House debates

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Statements by Members


11:01 am

Photo of Anthony ByrneAnthony Byrne (Holt, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to thank our frontline workers and the local residents in my constituency for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic has changed our lives completely. It has been a very challenging time for us all. Federal and state governments have asked Australians to make huge sacrifices, like staying at home to protect our health system and to limit infection rates. But, due to your actions and discipline and patience, we continue to flatten the curve and keep our community safe.

The cost of this COVID-19 pandemic to Australia and Australians has been enormous. Many people have lost their jobs. Local businesses have closed. People have been struggling in isolation, not being able to see family, friends and loved ones or unable to attend workplaces or move around freely. Sometimes it's been very hard to get accurate information about what to do.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank, in particular, our frontline workers—our doctors and our nurses, and our testing officials at Casey Hospital, Cranbourne Integrated Care Centre and Westfield Fountain Gate pop-up testing facility—for all their work, and others in the area for keeping our community safe. In particular, I want to thank the Victorian police for enforcing the COVID-safe restrictions in Victoria—as I've said, keeping our community safe.

I also wanted to convey my condolences to the Victorian police—and to one police officer at the academy in particular, who trained, I think, two of those police officers—due to the tragic deaths of Leading Constable Lynette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King, Constable Glen Humphris and Constable Joshua Prestney. This happened during the time of the COVID restrictions, which didn't allow for funerals of the magnitude I think that would've occurred, to have occurred. I've been to the academy on a number of occasions; I've spoken to recruits. As I said, there's one particular officer that I am speaking to today that was involved in training, I think, a couple of those recruits. It caused enormous stress and strain to the Victorian police force, and their response was fantastic; it showed their resilience and their courage. But it showed also the dangers that police officers face every day that they are out there, trying to protect our community. They put their lives on the line every time they put their uniforms on and go to their place of work.

So, on behalf of us all, to the families of those that have lost those four brave fallen officers, on behalf of this place, I wanted to extend my condolences to the family, loved ones and friends. You are in our thoughts and prayers. To the Victorian police and the people that I work with very closely across the board: thank you for the work that you do in keeping our community safe, not just with the COVID environment but every day that you are out there on the roads.