House debates

Thursday, 15 December 2022


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

1:44 pm

Photo of Adam BandtAdam Bandt (Melbourne, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

My thoughts go out to those who've lost their lives: Constable Matthew Arnold, Constable Rachel McCrow and Alan Dare. We've seen in the days since this horrific tragedy how the loss of these lives have devastated the communities of Wieambilla, Chinchilla and Tara. Those small and close-knit communities are now reckoning with not just the loss of some of their own, but also trying to grapple with the shocking circumstances in which it occurred. My thoughts go out to those who knew and loved those killed on Monday, and also to constables Keely Brough and Randall Kirk.

Our community owes first responders a debt of thanks. Every day the nation's paramedics, police and firefighters go into unpredictable and dangerous situations. And in this place we often only reckon with that danger when tragedy occurs. The prospect of arriving at a missing persons call only to be met with gunfire is utterly gut-wrenching. Everyone deserves to be safe at work.

The bravery of Alan Dare must also be acknowledged. When he heard gunshots on his neighbour's property, he ran towards the danger in hopes of lending aid, despite the danger. For this brave and selfless act, he lost his life.

And while the exact circumstances of Monday are still being worked out, what we know so far is extremely worrying and points to a growing trend of extremism. In the last couple of years we've seen the terrible impacts of conspiracy theories laid bare. In Melbourne, paramedics have been attacked because of disinformation about vaccines. We've seen people in rallies opposed to the pandemic response bring a noose to the front of parliament. While the more visible parts of the pandemic health response are now winding down, we continue to see some people push division based on disinformation and conspiracy while we know that, so far, this tragedy appears to be another example of how this harms our community.

In coming to grips with this shocking event and the horrific loss of life, my thoughts are with the victims' families and their communities, and I hope it serves as wake-up call to those who would sow the seeds of conspiracy and division.


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