Today’s question relates to the (in)famous video of an RFS volunteer telling the Prime Minister exactly what he thought – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DweZi38mWoI
The RFS has released a statement via Facebook that says:
The NSW RFS is aware of reports concerning the status of volunteer member Paul Parker from the Nelligen area.
We can confirm Paul remains a member of the NSW RFS and has not been dismissed.
My correspondent asks the question ‘is being disrespectful to a politician a breach of the code?’
Being disrespectful to a politician is not specifically prohibited by the RFS Code of Conduct and Ethics. That’s not to say that it could not be an example of conduct that is a breach but it is not defined as a breach. So what can we say about Mr Parker? The answer is ‘nothing’.
It is not for me or any other observer to say whether or not this conduct (or any conduct) is or is not a breach of the Code. Some may think it was, other may think it was not. On these issues, opinions can differ. That is why in disciplinary proceedings someone would have to make a complaint of a breach, an appropriate officer would have to consider the complaint and consider whether that officer thinks the conduct could be a breach. Then the member would have to be asked if he accepted there was a breach, or not. If he did not the investigating officer would have to consider all the circumstances and decide if indeed there was a breach. It is only after that process when all the circumstances have been considered that one could conclude whether there was, or was not, a breach in this, or any case.