Resumed from 22 September. The Deputy Chair of Committees (Hon Martin Aldridge) in the chair; Hon Alannah MacTiernan (Minister for Regional Development) in charge of the bill.
Comments and speeches by various members
Hon ALISON XAMON: Obviously, I have only a couple of minutes before we report progress. I want to apologise to the families who will find this debate very distressing at the moment; I am aware that there are families watching us in this chamber, and I would really like people to be mindful of that.
I do not know whether any of the cases cited would have resulted in industrial manslaughter legislation being enacted. I have always maintained that one of the reasons we need industrial manslaughter legislation is that it changes the way that even investigators approach worksites. We know that there is a recurrent problem of police, in particular, turning up to worksites and simply walking away once they see that it is a workplace death. They are looking for overt and obvious signs of criminality—whether someone has been murdered at a site. If they deem that that has not happened, they walk away. That has often meant a scarcity of evidence being picked up at the point of someone dying in the workplace that would have facilitated the capacity for a prosecution to proceed.
It is really important to note that just because a prosecution has not been pursued, it does not mean that criminality has not occurred at some point; it simply means the evidence was not adequately compiled for whatever reason and hence a case could not be made. It behoves all of us to remember that just because a lesser charge is pursued, it does not mean that a greater offence was not committed.
Progress reported and leave granted to sit again, pursuant to standing orders.