Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
I join with the Prime Minister in his fine words and acknowledge in the gallery today representing the police family, Acting Commissioner Ian McCartney, Acting Deputy Commissioner Lesa Gale and Acting Assistant Commissioner Stephen Dametto.
In the aftermath of a tragedy, we reflect on what we have lost and what we have learned.
Constable Rachel McCrow was sworn in as a police officer last year.
Her friends said she was a selfless natured person, a genuine care for others, she was a person who always went above and beyond and took pride in her job.
Constable Matthew Arnold was a triplet. His former principal said that he was a talented athlete and will be remembered as a man of service, of integrity and compassion.
Alan Dare was due to celebrate his 26th wedding anniversary on Wednesday. A resident of Tara described him as a kind man who looked after disadvantaged teenagers.
Constable McCrow, Constable Arnold and Mr Dare meant so much to so many.
And for those many, of course, there will be much pain and sadness, now and enduring.
For those of us who didn’t know Constable McCrow or Constable Arnold and Mr Dare, we will continue to hear about their lives and their deeds in many tributes.
Our nation clearly has lost three wonderful Australians. Three people who embodied compassion, commitment and courage during their lives and in their final moments.
It is certainly those qualities that we will remember and which we will revere. It’s those qualities which will continue to inspire confidence in us to confront evil wherever it lurks.
Mr Speaker, I want to also acknowledge and pay tribute to Constable Randall Kirk and Constable Keely Brough.
As the Prime Minister pointed out and others have said, their bravery, their composure and their quick-thinking in extremis helped save their own lives – as well as others – in calling for back-up.
We certainly wish Constable Kirk a speedy recovery from his wounds.
Mr Speaker, at the National Police Memorial here in Canberra, there is a walkway.
Engraved into that walkway are the words of loved ones, fellow officers and community members in memory of those they lost.
There are these tributes:
‘She had special qualities of reliability, of dedication and community spirit.’
‘That man was a Godsend to the area, it needed someone just like him.’
Whilst those words speak to specific individuals, of course, they also capture the ethos of Australia’s law enforcement community.
Australians have always been able to rely on those who wear the uniform at a state and federal level. They go into the line of fire and into danger zones so that we don’t have to.
And I hope that the virtues displayed by Constables McCrow, Arnold, Kirk and Brough continue to inspire the next generation of young police officers.
Mr Speaker, I want to acknowledge the work of Commissioner Katarina Carroll, her bravery, her leadership, her inspiration.
Equally, I want to acknowledge the contribution, the support of the Queensland Police Union headed by Ian Leavers and the associations in the Federation that do great work around the country in providing that day-to-day support and the support in years to come.
The depravity of this incident is what has struck hardest.
On September the 29th, many of us went to police memorials around the country for the Commemoration Day to mark those who had lost their lives in the service of their state or the Commonwealth.
In every one of them, a tragedy.
But in this instance, what has hit hardest across the country is the execution-style; and the complete disregard for the human beings that these officers were.
The premeditated nature of the attack. The callous lack of heeding the pleas that would have echoed in between the gunshots.
Mr Speaker, I want to acknowledge the work of all of those who attended the scene; forensics officers, special emergency response team officers, those included in the many police officers who will be scarred from this experience.
By chance I returned from Toowoomba earlier this week. We came on to the highway to return from Toowoomba back to Brisbane and the motorcade was there, carrying the bodies of the officers, and the highway blocked as they progressed down to Brisbane, to the John Tonge Centre.
It was a reminder of the good – and of the bravery that they displayed.
Mr Speaker, I want to thank the Prime Minister for the condolence motion today and I say thank you to all of those that have provided support and comfort to the families involved.
All of those that have attended police stations – there are many reports of local communities, particularly in Western Queensland, of running out of flowers, and the tributes will continue for some time to come.
Our thoughts are obviously also with the officers of the Tara and Chinchilla police stations, but the Queensland Police Service more broadly, and the Wieambilla community represented ably by the Leader of the Nationals here today.
It’s particularly difficult as we head into Christmas, and we should all spare a thought and a prayer for those who have lost their lives. But also for those who continue to serve over Christmas to keep us and our family safe.