Beautiful one day, democratic the next

Harold Thornton writes: Re. “Brandis the latest in a long line of Queensland wreckers” (yesterday). Sophie says ‘Queensland state parliament doesn’t have a Senate or Legislative Assembly either, because who needs extra scrutiny and oversight?’ Er, the Legislative Assembly of Queensland is the Parliament of Queensland.  Perhaps she refers to the Legislative Council, abolished in 1923.  Although perhaps she might not want it restored, given it was like the House of Lords, viz. a body wholly composed of life appointees untainted by anything so tawdry as voting.

Crikey replies: I got my Assembly and Council mixed up. See, I told you the Queensland education system is great! — Sophie Benjamin

On Bob Day

Terry Mills writes: Re. “Bob Day, part-time Senator, may or may not be quitting” (yesterday). So, Bob Day of Family First is delaying his resignation from the Senate to help the coalition to get their ABCC legislation through.

Section 44 of the Constitution does not allow a person to sit in the Senate [or the House of Representatives] if he/she is an undischarged bankrupt or is insolvent. Insolvency is defined as the inability to pay debts as and when they fall due. So, does this imply that Bob, by staying on, is solvent and is able to pay all of the contractors and sub-contractors that he owes money to and does that mean that all those people with unfinished houses can now get Bob the Builder to finish the work? Or is this a cynical move by the coalition to prop up its Senate vote?

The irony continues. One of the amendments to the ABCC Bill, from Nick Xenophon, is a provision to secure payments to contractors and sub-contractors in the event of default by a principal, an amendment that will undoubtedly be rejected by the government.

On theme parks

Joe Boswell writes: Re. “Who exactly is responsible for keeping theme parks safe?” (yesterday). Rachel Robertson wrote concerning theme park safety, “Engineers Australia has stated on its website that the onus is on amusement ride owners, with government authorities having, well, little authority”, a conclusion derived from this quotation:

In Australia, state and territory governments are responsible for the regulation of occupational health and safety, which includes fairground and amusement equipment. Though regulations vary considerably between jurisdictions, the law generally holds ride owners responsible for the safety of people on amusement rides and devices.

Robertson has misunderstood. When the law makes a person responsible for safety, it means that person has a legal duty to ensure safety. It does not at all mean government authorities have little authority, any more than regulations making a vehicle driver responsible for observing speed limits means the authorities have little authority over speeding offences.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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