Speeches Chris has made in the Australian Federal Parliament.

Motions - National Police Remembrance Day

August 30, 2021

Mr HAYES (Fowler—Chief Opposition Whip) (11:11): I move:

That this House:

(1) notes that National Police Remembrance Day will be observed on 29 September 2021;
(2) acknowledges the crucial role police officers across Australia play in our local communities and the tremendous risk and sacrifice that comes with their duty;
(3) honours the lives and memories of those police officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the course of their duty and specifically this year honours, Senior Constable David Masters of the Queensland Police Service, who was killed while trying to intercept a stolen vehicle;
(4) pays tribute to the families and friends of police officers who have been killed in the line of duty throughout our nation's history;
(5) commends the valuable work of Police Legacy, who look after the loved ones of police officers who have fallen; and
(6) reaffirms its support for the nation's police officers and honours their courage, commitment and dedication in ensuring the peace and safety of our communities.

National Police Remembrance Day is observed on 29 September, the day of Saint Michael, the patron saint of all who defend against wrongdoing. This is one of the most significant days in the national police calendar. As a nation, we pause to remember the police officers who have lost their lives in the execution of their duty. We honour their courage and the commitment and the dedication of all police members who have sworn to protect our communities. Policing comes with a high degree of risk that thankfully most of us will never have to encounter. It takes a special type of person, I believe, with a special type of courage to wear the police uniform.

We are forever indebted to those fine men and women who choose to do so and recognise their commitment to ensuring the peace, safety and wellbeing of our communities, a duty which we should never take for granted. Our safety and that of our families, the security of our homes and our businesses and indeed our democracy are all reliant on the enforcement of our laws, a task which predominantly falls to our police. I acknowledge the member for Cowper and his service in the NSW Police Force; the member for La Trobe and his service in Victoria Police; and the members for Richmond, Dickson and Wide Bay for their service in the Queensland Police Service.

This Police Remembrance Day I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the significant work that's being undertaken by our police with regard to assistance given to our respective health departments in combating COVID-19 outbreaks in our communities. The police continue to play an instrumental role on the front line in respect of the COVID-19 public health orders and restrictions, including maintaining, sadly, control at various protests, as we have seen. Police have been putting themselves on the front line in harm's way and have been personally attacked for doing their duty, which is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our communities, particularly during this challenging period.

Sadly, this year we will once again see the total number of police officers listed on the National Wall of Remembrance rise. This year we recognise the tragic loss of Senior Constable David Masters of the Queensland Police Service, who tragically was killed in the course of duty while trying to intercept a stolen vehicle. Senior Constable Masters was highly respected by his colleagues and his community, with his loyalty, commitment and positive attitude very much missed by those in the police family. Quite frankly, the death of Senior Constable Masters highlights the inherent dangers involved in all police work. These people are putting their lives at risk, not knowing what they are likely to encounter every time they go on the shift. Senior Constable Masters leaves behind his wife, Sharon, and his son, Jack. National Police Remembrance Day is, therefore, also a time to reflect on the loved ones that have been left behind. We mourn with them, we thank them and we honour all our police families, whose unconditional support allows these fine men and women to serve our communities.

We owe it to the fallen to look after their families, which is why the work of Police Legacy is particularly important and deserving of our support. I note that the Wall to Wall Ride is a major fundraising event for police legacy. But, because of COVID, this year the Wall to Wall Ride has been cancelled; and many of the commemorative services have also been significantly restricted, but most, I understand, will be livestreamed. Like many, I look forward to being able to ride again next year with members and friends of the police family, and hopefully without COVID restrictions, so that we can show our support for Police Legacy.

To Senior Constable Masters, to all the police officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and to all past and current members of the Police Force: we honour you and profoundly thank you for your service. To all those on the thin blue line: please know and understand that your service makes a difference for the better in our community.