The Morrison Government yesterday voted against a Labor Private Senators’ Bill to improve passenger safety aboard domestic commercial vessels by enforcing mandatory headcounts at both the start and end of a voyage.
Moved by Shadow Assistant Minister Senator Glenn Sterle, the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Amendment (Improving Safety) Bill 2019, also known as Damien’s Law, passed the Senate with Labor and crossbench support.
Mr Damien Mills tragically died after falling overboard on a charter between Fremantle and Rottnest Island. It is clear from police reports and evidence to the Senate that had headcounts been conducted (as required by the vessel’s safety management system), authorities would have been alerted on the same day Damien fell overboard, and he most likely would have been found alive. Damien was not reported missing until the following morning.
Damien’s Law follows years of inaction from the Morrison Government and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, who failed to introduce regulations to improve marine safety and prevent similar tragedies. The Coroner’s Report is confident AMSA were aware of their safety obligations and urged that safety systems be implemented.
Damien leaves behind a wife, Nicole, and three children; Alanna, Jack and Alexis. Damien is remembered as a kind person and a dedicated family man.
Labor urges the Morrison Government to pass Damien’s Law through the House of Representatives to improve the safety of passengers on domestic commercial vessels.
With Shadow Assistant Minister Senators Sterle and Brown