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    CONCERN: Horsham-based paramedics, from left, Paul Jacobs, Gemma Pfeiffer, Kristy Kelly, Georgia Baker, Aiden Gionis, and Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance paramedic John Kelly at Horsham Ambulance Station. The Horsham team has joined other Ambulance Victoria members in speaking about their frustration about the threat of workplace violence. Picture: DEAN LAWSON

EDITORIAL: Respect key to formula

We know we’re well past the stage of telling society to ‘have a good hard look at itself’ when it comes to how we treat our emergency-service workers.

But that, it seems, is what we collectively need to do to ensure the level of response we’ve come to expect in a modern and progressive Australia can continue.

Respect is the key word in this formula. Respect for the person, respect for the position and role, respect for the uniform and respect for the society the uniform represents.

Police, paramedics, State Emergency Service volunteers, firefighters, life-savers and medical professionals – all have jobs that benefit us, everyday people, who need confidence in knowing they are providing services that protect, rescue and save.

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As communities, we should not need reminding that we need to look after them. 

Just imagine if these services and people, who take on these often thankless jobs, did not exist.

Victorian paramedics have every right to feel disappointed and frustrated and to believe that efforts to help keep them safe through courts have failed.

We suspect fresh outrage in response to an offender who attacked a paramedic escaping jail will lead to even more tightening of laws involving attacks on emergency-service personnel.

The reality is that society sensibility should be nipping this issue in the bud long before it gets to ugly confrontations and court cases.

There is no excuse to treat anyone, especially paramedics who have a professional duty to help people, with blatant disrespect, let alone like a punching bag.

There are obviously some situations that might lead to irrational behaviour that need special management – such is the nature of trauma where medical treatment is necessary.

But poor behaviour, regardless of whether it is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, is simply unacceptable. 

Again, it is all about understanding the role respect plays in society. 

Adding to the disappointment is hearing from paramedics that this type of behaviour is becoming more common in the Wimmera – our neck of the woods for goodness sake –  where the chances of people involved in incidents knowing each other is high.

If our people are doing this as well as others in faraway Melbourne and other larger centres, then we too need to have a good hard look at ourselves.

The entire September 4, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!