Remarks at the Country Fire Authority Breakfast, Highton, Victoria


Can I say to you that from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your service. You embody the very best of Australia, your selflessness, your courage, your volunteerism is the very best of us. You’re right Andrew when you talk about volunteerism across Australia, the CFA, volunteer firefighters across Australia, the SES, surf lifesavers; this is what we all understand as the very best of the Australian spirit.

The idea that your government, your state Labor government would try to crush that, to do the bidding of a militant union, of militant union bosses, is extraordinary, it is an assault. Not just on the safety of Victorians, the lives and property of Victorians; it’s an assault on what is the very best in our Australian spirit.

Now every election is a choice and normally I wouldn’t make a political speech to a volunteer organisation like yourselves. Because I’m sure that CFA volunteers, like all other Australians, band together to fight fires but have a variety of different political opinions to which – of course – they’re completely entitled. But there is a very clear, crystal clear choice at this election. If we are returned to Government on the 2nd of July, if Sarah and my colleagues are returned to Government then we will immediately, when Parliament resumes, amend the Fair Work Act to ensure that the Victorian Government cannot have its way and subordinate you to the unions. That is my commitment. That is my absolute commitment.

I’ve invited Bill Shorten to join with us in that, but of course he won’t. He has said that he will run Australian like a union. He might have been more accurate to say that he would run Australia on the instructions of unions. Clearly Daniel Andrews is acting on the instructions of the UFU. Mr Shorten acts on the instruction of the CFMEU and opposing the restoration of the rule of law to the construction sector. He acted on the instructions of the TWU when they set up that tribunal that had the effect of putting 35,000 family owned owner-driver trucking businesses off the road. We were able to abolish that tribunal. That was by the skin of our teeth I might say. That was a very close call. Those families would have been penniless had we not been able to do that. Now you’re next, you’re next in their targets.

This is the clear choice – a stable Government that I lead, which will protect volunteerism and protect you. We will protect you seeking to defend the people of Victoria and of course people around Australia. You provide search capacity across Australia, it’s not just Victorians who are at risk here. We will protect you but we can only do that if we are returned to Government. We can only do that if Liberal and National members and candidates are elected on July the 2nd.

So as I said, I’ve been involved in volunteer organisations myself. I’ve been a surf lifesaver, I know from North Bondi Surf Club a wide range of political views. I understand that it’s normally not a political environment, a party political environment, but this is a fundamental choice here. Your volunteerism, your service, your selflessness is being trampled on by this extraordinary Labor government, they are being supported by the federal Labor Opposition, and Mr Shorten. The only way you can be sure that you will be protected from the union takeover is to return the Coalition, my Government on July the 2nd. Believe me, the first item of business will be to protect you. We have the means to do it. We have the legal capacity to do it and we will act on it as soon as we are returned to Government.

Thank you very much for having me here today.