A public servant who was injured while having sex during a work trip has won compensation after a five-year legal battle with this full bench decision after an insurance companies appeal. The court said it did not matter whether she spent her evenings having sex or ''playing a game of cards'', she was still, in effect, at work.
She arranged to meet a work friend after the day's meeting and they returned to her room and had sex, during which a glass light fitting above the bed was pulled off its mount and fell onto her face. The accident caused both physical and emotional (depression and anxiety) injury to her.
The Judges said that if the applicant had been injured while playing a game of cards in her motel room she would be entitled to compensation even though it could not be said that her employer induced or encouraged her to engage in such an activity.
They went on to say that in the absence of any misconduct, or an intentionally self-inflicted injury, the fact that the applicant was engaged in sexual activity rather than some other lawful recreational activity while in her motel room does not lead to any different result.
We live in a robust society whereby accidents occur and this judgement appears to set a standard by which people involved in a work environment, can make lawful claims when injured.
This is an important judgement, quite apart from the case in point, that itinerant evangelists when engaged in ministry when travelling around the country, are covered by the "inviting church" insurance.
My wife Delma and I have been engaged in Christian ministry for 36 years and for 31 of those years in itinerant evangelism through preaching, speaking at schools and youth groups, universities and prisons, service clubs and community groups, women's meetings, many of them through Country Town Tours at the invitation of a regional or rural church.
We're only the tip of the ice berg in terms of such itinerant evangelism, as preachers are constantly travelling the nation hither and thither, bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to eager ears. The hearts and minds of a nation are invited to listen to any number of such travelling preachers in any given week.
This Federal Court decision makes it abundantly clear, that when a church invites such an itinerant preacher for such outreach meetings, whether they be at a prescribed venue or supposedly safely tucked up in bed with their wife, and an accident occurs, they are covered.
Many itinerant evangelists are faith financed, in other words, they are faith funded missionaries in the sense they receive no wage or salary and depend upon friends, supporters and funding churches to meet their family and ministry expenses.
For example, my wife Delma and I have been faith financed missionaries for 31 years, in that time we have not received any wage or salary. We have sent out a newsletter to our support network who in turn send funding. We are one of thousands engaged in such ministry.
We are so much aware of the pressures upon such faith funded missionaries that in 2011 we opened the Basil Sellers Laguna Quays Respite cottage for missionary respite having functioned since 1992 the Basil Sellers Respite facilities in Moruya and Tweed Heads for Australian Institute of Sport elite athletes.
Missionary activity is valid work and therefore when invited by a church to engage in such ministry are covered by their insurance and entitled to the sort of protection that every Minister has, along with all those in the work force.
Sometimes, the most unusual situations and circumstances provide unintentional positive outcomes.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html