RFS Denies Sacking Volunteer Firie Who Told PM To 'Get F***ed'
A firefighter who told Scott Morrison to "get f**ked" on national TV during the bushfire crisis claims he was sacked after footage went viral -- but the RFS and PM have denied this happened.
Nelligen firefighter Paul Parker, whose image was beamed around the world on social media as his truck roared up to a media crew in January, claimed on The Project on Sunday he had been sacked from the RFS.
“The message I got was 'about time you brought the truck back because we were about to send the police to go look for you'," Parker claimed.
The volunteer firie alleged a captain from another brigade in the Batemans Bay region, on the NSW south coast, told him "you’re finished because of your allegations and foul language against the PM of the country while representing the RFS."
However, both the RFS and PM Morrison have denied this is the case, with RFS boss Shane Fitzsimmons saying he wasn't aware of why Parker thought he'd been let go.
"That doesn't mean there hasn't been some conversations locally with his volunteer peers," Fitzsimmons said, adding firefighters had been left "very tired, very emotionally drained" by "a confronting fire season".
Fitzsimmons said the RFS was trying to contact Parker on Monday to speak to him further. The service's Twitter account had earlier posted a statement saying "Paul remains a member of the NSW RFS and has not been dismissed".
Morrison was asked about Parker's claims on Monday morning, and said he was "pleased" to hear the RFS say he hadn't been dismissed.
"There should never be any question whether he should have been fired or not. Of course they shouldn't. But the RFS have confirmed he wasn't. And I'm pleased about that," the PM said.
"Look, to Paul, I say this, I understand Paul was feeling incredibly exhausted, and incredibly drained by those events and he was working his tail off defending his community."
Morrison added that previous comments of his, where he said volunteer firefighters "want to be out there defending their communities", had been "misrepresented" and "misreported".
He complained of being the subject of a "pile-on" in relation to the comments.
"I never said that firefighters enjoyed doing this. What I said, and this was misreported at the time, what I said was firefighters would be out there defending their communities, they want to be out there defending their communities when their communities were at risk," Morrison.
"All firefighters I met, as hard as it is, of course you don't want to be out there. I was at Wingello on Friday afternoon -- I met with a very brave brigade there that saved their town. They prefer not to be having to save their town, but on that night, that was their job. And you couldn't have stopped them from being out there and defending their community.
"That's what I said at the time. It was completely misrepresented. There was a lot of things that were misrepresented over the summer. There was a bit of a pile-on. But I've got thick skin and work to do. We're going to rebuild these bushfire-affected areas and we're going to get people into homes."