Thursday, 15 December 2022
Arnold, Constable Matthew, Dare, Mr Alan, McCrow, Constable Rachel
I join with all those who have spoken on this motion in paying my respects to Constable Rachel McCrow, Constable Matthew Arnold and Alan Dare, and also with all those who have expressed their commendation to Constable Keely Brough and Constable Randall Kirk for the bravery they showed in standing up to this evil.
In particular, I pay my respects to the Leader of the Opposition for his fine words on this motion. What came through to me from the Leader of the Opposition's words was very much someone who had been part of the police family. The emotion that he showed and the deep sorrow that you could see he felt, as all of us feel, was very much because he has been part of that police family. For anyone who has been a member of a family that has suffered grief and loss, the sorrow is immeasurable and unquantifiable. I think we saw that from the Leader of the Opposition, and I say to him: thank you for your fine words in this parliament today.
I also say, as someone who grew up on a farm, that I know many Alan Dares. The way he responded fits a pattern that I've seen so often of those people on the land reaching out and doing what they think is their duty—that is, to go to help those who are in need, whether it be through fire or anything else. To Alan Dare: thank you for what you did, and my deepest sorrow to you and your family. You did what many people on the land do out of absolute natural instinct—that is, to go to help and support others.
To the two constables who were there and have survived: my deepest appreciation for what you did, the bravery that you showed and also the healing that will be required for both of you in being able to come to terms with what happened. I'm sure I speak for everyone in this parliament when I say we stand with you in making sure that you understand that what you did demonstrated the utmost bravery. You will be in our thoughts and in our prayers as you recover from this evil act you have witnessed.
To all those who have had to respond: our thoughts and prayers are with you. There is no crime scene that any of us would want to have to go to, to take the evidence and to deal with the scene. To those who have had to do that: thank you for what you do.
To the country communities who are being impacted by this, Tara and Wieambilla: our thoughts are with you.
As someone who represents small country communities, I know that this evil will bind you together and make you stronger. The stories of how you're already coming together are quite inspirational, and I'm sure that you will continue to be there to support the families and to support the police going forward because that's what small country communities do. I have no doubt that this will make you stronger, and we're very grateful for that great aspect that country communities have in that regard.
To the police that look after all of the communities in my electorate, thank you. I know some of you personally. I have the great pleasure to call some of you my friends. I've been thinking of you over these last few days, because you go about your jobs in just a normal fashion, like how all of us go about our jobs, but you do put your lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe. It's times like these when I think we all need to say thank you for your service, and thank you for the duty that you carry out. I'm sure I can say this on behalf of all the communities in my electorate: thank you for keeping us safe, and thank you for being prepared to put yourself on the front line in service of our local communities.
At times of grief like this, it's very hard to understand how you can make anything of it other than to be absolutely appalled at what has occurred and at the evil that has taken place. But we do have to learn from incidents like these. We have to make sure that we're doing everything we can as a society to stop them happening and to make sure such evil and hatred cannot continue in our communities, and that's a battle that obviously needs to be waged over a period of time. But we've also got to make sure that we stand with those communities that have been impacted by this and make sure that we support them in the medium and the long term to ensure that they have what they require to get through this. They will come together, these small communities, and they will obviously be brought together, and that will strengthen them. But we still also have to make sure that we're there to support them.
We've got to make sure that these lives are remembered because those who put themselves in the line of duty do so with a sense of selflessness that we need to recognise. We've got to make sure that the losses that occurred here—three lives, two of them in their 20s—are remembered, because it is absolutely vital that we do. If we don't remember them, and if we don't remember their duty, then we do them the gravest disservice that we could possibly do to them. The memorial to the police here in Canberra is a great way for us to do that, but I think, also, what each and every one of us in this nation needs to do whenever we see police officers who are out on the beat, doing their bit to keep us safe, is say hello, acknowledge them and thank them for what they're doing. In that way, in small part, we're also thanking Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold for what they did and for their service.
When you come across someone who is going beyond the call of duty to help and support someone, thank them, and make sure you stop and acknowledge it, because in that way you'll be playing a little part in remembering the great legacy of Alan Dare, the farmer who went to help others, and will also be helping to support Keely Brough and Randall Kirk for their bravery, and helping their recovery.