Thursday, 15 December 2022
Arnold, Constable Matthew, Dare, Mr Alan, McCrow, Constable Rachel
I thank the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, not just as the member for Maranoa but as a boy from Chinchilla. The innocence of this nation but also of two small western Queensland towns was shattered on Monday, when four officers—two from Tara, Constable McCrow and Constable Arnold; and Constables Brough and Kirk—left their stations on a routine job, with pure intent to serve their community, and they were met with malicious intent, with a vile outcome that has shattered the innocence of two small country towns, the likes of which we have never seen before and something we hope we never see again. The bravery of Constables Brough and Kirk in the line of fire—being able to escape a situation they weren't prepared for; they had no intelligence that it was coming—is something that mere mortals would find hard to comprehend: to see two of their colleagues slain in cold-blooded murder. It is one of the most vile acts I have seen and heard about to those who are prepared to put their lives on the line for us. As a society we are better than that—and we are, and our communities are.
While this is a stake to the heart of two small country towns, it's not the end. In fact, it has only solidified the strength, solidified our reverence for those that serve our community—because once you become a country copper you become a part of the community. There is a sense of protection by our police in the bush because, in our hour of need, we know that they are there to protect us, isolated from much of the rest of the world. And so they are one of us, and to have this happen in these communities with that reverence for those that serve us—the most exalted position, above politicians, above mayors—is something that has torn our community and rocked our community to the core.
But I'm proud of the fact that our community wrap our arms around those that continue to serve us, but also around Alan Dare's family. A husband, a father, a grandfather, who yesterday with Kerry celebrated 26 years of marriage—26 years together, living a peaceful, happy life, but doing what we all do in the bush: when someone needs help, you step up. And Alan Dare, with another neighbour, stood up. They went to help a neighbour. They walked into the line of fire. He paid the ultimate price. His family has paid the ultimate price, along with these two brave constables.
I'm proud of my community. It has already raised $56,000 to help the Dare family in whatever small way that is. Whatever outpouring we can show in a monetary sense or whatever, our community is there. And for these officers our community is there. For these families, we have no words. There's no explanation for this. You cannot explain the inconceivable—the vile actions of these individuals. What we have to take strength from and believe in as a community and as a country is that their legacy, their honour, is that we as custodians of this great democracy and this great country and our great communities will come together and solidify around the loss, the huge loss, that these families now face.
In our part of the world, you're only classified as a local if you're born in these towns and live there all your life. But, to Alan, Rachel and Matthew: you're now locals. You're now the greatest locals we've ever had.