Angry protesters have turned their backs on the Northern Territory Chief Minister as he tried to explain dramatic funding and job cuts in the public service.
More than 200 gathered on the steps of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly to rally against the government.
Around 50 firefighters in uniform - around a quarter of all NT firefighters - waved placards at the rally.
Many of the protesters turned their back on Chief Minister Terry Mills when he tried to explain the cuts.
'As a fellow Australian - I respect your right to be here and express your point of view,'' he told the crowd.
'I and my team have made a decision to come here so we can hear your voices.
'I would ask you to consider that there is more to this story than meets your eye - because sitting behind us is an issue that has taken a number of years to establish, and that is the cost of living ... as well as the growth of debt in the Northern Territory.'
Mr Mills ended his brief address - to booing and chanting - that he had heard the calls of firefighters, and would listen to them.
A senior firefighter braved backlash from the government by speaking out against policy change at the rally.
'We urge everyone to reject these changes and voice their concerns to government about the reduction in essential frontline services,' he told the crowd.
'It's your lives that depend on it, and it's ours as well.'
Unions NT convenor Alan Paton said the cuts in the Government's December 2012 mini-budget were attacking the most vulnerable in the Territory.
'What they done since they have been in power is massive increases to power, water, and sewerage,' he said.
'Public sector job cuts, massive service cuts, fear and anxiety amongst the NT public sector workers - proposed selloffs, privatisation and outsourcing of government functions.'
The fiery rally comes on the first day of annual sittings of parliament for 2013.