Australian PM mentions OHS harmonisation in election debate
By: Kevin Jones
Source: Safety at work blog
On Sunday 25 July 2010, during the first debate of Australia's
election campaign, Prime Minister Julia Gillard used OHS harmonisation as an
example of an achievement that she has been able to introduce that has
benefited the Australian people.
The process is in a public hiatus at the moment that began before the
election was called. Much of the public discussion on harmonisation has
concluded and now the stakeholders are developing drafts regulatiosn, codes
and guidances behind the scenes in Canberra.
Prime Minister Gillard's mention of OHS harmonisation should reassure that
the government leaders have not forgotten that the process is occurring.
However it is highly unlikely that this issue resonates with the general
public but, on this issue, that was not the audience. Harmonisation was one
of the few policy issues that is focussed on business concerns, business
costs and has the wide support of the business community. It does not
involve taxes. It does not (directly) involve industrial relations. It does
not rely on unions for implementation.
The fact that harmonisation has been mentioned in an election campaign
debate is reassuring but nothing more than that. It is an issue that could
be used and that few would argue against because if one did, one would be
arguing against the safety of people, at least in the understanding of the
The mention is a footnote in the debate and is unlikely to get any mention
in the press on Monday morning. Indeed it is unlikely to get another
mention in the election campaign, but it was, and we need to be content
with that small win.