Bendigo paramedic and prominent Code Red campaigner Brett Adie spoke for his fellow members this week when he told his local paper, the Bendigo Advertiser that the government was preventing a settlement to the ambulance crisis.
The problem is not so much the money, but the strings attached, he said.
“Most paramedics are happy with what is being offered in terms of pay,” Brett said. “The problem is that they expect us to give something away.
“The conditions they are proposing mean paramedics could be sent anywhere.”
It was clear that Brett was declaring the strings attached to the government’s offer were unacceptable: it was ‘no deal Napthine’.
What was done with Brett’s words by the Health Minister David Davis was an object lesson in misrepresentation. Davis issued a press release quoting just the first sentence, without any of the comments about the government’s unworkable and unacceptable conditions.
Davis claimed the union leadership was blocking a pay rise members wanted “for political ends”.
Brett was furious at the misuse of his comments.
“I am, and always will be committed to the Code Red cause. This was a pathetic attempt by Davis to split our membership and our leadership. It didn’t work but it shows how low they will go,” he said on the Code Red facebook page.
“Davis pinched my comment about the money and quoted it in a press release. To be honest it was no surprise that he left out the rest of the quote. No surprise, but disgusting and dishonest just the same. Davis has insisted on only telling half the story throughout this campaign and this is further evidence of this.”
It is two years since paramedics began their Code Red campaign as the highest trained but lowest paid paramedics in the country. The government’s tactics remain as tricky as ever.
The only thing that has changed is that paramedics’ resolve to win has grown even stronger.
The press release that only partially quoted Brett is below. You can read his full story on the Code Red facebook page.