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the year in legislation (2): Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment (Jockeys) Bill 2012

8 January, 2013

Continuing our retrospective series of debates around specific Bills from 2012, today we look at the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment (Jockeys) Bill 2012 (which intends to do as it says in the title – amend the 1981 Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act to clarify the compensation guidelines for licensed jockeys).

The Bill was introduced to the Legislative Council on 21 August 2012 and then read for a second time. The Second Reading debate was adjourned on motion, and resumed on 20 September 2012:

20 September 2012

HON KATE DOUST (South Metropolitan — Deputy Leader of the Opposition) [3.06 pm]: […] Part of the reason that it is a steep learning curve for me is that I can think of only two occasions in my life on which I have attended race meetings; one was the 1980 Perth Cup, which stands out in my mind for a particular reason, and the other was the annual Picnic at Hanging Rock in Victoria, on the fourth day of an extended wedding party. Members can imagine what sort of a jubilant day that was; I think my horse is still racing! Those are the only two times I have attended a horse race, and I am not terribly good at picking winners in that regard. [p. 6253]

HON KATE DOUST (South Metropolitan — Deputy Leader of the Opposition) [3.06 pm]: […] I particularly watched the very famous Black Caviar race at Ascot earlier this year; I sat up very late because I was intrigued, as were most people in Australia, to find out whether this horse would get over the line again and set a record. I remember watching as they walked the horse across the field; it is a huge beast of an animal—an extremely high horse indeed—and then I saw the jockey who got on the horse, and there is no comparison —

Hon Simon O’Brien: He’s just the pilot!

Hon KATE DOUST: That is right! I thought, “What a monster of an animal!”—a beautiful horse, but a monster of an animal. Would it not be terrifying to ride that horse down the track, and horrific to come off it?

Hon Simon O’Brien: If you come off Black Caviar, it means that every other horse is coming behind, so you’re in bigger trouble! [pp. 6253-6254]

Hon KATE DOUST: […] I mentioned apprentices because when I had my briefing, I was provided with an article from The West Australian of Monday, 10 September—it is only a couple of weeks old—about the young woman apprentice jockey who won the Perth Cup last year or the year before. I understand that she had a dreadful fall at Belmont a couple of weeks ago, and she is now going to be off work for an extended period. She has not only done her ankle, but also has to wear a neck brace. The injuries that people can sustain in this line of work can be significant and, as we have already talked about, they can be permanent and, in some cases, fatal. I do not know whether all of us get to the back of The West Australian every day to read these types of articles —

Hon Sue Ellery: I think the boys do.

Hon KATE DOUST: I know that some boys do, and I am disappointed that Hon Max Trenorden is not in the chamber because I am sure he would have talked at length about his degree of support for jockeys to be protected under workers’ compensation.

Hon Norman Moore: He is probably outside on parliamentary business at the racetrack.

Hon KATE DOUST: Checking out how the turf is I am sure. Unless a person has that visual on the screen, it is probably not something that Joe Public is always aware of. People see the glamour and the glitz and they go out and have a great time at the racetrack, but they do not always think about what happens to the jockey if he comes off that horse.

Hon Robin Chapple: Or, for that matter, the horse.

Hon KATE DOUST: What happens to the horse is another discussion; we are just talking about jockeys today. [pp. 6255-6256]

Hon KATE DOUST: […] When a jockey climbs into that saddle, he really is at greater risk perhaps than most other types of workers.

Hon Robin Chapple: It is a long way up.

Hon KATE DOUST: It is a long way up, so there is perhaps a higher element of risk. It would be very interesting to run an occupational health and safety course for jockeys. When we explore the risk, the hazard management and the solutions —

Hon Michael Mischin: Seatbelts?

Hon KATE DOUST: I cannot see that happening somehow, but there are a range of issues around this matter. [p. 6256]

Hon KATE DOUST: […] One issue raised with me, which I know the minister canvassed in his second reading speech, was about transitional arrangements for jockeys who are injured prior to the commencement of this legislation. I have put an amendment on the notice paper in connection with the commencement clause, which is split into two parts. Given that it has taken a long time to get this legislation through the negotiation and drafting process and into this place why could it not have been backdated to 1 August?
I note that this legislation was read in not long after that date, and it probably went through cabinet prior to that date. There was a view that it would have been appropriate to have a commencement date for the start of the racing season, which is also, as it happens, the horses’ birthday. It would have been perhaps a symbolic date on which to introduce such a significant change for people in the industry. I will be interested in the minister’s response to that issue, but I will certainly move an amendment to address the matter that was raised with me by those interested parties. [p. 6256]

HON NICK GOIRAN (South Metropolitan) [3.40 pm]: […] Being a new member of that committee, I can tell members that the last thing we needed is another piece of uniform legislation.

Hon Simon O’Brien: The members are dropping like flies on the committees.

Hon NICK GOIRAN: Yes, they are; I understand we have a new recruit as well.

Hon Simon O’Brien: We’ll see how long he lasts!

Hon Peter Collier: He didn’t even vote for himself!

Hon NICK GOIRAN: In all seriousness, I rise to support this bill. [p. 6258]

The Second Reading debate then continued on 25 September 2012:

25 September 2012

HON SIMON O’BRIEN (South Metropolitan — Minister for Commerce) [3.18 pm] — in reply: […] It is interesting to talk to representatives of the jockey fraternity and find out how their world works. One of the ways jockeys currently try to address the problems this bill seeks to address is to take out their own personal insurance for income protection, additional injury cover and the like. Hon Kate Doust asked about the commencement date of the operation of the bill. She asked, not completely seriously, if we would make it from the horses’ birthday.

Hon Kate Doust: I am serious, not on that point but about making it 1 August.

Hon SIMON O’BRIEN: She suggested that it be, perhaps, 1 August. An amendment is on the notice paper for that, but that amendment will not be supported. Once we are in the Committee of the Whole, I will give the reasons it should not be supported and we will come to that in due course. It is not only horses that share a common birthday; most members of the Legislative Council, of course, share the common birthday of 22 May.

Hon Kate Doust: It’s not the same.

Hon SIMON O’BRIEN: Although, of course, some very special ones have a different birthday. [p. 6365]


That same day, the debate entered the Committee phase, before progressing to the Report and Third Reading. The Bill was subsequently transmitted to the Legislative Assembly and received that evening.

The Bill was read for a first and second time in the Legislative Assembly on 26 September 2012:

26 September 2012
false start

The Second Reading debate then resumed on 8 November 2012:

8 November 2012
I chose horses

The Bill was read for a third time that day. The Bill was assented to 20 November 2012.

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