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    6 May 2015

    South Australian unions are calling for tougher laws to be implemented to better protect workers from serious bullying and harassment.

    SA Unions Secretary, Joe Szakacs says Australia doesn't have consistent laws to target this kind of workplace behaviour, which should be a criminal offence all over the country.

    "We need to see the Victorian legislation, known as Brodie's Law, introduced in each State and Territory as a matter or urgency."

    "Brodie's Law makes serious bullying a crime and perpetrators can face up to ten years jail."

    "The terrible physical and psychological effects of serious bullying can be devastating and the punishment should be taken out of the sphere of work, health and safety law and become a criminal offence."

    "Serious bullying is not just a workplace issue - it's a social scourge that is a blight on our community."

    "With the rise in the use of social media and alternative communication, there has never been a more important time for governments to send a strong message that bullying should not be tolerated and our laws should reflect that."

    Brodie's Law was introduced in Victoria after the tragic suicide of a young woman, Brodie Panlock, who was subjected to relentless bullying in her workplace.  None of those responsible for bullying Brodie were charged with a serious criminal offence under the Victorian Crimes Act 1958.  Instead, each offender was convicted and fined under provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

    The legislation makes serious bullying a criminal offence by extending the application of the stalking provisions in that state's Crime Act 1958 to include behaviour that involves serious bullying.

    The offence of stalking, and therefore conduct that amounts to serious bullying, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

    Brodie's parents, Damian and Rae Panlock, fought to raise awareness of the issue after their daughter ended her life after enduring ongoing humiliation and intimidating bullying by her co-workers at a cafe in Melbourne.

    They are in Adelaide today to address a Health and Safety Conference run by SA Unions and sponsored by the State Government, which provides training to workers in industries in which there is a high level of workplace injury.


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