Thursday, 15 December 2022
Arnold, Constable Matthew, Dare, Mr Alan, McCrow, Constable Rachel
I rise in support of this motion led by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. It is times like this when we come together as a parliament, and I want to acknowledge the heartfelt speeches all members have contributed to this motion but particularly that of the Leader of the Opposition; as a past serving police officer, you know this better than just about anybody else in this place. I also acknowledge other members in this place who have served wearing the uniform.
We acknowledge here today the deaths of Constable Rachel McCrow, age 29, and Constable Matthew Arnold, age 26. No person should go to work and not come home, whether that be on a building site or, in this case, on a farm in the western Darling Downs. When I heard the news coming through on Monday night, I, like most of us, experienced a great sense of grief and despair. I put something up on Facebook and was flooded by responses from everyday Australians and Queenslanders—good people who refuse to acknowledge that this is not what we are as Australians. Members of the Queensland Police Service—17,000 members—form a community of 66,000 police officers around this country who go to work every day to serve their communities, to serve us. They know that, like members of the military, one day they may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice, but, of course, none of them would ever expect to do that. But they do it. They join up. They do it to protect us as citizens.
As we remember Constable Rachel McCrow and Constable Matthew Arnold—and also Alan Dare—today, we remember their sacrifice. We remember the sense of service that they gave and that their colleagues continue to give. We remember their other colleagues Constable Keely Brough and Constable Randall Kirk, who was wounded. We will never understand the unspeakable grief that those survivors will be living with for the rest of their lives, nor will we understand the grief of the scenes-of-crime officers, the SERT officers and the other officers who came and retrieved the deceased. These men and women in uniform run to the sound of trouble when most of us would run away. I want to acknowledge Commissioner Katarina Carroll. I want to acknowledge the work that has been done by Ian Leavers, a great Queenslander and a great contributor and representative of his colleagues in QPS.
I want to say to Australians and Queenslanders and members in this place who have served in uniform: if you have an interaction with the police, whether it be today, tomorrow or next week, please acknowledge them for the service they have performed and continue to perform. Acknowledge them and thank them for their service. We thank our military and our veterans, as we should, but we rarely thank our emergency service workers. Our emergency service workers, sadly, see so much carnage, whether it be on the roads or in domestic violence or, in this case, worse. We need, as an Australian community, to throw our arms around them and, as an Australian community, let them know that we love them and care for them, and thank them for their service, and that we will help support them in any way we can, whether that's in Tara, Chinchilla, Maroochydore, Alexandra Headland—it doesn't matter where it is in Australia.
Go up to a member of the QPS or a police service today—or an ambulance or a firie—and say, 'Thank you for your service. Thank you for putting your life on the line every single day of your working life so that we can have better lives as Australians.'