibilities for the workers in the hotels, especially the security guards through which transmission to the community occurred. His arguments are logical, but what he is really searching for is accountability and, perhaps, in a global pandemic, there is none.
The calls continue for the Victorian Premier, Dan Andrews, to be charged with Industrial Manslaughter over COVID19-related deaths that resulted from a poorly-managed hotel quarantine program. This time the topic was picked up be one of Australia’s conservative big guns, Alan Jones.
Jones hyperbolic rhetoric was on full display in his interview with Ken Phillips, who started the Andrews Industrial Manslaughter campaign.
Well before the push for Industrial Manslaughter laws was the occupational health and safety (OHS) offence of “reckless conduct”. A media report from the LaTrobe Valley Express recently showed how one employer’s neglect of basic safety practices and processes resulted in the death on 21-year-old Damien Taifer.
Many on the Conservative side of Australian politics want to see Daniel Andrews, the Victorian Premier, fall, especially over the use of security guards in hotels used to quarantine returning travellers who may have had COVID19. Some of Andrews’ critics are being mischievous by linking the Industrial Manslaughter laws that his government introduced to his, and his Ministers’, accountability for COVID19 deaths linked to the hotels. The latest is Tasmanian Senator Eric Abetz in Federal Parliament.
In mid- August 2020 Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews labelled insecure work as toxic and argued a fundamental policy reset was required into the future. He stated:
Insecure work is toxic. There is nothing good about insecure work, and when this is done, when this virus has been beaten, we will need to commit ourselves to do something really significant about it. It is no good for anything, for families, for a sense of security [and] for public health, for any purpose. We have a lot of people who work very hard but have no safety net to fall back on and that is just not something we should settle for .(Guardian 16 August 2020)
The observation generated little publicity and was soon forgotten as the Victorian COVID outbreak caused deepening concern across the nation. But the first major Australian political leader to call precarious work for what it demonstrably was should start a long overdue public debate.Continue reading “Precarious Work, Pandemics and Australia’s Future – Let’s Not Forget the Link”
The pursuit of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews for Industrial Manslaughter (IM) over the spreading of COVID19 from quarantine hotels is developing into a conspiracy if a recent interview with Federal politician, Barnaby Joyce, is any indication.
Previous SafetyAtWorkBlog articles have discussed the opinions on Andrews and Industrial Manslaughter espoused by journalist Robert Gotttleibsen and Ken Phillips. On television on September 28, 2020, breakfast television’s Sunrise program interview the National Party’s Joyce and the Australian Labor Party’s, Joel Fitzgibbon. Host, David Koch, asked Joyce about the resignation of Victoria’s Health Minister Jenny Mikakos over the Hotel Quarantine issues, and Joyce floridly replied:
The pursuit of Premier Dan Andrews and the Victorian Government for Industrial Manslaughter reached a frenzy in Parliament on September 4 2020, when Liberal Parliamentarian Tim Smith expressed his opposition to the extension of Victoria’s state of emergency. His florid speech masked his principal, and admirable, aim, to hold the Government accountable.