National Police Remembrance Day

I want to acknowledge the member for Fowler, who has brought this motion today. It’s a very important one. I won’t use the term heroes to describe our men and women who serve this country in blue, and in fact all our emergency services workers, because it’s so overused these days. But we thank them for their service. We rightly give so much emphasis to our men and women who wear khaki for the work and service that they do for this country and give to this country, but we don’t recognise enough the service that our emergency service workers and, in particular, our police give. I want to join the chorus in acknowledging Police Remembrance Day on 29 September this year, as we do every year, and I hope that this year I will be able to join with my local constabulary in my own electorate and take part in those proceedings that we will have on 29 September to recognise and remember those who have fallen in the service of their communities.

The Queensland Police Service motto is ‘With Honour We Serve,’ and I think in difficult times you should always go back to your roots. It doesn’t matter what job you’re in; you should always go back to your roots, always go back to why you’re in this job in the first place. For the police, for all those men and women who are out there serving today, go back to your roots, go back to your motto. It’s ‘With Honour We Serve’ in Queensland. In Victoria it’s ‘Tenez le droit,’ Latin for ‘uphold the right’. Those are two great mottos that serve as a remembrance to all serving men and women as to why they do what they do and why they continue to put themselves in harm’s way to protect their communities.

We acknowledge those men and women who have died in service of their community. In particular, I want to acknowledge Senior Constable David Masters, who was killed in Queensland in June this year. I was driving back from Canberra, from Brisbane airport, that very morning. We got diverted and the traffic was unbelievable; what is normally an hour and a half’s drive to get home took me about four hours. I got diverted off the Bruce Highway and I was selfishly thinking, ‘What’s going on here?’ I turned the radio on and learned that Senior Constable David Masters had been killed as a result of being struck by a stolen vehicle that very morning, and a profound sense of grief overcame me; here I was complaining about my travel being disrupted for a few hours, and this young man had lost his life in the service of his community. It’s a poignant reminder of the dangers that these men and women put themselves in.

It’s not just the deaths that impact on our police service and emergency service workers. As the member for Richmond just indicated, it’s the PTSD and the mental health problems that many suffer as a result of their service. I’ve work closely with members of the QPS—in particular, one of my mates from the Alex Surf Club who was a scenes-of-crime officer. He has shared with me the unbelievable sorrow that he carries with him as a result of his many, many years as a scenes-of-crime officer. Most people could not even imagine let alone live through what those men and women are exposed to on a daily basis.

I want to acknowledge the superintendent of the north coast region, Craig Hawkins, and Inspector Jason Overland, whom I have very good relationships with locally. I want to acknowledge the member for Wide Bay, the member for Cowper, the Minister for Defence, the member for Richmond and the Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs for their service to their communities around this great country. Again, I want to thank the member for Fowler for bringing this very, very important motion.