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Ok, I don’t mean in general. I’m talking about a specific case. But how else can I get you to read this unless I resort to the same sort of tricks that the Murdoch press rely on to get you to click on their articles.

Now don’t go getting all high and mighty on me… Gees, you’re reading the article and you wouldn’t be reading it if I’d given it a title like, “DOES EVERYONE HAVE THE MEMORY OF A GOLDFISH?”* or “What about Fiskville?”

Anyway, in announcing his intention to protect the CFA from those terrible unionists, Malcolm told us:

“What it will do it will make it unlawful to include a term in an enterprise agreement which undermines or disables the ability of that organisation to work with its volunteers.”

Of course, I could go into a long explanation about Fiskville and someone would point out that this had nothing to do with the volunteers and that I’m just introducing a red herring, but it’s worth remembering Fiskville for a moment.

Yeah, you’re right this had nothing to do with the volunteers. And, although the Fair Work commission did find that the industrial agreement with the UFU had nothing to do with the volunteers either, that’s not the point. We all know how unions would start interfering and insisting that the equipment is safe and that nobody is trained in places where they’re liable to get cancer. As Mitch Fifield told us about the CFA: “It works, it works well, they should leave it alone”!

Exactly! Why, at Fiskville, even though the inquiry found that some members of the management knew that it was unhealthy managed to get another few years out of it before it was shut in 2015 because of the cancer cluster. If that’s not working well, then I don’t know what is…

*Before somebody tells me that it’s a myth that goldfish only have a memory of three seconds, I’d like to point out that I do know that but if I write something like the memory of the LiberaL Party complaining about Labor doing exactly what they did then I’ll just be dismissed as another left-winger like Laurie Oakes who appears in Andrew Bolt’s list of left-wingers writing for “The Australian”.


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  1. Carol Taylor

    I could never get my head around this dispute at all..for example: “He said a requirement for seven paid firefighters to be dispatched to every fire would undermine volunteers.”. One would have thought that volunteers would welcome the involvement of trained professionals to provide direction, but apparently not.

  2. Harquebus

    Volunteers step in when governments fail in their responsibilities. Governments are quite happy with this arrangement. Who wouldn’t be?

  3. abbienoiraude

    I don’t understand it at all.
    I am not able to get the info from beginning to end…or from one truth to the end..or from facts to the point…or anything.
    I don’t live in Victoria..I don’t understand it…
    I just don’t trust Cash ( abominable politician) or Turnbull ( the Turncoat).

    Please please explain what the hell is going on!!

  4. my say

    This is pure union bashing by the Turnbull government ,he couldn’t care less about the CFA,this is a state matter,so turnbull should keep out of it,

  5. Kaye Lee

    Asked by host David Speers what clause she found most worrying in the enterprise agreement, Cash said: “There is no one clause, David. There is no one clause.”

    When Speers asked what the impact of the agreement would be on “a long-serving, very honourable, hard-working” volunteer, Cash replied: “Well you’d need to ask that person.”

    So Speers pressed the minister: “I’m just asking, you’re the one wanting to intervene here.”

    Cash replied: “You’d need to ask that particular person, but certainly they feel so affronted that many have said they will resign, or are already resigning.”

    Earlier on Monday, Cash had been forced to apologise for an opinion piece she wrote for the Herald Sun in which she claimed the controversial enterprise agreement required “seven paid firefighters (ie union members) to be present before CFA personnel are able to be deployed to a fire”.

    In fact the proposed agreement only requires that seven paid firefighters be dispatched, meaning it does not prevent volunteers fighting fires if they arrive first.

  6. Paul

    I am a CFA volunteer, we are highly trained and no we don’t appreciate paid personnel muscling in and telling us what to do.

    The CFA is a strange beast, large towns such as Bendigo, Ballarat, Mildura have paid professional firefighters as well as volunteers, everywhere else is all volunteer. You can have brigades with vols highly trained and equipped in specialist areas such as road accident rescue, mine rescue. etc. and others just grassfire brigades with a basic knowledge of structure fire.

    The tensions start to mount when fires happen on the outskirts of these major towns with paid firefighters, There are effectively three firefighting organisations that can and will be called on, The CFA vols, the CFA paid firefighters and the Environment Dept, ( and the MFB on metropolitan fringes) Everyone turns out and starts fighting the fire as soon as they arrive, if its crown land then the environment Dept will be in control, the CFA vols may control the fire until the Env dept people can take over, similarly if its a grassfire it would be controlled by Vols till its finished. Structure fires are a different matter, usually controlled by volunteer officers of the home brigade who may defer to the paid personnel who are better trained and equipped and have far more experience, Everyone aknowledges that our prime aim is to get the fire out and protect lives and property, but its a bit of an uneasy truce sometimes.

    I was away for most of the time this dispute has been simmering but I really believe that some in the volunteer side have no idea how an EBA or Enterprise Bargaining Agreement happens. They have seen the unions ambit claim and have gone shock horror and started running around in circles.
    Its a Bargaining agreement, so the union takes a whole lot of stuff that its happy to throw away to reach where it wants to be, the bosses take a whole lot of stuff that they are willing to throw away to reach where they want to be. They meet and gradually pare away all the ridiculous stuff until they get close to the centre ground and the hard work begins as they to and fro and bargain away stuff that they would really like for other stuff that is even more important until common ground is reached.

  7. Wun Farlung

    It’s quite easy to understand:
    A good excuse to bash Unions
    The volunteers on the most part are country people.. likely to vote for the likes of Cash
    If the need to have paid fire-fighters (Unionists) attend fires in eliminated … Less Unionists and the work done for nothing

  8. helvityni

    You are right there, Harquebus ; ” Volunteers step in when governments fail in their responsibilities. Governments are quite happy with this arrangement. Who wouldn’t be?”

    Soon the volunteers will be running our schools and hospitals too, the way this government is going. Our dear neighbour NZ has volunteered to take some asylum seekers doing life in Nauru and on Manus.

    Funnily enough we don’t like this kind of volunteering..WE tell them where they CAN’T go…

  9. Phil

    Agree with other observations here – trade union bashing is a conservative obsession – throw a state Labor administration into the mix and pooooooffff! – a fireworks display to entertain the federal neoliberal gutter crawlers.

    The Fiskville story answers a lot of questions about this CFA matter. The need for collective representation for workers is so bloody evident, which is why the Neo-Libs pathologically detest trade unions.

  10. DisablednDesperate

    I found it interesting that the domain Save Our CFA was bought by the Liberal party months before the issue made it to media. Who’s piling those strings.

  11. townsvilleblog

    Carol, it mystifies me also, I’m thinking that the volunteers are in rural Victoria, what there is of it. Bloody farmers (part-time firefighters who try to protect each others properties) who don’t welcome professional firefighters giving them orders. Typical National Party loonies.

  12. Jaquix

    Thanks for clarification Paul. Cant imagine Turnbull’s excitement on this subject could be anything other than an accelerant then ?

  13. lawrencewinder

    Fiskville was a bloody disaster, waiting and which did eventually happen; and the sidestepping, shonky reporting and downright dishonesty by CFA about its toxic nature was not the only time CFA management has been less than caring toward its volunteers. I spent 13 years as a volunteer in my local brigade and have nothing but contempt for a lot of CFA senior management and “boyo” brigade ethics. This whole dispute is about trying to make Matty “What’s-a-Green-Wedge?” Guy relevant to the Victorian electorate and Truffles needs a distraction from his federal incompetences… pity he brought “The Screaming MImi” Cash with him to Cranbourne…she always fouls things up. The politicization of the rural brigades will not end well for their communities…

  14. guest

    Why is the Federal Government interfering in an issue which is a State matter?

    The Feds rabbit on about States taking control of State matters and about fixing Federation etc etc and then set about bashing unions and rural matters in Victoria.

    Lawrence is right. Fire fighting, Section 18c and political correctness are distractions from the failure of the Turnbull government to do anything much of substance in a year now. The government is proving itself to be incompetent overall as a government.

    As for Cash, I did not know she was a lawyer. I could not imagine her speaking in a court, for example. I really thought she had been in the military, as a Sergeant-Major drilling the new recruits.

  15. oldWomBat

    Does this legislation now mean that any EBA negotiations can receive submissions from anyone who can claim to be affected? This would seem to be a rather broad-based attack on unions. But still no RC into banks. Hmmm.

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