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6th of February 2024, 13:27
Legislative Council of Victoria, Melbourne

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

I would also like to just reiterate my appreciation to the secretariat. This was an incredibly rushed inquiry, and it was a testament to their dedication and their professionalism that they brought this together in such a timely manner, so our deep thanks to them for their work. It was also, as Ms Purcell suggested, rather ironic given the mental health and stress element of the bill that we were subjecting our own parliamentary staff to just such pressures.

Speaking on the question of the minority report that was put together by us, the Animal Justice Party and the Greens, it was I think fair to say that the inquiry, notwithstanding its limitations, demonstrated clearly the deep flaws within this legislation. So flawed is it that employers and unions were virtually singing from the same song sheet, so poorly constructed that everyone agreed that this will be a lawyers picnic for years to come, so incoherent that much of its assessment for mental health injury is premised upon texts and documents that say they should not be used for the purposes of mental health assessment. It is farcical, but worse still, the legislation is at its heart profoundly cruel. It punishes people – workers – with mental health injuries, which is ironic given the government’s own inquiry into mental health.

I would just in closing note that notwithstanding all of these flaws, there is a consensus position amongst all of those committee members, and that is that that bill should not return to this chamber until such time as an inquiry has had the opportunity to try and in detail explore the legislation and rectify its many, many faults.


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