By TBS Newsbot
Faced with a labour shortage he helped create, Scott Morrison will ask the national cabinet if kids can legally drive forklifts.
Scott Morrison’s national cabinet has taken a bizarre, almost Antoinette-Esque solution to the crisis of supply. Instead of letting people eat the cake they don’t have, Morrison wants children to drive heavy machinery they really shouldn’t.
As reported by Ben Butler of The Guardian, “Scott Morrison will ask the states to allow children to drive forklifts at today’s national cabinet meeting as part of measures to ease the staff shortages crippling supply chains…as anyone who’s ever worked in a factory or warehouse knows, forklifts are a very dangerous piece of machinery – a person was killed in a forklift accident in Victoria on Tuesday.”
In the Eastern states, the minimum age to meet the eligibility for the high-risk work licence needed to drive one is 18. Now, let me preface this by saying that the children of today are extremely competent and would probably take it very seriously and be very professional throughout.
As former union boss Tim Lyons wrote on Twitter, “get back to me when you can square ‘unlicensed minors driving high-risk equipment’ with the employer’s statutory duty to maintain a safe system of work – and that’s before we get to straight out negligence.”
However, as far as solutions go, this absolutely isn’t it. Indeed, we find ourselves in an increasingly familiar position, reading actual quotes that we have to check isn’t satire. As satirical publication The Shovel noted, “Last week one of our regular contributors submitted the headline “PM To Roll Back Child Labour Laws To Fill Gaps In Supply Chains”. But we knocked it back because it was too ridiculous.”
We've entered the sitcom phase of the pandemic pic.twitter.com/AQ2TZXZrVa
— marquelawyers (@marquelawyers) January 19, 2022
But as Anne Twomey wrote for The Big Smoke, we don’t have to listen to any nonsense he puts forward, as “the national cabinet does not make laws. It has no legal powers at all. It is simply an intergovernmental body whose members discuss and agree on matters. As with any inter-governmental agreement, the national plan is not legally enforceable.
“The members of the national cabinet – the prime minister, state premiers and chief ministers – are each responsible to their own parliament and, through it, their own people. The decisions of the national cabinet can only be implemented by each jurisdiction in accordance with its own laws. If a state government and parliament object to something agreed on by the national cabinet, then it can choose not to implement it.
“This was recognised when the national cabinet was created. The minutes of the national cabinet meeting of March 15 2020, which record its terms of reference, state: “The National Cabinet does not derogate from the sovereign authority and powers of the Commonwealth or any State or Territory government. The Commonwealth and the States and Territories, as appropriate, remain responsible for the implementation of responses to the Coronavirus.”
“The prime minister also recognised this in a press conference on May 5 2020. He said: ‘We’re a federation and, at the end of the day, states have sovereignty over decisions that fall specifically within their domain […] At the end of the day, every Premier, every Chief Minister has to stand in front of their state and justify the decisions that they’re taking in terms of the extent of the restrictions that are in place […] I respect the fact that they’ve each got to make their own call, just like I do, and they’ve got to explain it to the people who live in their state and they’ve got to justify it. And I think that’s the appropriate transparency and accountability.’”
This article was originally published on The Big Smoke.
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