Sleep Now In The Fire

Posted: November 7, 2012 in Dummy Spits, Local Politics, Politics

If I had won the $100 Million in last night’s lottery, it would have made a bit of a difference to the way I spend money. A bloody big difference actually.

Things I was looking to cut back on, or spend less on, you know, little sacrifices like drinking Boags instead of Becks, or Moet instead of Dom, or having Korean caviar for breakfast instead of Russian, those kind of things, I wouldn’t have to worry about them anymore with 100 Million bucks in the bank. Important things like health insurance, or home insurance, I wouldn’t have cut back on, but I may look to increase them as you can never be too well prepared.

But that’s just me, others are different.

Take Barry O’Farrell for example, having just found $1 Billion after his treasurer Mike “lost my calculator” Baird, made the biggest financial screw up in NSW history, you would think he would loosen the purse strings a little. You would be dead wrong.

Not only is Barry not increasing the state’s insurance, he is taking his infamous axe to it like he’s at the Easter Show in the wood chopping competition.

The public’s insurance policy that I refer to is our emergency services, and the way they are being cut back is an utter disgrace.

These are not necessary cutbacks as Barry “Lumberjack” O’Farrell would have you believe, these are acts of utter bastardry. Any party that loses a billion dollars also loses the right to use the words “fiscally responsible” while destroying the lives of hard working people and their families in my humble opinion.

Take the Fire Brigade for example, whom Barry seems to have decided to dump on from a great height. These aren’t a bunch of taxpayer funded beaurocrats sucking the public purse dry. Nor are they like our current range of parliamentary secretaries, all sitting on their fat arses and, thanks to Barry, even fatter wallets, and whose view of the real world is what they can interpret from their cushy offices window. Far from it in fact.

These are the guys you call when you are watching all you’ve ever owned going up in smoke. The guys you rely on to get your sleeping children out of your house when you are overcome by heat and smoke. The guys we rely on to save an entire rural town from devastation when some 15 year old kid thinks it would be fun to start a fire on a hot windy day, or some idiot flicks his cigarette butt out the car window.

The Fire Brigade is currently facing closures of many fire stations in a reckless bid to cut down overtime payments, but more on that later.

This all started from almost the moment Barry took office when Barry took his axe to the states public service, including emergency services.

Often refered to as WorkChoices NSW, these changes to the entitlements of the public service resulted in the largest political protests seen in Australia this century, as the Domain filled up and Macquarie St was blocked for what seemed like weeks on end.

Barry wanted to change the workers compensation of emergency services workers to mean the worse the injury, the less the compensation, in what can only be described as twisted Coalition logic.

Barry learnt the “Bazza backflip” early on in his first year as Premier, when he changed his mind and ensured that the changes did not apply to the police force. However this change was not due to Barry seeing the light, it was more like Barry being bashed with the torch till he came to his senses.

Police waged protests the like of which we have never seen, these eventually led to parliament house itself, when police packed the gallery and heckled the Coalition. In never before scenes the speaker had to warn police in the gallery several times, saying things such as;

Order! It is a rare opportunity for members of the Police Force to be witnessing a debate on a bill of this importance but I do ask visitors in the gallery to refrain from clapping, cheering or commenting. I understand that they are emotional about this bill, as we all are, but I ask them to refrain from doing that.

It must have been an awkward moment for the speaker, after all, who do you call to eject the police from the gallery? The army?

Eventually parliament shut down after the Coalition were forced to retreat from the chamber being booed and jeered by the police, as shown in the below video clip, apologies for the sound and picture quality, it was the best I could find.

Despite the police being spared this absolutely inhuman approach to compensation, Barry still thought it was best to punish those who risk their lives in the Fire Brigade everyday just by showing up to work. Ignoring overwhelming public outrage, Barry decided that only the police were to be treated as human, the rest would have to live with the annihilation of their entitlements.

The Fire Brigade only became exempt from these draconian changes after a long and bitter campaign from their union, The FBEU, supported by the Labor Party and The Greens.

This surely is a message to those in the public service who are not union members to join up quick, your entitlements are being systematically spat on and destroyed by this government, your union is your first and last line of defence, support it because it will support you.

Now, fighting fires is clearly a dangerous job, dangerous and hot, I probably don’t need to tell you that. Someone needed to explain this to Barry ”Lumberjack” O’Farrell though, as he proposed new uniforms that were not only hotter, but not as safe.

Firefighter’s were forced back into their old uniforms for their own safety as calls were made for an ICAC investigation into the tender process that resulted in our firefighters safety being outsourced to China. Ironically the Coalition, who were quick to point the finger of blame at the Federal Government when Pacific Brands were forced to send production offshore and lay off Australian workers, didn’t award the tender to Pacific Brands and sent it offshore. However Pacific Brands did end up supplying the uniforms for the firefighters in a way, as they had to wear the old ones sourced by the previous govt and made in Australia.

Barry “Lumberjack” O’Farrell puts himself at risk of losing the female vote in this state as a direct result of this monumental blunder. Every female voter loves a fireman, and they don’t want to see them out of a uniform, unless of course it’s for a calendar.

The things a guy does for a decent uniform…

Cutting back funding on equipment and uniforms in an area as dangerous and crucial as firefighting is reckless and highly irresponsible, it is like sending the army to war wearing shorts and armed with rubber bullets and expecting them to win with threats and harsh words.

In what has become a battle over proposed fire station closures, last night the union called a halt to planned industrial action to allow time to look over new government proposals.

Barry “Lumberjack” O’Farrell was looking to shut down some Fire Stations, in a bid to cut some costs despite the aforementioned $1 Billion discovery.

Obscenely on that list was the Quakers Hill Fires Station that is just a few hundred metres up the road from the Nursing Home where 11 elderly residents were killed in a horrific fire just last year. At the time I wrote a piece on the disgusting way our emergency services were being treated by what should have been a grateful government.

Remember these poor people, I don’t think Barry does

Another one on the list is Perisher Valley, now I know what you are thinking, a fire at the snowfields is not likely. Let me assure you firefighter’s don’t just fight fires and pull cats from trees, if you don’t believe me just ask Stuart Diver, after being rescued from the rubble of a collapsed ski resort.

The argument is about overtime payments, Barry would like you to contact your local station before your house catches fire, to ensure it doesn’t happen too close to a shift change. You see, apparently your families safety and your personal possessions aren’t worth Barry paying time and a half.

I think what Barry is hoping for is that these brave people will do their job for free after hours. You see, Barry “Lumberjack” O’Fucking Farrell is no doubt banking on the fact that these people have a heart, and despite it being knock off time will continue to work out of community spirit and a genuine care for others.

Barry it would seem has the attitude that people like this should not be rewarded for their selfless attitude and good deeds, far from it. Instead they should be punished. They should work for free with the cheapest equipment that can be outsourced from the dodgiest factory in Asia. Not only that, as they are working in their own time and not receiving a wage they would not be covered by any compensation scheme. Dollars saved Barry… Ker-ching

I’m sure if they are seriously injured or killed after knock off time, that whilst in line at the soup kitchen, the fire fighters now destitute and homeless family can be happy in the knowledge that it was all done in the name of kindness and to help the taxpayers save a few bob.

If you think this can’t happen, just ask a nurse how covered they are if they help someone in need on their way home from work.

Whatever comes of this ongoing battle, there two things I know for sure.

The government needs to start showing some respect for our emergency services instead of praising them when an emergency occurs and then trying to screw them over every other damn day.

The other thing is, after the auditor general found the lost $ 1 Billion, Barry “Lumberjack” O’Farrell needs to put the axe back in the tool shed. (not a reference to Coalition caucus)

  1. ozbrays2 says:

    Barry is just following the example set by the Feds on how to develop amnesia over returned soldiers once their job is done. Heroes so long as they don’t cost anything.

  2. Nailed it Wixxy. For others reading this, some history and info on the O’Farrell attacks available here:



  3. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Great blog post about BOF attacks on NSW firefighters.

  4. StJohnSmythe says:

    Great post. It seems that with government of any persuasion these days, one must be seen to make the “tough decisions”. But the toughest decision of all is to spend money, and support the people that support the community. No one has been that tough in awhile however.
    It would be interesting Wixxy if you could do a regular story on a different NSW gov agency, each week perhaps, outlining the work they do for the community, and the difficulties that they face. Cost cutting and reduced quality of service would be a common theme me thinks.

    • wixxy says:

      That’s not a bad idea at all actually, maybe not weekly as I don’t know if I’d have the time, but i think it’s a great idea.

      Thanks heaps

  5. Warren says:

    Need to also mention the silent service, NSW Ambos. This is the smallest Emergency Service with the largest workload and has suffered for over 20 years as workload grew at an incredible rate but their rosters where ‘altered’ to give the appearance of more ambulances (such as eating into rosters that provided multiple ambulances every day to provide ‘new’ rosters of a single ambulance). These most trusted of professionals have put more time and effort in calling for improved services then looking after there own wages and conditions. Now a staffing freeze exists, positions not being filled and more playing around with rosters that will in effect have ambos working 24/7 2 days of and 24/7 again. Dangerous for the public and dangerous for these Officers.

    Jillian & Barry in opposition made many promises, about time they started to implement them.

  6. Morris says:

    unfortunately of late I’ve had to deal with the fire brigade, ambos and police a few times and I always marvel at what a decent bunch we have working in all these services.

    they need and deserve our support, be adequately paid and have the right to access full compensation if the worst happens. To deny them the right equipment or uniforms is a sheer disgrace quite apart from being idiotic and dangerous.

  7. […] Sleep Now In The Fire November 7, 2012 […]

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