House debates

Monday, 30 August 2021


National Police Remembrance Day

11:31 am

Photo of Rob MitchellRob Mitchell (McEwen, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

[by video link] It is with great pride that I rise to support the motion moved by the member for Fowler. Our country owes a great deal of debt to the men and women of our police forces who have made, and continue to make, great sacrifices in the service of our community and our country. On 29 December, our nation will observe National Police Remembrance Day and, rightfully, will pay tribute to the crucial role that police officers play right across this nation.

Australians serve in our communities, and they accept the immense risk to them as part of the sacrifice of their role serving the Australian people. Throughout this COVID pandemic, we have seen Australian police officers again and again put themselves on the front line, providing crucial services to our communities throughout one of the most difficult periods in our country. We live in one of the safest countries on the planet, and we owe our police officers an immense debt for providing us with that safety. We commend the brave men and women of our police forces for undertaking their duties with integrity, compassion and for serving our communities with such pride. It's of the utmost importance that we take the time to recognise the services of police officers, and to honour the lives and memories of those police officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the course of their duties in order to ensure a safer community for all of us.

The police officers who have lost their lives in the course of their duties are true Australian heroes. They were the bravest amongst us, and we owe them the utmost respect and reverence. This year we honour the life and memory of Senior Constable David Masters of the Queensland Police Service, who lost his life in the line of duty. The men and women of our police force serve on the front lines of our community. They place themselves, using all their bravery and integrity, in the path of danger to ensure our communities are protected. In many ways, their loved ones share the sacrifices they make.

On National Police Remembrance Day, we pay tribute to the families and friends of those police officers who may have been killed in the line of duty throughout our nation's history. We acknowledge their families' pain and sacrifice, and we thank them for their strength. It is also fitting that we commend the work of Police Legacy, who look after the loved ones of police officers who have fallen in the line of duty. It's the men and women of our police forces who safeguard our communities. Police officers are the backbone of so many of our communities, acting in capacities reaching far beyond law enforcement as they seek to ensure the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve. These are Australian heroes, and they deserve our utmost gratitude and respect.

When I think back to the aftermath of Black Saturday, I think of the police who are out there day in and day out. Every single time there is a national disaster, the police put their lives and their mental health on the line, and I have seen personally the impact that has on the great men and women who have been out there doing the right thing for our communities. We can never thank them enough. I'm very blessed to know a few police members, including former Assistant Commissioner Brian Harding, who recently launched a book. When you sit back and hear the stories of what police officers have done and how they've been able to work in and manage communities to bring out the best in them it's just second to none.

As the member for Riverina said, we know that in a time of crisis they're the first people there. They're there in situations that we hope we would never ever have to see, but they're always there to help us and to help the rest of the community. Quite often, as we've seen, they're also—unfairly—on the front line for abuse and attack by ignorant morons in our community. We have all come foul of the law occasionally; a few times they have been of great assistance to me in helping to increase the state's coffers with a few indiscretions I've had over the years—the odd speeding ticket—to help keep the community in the black. But we always know that, first and foremost, they're there.

I was with them through my younger days in driving tow trucks; they were always there when it was a fatality. It's the police who did the hard stuff. Imagine being in the situations that they have to put themselves in. They have to go to someone's home and tell them that a loved one is not coming home. And there was the year before, where we saw four of our Victorian police officers killed in a terrible tragedy—disgustingly, filmed by a piece of filth whose name I will not use. Those four officers should never be forgotten for the work they did and that they were trying to do. At the end of the day our police are there to protect our communities and to protect our lives, and we should be grateful and thankful to them.

I want to congratulate all the people who have been involved with this, but I want to pay my respects to the former police officers who are serving in our community—including my friend the member for Richmond—who I know have done so much for this community and who never stop giving. I just want to pay my respects to them as well.


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