Tonight I rise to add my remarks to those made by my friend and colleague, the member for Fowler, in his private member’s bill contribution today, regarding National Police Remembrance Day. This incredibly important day of remembrance took place on 29 September this year. It acknowledges the significant role that police have and have had, the contribution they have made to our local communities and the very high degree of risk and personal sacrifice that comes with the exercise their duty. National Police Remembrance Day remembers the sacrifice of police officers throughout Australasia and the South-West Pacific region who were killed on duty or who have died whilst serving.
I would also like to take a moment to commend the work of Police Legacy in looking after the loved ones of police who have died as a result of their duties.
The member for Fowler’s motion also, quite rightly, re-affirms our support—and, as I am sure I can say with some measure of confidence, this parliament’s support—for the nation’s 56,000 police officers. It honours their efforts to make a difference, to defend our way of life and to safeguard the peace and security of our communities. In our nation’s capital this year we are also able to mark the 10th anniversary of the building and commemoration of the National Police Memorial in Canberra.
In particular, I would like to talk about how, in Melbourne, people gathered to pay tribute to Victoria’s fallen police officers as part of the National Police Remembrance Day memorial service in Kings Domain, as well as throughout the state at various regional locations. This year, hundreds attended the march and service at the Victorian Police Memorial at Kings Domain to remember the 159 police officers killed in Victoria whilst serving the force over the past 163 years.
This year’s service also paid tribute to Senior Constable Maurice Moore, who was killed 30 years ago whilst patrolling late at night in Maryborough. To mark the anniversary, the Blue Ribbon Foundation raised money for improved emergency facilities named in memory of fallen officers and dedicated the urgent care centre at Maryborough hospital in his memory. I wish to congratulate the Blue Ribbon Foundation on their efforts this year.
I also would like to acknowledge the work of our local police officers in Holt, in the City of Casey, Endeavour Hills, Narre Warren in particular, and the Cranbourne police stations. In Holt our police officers are going above and beyond to keep our community safe, as issues of domestic violence, ice, home invasions, terrorism and gang activity are stretching their resources.
There are two police officers who are worthy of mention who I cannot name and I suspect, will never be able to name in this place, who were almost killed at the Endeavours Hills police station on 23 September 2014 in a terrorist attack incident. Two years later, both officers are recovering from this incident, but on National Police Remembrance Day obviously my thoughts turned to the wellbeing of them and their families. I hold both officers in the highest regard for their service to the community, for their commitment to keeping their community safe, and the sacrifice they make physically and psychologically on behalf of our community. Most importantly, I am deeply honoured to call them friends.
Let us never forget the ongoing service of our police officers around our country, especially this week, in particular because on 12 October 2016 it will be the 28th anniversary of the horrific Walsh St police shootings in Melbourne. As one of my friends, the Vicpol officer involved in the Endeavour Hills incident, remarked—I told him that I would read his words about this event into this place:
The Victorian Police and the general public recognise the loss of life of two young constables, Steven Tynan, 22, and Damian Eyre, 20, who were murdered at 4.50 am on 12 October 1988 in Walsh Street, South Yarra, responding to an incident which was nothing short of an ambush. The current security environment is just as volatile now as it was then, nearly 28 years ago.
Victoria and Australia have seen the loss of plenty of fine men and women in the protection of our country. They have made the ultimate sacrifice, and I pay my respects to them. I reiterate to those police officers serving in my community—in the City of Casey region—that I am deeply aware of the sacrifices that you are making, I am aware of your resources being stretched and I encourage you to continue talking to me about how we can solve those issues, but on this night I thank you for your service to the community and for keeping our community safe.