Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Rob Lucas has been busy ensuring the public is duly made aware of the consequences of the proposed National Harmonised Work Health and Safety Regulations.


Of course the best way to create a little opposition to these new laws is to throw some fear at the general public. Tell them their homes will increase by $20,000. That should do it. It doesn’t really matter whether that $20,000 figure is actually accurate or not, if it is uttered, it must be true.

I found very little information in the HIA (Housing Industry Australia) 62 page document submission voicing their opposition to the National WHS Regulations and Codes of Practices. The only reference outlining any costing was an estimated $6000 for scaffolding and $2000 for an amenities room. There may be other costs associated with the implementation of the regulations but there is no information in this submission that offers any clarity.

On further searching other documents on the HIA website, I didn’t come up with anything more useful. I’d like to know where Rob Lucas has taken that $20K figure from.


Then of course the word UNION power comes into play and once again, there’s this seed of apprehension planted into the public’s mind. It’s being whispered if the National Harmonisation Legislation gets through, the Unions will infiltrate every workplace and the country will surely go broke.

To be honest, I don’t think the union movement can do much more damage than either of our Government’s apathy to protecting our industries, our productive land, and food security! It seems both sides of the fence are a little tight lipped on the topic of world trade agreements and how they’ve impacting our economy – but that’s another story.

Look, I’m not always sure what agenda some Union factions have. Sometimes I feel they don’t focus enough of their effort on Occupational Health and Safety and I am not on solid ground on this. However, I’m absolutely certain that the current level of scrutiny and enforcement is completely inadequate – period. To suggest that adding an extra arm of inspection in safety is going to end in an all-out Union infiltration in every workplace is scare mongering. If the limitations to what the union can and cannot do are clearly determined, then what is the problem?

Incidentally, I couldn’t find any reference to the unions in that entire 62 page submission made by HIA so I assume it’s coming from another lobby faction. Workplace safety and the lives of our loved ones at work are very much under the control of these powerful business lobbies.

So here’s the problem. Clearly the laws even as they stand are not being enforced. There isn’t enough man power. Is Rob Lucas and the Liberal party about to throw a heap of extra money at SafeWork SA to increase its inspectorate? Maybe someone should ask him that question?


The right to silence for fear that someone may incriminate themselves suggests that people who have something to hide, should be allowed to hide it?

This is all of no great surprise given a recent heated exchange on this very topic on the SafetyAtWorkBlog on this very topic. The post in particular Employer association criticises Australia’s new Work Health and Safety laws outlines the same objections to this ‘Right to Silence’ in Victoria earlier this month.

Obviously I am not a lawyer and as time goes on I am less a fan of law than ever before. I do not believe I am being naïve when I say those who benefit most from this right to silence sure as hell isn’t the victim.

I do wonder why we compare a crime like murder to that of a workplace incident where someone has died. They are like chalk and cheese in the way they are regarded in penalty. They are worlds apart in the ability to team many very expensive legal professionals, and didn’t someone say that a company doesn’t have a mind? But a man that commits murder or causes death through manslaughter has mind, doesn’t he?

Look, anything that can assist an investigation to enable a complete and clear account of what happened has to be seen as a positive step. The right to silence for fear one might incriminate themselves, can and does hinder a clear determination of cause.

Make no mistakes, there are many self-incriminating pieces of evidence that never see the light of day in a court room. Apparently that’s perfectly alright. Apparently it’s more important to throw as many protections at those that have committed a crime than those who are victims of a crime.

The idea of national harmonisation was a good one. I’m not sure we’ll see it. By the time each state makes its amendments, any benefits will have been lost.

  1. Sab says:

    It doesn’t matter what laws are in… Without enforcement they mean nothing

  2. Admin:AM says:

    On the topic of that extra $20,000 price hike to a new house, I had to wonder even that $6,000 figure has to be a little over the top. One could perhaps assume the building contractor would not sell the scaffold with the house? No, he’d take that with him for his next project wouldn’t he? Buy it once, use it often?

    Okay so let’s say we’re paying our subbie $50 an hour – $6,000 is 120 hours of labour just to erect and dismantle the scaffold. Struth! 8 hours for 3 solid weeks for a guy to erect and dismantle scaffold on a domestic building site?

    Dreary me people … all in the name of safety huh?

  3. What price can be put on a human life? If it costs $20k more to build a house and it saves a life then I think it’s $20k well spent.

    • Admin:AM says:

      It might be $20,000 well spent but I doubt very much that figure is a fair and accurate representation of the increased cost anyway.

  4. Mandy Jamieson says:

    I agree totally with you that the figure is probably nowhere near $20k, the point I was trying to make is how much is a human life worth to these people?

    • Admin:AM says:

      Ahh well on that one Mandy, I think they’d *like* us all to think they value a human life very highly.

      Truth is though, you have to wonder…actually no you don’t – people have always put profit over human life. They rarely admit it of course…but when our world ceases to be make us feel warm and fuzzy it’s not as hard to see the truth for what it is.


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