National Police Remembrance Day

29 September 2014

I too rise today to support the member for Stuart's motion regarding National Police Remembrance Day. I think this is an incredibly important motion. It is great to be able to stand in a bipartisan way in this house to speak with members from all sides of politics on the great importance of the role played by police officers.

Mr SPEIRS (Bright) (12:48): I too rise today to support the member for Stuart's motion regarding National Police Remembrance Day. I think this is an incredibly important motion. It is great to be able to stand in a bipartisan way in this house to speak with members from all sides of politics on the great importance of the role played by police officers.

We have heard a lot of statistics this morning around the numbers of police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. I think it is important to pay attention to those numbers but also to remember, and take time to remember, that behind those numbers there are real people, real names, and real families who have been affected by the loss of their loved ones, who have been doing nothing more than trying to do their job properly and for that have paid the ultimate price. In the last 10 years, going back to those numbers, we have had 22 police officers in Australia lose their lives between 2004 and 2014. We are very fortunate, as the member for Stuart mentioned, that it is more than 12 years now since a South Australian police officer lost their life in the line of duty.

I have a personal connection to the police force. One of my best mates is a serving police officer. He was one of the groomsmen at my wedding. I hear his real joy for the job, the diversity of the job and his real feeling of being able to get out there and serve his community. However, there is no doubt that he knows in the back of his mind that in that diversity is also the great unexpectedness of the job and the possibility that, as the member for Stuart mentioned, he could get up in the morning and go out to serve in his position as a police officer and lose his life—that is much more likely than people serving in other professions.

The role that police officers play was really brought home to me about three months ago when I noticed that my next-door neighbour had not been out and about for a few days. Subsequently, it was discovered that he had met a very tragic, untimely death in his home. I had to call the police out to the house before I entered the house and it was the police officers who went in through the window that they were able to break to enter the property.

It really struck me that the situation facing them when they entered that property was something completely unpredictable. It was something incredibly unpleasant. It was unpleasant for me as a bystander but I was not the one who had to go through that window, pull back the curtains and face something quite stark and quite dreadful in the bedroom on the other side. I really do want to just take time to name Sergeant Richmond, Constable Kolundzic and Constable Vicary, who were the ones who went through that window down in Kingston Park three months ago, and met something very unpleasant, something very grisly. To me it really spoke of the unexpectedness of what police officers face in the line of duty, and the great service that they give us as civilians in the community. They do that as part of their day-to-day work and it is something that I want to spend a moment reflecting on and giving thanks for as we mark National Police Remembrance Day.

I commend the member for Stuart for bringing this motion to our attention, and I thank other members for their statements on this motion.

Extracted from Hansard