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WorkSafe Tasmania Prohibition Notice on Bob Brown Foundation

Parliamentary Activity - Tuesday, 3 March 2020, Cassy O'Connor MP


WorkSafe Tasmania Prohibition Notice on Bob Brown Foundation

 

Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr GUTWEIN

Did the Attorney-General or Mr Barnett give you the heads up about the prohibition notice that WorkSafe Tasmania tried, unlawfully as it turns out, to slap on the Bob Brown Foundation? Did you give them your blessing as it would appear to any rational observer of Tasmanian politics? When did you first become aware of this unlawful prohibition notice?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Clark for that question -

 

Ms O'Connor - You can call me the Leader of the Greens any time you like; I call you the Liberal minister for Climate Change.

Mr GUTWEIN - I thank the member for Clark that question.

I have made this circumstance perfectly clear. First, there was no referral by this Government to WorkSafe -

Ms O'CONNOR - Yes, there was.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.

Mr GUTWEIN - There was no referral by WorkSafe -

Ms O'Connor - The Integrity Commission hopefully will resolve that.

Mr GUTWEIN - There was no referral to WorkSafe by this Government -

Ms O'Connor - The media release is still up on your website.

Mr GUTWEIN - The Integrity Commission has called out before the behaviour of other members of parliament in terms of attempting to -

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, on relevance, standing order 45. You chuckle like children. This is a question that was pointed and straightforward. When did the Premier first become aware of the prohibition notice?

Madam SPEAKER - That is not a point of order. I have allowed it for Hansard.

Ms O'Connor - Juvenile chortling.

Madam SPEAKER - Please do not make it worse, Ms O'Connor.

Mr GUTWEIN - I want to make it clear that the Government did not refer -

Ms O'CONNOR - That is not the question. Point of order, Madam Speaker, I do not think that the parliament or you should tolerate this. The question was, when did the Premier become aware of the prohibition notice?

Madam SPEAKER - I heard you. It is still not a point of order. I ask the Premier to remain relevant.

Mr GUTWEIN - After Workplace Standards had decided to issue the prohibition notice -

Ms O'Connor - Did you first read about it in the media? Is that what you are saying?

Mr GUTWEIN - In terms of this issue, the Government -

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker.

Madam SPEAKER - I hope this is not a frivolous point of order.

Ms O'CONNOR - It is definitely not a frivolous point of order. The question was written so that the Premier could not weasel his way around an answer. When did he first become aware of the prohibition notice?

Madam SPEAKER - I accept it is a specific question but, as you know, I do not have the power to put the words into the Premier's mouth. I have to ask the Premier to continue his answer.

Mr GUTWEIN - Madam Speaker, I have answered that question. This Government did not make a referral. I became aware of this after Workplace Standards had made its decision. I cannot be clearer than that. I make the point that whilst they have decided not to proceed with that order, to me it seems perfectly reasonable that they did take those steps. When you have employees of an organisation -

Ms O'Connor - You could not even defend yourself in court. You caved within a week.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, please.

Mr GUTWEIN - locking themselves on the gear in unsafe circumstances then there is a duty of care and WorkSafe Tasmania exercised that. I have made it perfectly clear the Government did not make that referral. WorkSafe Tasmania acted of its own volition. That is something Mr Cocker has made perfectly clear, as I understand it, in a number of media statements. Again, I am certain the member for Clark will do her best to go on with this.

I want to point out something that was said by the Chief Commissioner and CEO of the Integrity Commission back in their 2017-18 annual report:

Less positively, we saw occasions when the making of a complaint to us -

being the Integrity Commission -

became the subject of political comment. Indeed, there were occasions on which a public commitment was made to refer a matter to us but nothing ever eventuated.

It is of great concern that public statements have been made by members of parliament about possible or actual complaints to the Integrity Commission.

I say to the member for Clark, stop attempting to weaponise the Integrity Commission. WorkSafe Tasmania acted of its own volition without referral from this Government.