NSW emergency services minister David Elliott has refused to apologise to rural volunteer firefighters after comparing them to characters from the 1970s comedy Dad’s Army.
The minister made the remarks in November during a meeting with senior members of the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association.
During that conversation, the minister said that the service needed more qualified salaried people and that it wouldn’t be too long before he could do away with the Dad’s Army of the VFA.
Graeme Jay, a captain of Glossodia Rural Fire Brigade, said the comparison was ‘downright offensive’.
In Question Time, mnister Elliott had two opportunities to apologise publicly – but refused.
Mr Elliott was asked if he had threatened legal action against the VFA if they went to the media about his remarks, and then was asked to apologise to its members, many of whom put their lives on the line during bushfires.
David Elliott should be commending the hard and dangerous work that volunteer firefighters do, not insulting them.”
“If he is unable to recognise the contribution volunteer firefighters make to their community then he is not fit to be minister.”
“It’s embarrassing when the Minister has the gall to insult volunteers and then refuse to apologise in Parliament.
Guy Zangari, shadow minister for emergency services