Sparkies slam Tassie Labor move to introduce industrial manslaughter laws

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14 February 2018

Peak industry body Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has today slammed the announcement by Tasmanian Labor that they would look to legislate industrial manslaughter laws if they win the current state election.

Tasmanian Labor leader Rebecca White announced a policy document that would look to closely emulate the laws that were recently introduced in Queensland late last year.

MEA Manager of Advisory Services Jason O’Dwyer said that the Queensland laws were politically motivated, and that Tasmanian Labor need to explain what gaps in the legislation their policies address.

“MEA strongly opposed the introduction of similar laws in Queensland and we are yet to hear a compelling reason as to why Tasmania needs to pass similar legislation,” Mr O’Dwyer said.

“The Tasmanian Labor leader needs to explain what current gap in the legislation her policy would address if implemented, otherwise it’s just duplicating existing laws that already deal with manslaughter.

“The Queensland laws were motivated purely by politics and did nothing to actually improve the safety of either Queensland workers or the public.

“Throughout the process in Queensland, both the QLD Law Society and QLD Bar Association voiced real concerns over the legislation.

Introduced last October, the Queensland Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 introduced maximum fines of $10 million and jail terms of 20 years.

“The laws passed in Queensland are not ones that other state governments should be looking to emulate,” Mr O’Dwyer said.

“On top of failing to improve safety, the Queensland legislation has resulted in WHS inspectors having less accountability than police officers and diminishes the rights to silence of those implicated in what is manslaughter.

 “MEA calls on the Tasmanian leader to explain why any person who unintentionally kills someone should be prosecuted under any law other than the Criminal Code.

“These laws would duplicate the current Criminal Code and will only add confusion surrounding the law, including which agency conducts the investigation, following what can only be described as tragic circumstances – someone’s death.

“If it was my loved one, I’d want the best investigating team possible and that is surely the police who are specialists in this area.”

[ENDS]

Jason O’Dwyer is available for interview.

Contact The SAS Group on (07) 3221 9222 or 0408 612 603.

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