I think it would be hard to find anyone in Australia at the moment who hasn’t heard about the passing of Australian cricketer Phil Hughes. It’s all over the news and it’s flooding my Facebook feed with stories and photos of people putting their bats out.
Yes, it is sad. Don’t get me wrong. It is always sad when someone dies. Especially someone so young and with so much obvious potential.
What it really boils down to, is a tragic workplace accident. One of 159 in Australia already this year according to Safe Work Australia.
What made his death more significant than the others? Was it because so many people witnessed the event? Or was it simply because this country is so sports-mad that if you’re not good at sport you’re not worth knowing or recognising?
Those other victims of workplace accidents have been representing Australia as well. Keeping their families fed and clothed while supporting their local economies. Where are their state funerals? Where is the support for their families? Or maybe Phil’s family would prefer to grieve in private like the other families were able to do.
So much for equality in our country.
What has been encouraging to see though is the outpouring of support for Sean Abbott, the cricketer who bowled the ball. Standing by and with our friends and mates in times of hardship is what makes us nice people and that makes me proud to be Australian. That could be any of us. Accidents happen at work, at home, on the road, and unfortunately, they are just that. Accidents.
** PLEASE don’t misread my intentions. In no way do I want to play down the seriousness of this incident or its impact on our country. It does however give us the opportunity to look again at how many workplace deaths are still happening. Are they preventable?
*** EDIT 1 December 2014:
I regretted posting this almost immediately and had decided to delete it. However, to be fair to the people who have taken the time to comment already, I will leave it published so their contributions can be acknowledged. I have climbed down from my high horse and my rant is over. I will go back to my usual light and fluffy posts. This one is by no means an indication of the direction my blog is heading in the future. I apologise sincerely to anyone who is offended by what I wrote.