Criminal investigations into COVID-19 deaths must examine Andrews and Labor Ministers

Reports today of a criminal investigation into COVID-19 associated deaths in Victorian aged care facilities must examine the acts and omissions of Andrews Government Ministers.

Victorian aged care facilities are workplaces, and accordingly, COVID-19 associated deaths in aged care facilities that are investigated should consider the crime of workplace manslaughter.

Under the Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment (Workplace Manslaughter and Other Matters) Act 2019, Ministers of the Crown could be imprisoned for up to 25 years if it is found that their actions are negligent, breach a duty of health and safety, and cause the death of a person in a workplace.

In the debate on the workplace manslaughter law, government Minister Gayle Tierney confirmed the law applies to Ministers, saying:

“Ministers of the Crown are covered by this bill; there is no doubt about it.”

As it is becoming clearer by the day that the Andrews Labor Government’s mismanagement of hotel quarantine, contact tracing and aged care services have been the drivers of Victoria’s second wave of COVID-19 and associated tragedies for Victorian families, criminal investigations into COVID-19 associated deaths must examine the actions and decisions of Andrews Government Ministers.

Comments attributable to the Shadow Minister for Workplace Safety, Nick Wakeling:

“Criminal investigations into COVID-19 associated deaths in Victorian workplaces must examine alleged negligence at the hands of Daniel Andrews and his Ministers.

“If employers can be imprisoned for up to 25 years for workplace fatalities, then so should Andrews Government Ministers if an offence of workplace manslaughter can be proven.”

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