Chris Kenny Interviews Steve McDonald & Josh Hawkes - Australian Firefighters Alliance

February 6, 2023

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SkyNews' Chris Kenny interviews AFA Directors Steve McDonald & Josh Hawkes

6 FEB, 2023 — Steve McDonald & Josh Hawkes detail continued mandate-madness to Chris Kenny , and called on the NSW & Victorian governments to act and drop needless Covid-19 vaccine mandates keeping over 250 firefighters out of work.

Chris Kenny began his segment describing vaccine mandates as being over the top from the start, unnecessary, and ultimately redundant. He went on to say that it was madness that fires in NSW and VIC could still not work. 

Chris’s team contacted the NSW Emergency Services Minister Stephanie Cook – and as he described- whose office just passed the buck saying it’s up to each individual department to impose their own workplace rules. He had also contacted her Victorian counterpart, but so far hadn’t had a response.

Chris then played a short clip from the day before of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews being confronted from a heckler over vaccine mandates. After Daniels Andrews stated that vaccines work and he was pro vaccine, he then went on to say that he’ll let others judge who is being stupid at the moment. 

Chris Kenny took up the offer and, confirming that in his opinion it was Daniel Andrews who was being stupid. Chris went on to argue why; saying that when it comes to the basis of mandates, vaccines don’t work. He agreed that the vaccines reduce the chances of individuals getting seriously ill, but that mandates were imposed on the basis that vaccines would reduce infections, stop people getting covid, and stop people passing it on. And it turns out that they don’t do that, so the vaccine mandates are wrong. That’s the medical, scientific, and political reality. Yet still, thanks in part to weak politicians, vaccine mandates are still in place in this country. 

Chris then welcomed Stephen McDonald and Josh Hawk from the Australian Firefighters Alliance via live streamed from Canberra.

Stephen began by saying that since talking to Chris last time on the show, and his appearance also with Ben Fordham from 2GB Radio, the Australian Firefighters Alliance has had a tremendous response from not just the public, but from politicians across NSW, VIC, and federally.

Stephen explained that the reason himself and Josh were in Canberra was on the invitation of a number of politicians to speak to the lunacy of the whole vaccine mandate situation. Thousands of years of professional firefighting experience were just pushed to the wayside with fires still not able to work. 

Josh also took the chance to explained that while in Canberra they met with Russel Broadbent, who was instrumental in getting  Stephen and Josh to Canberra. Russel’s return correspondence from the Australian Firefighters Alliance was passionate, and that he was moved and could tell the sincerity with which the Australian Firefighters Alliance is advocating for firefighters who are still stood down. 

On the  back of what Josh said, Chris agreed that he couldn’t believe that firefighters who are trained, willing, and able are not working and keeping people safe because of these mandates. He then went on to say that he wasn’t just running his mouth, and backed it up by playing a short clip to show the considered medical opinion of Dr Nick Coatsworth who up until a year and a half ago was the Deputy National Chief Medical Officer in Australia. 

In the clip Dr Coatsworth – infectious disease physician – said that he was both astonished and disappointed because he understood that there were still mandates in place at the moment. And that there was actually no cause for any organization in Australia with the possible exception of frontline healthcare organizations like the one he worked for, and there was no excuse for any of the other organizations to have vaccine mandates. 

Chris probed Steve about what he thought regarding Politicians such as Danial Andrews who were putting the responsibilities surrounding the mandates back on the agencies or departments involved, and that the fight the Australian Firefighter’s Alliance had was with the fire brigades in NSW and Victoria, and whether it was good enough or should the politicians step in.

Steve explained that it wasn’t good enough at all, and with respect to the Minister of Emergency Services and Resilience Stephanie Cook, The Australian Firefighters Alliance wrote to Stephanie Cook back as far as March 2021, seeking a conversation and to have at least an interest in the fact that many firefighters, police, and paramedics were not being aloud to do their job. 

Chris added that since then many of those mandates have actually come off and that the firefighters were still not there. Chris then queried Josh about the community, and what they were missing out on with firefighters not being able to work at the moment.

Josh explained that the community is missing out on maximum fire service protection with all of the skill sets that are missing from the front lines. Back in 2020, and 2021, firefighters served throughout the pandemic in a very uncertain time. And then when it came to the mandates being placed on firefighters, the firefighters who stood by their freedom of choice not to receive the vaccine were kicked out of the work force. Josh explained that in Victoria the Australian Firefighters Alliance had written to multiple MPs without a response, and that it was lucky Russel Broadbent has taken the issue. Russel sees the need that we have firefighters that are skilled, ready, fit, and able to work being denied that right. 

Chris finished the segment in agreement saying that firefighters were being discriminated against and that the community was missing out.

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