Prison Officers Turn Their Backs on State Parliament After Minister Cowper Refuses to Support Them

Dozens of Western Australian prison officers have turned their backs on State Parliament and walked out of the Legislative Assembly’s Question Time this afternoon after Minister for Corrective Services, Murray Cowper, refused to answer parliamentary questions about their campaign for better pay and conditions.

The officers were invited to attend question time by Fran Logan, the Shadow Minister for Corrective Services, after he met with them yesterday at the launch of their Respect the Risk campaign.

The Minister was asked by Mr Logan if he would

  1. Agree to immediately open negotiations with the Prison Officers now and ensure they are concluded well before March 9th 2013?

  2. Guarantee for Prison Officers an above inflation outcome with no trade-offs?

  3. Accept that the risks faced by Prison Officers every day justify a wage outcome more in line with other forms of dangerous work in the private sector?

WAPOU Secretary John Welch said he was disappointed that the Minister refused to answer Mr Logan’s very straight-forward questions which go to the heart of the campaign.

"The "Respect the Risk" campaign is about getting a fairer deal for Prison Officers from the Barnett Government by raising awareness of the risks faced by the officers every day in managing the state’s most violent individuals.

"The officers will now take their campaign out to marginal seats over coming weeks to ensure voters in the upcoming state election are aware of the dangerous work they do,” said Mr Welch.

"The Respect the Risk Campaign truck will visit suburbs and communities around the state to make sure the message is heard loud and strong.

“Now is the time for all politicians to respect the risks prison officers face every day,” said Mr Welch.

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