In a telling development yesterday, reports from an industry trade magazine describe how WorkSafe Victoria is investigating a business over the death of a worker from Covid-19. The WorkSafe move comes after the Australian Services Union “…called for an investigation…”
The ASU said that it will be “…supporting a WorkSafe investigation…” and “… will hold all employers accountable…”
There’s a telling tale here of what could be called the ‘Victorian comrade racket’. The union comrades demand. The ‘justice’ institutions jump! It’s selective! Businesses (of any size) are taken to be ‘bad’ and must be punished. But when it comes to holding government itself responsible, under exactly the same laws, it’s all very ‘complex’ and hard!
It’s now 18 months since the Victorian hotel quarantine disaster first started (March 2020). WorkSafe took up to 4 months before it says it started investigating the Victorian government for OHS breaches. It’s nearly 12 months since we wrote to WorkSafe requiring it to investigate. And it’s now 11 weeks since WorkSafe was required under its own statute obligations to give to the Director of Public Prosecutions its investigation material into the hotel quarantine disaster. Delay. Delay. Delay! Where is justice?
Here’s what the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act says:
In this case Self-Employed Australia is ‘the person’. WorkSafe has said it is continuing to investigate. That is, it is not prosecuting. Under the plain reading of the Act, WorkSafe “…must refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions if the person requests (in writing)…” We have made that written request. On a common sense reading of the Act, WorkSafe has not done what it is legally required to do for 11 weeks.
We find it deeply concerning that WorkSafe is ignoring what seems to us to be its legal obligation. But we are active in spite of this delay, delay, delay.
There have been 29 pieces of correspondence between ourselves and WorkSafe on this issue over the last 12 months.
We have run radio and social media ads asking WorkSafe to comply with its obligations.
We have just relaunched our dedicated Not Above The Law website. It gives a good overview of the campaign and details the 142 charges we alleged. Check it out.
Our legal team is in deep discussions and preparation.
More major media is being prepared.
Our campaign for justice for 801 deaths will not stop.
And thanks to the huge support from people that keeps coming in. It is most encouraging when people contribute even $10 as a member to the campaign. It’s this support (lots of it) that keeps us going.