The following question without notice was asked by the Hon Colin de Grussa and answered today by Minister Stephen Dawson as the Emergency Services Minister’s Legislative Council representative.
Hon COLIN de GRUSSA to the minister representing the Minister for Emergency Services:
I refer to the minister’s email to me on 22 October 2018, which, according to my notes, states —
As you are aware, contact with any unit that comes under the responsibility of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services must be ministerially approved via contacting this office with an explanation about why the visit is sought.
(1) How does the minister reconcile a directive to prevent a volunteer from meeting with a member of Parliament in their own time?
(2) In what capacity does the minister act in directing volunteers with whom they can or cannot meet?
(3) What does the minister fear from allowing these meetings to take place?
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.
(1)–(2) The minister has not prevented volunteers from attending any meetings. The honourable member was denied permission as he had misrepresented himself as a minister of the Crown to the Pilbara community. The minister has consistently applied the same longstanding conventions that applied under the previous government to all parties and members. The minister has accepted the apology from the Leader of the Nationals’ office for the recent conduct of Nationals members in the Pilbara.
(3) The minister has been accommodating of all members’ access to government infrastructure and personnel, but has a duty to prevent politicisation of volunteers.