EXTRACT FROM PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES HANSARD
Tuesday, 16 August 2016
Country Fire Authority enterprise bargaining agreement
Mr WELLS (Rowville) — This statement is to congratulate the Premier for his monumental bungling of the Country Fire Authority (CFA) dispute and for helping Malcolm Turnbull to remain Prime Minister. I did not think I would ever be thanking the Premier for anything, but here I am, for there is no single other person more responsible for the return of the coalition federal government than the Premier.
And the Premier’s contribution to Malcolm Turnbull’s triumphant federal election win is no better demonstrated than looking at what happened at the federal election here in Victoria.
In a recent article by Tim Colebatch following the election, the question was asked:
Victoria was the only state where Labor lost a seat, and the swing to Labor was by far the lowest of any state: 1.5 per cent, barely a third of the 4.4 per cent Labor won in the rest of Australia. Why?
The answer is that many Victorians were deeply disturbed at the treatment by Labor of the CFA’s 60 000 loyal and dedicated volunteers, the sacking of the CFA board and the forced resignations of the CFA chief fire officer and the CEO. In particular the federal electorate of La Trobe, which takes in a significant southern portion of the high bushfire‑risk Dandenong Ranges, was a seat that federal Labor no doubt would have had high hopes of winning at the election had it not been for the Premier’s complete bungling of the CFA dispute. I now suspect that the Premier has been crossed off the federal opposition leader’s Christmas card list.