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Questions to

Ms Carolyn Male
Member for Glasshouse, Queensland Government.

(sent 14.08.07)

Could you answer a few questions in respect to S.E.S. Volunteers carrying out traffic control duties at community protest meetings to be held in various Queensland towns?

In the weekend press it was reported that S.E.S. Volunteers were directed not to carry out traffic control duties at any community protests against forced Council amalgamations.     Is it a fact that they were advised that they would be dismissed as S.E.S. Volunteers if they disobeyed the direction.

1   Can you advise if this report is correct?

A.    That report is not correct.

2   If so, who gave that direction?

A    Please refer above

3.  What is the Official position of that person?

No threats were made to sack any SES volunteers if they were to take part in a rally against Council reform.

 

There are no issues whatsoever with them taking part in such a rally in an individual capacity.

 

The Deputy Executive Director of Emergency Management Queensland sent a letter to the Local Controller reiterating that point, and made sure the local members were reminded of that fact.

 

It’s simply not appropriate for the SES to be asked to provide official services to a political rally, be it Labor, National, or Liberal, and that’s a long-standing practice.

 

The organisers of the rally appropriately applied to the Queensland Police Service for permission to hold the rally.

 

The application was approved, and Police provided traffic control on the day

4.  What was the authority of that person to give such a direction?

This advice was given to the Local Controller by Mr Stephen Young, Deputy Executive Director of Emergency Management Queensland.

5.  Was it lawful for that direction to be given?

Yes.    The Disaster Management Act outlines events in which the State Emergency Service is authorised to participate in an official capacity.     Political rallies of any persuasion are not on that list.

6.  What was the purpose of having that direction issued to S.E.S. Volunteers?

The appropriate advice was given after the Local Controller sought guidance from EMQ management.

7.  What extra ordinary conditions, if any, were anticipated at the community protests that would require such a direction be given to S.E.S. Volunteers?

None. Please refer to question 3.

Editor's Note    "It is wrong that a community organisation such as S.E.S. Volunteers can be advised not to carry out one of their main functions, that is providing safe traffic directions at a community event.   Because they provide that community service does not for one minute mean that they support or not support the event.  I am sure that we all agree that S.E.S. Volunteers should not be used for any political purposes, irrespective of the party involved.   Providing a safe traffic environment has nothing to do with what type of event was in progress.   It is all about providing a safe environment for members of the Queensland Community going about thier lawful business."

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