Tony Windsor’s sad words

Today I gathered in the Melbourne Town Hall with 2,000 other folks who were interested in hearing our first female Prime Minister speak about her time at the top. The event was organised by the Victorian Women’s Trust who continues to advocate for the rights of all women across Australia.

The previous independent for New England Mr Tony Windsor opened Julia Gillard’s address. Tony Windsor you may recall called for the first parliamentary inquiry into the impact of FIFO on regional Australia. He was chair of the standing committee that tabled the report entitled; Cancer of  the Bush or salvation fro our cities,  in February this year.


Tony was funny and gracious in his words of praise for Julia and the speeches from both speakers were interesting if only slightly inspiring ( I expected just a little bit more!) .

After the speeches Tony hung around and talked to people. I spoke to Tony about all things FIFO. I thanked him for doing more to bring the issues associated with the FIFO workplace practise into the public and the parliamentary discussion. We talked at length about the issues good and bad that FIFO work and life style raises in our Australian context. I closed the discussion with a question which asked him who he thought was really interested in the FIFO debate and still held a seat in parliament?   He pondered the question for a moment mentioned Michael McCormack from the National Party adding that he was a good man and would probably take over the chair of the standing committee that he himself had vacated. Then he paused again, pondered a little more and said, well in fact i don’t think there is really anyone who is that interested in the debate. It’s sad to say but no I don’t really think anyone still sitting is really that committed to addressing the issues presented by the increase in FIFO work.

Tony Windsor is an honest man by nature. His wife who we met as we left the building told me that she was delighted with Tony’s slower pace of life and reminded me that she had married a farmer!

Now I’m left with a nagging, slightly empty hole in the pit of my stomach.

Why is this issue now more invisible to government than it was before?

Why is no one interested? Why have the issue/issues of FIFO and the necessary support for FIFO families fallen off the radar? Why?


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