Major test for Jay Weatherill
Thursday, 29 September 2011
The Labor Government’s controversial new work safety laws will be a major early test for incoming Premier Jay Weatherill.
Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Rob Lucas said if passed in its current form, the laws would be a further blow to the already struggling housing market.
“New home sales fell 4.7 percent in August, and there has not been an increase in sales for 10 months,” Mr Lucas said.
“Independent analysis released by the Housing Industry Association indicating house prices would increase by $20,000-$28,000 has frightened young families looking to buy their first home.
“The additional economic analysis by Hudson Howells reveals that these new laws will cost up to 12,500 jobs per year as well as up to $1.4 billion in Gross State Product per year.
“It is for this reason that the Victorian Government has called for a 12 month delay in the implementation of the new laws to allow further assessment of the impact of the new laws. Western Australia has also called for a delay, believed to be between 6 to 12 months.
“There is widespread opposition to Labor’s plan to give union bosses the right to enter any worksite supposedly for work safety issues, even if there are no union members on the site and workers don’t want the union to interfere.
“The Liberal Party is also most concerned that the Labor Government’s proposed laws would remove the right to silence which is currently available under existing Occupational Health and Safety laws in South Australia.
“The right to silence is a fundamental principle of criminal law. Under this principle, you cannot be forced to say something to an investigator unless they have obtained a court order. This prevents abuses of power and is vital to community confidence in our criminal justice system and the rule of law.
“The Labor Government’s proposed laws take away this fundamental right and would apply not only to employers but also to all managers and workers in workplaces. OH&S inspectors would have powers that not even the police have.
“The Liberal Party believes this is unacceptable and will seek to amend the legislation so that the fundamental right to silence which currently exists in South Australia is retained. There has been widespread opposition from virtually every employer and industry organisation to this particular proposal from the Government.
“Whilst Mr Weatherill’s promotion has been due to the actions of union bosses and factional leaders, Mr Weatherill needs to put the interests of struggling home buyers ahead of those of the union bosses.
“Mr Weatherill needs to listen, back down and agree to support significant amendments to this bill.”