Tonight the Turnbull Government delivered on an election commitment to protect the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) from a hostile union takeover.
The Coalition tonight passed the Fair Work Amendment (Respect for Emergency Services Volunteers) Bill 2016 with the assistance of the majority of the Senate crossbenchers.
Minister for Employment, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said the passage of the legislation was a major victory for the thousands of men and women who have fought tirelessly to defend the integrity, autonomy and authority of the historic volunteer association.
“Tonight marks an important turning point in what has been a thoroughly avoidable and long-running saga – the dark cloud hanging over the CFA has finally been lifted,” Minister Cash said.
“The United Firefighters Union has operated in lock step with the Labor Party in attempting to bully the CFA into signing a deal that would sideline its tens of thousands of volunteers and hand power to the union.”
“This shameless power grab has been wholly endorsed by both the Daniel Andrews’ State Labor Government and tonight it has been defended to the end by Bill Shorten and the Australian Labor Party.”
“The tens of thousands of volunteers who put their lives on the line to keep Victorians safe deserved far better from Bill Shorten.”
“Bill Shorten’s priorities were laid bare tonight – he will always put the interests of militant union bosses ahead of the public interest. While this makes him eminently qualified to lead the Australian Labor Party he is not a man who ever could or should lead the country.”
Minister Cash thanked Senate crossbenchers including the Nick Xenophon Team, One Nation, Family First, Liberal Democrats and Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party.
“I commend these Senators for engaging with the Government in a constructive way and standing up for the tens of thousands of CFA volunteers,” Minister Cash said.
“The Turnbull Government made a commitment that if re-elected we would protect those who selflessly protect us and tonight we delivered on that promise.”