House debates

Thursday, 15 December 2022


Arnold, Constable Matthew, Dare, Mr Alan, McCrow, Constable Rachel

1:22 pm

Photo of Phillip ThompsonPhillip Thompson (Herbert, Liberal National Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence) Share this | Hansard source

Queensland police constables Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold, and civilian Mr Alan Dare—with honour they served. Alan responded like any mate, any neighbour, would—to check in to see how his neighbour is travelling, see if they needed a hand, and he was gunned down. He was set to have a wedding anniversary, his 26th wedding anniversary. Constables Rachel and Matthew—killed in the line of duty. Police officers see tragedy every day on our roads, responding to incidents, but every morning they get up and put on their uniform, to protect us and to look after us. These tragedies simply should not have occurred.

There has been an outcry, and people want to pay their respects to our slain police officers as well as to Alan. In Townsville, many people went to the QPS headquarters there, as well as to different police stations, to pay their respects, to say, 'Sorry for your loss.' This shouldn't have occurred. It absolutely should not have occurred.

To all the police around the nation: thank you for everything that you do. You keep us safe, you help us, you are there at public events, you are there when your community needs you—and we're there for you now, in this moment of absolute tragedy.

I have a message from a lady in Townsville. She is known as Nanny Jan. Nanny Jan sent me a message about Constable Rachel McCrow. She said: 'Rachel was a recruit here in Townsville that I had the pleasure of looking after at the lodge. I was employed as a caterer there and called her group of recruits my babies, which made them chuckle. Rachel was the one most turned to for guidance during their stay there. She would email the whole group to make sure they picked up their takeaway lunches if they wouldn't be returning for lunch. Amongst many other things, she was just pure class and always presented herself in the best way. I remember hugging her when she had completed the course and saying, "Just keep safe." She was so proud and happy to have become a police officer. My heart just breaks for her family and all the recruits that trained with her. I know they'd be heartbroken. They were a very close, amazing group of young people; I'm blessed to have crossed paths with them. Love to them all, Nanny Jan.' This is just one message, out of many that I have received, speaking about the constables who were killed, as well as Alan.

This has deeply affected every single police jurisdiction here in Australia and in New Zealand. Tuesday was a day of mourning, where people were walking in and out of QPS headquarters and police stations around the country in tears, together in solidarity. Those who have been to and been involved in critical incidents can feel that true vulnerability and terror they would have felt. Our police officers' thoughts go to them, wishing to be with them at that time. That split second between life and death, that last stop—that's what the thin blue line is.

Police, and specifically the QPS, will still go out on their jobs and have that feeling now of vulnerability—second-guessing. The tragic circumstances always happen when you least expect it, but that uniform, which means the world to our police, in this vile act has become a target. Police do this job because it's a calling, a wanting to help, a love for their community. I'm so sorry, to the families of Rachel, Matthew and Alan. This tragedy has broken the hearts of all Australians.

Thank you to the SERT that responded and put down hard these vile scumbags who murdered our police officers, as well as the civilian local, and let this serve as a warning to everyone who thinks ill of or wants to do ill to our police or to the civilian community. There will be a response, and there will be a response by highly trained, highly capable people that put the community first and that will respond. It's a sad day in Australia, and this day will be remembered. I am so sorry for the loss to the police, for your brother and sister, as well as the civilian who was also killed.


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