Thursday 07 May, 2015

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (11:27): I also rise today to support the Fire and Emergency Services (Volunteer Charters) Amendment Bill 2015. I absolutely commend the member for Morphett for the strong interest he takes in this area and the strong advocate that he has been for many years for the volunteer community.

There would not be more worthy people who are due for our praise than volunteers—also nurses. Volunteers are the backbone of our community. It is wonderful that the member for Morphett has taken it upon himself to introduce a bill of this nature. He is a gentleman who has been in the CFS longer than I have been alive, who takes these things to heart and is a very strong advocate for the community. I would encourage all members on both sides of the chamber to consider supporting this bill. It is about their dignity and their respect, so do it for the volunteers.

The member for Light, with all respect, probably has not had the best few months. I would also send a clear message to probably the next minister in this area. My mail says it will be the member for Little Para. If he is listening, he should also be aware of how to handle such issues. The way it has been handled has not been good. It has not been good for the government. It is hurting the government. I only acknowledged the extent to which it was hurting just through reading the newspapers and hearing from the volunteers themselves.

At my weekly coffee meeting—most Mondays at 9am, residents can come and see me at Cafe Va Bene at Campbelltown (supplied by Cafe Va Bene)—a member of the Labor Party one morning rocked up and exclaimed her sincere discontent with the way that this issue was being handled. She threatened to actually resign from the party because of the way this issue is being handled—true facts.

This issue has not been handled well, and I commend the member for Morphett for bringing the government to account. This bill goes to the strong opposition to the proposed restructure that the government has considered. This is an opportune time to reintroduce a bill which demonstrates our strong support for all our emergency services volunteers. I seek leave to continue my remarks.