A suggestion that families who lose a loved one or have their lives changed forever by a workplace accident want retribution has been rejected by Member for Western Victoria Bev McArthur.
She knows first-hand the devastating impacts, but does not believe imposing tougher penalties on employers and taking away the concept of shared responsibility is the answer.
Mrs McArthur, whose son Andrew was killed while cycling to work in Sydney in March, 2018, was responding to a comment by Animal Justice Party member Andy Meddick.
He was speaking in favour of the Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment Bill, a bill which Mrs McArthur says is unnecessary.
Andrew was 29 when he was killed and while his family was devastated beyond belief, they decided against coronial inquest that would have seen a tow truck driver and a truck driver face intense scrutiny over their actions.
"While we were bereft, those two workers were also seriously affected," Mrs McArthur said.
"I do not think retribution, accusation and drawn-out coronial inquiries or other forms of court procedures would have made any difference to bringing my son back and certainly the lives of others involved would have been altered further than they have now."
Mrs McArthur also spoke about her father, who became a quadriplegic after suffering injuries during a workplace accident.
"Jailing or fining the people would not have brought my father back to his normal farming life and out of a wheelchair or meant he was not disabled, but it would have severely impacted on the farm where he was working.
"Lawyers may have been the only beneficiaries."
Mrs McArthur said there were already strong laws in place for employers, who have a duty of care to their workers. She said the new bill ignored employee responsibility for workplace safety.
"If there is to be a new law to prevent workplace fatalities, it must apply to all in the workplace," Mrs McArthur said.
"Excluding employees undermines the fundamental principle of shared responsibility for workplace safety."
Mrs McArthur said she had spoken to a number of business owners who told her they would sell up and "go and work for someone else" if the bill is passed.
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