Solidarity with Theo Seremetidis

Today Abigail spoke in Parliament about Qantas illegally standing down employee Theo Seremetidis for protecting workers health and safety. 

Abigail said:

As The Greens spokesperson for work health and safety, I speak in support of the motion. Theo Seremetidis was a trained health and safety representative working for Qantas. He was illegally stood down by Qantas after he raised the alarm over its unsafe work practices at the start of the pandemic. Workers like Theo should be raised up and heralded as model employees and heroes for looking out for the welfare of their fellow workers. The courts have proven that to be the case but, in the eyes of Qantas, Theo was not a hero; he was a hindrance who was in the way of its shonky corporate practices. I applaud Theo for his courage and his fortitude in sticking out this landmark case after being stood down in early 2020. It was clear all along that Qantas had acted immorally and, following the conclusion of this case, it is now clear that they also acted illegally. Qantas was wilfully risking the lives of its workers and punishing those who dared to speak up for their rights.

This is a landmark case. It is an Australia-first prosecution of this type by a workplace safety regulator. SafeWork NSW took the corporate bully, Qantas, through the criminal courts. In his judgement, District Court judge David Russell found Qantas engaged in discriminatory conduct towards Mr Seremetidis because he exercised a power or performed a function as a health and safety representative. This is a landmark case not only because it is a first but also because it puts other big businesses on notice. The laws that are designed to protect workers are not just paper laws, and if they are wilfully broken organisations will be liable. I welcome that new world order and hope we see more bosses in the stocks.

To read the full debate, see Hansard here.

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