Question time - MFB EBA

09 March 2018

Ms Ryan — On a point of order, Speaker, before I start I would ask that the member on the opposite side the house who just referred to this as a 'girl's question' withdraw that. I am asking for a withdrawal of that comment, which is clearly reflective of the sexism of those on the opposite side of the house.


-My question is to the Minister for Emergency Services. Despite advice from the equal opportunity commission that the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) clause 43.3, banning part-time work, would actively discriminate against women trying to re-enter the workforce, Minister, why has your government failed to listen to the equal opportunity commissioner and instead endorsed this sexist clause that explicitly bans part-time work and deters women from re-entering the workforce?


-The police, ambulance services and health services all allow operational part-time work in their EBAs. Minister, what makes the operational fire services so different that you endorse banning it?


-My question is again to the Minister for Emergency Services. Clause 78.5 of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) that you endorse states that:


The MFB will not monitor or access employees' emails in any way and no person shall be given access rights to monitor or access employees' emails in any way.

Minister, the United Firefighters Union (UFU) had this clause inserted following the disciplinary processes instigated against a UFU member and MFB commander who circulated 1500 images of pornographic and racist material while at work. Given that the clause totally violates IT policy of the Victorian public sector and any other modern workplace, how can you possibly justify supporting it?


-Despite your hollow words claiming to support more women in the MFB, at every turn, whether it is banning part-time work, curtailing disciplinary action against bullying, permitting the circulation of pornographic images or even vetoing Victorian and commonwealth acts of Parliament, your government has allowed clauses in the MFB EBA that make the MFB an unsafe workplace for women. Minister, why is equality negotiable for women firefighters?

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