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Monday, 4 July 2011
Page: 7273

Mr BROADBENT (McMillan) (10:59): by leave—I was asked this morning on Gippsland radio why I was cuddling up to Adam Bandt on this issue of fair protection for firefighters. Although Adam is not quite my style—Maria is more my style—my answer was this: this is not about Adam Bandt or Russell Broadbent or Maria Vamvakinou or even Senator Gavin Marshall, who has been very helpful in this regard. It is actually about firefighters, their families and their future. It is not about us; it is not even about the parliament. It is the process of the parliament, which the member for Calwell has just referred to, that is important.

I commend the member for Melbourne, the member for Calwell and Senator Gavin Marshall for their support for this proposal. While I am doing that I want to commend all the firefighters who have gone before us. Recently we celebrated 100 years of the Firefighters Union in Victoria—a very important occasion. We honour those people who have gone before us and paved the way. This particular matter is about firefighters, their future and what they do for us. This parliament, rising above all other concerns, has to address the issues faced by a very specialised group in our community. If we can come on board with what has happened internationally and we can support these people in their endeavours, it is up to us as a parliament to go through these processes, investigate them and bring this legislation forward for the benefit of firefighters.

I am very proud to associate myself with firefighters right across Australia. Even as a 12-year volunteer firefighter I cannot identify what it is like to face the issues they face every day of their working lives. I wish them all the best and I hope this bill is progressed.

Bill read a first time.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): In accordance with standing order 41(c), the second reading will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.