Left-wing senator wants employers to face jail time

Private members bill calls for jail terms of up tp 25 years and fines up to $50 million

An Australian senator is hoping to hold negligent employers criminally responsible for the death of an employee in the workplace.

Senator Kerry Nettle, a member of The Greens party — a left-wing party that isn’t in power — said he will introduce a private members bill into Australia’s federal parliament. The bill provides jail terms of up to 25 years or $5 million AUS in fines if an employer is found to be responsible for the death of a worker. Corporations could also face fines of up to $50 million AUS, according to a report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Currently the Australian Capital Territory — the area around Canberra — is the only jurisdiction in the country that has industrial manslaughter legislation.

Nettle said she hopes to reduce the death toll in Australia’s workplaces, where more than 2,000 workers die from accidents and work-related illnesses every year.

"The Greens hope there will be no more deaths in workplaces around this country but we are very far from that at the moment and what we need to do is introduce legislation that can act as a deterrent for employers in the extreme cases of negligence," she told the ABC.

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