Speeches

Speeches Chris has made in the Australian Federal Parliament.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS; National Police Remembrance Day

September 04, 2017

Mr HAYES (FowlerChief Opposition Whip) (16:47): I move:

That this House:

(1) notes that National Police Remembrance Day is observed on 29 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 Senior Constable Brett Forte of the Queensland Police Service, who was shot and killed in the Lockyer Valley on 29 May;

(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.

National Police Remembrance Day is observed annually on 29 September, the feast of St Michael, the patron saint of law enforcement and, according to Christian tradition, the protector of good over evil. Since 1989, this has been one of the most significant days in the national police calendar. As a nation, we pause on this day to remember those officers who have lost their life in the execution of their duty and to honour the courage and commitment of all police members who are sworn to protect our communities.

Policing, as we know, comes with a high degree of risk and danger that, thankfully, most of us will never have to face. It really does take a special type of person with a special type of courage to wear a police uniform. We are forever indebted to those fine men and women who have chosen to do so, and we recognise their commitment to ensuring the peace and security of our communities, a duty we should never take for granted. National Police Remembrance Day is therefore a significant occasion not only for police but also for the wider community. It provides us with the opportunity to reflect upon the invaluable service that our police give and to express our gratitude for their contribution. Our safety and that of our families, the security of our homes and businesses and, indeed, our democracy are all reliant on the enforcement of our laws, a task which falls largely to our police.

The National Police Memorial in Canberra, which was completed in 2006, currently carries the names of 775 police officers from across the nation who have lost their life during the course of their duty. This year, the service will see the total number of police officers listed on this memorial rise by one as we recognise the tragic loss of Senior Constable Brett Forte, of the Queensland Police Service. Senior Constable Forte was shot and killed in the Lockyer Valley on 29 May this year during a police operation with the Toowoomba Tactical Crime Squad.

An officer with over 15 years experience, Senior Constable Forte, I'm told, was born to be a cop, with his closest friends describing the Queensland Police Service as his passion and saying they could not imagine him doing anything else. Senior Constable Forte came from a family of police officers. His father is a retired cop, his wife, Susan, and his brother-in-law are both serving officers. The death of Senior Constable Forte highlights the inherent dangers in police work. Not knowing what they are likely to face day in and day out, police officers are prepared to put their lives on the line every time they go on shift. Senior Constable Forte tragically leaves behind his wife, Susan, and three children, Brodie, Samuel and Emma.

National Police Remembrance Day is also a time to think about the loved ones who have been left behind and the families and friends whose lives are now forever affected. While we mourn with them, we thank and honour all police families whose unconditional support has allowed 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 of particular importance and deserving of our support. In this regard, I will begin participating in the police Wall to Wall Ride for Remembrance. I've been to some events earlier this year, albeit on four wheels rather than two. I will join this year with more than 2½ thousand police officers and friends to raise much-needed funds towards assisting the work of Police Legacy.

To Senior Constable Forte and to all those police officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as all past and current serving members of the police forces around the country: we honour you, and we profoundly thank you for the service that you have given.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Claydon ): Is there a seconder for the motion?

Photo of MPMrs Elliot: I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.

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