Speeches

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS; National Police Remembrance Day (1)

September 17, 2018

Mr HAYES (FowlerChief Opposition Whip) (16:56): I move:

That this House:

(1)notes that National Police Remembrance Day will be observed on 28 September;

(2)acknowledges the significant role police officers across Australia play in our local communities and the great deal of 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 tragically this year we specifically honour Constable Dennis Green of the Western Australian Police Force, who was killed during pursuit training in West Toodyay;

(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 good work of Police Legacy, who look after the loved ones of police officers that have fallen; and

(6)reaffirms its support for the nation's police officers and honours their courage, commitment and dedication to ensuring the peace and safety of our communities.

'A hero can be someone who gave up his or her life so that someone else can live. This definition is a pure example of my dad. To the world you may be one person, but to our family you were the world.' That is a statement from Emma, the daughter of Senior Constable Brett Forte, a Queensland Police officer who was tragically shot and killed in the line of duty last year. It puts in perspective the inherent dangers of everyday policing and the significant toll it takes on the families of police officers.

This year, National Police Remembrance Day will be observed on 28 September. This is one of the most significant days on the national police calendar. As a nation, we pause on this day to remember the police officers who lost their lives in the execution of their duty, and we honour the courage, commitment and dedication of all police members who have sworn to protect our community.

Policing comes with a high degree of risk and with dangers that, thankfully, most of us will never have to encounter. It truly takes a special type of person and a special type of courage to wear the police uniform; we are forever indebted to those fine men and women who have chosen to do so. We recognise their commitment to ensuring the peace and security of our communities, a duty which should never be taken for granted. Our safety and that of our families as well as the security of our homes, businesses and, indeed, our democracy are all reliant on law enforcement, a task which primarily falls to our police.

This year's service will also see the total number of police officers listed on the National Police Memorial regrettably rise once again. This year we recognise the tragic loss of First Class Senior Constable Dennis Michael Green of the Western Australia Police Force. Constable Green was killed in a motorcycle crash, during pursuit training in West Toodyay. Constable Green was a highly respected member of his community and a decorated former soldier in the British Army, having served 20 years with the Royal Engineers. For the last seven years he had been a police officer of the Western Australia Police Force.

The death of Constable Green highlights the inherent danger involved in police work—not knowing what they are likely to encounter every time they commence their shift. In recognition of his service in the Western Australia Police Force Constable Green has been posthumously awarded the National Police Service Medal, the Western Australia Police Star and the Western Australia Police Medal. Constable Green, tragically, leaves behind a wife, Michelle, and two sons, James and Ryan, who I met on the weekend at the National Police Memorial in Canberra.

National Police Remembrance Day is, therefore, also a time for all of us to reflect on the loved ones who have been left behind and the families and friends whose lives have been affected forever. While we mourn them, we thank and honour all police officers and their families, whose unconditional support allows these fine men and women to serve our community. We owe it to the fallen to look after their families, which is why the work of Police Legacy is of particular importance and deserving of our full support. In this regard, I'm happy to say I attended again the annual police Wall to Wall Ride for Remembrance on the weekend, raising much needed funds to assist in this great effort of Police Legacy.

Tragically, this year we also lost a distinguished Victorian police officer, Detective Senior Sergeant Victor Kostiuk, who was killed while participating in this charity ride. He was riding with his son to support fallen police colleagues. I pay tribute to his distinguished and long career in the Victorian police force, and I will have more to say about him at another time.

To Constable Green, to all those police officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and to all our past and current members of our respective police forces, we honour you and we profoundly thank you for your service. Above all, be comforted in the knowledge that you have made a difference for the better in our communities.

WE'LL PUT PEOPLE FIRST