801 Deaths – Cannot be forgotten or ignored
Update February 2022
On the 27 March 2020 the Victorian government started its Covid-19 hotel quarantine program. The program was a management disaster. This lead directly to Covid-19 breaking out across Victoria allegedly resulting in 801 deaths.
Self-Employed Australia is campaigning to push the Victorian WorkSafe Authority to do its job to investigate and prosecute the Victorian government. This page gives links to our campaign activity as well as information and facts on why, at law, prosecutions should occur. On 14 February 2022 we initiated legal proceedings in the Victorian Supreme Court against WorkSafe Victoria (see below).
We launch Supreme Court action against WorkSafe Victoria
14 Feb 2022: We lodged in the Supreme Court of Victoria an application for a ‘writ of mandamus’ against WorkSafe Victoria. We will also issue subpoenas to 26 individuals and government departments to require them to answer questions. This will include the Victorian Premier, Chief Health Officer and others whom we have cited as requiring investigation. See the list here.
Our writ of mandamus is an application to the court asking it to issue an order to require WorkSafe to do certain things. What we are asking is quite simple.
a. WorkSafe is prosecuting the Victorian Health Department for breaches of work safety laws to do with the Hotel Quarantine disaster. WorkSafe has told us that because it is prosecuting Health it doesn’t have to prosecute anyone else or do anything else.
b. We say that under the work safety laws WorkSafe must supply to the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions materials from its investigations into each of the other 26 individuals and departments we have named, if WorkSafe chooses not to prosecute them, and give us reasons why they are not prosecuting them. Our writ of mandamus asks the court to look at the law and decide who is correct, us or WorkSafe.
Here is the relevant section of the Occupation Health and Safety Act
Section 131 (3) If the Authority advises the person that a prosecution will not be brought, or that it has not brought a prosecution within 9 months after receiving the request, the Authority must refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions if the person requests (in writing) that the Authority do so.
c. If we are correct, the court would (presumably) order WorkSafe to (1) give us reasons for its decision not to prosecute the other 26 individuals and departments, and (2) hand its investigative materials to the DPP so that the DPP can advise WorkSafe (in writing) whether she considers that prosecutions should be brought in relation to any or all of the other 26 individuals and departments. Ultimately this would require a copy of the DPP’s written advice to WorkSafe to be handed to us.
If you are keen to know the full details of our court action here is:
We explain why prosecutions should occur
NATL 1. Why WorkSafe must prosecute (2.58s)
NATL 2. Should the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews face prosecution? (4.29s)
NATL 3 Should the then Health Minister face prosecution? (4.23s)
NATL 4 Didn’t WorkSafe already lay charges? Aren’t those charges enough? (2.47s)
NATL 5 : Should the Chief Health Office face prosecution? (4.43s)
The Case for the Prosecution
We’ve produced a 20,000 word ‘brief’ that explains why the Victorian Government, departments and senior persons must be prosecuted. The analysis draws on the evidence from the Coate Inquiry. We’ve supplied this to the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Here’s:
- Our 50-page, 20,000-word analysis/brief
- Our letter to the DPP (9 August 2021)
- An overview
- “Why prosecute individuals” – Radio interview (6 min):
The Coate Report says the quarantine program was a “catastrophe waiting to happen” a “disaster that tragically came to be” caused by “lack of leadership and oversight.”
Ken Phillips explains the report (8 minutes)
Video: WorkSafe Must Prosecute. Television Advert
Key Events & Facts
There has been much correspondence between SEA and WorkSafe. Here are the key events. See below for further correspondence.
Event One: Our letter to WorkSafe (29 September 2020) and its reply (7 October 2020)
This triggered that WorkSafe is required at law to investigate the government and to inform us within 9 months if it is prosecuting.
Event Two: We ask WorkSafe about its investigation processes. (4 January 2021).
Event Three (a): 9-month point—WorkSafe say they are still investigating not prosecuting. (29 June 2021)
Event Three (b): We refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecution.
Event Five: We launch proceeding in the Victorian Supreme Court. See above (14 Feb 2022).
Key fact A: We explain how the work safety laws apply to the Victorian government over the failed quarantine.
Key Fact B: We explain why the Covid pandemic was not unprecedented and was fully expected and planned for, BUT the Victorian government forgot(?) to do a hotel quarantine plan!
- Our letter to WorkSafe 29 September 2020
- Our letter to WorkSafe 29 June 2021 – Go to the DPP
- Section 131
- Indictable criminal offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act
Other relevant correspondence:
- We ask for unions to be investigated in relation to private security selection. (27 September 2020)
- WorkSafe’s letter to us (17 December 2020.
- Our letter to WorkSafe (18 December 2020.
- WorkSafe letter to us 4 March 2021
- WorkSafe confirm they are investigating: here. (11 March 2021)
- WorkSafe letter to us 29 June 2021
- Guidelines on Infection Control &Prevention In Hotel Industry.
- Health Advice for Hotel Industry on serving guests with history of travel to or resided in the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) affected areas.
- Preventing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Guidelines for Hotels.
- The role of the hotel industry in the response to emerging epidemics: a case study of SARS in 2003 and H1N1 swine flu in 2009 in Hong Kong.