Paul Parker, the NSW RFS firefighter who shot to viral fame in January after bringing his firetruck to a complete stop just so he could bellow “tell the Prime Minister to go and get fucked” down the barrel of a news crew camera, is still enjoying the wave of goodwill the public has shown him ever since his moment in the sun captured the mood of a very angry nation. Mostly, that’s taken the form of beers. A whole hell of a lot of beers.
As it turns out, various crowdfunding campaigns and donations from generous strangers has meant Parker, from Nelligen near the NSW South Coast, hasn’t really had to pay for a beer at all ever since catapulting into the national spotlight.
In an interview with The Age Joel Alvey, the publican of Parker’s local the Steampacket Hotel, stated people have been coming in or ringing in from across the country and putting money down behind the bar to ensure Parker never has to fork out for his own frothies.
“Pretty much every day someone comes in and puts their money down, telling us to buy a few beers for that bloke who got stuck into the Prime Minister,” Alvey stated. “We’ve had people ringing up from all around Australia, wanting to transfer money so Paul doesn’t need to pay for his own beers. A lady from Brisbane raised $150 through a GoFundMe campaign. A bloke from Adelaide rang just today and is sending $20. I suppose about $500 has turned up, and it keeps coming.”
Parker became the figurehead for the anger of ordinary Australians, furious at Prime Minister Scott Morrison over blasé inaction during the horrific bushfire crisis. In a now-iconic clip, Parker, on his way to fight yet another fire, pulled his firetruck to a complete stop after spotting a 7 News camera crew, barked “are you from the media?” at them, before launching “tell the Prime Minister to go and get fucked from Nelligen. We really enjoy doing this shit, fuckhead.”
With the literal outpouring of support rolling in for him at the bar, Parker has made a point of sharing the generosity around, using the ever-growing tab to shout various mates each time he’s visited in the weeks since.
With areas around Nelligen evacuated three times over the usually busy summer period, Alvey estimates the pub has lost somewhere in the vicinity of $250,000 in revenue.
Parker, for his part, reckons the Government should be doing more to help small businesses in the region. According to Parker, the pub is “not able to get government assistance because the building wasn’t actually impacted by fire. They lost all their trade, but they weren’t impacted? It’s ridiculous,” he said. “The Prime Minister should come and talk to us. But of course, we haven’t heard from him.”
Sounds about right.