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Australia The hotel quarantine fiasco wasn’t manslaughter. Just plain old incompetence

12:41  30 september  2020
12:41  30 september  2020 Source:   crikey.com.au

Premier Dan Andrews' right hand man knows nothing about hotel debacle

  Premier Dan Andrews' right hand man knows nothing about hotel debacle A countdown to what turned into a deadly disaster has been revealed in an explosive day at the Victorian inquest into Victoria's hotel quarantine fiasco.An inquiry into the bungled decision heard Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced private security guards would guard returning travellers - without advice from his top bureaucrat.

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a person standing in front of a screen: Jennifer Coate sitting at desk in front of hotel quarantine inquiry sign © Provided by Crikey Jennifer Coate sitting at desk in front of hotel quarantine inquiry sign

The hotel quarantine program in Victoria was a self-evident disaster, the price paid in lives lost and the state’s economy shattered.

It has claimed the health minister and will continue to tear strips off Premier Daniel Andrews’ political hide. There will be class actions as lawyers descend on the wreckage.

But will it send anyone to jail?

Vic authorities too worried about 'dietary requirements' of guests

  Vic authorities too worried about 'dietary requirements' of guests While private security guards were bumbling their way to a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at Victoria's doomed quarantine hotels, those in control were desperate to appease whinging guests. As the public inquiry into the disastrous program continued in Melbourne on Tuesday, it was revealed public servants routinely briefed ministers on dietary requirement complaints rather than addressing security issues. require(["inlineoutstreamAd", "c.

9 I looked again for the old man, but he was vanished / had vanished. 10 I don’ t think that you will be 1 I’m sorry, but this carpet (already sell) has already been sold . 2 The old house on the corner 7 Most of the guests had left the hotel by midday. 8 Some parents read to their children every night.

We've compiled 100 suggestions to help make your time quarantined as interesting – and perhaps even as productive – as possible. 3. If it won' t bother your neighbors: Dust off that old instrument and practice. 4. Text all your exes just in case you have one more thing you wanted to get off your chest.

According to The Australian’s Robert Gottliebsen, if the Victorian government applies its own law, ministers and senior public servants in their droves are prime targets for prosecution as perpetrators of workplace manslaughter.

Gottliebsen first flagged this in August and doubled down this week, declaring the only way to avoid the wholesale jailing of senior government figures will be if prosecutors refuse to, or fail to, properly apply the law.

It’s a great story — but completely wrong. Nobody will be convicted of manslaughter over the hotel quarantine debacle, and the law will survive just fine.

In late 2019 the Andrews government beefed up Victoria’s occupational health and safety laws, introducing a criminal offence of workplace manslaughter.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos tells Victorian coronavirus hotel quarantine inquiry she was in the dark about security guards plan

  Health Minister Jenny Mikakos tells Victorian coronavirus hotel quarantine inquiry she was in the dark about security guards plan Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos tells the inquiry she does not know who suggested and approved the use of private security guards in the state's bungled hotel quarantine program.Ms Mikakos told the Victorian COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry she was not consulted on the program's establishment and said a multi-agency response had resulted in "too many cooks spoiling the broth".

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a man talking on a cell phone © Provided by Crikey

Somebody else’s problem: Victoria’s leaders shirk responsibility for quarantine debacle

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Its object was to do something serious in response to the 24 workplace deaths in the preceding couple of years, to make employers sit up and take their safety obligations more seriously. Nothing like the threat of a $16.5 million fine or 25-year jail sentence to grab the board’s attention.

The crime can be committed by anyone who owes statutory workplace health and safety duties under the legislation, excluding employees and volunteers. Employers — corporate or human, private or government — are in the gun, as well as their directors and managers.

The OHS duties are essentially to provide a safe environment and take reasonable precautions against known and foreseeable risks. The duties are owed to employees and the public — anyone who comes into the workplace.

Is this proof Victoria's health minister KNEW about private security?

  Is this proof Victoria's health minister KNEW about private security? At an inquiry in the bungled quarantine program on Thursday, Ms Mikakos said she did not know private guards were enforcing the scheme until late May when the Rydges hotel suffered an outbreak.At an inquiry into the bungled quarantine program on Thursday, Ms Mikakos said 'to the best of her recollection' she did not know private guards were enforcing the scheme until late May when the Rydges hotel suffered a coronavirus outbreak.

Current quarantine rules for 'red list' countries require 14 day self-isolation. But ministers are being urged to The French government will this week agree to impose reciprocal quarantine restrictions on travel They said there was a risk that the testing regime could miss people who have only just been

Manslaughter . killing someone illegally and intentionally killing someone unintentionally or in mitigating circumstances. There are various kinds of Mens Rea, which is important for distinguishing, for example, murder from manslaughter . The former is defined, under English law, as “unlawfully killing

To commit the manslaughter offence, an employer must do something (or fail to do something) which:

  • Is a breach of an OHS duty
  • Is negligent
  • Causes someone to die.

The key element is “negligence”, which the legislation defines in terms of criminal negligence rather than the common or garden variety. This is the bit that Gottliebsen seems to have missed.

The degree of negligence required to trigger prosecution is “a great falling short” of a reasonable standard of care, which also involves a “high risk” of death, serious injury or serious illness.

That’s a really high bar, miles higher than the negligence that would suffice for a civil damages claim or a regular OHS breach.

“Great” is not a commonly used legal term, but the courts will interpret it as something along the lines of “huge”, “terrible”, “OMG I can’t believe you did that” — that sort of territory.

According to Gottliebsen, if you’re a director of a company who does all the right OHS things, “then if a staff member behaves badly causing a death or serious injury, board members would not be liable under OHS.”

However: “Under the industrial manslaughter act, the board members who acted properly are still likely to face long jail sentences.”

That’s 100% incorrect. There is no prospect that a company director who is diligent about their OHS responsibilities could be successfully prosecuted for workplace manslaughter under the Victorian law: they would not meet the requisite standard of negligence.

The law has been designed to catch extreme cases of what really amounts to wilful recklessness, and that’s all it will do.

The post The hotel quarantine fiasco wasn’t manslaughter. Just plain old incompetence appeared first on Crikey.

Nine coronavirus hotel quarantine workers have become infected since Victoria's program was reset. Should you be worried? .
It emerged this week that nine people employed in Melbourne's hotel quarantine program have tested positive to coronavirus since late July, and two went to work while infectious. So what has actually changed and should we be worried?Those workers were all employed in hotel quarantine after the Victorian Government closed the state's borders to international travellers and announced a "reset" of the troubled program, which has been blamed for much of the state's coronavirus second wave.

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