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Shorten should support ComCare in High Court

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MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR THE HON. ERIC ABETZ Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Shadow Minister for Employment & Workplace Relations

Liberal Senator for Tasmania

14 January 2013

Shorten should support ComCare in High Court

Reports today that ComCare will make an appeal to the High Court on the infamous workers compensation sex case have been welcomed by the Coalition. The Coalition calls on Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten to intervene in the case to support the appeal brought by ComCare.

“The Coalition has expressed great concern over this case where the worker who was injured on her work trip whilst engaging in sexual activity was found to be entitled to compensation. Although she engaged in this activity after hours in her free time and she injured herself in that activity, she's entitled to workers compensation according to the Federal Court,” Senator Abetz said today.

“Following this logic one assumes, the Commonwealth would also be liable for any sexually transmitted disease contracted during this trip as well as potentially liable should the employee become pregnant.”

“Indeed the Judge said words to the effect that if she was sitting in her hotel room playing cards and got a paper cut she would have been entitled to workers compensation.”

“As a result of decisions like this, premiums go up. As a result, you have another statistic for workers compensation and a workplace injury to show how “bad” Australian workplaces are and how unsafe they are. Workers compensation is a serious issue and workers are entitled to protection. In short, the workers compensation regime is demeaned by decisions such as this.”

“After Minister Shorten’s ill-fated willingness to intervene in the Barclay v. Bendigo TAFE case, it’s time for him to act in the national interest and intervene to inject some common-sense and reality into this area.”

“I congratulate ComCare on appealing this decision and for seeing this matter through. In the event the High Court upholds the interpretation of the existing law, then a review of the law is clearly warranted.” Senator Abetz concluded.

Media Inquiries: Josh Manuatu, 0458 885 229