Welcome to another normal day in Australian politics. In what once would have been a satirical news story in The Onion, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has proposed allowing children to drive forklifts.
Currently the age to drive the powerful truck is set at 18 and that’s for a good reason: this is a dangerous piece of machinery we’re talking about.
Morrison’s reasoning for the outlandish proposal, as per The Guardian, was a current staffing crisis in the transport and other sectors that has seriously impacted supply chains (it’s the reason a lot of supermarkets have empty shelves right now).
“There are other changes that need to be made and they’re at a state level, and I’m continuing to pursue those with the states,” he said. “There are changes that we need to make around the age of forklift drivers, to get quite specific.”
Currently, forklift drivers in Queensland, NSW, and Victoria need to have a special “high risk work” licence, which is only available to anyone aged 18 and over. Morrison didn’t specify what minimum age he had in mind, although it’s presumably closer to 16 than 10.
His proposal was met with incredulity. The Queensland, NSW, and Victorian governments all publicly stated they have no plans to lower the current age of 18.
Tim Lyons, who conducted the review that resulted in the industrial manslaughter laws, was less diplomatic. “They are not dodgem cars,” he said on Twitter. “The kids are very likely to kill or injure themselves or someone else.”
So if you’re under 18 and reading this, don’t be expecting to be operating a forklift for a few more years at least.
I worked in warehouses at Uni. Had a forklift licence. I organized in warehouses for more than a decade. Letting kids whizz around on forklifts is insane. They are not dodgem cars. The kids are very likely to kill or injure themselves or someone else. pic.twitter.com/bU6ZKwTM8s
— Tim Lyons (@Picketer) January 19, 2022