||Issue No. 259||15 April 2005|
Interview: [email protected]
Unions: State of the Union
Industrial: Fashion Accessories
Legal: Leg Before Picket
Politics: Business Welfare Brats
Health: Cannabis Controversy
Economics: Debt, Deficit, Downturn
History: Politics In The Pubs
Review: Three Bob's Worth
Poetry: Do The Slowly Chokie
The Locker Room
Death Penalty No Deterrent
The penalty, arising from the death of Trevor Kelly on the Gold Coast Convention Centre, last year, has thrust industrial manslaughter back into the political spotlight.
Brisbane-based Mulherin Rigging and Cranes Pty Ltd was fined $55,000 in the Southport Magistrate's Court after pleading guilty to breaching workplace safety laws.
Kelly had been working without a harness and had had no site induction, when he fell to his death.
AMWU state secretary, Andrew Dettmer, said the sentence reflected the "complete inadequacy" of Queensland health and safety laws.
"It's time courts were given the power they need to act as a deterrent," he said. "Queensland courts need more serious options, including a charge of industrial manslaughter against company directors or business owners guilty of negligence that leads to the death of an employee.
"The only way business will take this matter seriously is if Parliament starts to take it seriously."
Queensland Workplace Health and Safety laws work on a system of penalty units. A breach, causing death, carries a maximum fine of $60,000 and the possibility of two years in gaol.
Prison terms have rarely, if ever, been handed out but Dettmer says industrial manslaughter laws could rectify that.
"Trevor Kelly's family has lost immeasurably more than $60,000, in personal and financial terms," Dettmer said.
He pledged the AMWU would raise industrial manslaughter, again, at the next ALP state conference.
Meanwhile, Queensland bosses will no longer be able to snoop on job applicants' workers compensation history following state government law changes.
"Unions have been concerned for some time that employers and employment agencies had required workers to provide workers' compensation histories as
part of the pre-employment process," said QCU General Secretary, Grace Grace.
"The practice was clearly discriminatory against workers who had the misfortune of being injured at work."
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