House debates

Thursday, 15 December 2022


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

2:09 pm

Photo of Anne AlyAnne Aly (Cowan, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Early Childhood Education) Share this | Hansard source

I too rise here in this place to give the condolences of myself, of my family and, indeed, of all the constituents that I represent in the electorate of Cowan on the tragic loss of Constable Matthew Arnold, Constable Rachel McCrow and Alan Dare.

Indeed, all of Australia is shocked and saddened by this absolute tragedy. I know that, for police families, the pain of this tragedy will be acutely felt. We are a police family ourselves—my husband, David, was a police officer for many years. My stepdaughter, Tiana, and her partner, Mackenzie, only just this year graduated from the Police Academy in Western Australia, and they're now policing together in Carnarvon. They are the same age as Constable Rachel McCrow. Like Constable Rachel McCrow, when they graduated and left the academy and took on their first job at the station in Canarvon, they were filled with hope, filled with pride and filled with passion—passion for their work as police officers to serve and to protect: to protect their community and to serve their community.

I remember that day that they graduated and attending the graduation ceremony, up at the WA Police Academy, and—apart from my husband beaming with pride that his daughter was following in his footsteps as a police officer— the pride on the faces of each and every one of those graduates that day, and on the faces of their families, was something to be seen. You could feel it in the air—it was palpable; you could touch it—that these people, many of them young people, had chosen a career where they put their lives on the line each and every day in order to serve and to protect the community. It is something really quite extraordinary, as well as being very inspiring, I must say.

I know that families out there who are policing families will have seen this tragedy and, like us, they would have thought, 'What if that was my daughter?' or 'What if that was my son?' In the same way that we held each other and thought but didn't quite speak the words, but we knew that we were both thinking, 'What if that was Tiana and Mackenzie?' They're the same age as Rachel McCrow—probably graduated at the same time.

Some other members today have commented on this, and I think it's worthy to also comment that this is a sad but very timely reminder about how vigilant we have to be about violent extremism and the rise of violent extremism in Australia. It is a reminder of how important it is that we are able to identify individuals who are down that path towards violent extremism, who are becoming operative, and to intervene. Like many Australians, I've been reading the reports coming out, and some of the coverage on the backstories of these perpetrators—whose names shall not be spoken—and it's very clear to me, as somebody who was a professor in this field, and who studied in this field, that their trajectories were very typical of a trajectory to violent extremism. Human behaviour is quite simple, really. Human behaviour is actually quite predictable. There are warning signs, and, from the reports that I've read, there were warning signs with these perpetrators. We have to get better at recognising those warning signs. We have to get better at intervening early. We have to get better at early identification. And all of us have to take more seriously the warning that our security agencies have been giving us about the rise of violent extremism in this country.

On a final note, I just want to reiterate just how deeply this tragedy, this loss of three lives—two very young lives, Constable Matthew Arnold, just 26, and Constable Rachel McCrow, just 29; and Alan Dare, who valiantly, as the member for Sydney mentioned, ran towards danger, being a good neighbour, a good Samaritan.

Those three names will live on in our memories. They are more than just statistics. They are more than just numbers. We will remember them for the courage they showed, for the bravery they demonstrated and for the tragic way in which their lives were drastically cut short. May they all rest in peace.


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