MP slams DFES vol­lie ‘gag’ rule

Albany Extra - - FRONT PAGE - MICHAEL TRAILL

Warren-Black­wood MP Terry Red­man has made ex­plo­sive claims that vol­un­teer and ca­reer fire­fight­ers will be gagged un­der an up­dated Depart­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vice’s code of con­duct.

“Un­der the veil of the COVID cri­sis, the Gov­ern­ment has put in a rule now that says if you’re a vol­un­teer un­der the ban­ner of the DFES, then you are re­quired to com­plete a code of con­duct that says you’re not al­lowed to con­tact a State or Fed­eral MP,” the Na­tion­als WA MP said in a state­ment this week.

“I think that’s fun­da­men­tally wrong.”

Warren-Black­wood MP Terry Red­man has made ex­plo­sive claims that vol­un­teer and ca­reer fire­fight­ers will be gagged un­der an up­dated Depart­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vice’s code of con­duct.

DFES mem­bers are in­structed to not dis­cuss de­part­men­tal mat­ters with State or Fed­eral MPs or in­vite them on to depart­ment premises un­less au­tho­rised un­der the code of con­duct.

“Un­der the veil of the COVID cri­sis, the Gov­ern­ment has put in a rule now that says if you’re a vol­un­teer un­der the ban­ner of the DFES, then you are re­quired to com­plete a code of con­duct that says you’re not al­lowed to con­tact a State or Fed­eral MP,” Mr Red­man, pic­tured, said in a state­ment this week. “I think that’s fun­da­men­tally wrong.

“You can’t gag vol­un­teers on talk­ing to Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment on any is­sue, whether it be on their safety, whether it be their fa­cil­i­ties, whether it be the cul­ture of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.”

But Emer­gency Ser­vices Min­is­ter Fran Lo­gan dis­missed Mr Red­man’s no­tion that vol­un­teers had been gagged un­der the code of con­duct.

In re­sponse to ques­tion­ing by Na­tion­als

MPs be­fore State Par­lia­ment went on its win­ter re­cess in late June, he told Mr Red­man that DFES mem­bers were ex­pected to re­lay their con­cerns through the depart­ment’s chain of com­mand.

“If they have some­thing that they want to take up with the mem­ber as an elected mem­ber, out­side their role as a vol­un­teer, of course they can — they are cit­i­zens,” he said. “But their first point of call is their re­spon­si­bil­ity to the com­mis­sioner un­der an act of Par­lia­ment — some­thing you, as a for­mer min­is­ter, should know.” Mr Lo­gan also pointed out DFES vol­un­teers and ca­reer fire­fights who acted as whistler blow­ers were pro­tect by WA law. “Peo­ple who want to tell mem­bers things, or ex­pose some­thing that they think is wrong in DFES, are cov­ered by the Pub­lic In­ter­est Dis­clo­sure Act,” he said.

You can’t gag vol­un­teers on talk­ing to Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment on any is­sue. Terry Red­man

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