Industrial Manslaughter

Kill A Worker. Go to Jail.

Greens MLC Tammy Franks has reintroduced the Greens’ Bill designed to create a new offence of “Industrial Manslaughter” in South Australia.

The Greens will bring this Bill to a vote this year.

Under this Bill an employer is guilty of an offence, with a maximum fine of $13 million and up to 20 years imprisonment, if:

  1. The employer breaches their duty of care;
  2. An employer knew, or was recklessly indifferent, that the act or omission constituting the breach would create a substantial risk of serious harm to a person;
  3. The breach causes the death of a person.

I reintroduced the Greens’ Work Health and Safety (Industrial Manslaughter) Amendment Bill. This bill creates a new offence in South Australia of industrial manslaughter. It seeks to capture a very small minority of employers who cruelly and unnecessarily risk the safety of their employees. Putting workers’ lives at risk for the sake of cost-cutting is unacceptable, and the statistics speak for themselves. The Australian labour movement fought hard to secure the right to eight hours of work, eight hours of rest and eight hours of play.

But what happens when those eight hours of work are deadly due to the negligence of one’s employer?

The Greens have introduced this legislation three times before in this parliament. During the 2018 state election, the Labor Party committed to industrial manslaughter laws that are at least as strong as those in Queensland. We will be holding them accountable to that promise. Indeed, in previous debates we have seen broad support for this legislation.

South Australian workers have waited long enough for this protection.

South Australia needs specific laws to protect employees and prevent employers from taking shortcuts that may endanger workers’ lives.

The Greens want to ensure that employers are taking their duty of care to their employees seriously. Every single workplace death is significant. Each one is a tragedy that will affect the lives of many others forever.

The Parliament has considered and debated industrial manslaughter laws on several occasions in the past, yet despite broad support we still haven’t passed an actual Bill. We need to send a clear message: kill a worker, go to jail.

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