Bulletin No:  125                    Volume:  22                                        Thursday 14 July 2016






The UFU has received a copy of the latest email by the MFB which purports to justify their actions against a member as well as vilify the member and the union.

First let us state that the MFB is trying to deflect from their behaviour and position regarding the enterprise agreement bargaining and other matters.

Indeed the communication from the MFB is self-serving as it attempts to demonise and vilify an individual member without informing members of all the facts.

It is an all-time low that the MFB seeks to not only marginalise an individual but to do so without that individual having a right of reply or providing all relevant information.

It is highly unusual for any organisation to isolate an individual in the manner in which the MFB have done so today. However, this does not surprise the UFU as it is clearly part of the MFB’s ongoing campaign to denigrate firefighters and the union.

Before the MFB’s communication today, the UFU had previously conducted extensive UFU delegate consultation as a result of the Herald Sun article regarding the Fair Work Commission matter.

Mr Rau’s subsequent email today clearly seeks to vilify the union by selective quotations and narrative regarding the recent Fair Work Commission matter and the individual.

As previously communicated in our recent Bulletin, the MFB has resorted to an all-time low and the union stands by its statements in that Bulletin irrespective of Mr Rau’s comments.  Additional to that it appears that the MFB have taken a leaf out of the Herald Sun’s book of sensationalism and inaccurate reporting.  As such we inform members of the following facts:


  • Mr Rau has omitted to inform employees that the individual concerned was totally exonerated (found not guilty) by the District Court of NSW which is a higher authority and jurisdiction than the reference that Mr Rau has referred to – a civil administrative tribunal.


  • That during the MFB’s selection process the individual made an accurate declaration as required and informed the selection panel that he had previously faced charges.


  • The latest statement from the MFB should be seen for what it is in that it seeks to not only misrepresent the union’s position but also seeks to create a division within the union’s membership.


  • Mr Rau misrepresents the union’s submissions before the Fair Work Commission in relation to firefighters standard of integrity and has selectively quoted rather than place it in the total context of the hearing and the cross-examination.


  • The Union conducted due diligence before initiating a defence of the member concerned.  This included, but was not limited to, engaging a former Senior Federal Police Officer of high rank to review the matter and surrounding issues and provide advice to the union as to whether it should represent the member concerned.


  • The findings of the former Senior Federal Police Officer concerned was that the true facts surrounding this case justified representation, in particular given the District Court decision in which all charges were dismissed.


  • That MFB CEO Jim Higgins and DCFO Leach were provided with this information along with comprehensive submissions from the individual.


It is clear that the MFB through Mr Rau are seeking to use this situation to engender disunity and to justify their actions by providing an inaccurate and selective email.

In anticipation that the MFB would continue to engage in gutter tactics, the UFU had already organised a scheduled delegates’ conference.  This is in addition to the delegates’ conferences that had been held earlier to inform about this matter.

We also find breathtaking hypocrisy by Mr Higgins and Mr Rau given they are now seeking to regurgitate an individual’s past.

In the future, further will be said about the double standards being applied by senior MFB management.

In the interim we are gobsmacked about Mr Rau’s audacity to question firefighters’ integrity as in reality Mr Rau has been named in the Parliament of Victoria as a person who should have “a good look” at himself in regards to the exposure of firefighters at Fiskville.

This is what was said about Mr Rau as a result of the Parliamentary Fiskville Inquiry by Inquiry Committee Member Vicki Ward on the 25th May 2016 in the Assembly and recorded in Hansard:

“I also know through the hearings and the submissions that there were people who knew that there were practices at Fiskville which were wrong — and they were wrong. We expect more of those who hold positions of responsibility, especially when working in situations which can be dangerous to life. There are many people at the CFA, past and present, who really need to have a good look at themselves and be honest about how they let down those who care the most about the CFA and who give the most. People who need to look at themselves include Mick Bourke and Peter Rau.”

As members would be aware Fiskville was one of the worst periods in the history of firefighting where firefighters were unnecessarily exposed to toxins and carcinogens.

In the context of the above Parliamentary Hansard quotes about Mr Rau, members should make their own conclusion about his integrity.

The union makes no judgement however we believe the Parliamentary Hansard speaks for itself.

Further information on the double-standards will follow.  In the interim if you have any queries regarding the above please contact Peter Marshall on 0419 127 004.

Strength in Unity


Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary