Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (16 November) . . Page.. 3616..
Mr Pratt: Are they fully operational now? No.
MR HARGREAVES: Mr Pratt's comments are actually causing an enormous amount of resentment amongst the members of the ACT Ambulance Service. Mr Pratt denigrates the qualifications and the dedication of these officers. He denigrates the attempts of the officers there to supplement their numbers. He denigrates the fact that these guys are going to have bridging training. They are already qualified paramedics. They are going to have their qualifications as paramedics augmented to be intensive care qualified paramedics, the highest you can possibly get, and Mr Pratt denigrates them. How sickening is that? It is sickening.
Mr Pratt: That is misleading.
MR HARGREAVES: Mr Pratt, if you think I have misled this Assembly, get up and put forward a substantive motion on that.
MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Hargreaves! Direct your comments through the chair.
MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I challenge Mr Pratt to do that. If he is suggesting that I am misleading this Assembly, let him put forward a substantive motion. Otherwise he should stand up here and apologise to those members of the ACT Ambulance Service that he so effectively and so cowardly denigrates. He cowardly denigrates them, he denigrates the firefighters, he denigrates the SES volunteers and he denigrates the RFS.
Mr Speaker, this man here would not know the courage that these people put into play every day of their lives. He should be standing up here and congratulating these people on coming forward and joining such a fantastic bunch of people, instead of being the coward that he is in this place and hiding behind parliamentary privilege.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.12): Mr Speaker, you always know that Mr Hargreaves is on the ropes when he goes for the slag and the slur. He puts the boot in because he cannot actually come to the substantive nature of the matter of public importance. Mr Hargreaves started with the words that we all share pride in our volunteers. That is true; we all share the pride. But what the volunteers resent is that the support that they get from this government is lacking.
Mr Hargreaves was stripped of his emergency services portfolio because of that resentment, because of the fact that a volunteer could not get a new helmet, for instance, as the emergency services were not allowed to hand out new helmets to volunteers because they were trying to save bucks as they had blown their budget. Not once, but two years in a row, they blew the budget. It is the fault of the responsible minister that that was allowed to occur. The litany of failures of leadership in the ESA when Mr Hargreaves was in control was endless and the volunteers resented that.
Mr Hargreaves said that all the systems were working pretty good when the emergency services were down at Namadgi the other day putting out a fire. I can assure you, Mr Speaker, that the systems did not work well. They did not work well to the extent that volunteers were using their own mobile phones to communicate with