09:25 am, Thursday 21 October, 2010
Politicians and their staff reckon they can handle changing a lightbulb.
However, existing occupational health and safety rules require a qualified electrician to do the job.
The situatation was brought up during a Senate hearing when Liberal Eric Abetz told his colleagues about his experience.
He said he was prevented from replacing a lightbulb in his office because it could require climbing a ladder, which was a safety risk.
“It is just impractical, it’s stupid,” he said.
“Most Australians would say if a person is not capable of changing a light globe, chances are they are not capable of running an electorate office,”
“It’s bureaucracy gone mad, it’s a waste of money and the minister should intervene to stop it,” he said.
Nationals senator Fiona Nash agreed with Senator Abetz, saying she was capable of doing the job.
“I would certainly be able to get up a ladder as a farm girl and change a light globe,” she said.
However, Labor senator Doug Cameron was more cautious about the matter.
“I have never even thought about changing a lightbulb in my office,” he said.
“If someone ended up being electrocuted with a faulty wire, then you wouldn’t be asking these questions.”
Liberal senator Simon Birmingham said he may have changed lightbulbs in his office, in violation of the requirements.
“I didn’t realise were an enormous breach of any type of laws,” he said, noting that some common sense should prevail in such a situation.