Paul Parker was an RFS volunteer firefighter who was one of more than 72,000 battling the bushfires these last few months.
On Sunday he went on Channel 10’s The Project to reveal that he’d been told by a fellow firefighter “You’re finished because of your allegations and foul language against the PM of the country while representing the RFS.”
"You're finished because of your allegations and foul language against the prime minister of the country while representing the RFS." Firefighter Paul Parker from Nelligen sacked from RFS. #TheProjectTV #auspol #AustralianFires pic.twitter.com/cBevXZRjzi
— David Marler (@Qldaah) February 16, 2020
The video, which aired on national television on January 4 and quickly went viral, showed Parker pointing at the camera, forcefully saying, “Tell the Prime Minister to go and get f***ed, I’ve lost seven houses already and I’m not going to lose anymore you dickhead.”
Since last night’s revelation on Channel Ten, #IStandWithPaulParker has been trending on Twitter, with prominent public figures wading in the conversation.
After his verbal aggression in front of a 7 News camera crew, it was alleged Parker collapsed in exhaustion and revealed his own home had sustained fire damage.
A GoFundMe has been set up by Parker’s neighbours, who are hoping to gather enough money to help the sacked firefighter rebuild his home. On the page, he is described as “a beloved Nelligen neighbour, who spent countless days fighting the fires in his town and protecting as many people’s homes as he could.”
“Paul hasn’t been able to work, and therefore has not generated an income, due to his volunteering with the Rural Fire Service.”
At the time of publication of this article, almost $6,000 has been raised.
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. #NSWRFS
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) February 16, 2020
The NSW RFS took to Twitter this morning to say they are “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. #NSWRFS
Peter van Onselen, who appeared on the Sunday Project to interview Parker responded to the Tweet:
“This is not remotely good enough: why was he told he was finished? Why was he told they would get the police? Why is he still not reinstated? Why has he not received support after they claimed he was stood down because of exhaustion?”
Just sharing the video of Paul Parker’s comments again. Rewatch it. Then tell me if he should have been fired from a volunteer job defending homes… while the PM was in Hawaii? 🤬https://t.co/4LBnoYF7lj
I stand with Paul Parker from Nelligen. https://t.co/gRgoTiq8K2
— Mike Cannon-Brookes 👨🏼💻🧢 (@mcannonbrookes) February 16, 2020
Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes also took to Twitter, writing – “Tell me if he should have been fired from a volunteer job defending homes… while the PM was in Hawaii?”