Bill Shorten’s claims that the Victoria CFA dispute is a “state issue” are now utterly discredited, following his intervention into the state issue of New South Wales council amalgamations.
Mr Shorten’s claims that the CFA dispute is a “state issue” ignore both his history of involvement in such disputes, and the fact that he has already directly involved himself in this one.
First, the threat to 60,000 Victorian CFA volunteers is the direct result of a deal done by Bill Shorten with the United Firefighters Union, after the UFU threatened to campaign for the Greens at this election.
Second, Mr Shorten’s two most senior Victorian frontbenchers, Kim Carr and Stephen Conroy, were directly involved in negotiations with the state Labor government that led to the “settlement” that was announced by Daniel Andrews last Friday.
Third, Bill Shorten has a history of involving himself in “state issues”, including NSW local government mergers and industrial disputes involving state employees in Victoria.
As Workplace Relations Minister in 2012, Mr Shorten directly involved himself in another similar “state issue”, in an attempt to settle EBA negotiations between the Victorian State Government and the nurses union.
Reports of Mr Shorten’s involvement at the time stated that:
On February 22, Mr Shorten, the Federal Workplace Relations Minister, appeared at a rally of 3000 nurses at Festival Hall, where he urged both sides to seek a resolution. He also spoke to Ms Fitzpatrick and offered to help.
Mr Shorten confirmed he had become involved after fearing negotiations had deadlocked.
``I did make contact with the Victorian Government,'' he said. ``I had several constructive dialogues…
(Sunday Herald Sun, 22 April 2012)
Mr Shorten also boasted of his involvement on his own web site.
Bill Shorten can no longer keep pretending he is not deeply involved in Labor’s deal to handover the CFA to the UFU. Nor can he pretend it is not a federal issue. Labor is using an EBA made under the federal Fair Work Act to give the UFU control of the CFA. The federal Coalition has committed to amending the Fair Work Act to prevent such an abuse of power from happening again. Labor is opposed to this amendment.
Only the Coalition will save the CFA. Bill Shorten and Labor would destroy it.