House debates

Thursday, 15 December 2022


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

1:31 pm

Photo of Scott BuchholzScott Buchholz (Wright, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise today to honour the memories of Constable Matthew Arnold and Constable Rachel McCrow. I also acknowledge the death of Mr Alan Dare, a kind neighbour who attended what he thought was a neighbour in distress only to be killed by the same brutality that cut short the lives of Constables Arnold and McCrow. I know every member of this place will agree that it's a miracle that Constable Keely Brough and Constable Randall Kirk escaped this extreme act of violence with their lives.

I want to pay my respects to Rachel's family and particularly to her mother, Dr Judy McCrow, and her sister, Samantha McCrow. I cannot fathom the grief that Judy, Samantha and the rest of Rachel's family are feeling at this difficult time. Similarly, I want to acknowledge and pay my respects to Matthew's mother, Sue Arnold, his sister, Hayley Arnold, and his brother, James Arnold. The loss of a son and a fellow triplet is a tragedy. The bonds that unite our families are so precious, and their destruction is an unbreakable crime.

Dedication and service are attributes that fuelled Rachel and Matthew through life, and I am not surprised to know that both of them were called to serve the community as police officers. Constable Arnold was sworn in in March 2020 and Constable McCrow was sworn in in June 2021. They both began their careers in the Dalby division before moving to Tara police station.

Rachel McCrow graduated from Genesis Christian College in 2010 and has been described by her friends as someone who was most determined to serve the community and work tirelessly for the people of Queensland. I acknowledge her service today and lament the outstanding career that was cruelly taken from her.

Matthew Arnold graduated from St Laurence's College in 2013 and was a dedicated and talented athlete. Matthew was awarded the Sportsman of the Year award in 2013 and has continued to give back to the St Laurence's community as a coach since graduating.

Each and every Australian who is drawn to serve our community as a police officer understands that there are risks associated with the work they do. However, what occurred on Monday 12 December 2022 stands as a stark reminder of the extreme risks police undertake every day for the peace and wellbeing of our community.

Rachel was kind and warm, and she used her effervescent personality to connect with others and make people feel seen and heard. These are powerful attributes, and ones that are essential in a healthy police service. Matthew was a compassionate and dedicated man, who, above all else, exemplified service. He was a devoted brother and a son, who freely gave back. Matthew brought his compassion to the work that he did every day as a police officer, and the outpouring of grief from the community of Tara recognises these attributes.

The monsters who committed these heinous crimes have taken from our community the types of people that we desperately need in policing, those people who will dedicate their lives to keeping our children, our streets and our communities safe, and who use their charisma and professionalism to reach across the divide that separates all of us and bridge the gap with professionalism and humanity. Everything I know about Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold says they fit the bill. They, along with Keely and Randall, were young police officers at the start of their careers, undertaking vital services our regional communities need. The police service is the only 24-hour service that most communities in our regional centres have. They don't have ambulance services at night in the smaller communities, so the police become the linchpins.

People like Rachel, Matthew, Randall and Keely are the new faces who serve and protect our remote communities; who bring their training, their life experiences and their enthusiasm to communities; and who build relationships that last a lifetime. The impact of fresh faces and new lives in our regional communities is an injection of vigour. The history of Queensland is filled with stories of young constables who move to regional communities and bring their passion, their vigour and their new perspectives to enrich the lives of the communities that they serve. Communities like Tara, Dalby and Chinchilla are better for the service of young men and women like Rachel, Matthew, Randall and Keely, and I join with those communities that are in shock and are grieving at this time.

I want to acknowledge the amazing work of Ian Leavers, the Queensland Police Union president, after being called back from a break that he was on and having only recently had an election for the Police Union presidency, which was uncontested—evidence of the work that he does representing his members. I want to acknowledge the advocacy from him and his team in keeping members of this parliament up to date with the proceedings as they've unfolded. It was harrowing to hear of the bravery that Constable Randall Kirk and Constable Keely Brough undertook in the line of duty. Both officers went above and beyond to support their colleagues in this horrific circumstance.

I want to acknowledge, and echo the words of, the Queensland Police Commissioner, Commissioner Katarina Carroll, and say that I am extremely grateful that Keely and Randall escaped with their lives. To Commissioner Carroll, I ask that she pass on my appreciation to the tactical response team that neutralised the situation. It was an amazing task, and they're heroes in the making.

Keely's bravery was exceptional. As she hid from the psychopaths determined to kill her, she continued to relay intelligence and prepared herself for the end. I cannot comprehend the enormity of such a situation and the breadth of the emotion that must have fuelled Constable Brough. Constable Brough rose to the challenge and relied on her skills and tenacity to survive and support her colleagues. I want to acknowledge Constable Randall Kirk and wish him a speedy recovery. Randall was shot and managed to get away to his vehicle under heavy fire. Similar to Constable Brough, Randall continued to assist his colleagues. Randall and his wife, Breanna, are young parents, and they're expecting their second child as early as January. I want to join with Constable Kirk in sending my prayer to the police families at this difficult time.

Our community stands with police every single day. This place has provided the laws and the mechanisms to make our communities safer. State politicians can pass laws, but we rely on the bravery and dedication of each and every police officer to enforce those laws and to ensure that the community stays safe. Today in this place we can speak words and shed tears. Today we remember and mourn the young lives full of promise that have tragically been cut short.

We must not, in this place or as a nation, forget this tragedy. Each and every member of this place owes the memory of Matthew and Rachel and the dedication of Randall and Keely our attention and respect. In the months and years to come, we must remember this moment and protect those that protect us. In closing, I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge the local police men and women that serve in my electorate, particularly Sergeant Peter Boyce, my local senior sergeant, and the team that diligently work with him. I honour them as my local police establishment. I honour every police officer that serves. With honour they serve.


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