Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has today confirmed that the Labor Party will oppose the Coalition’s legislation to protect CFA volunteers.
If re-elected, the Turnbull Coalition government will amend the Fair Work Act to ensure that enterprise bargaining agreements cannot be misused to undermine volunteer emergency services organisations.
On 3AW this morning, Bill Shorten confirmed that the Labor Party will oppose this legislation:
NEIL MITCHELL: “So will you support Malcolm Turnbull’s plans to protect the CFA?”
BILL SHORTEN: “Well I don’t think his measure’s constitutional so I’m not going to offer people false solutions.”
NEIL MITCHELL: “So what will you do to protect them?”
BILL SHORTEN: “Well I think we can encourage the state government to resolve the issue…”
Mr Shorten did not even attempt to justify his position, instead offering a lame excuse that the legislation is “not constitutional”.
This is wrong. It’s a desperate excuse from someone who knows that the federal government can act to save the CFA.
The legislation will be perfectly constitutional and it will be introduced as soon as the Parliament next sits.
This EBA is governed by federal legislation - the Fair Work Act - and the federal government can and should act.
Bill Shorten’s position is clear – he will continue to sell out CFA volunteers and will continue to support the takeover of the CFA by the United Firefighters Union.
Victorians should be in no doubt about Mr Shorten’s role in this issue. This issue arose because Bill Shorten did a deal with UFU boss Peter Marshall to hand him control of the CFA. This deal was done after the UFU threatened to campaign for the Greens against Labor if the party did not cave in to its demands.
Bill Shorten chose to abandon the interests of millions of Victorians and thousands of volunteers in order to protect Labor candidates such as David Feeney from the Greens.
Bill Shorten has made his choice – he chose the UFU over the 60,000 CFA volunteers and the millions of Victorians they help to keep safe.
Victorians should be in no doubt who Bill Shorten is putting first. The CFA scandal in Victoria and its enormous human cost shows how Mr Shorten would govern if elected. Mr Shorten would do any deal, with any union, and abandon any other Australians who get in the way.
In contrast, only a re-elected Turnbull Government will protect the CFA and respect its volunteers. Only the Coalition will end this mess once and for all, and ensure that nothing like it can happen again.