Legislative Council: Thursday, October 19, 2023



National Police Remembrance Day

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. R.B. Martin:

That this council—

1. Recognises that 29 September 2023 is National Police Remembrance Day.

2. Acknowledges that the purpose of National Police Remembrance Day is to:

(a) honour and remember all police officers who have been killed on duty or because of their duties; and

(b) provide an opportunity to commemorate officers whose death did not occur as a consequence of their duty.

3. Reflects on the brave sacrifices made by those police officers memorialised and provides its condolences to the family members, friends and colleagues of all those police officers who have passed.

(Continued from 28 September 2023.)

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (17:00): I rise to add my reflections for National Police Remembrance Day. This day of utmost significance receives less attention than it deserves. There are over 5,000 police and support staff working across South Australia. They are sited across 28 metropolitan and 110 regional police stations, as well as administrative and operational centres. Each one of these people, wherever they are, deserve to get home safely from work at the end of each day.

National Police Remembrance Day is an occasion to remind us of the sacrifices and unwavering commitment of our police officers, to remember those who did not make it home safely. I offer my respects to the brave men and women who dedicate their lives to ensuring our safety and our security.

National Police Remembrance Day falls on 29 September each year. It was established to honour and remember the police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. On this day, we reflect on courage and valour. We remember their dedication, their service and the sacrifices they made to uphold the values of justice, integrity, and safety within our communities.

In Australia, police officers are faced with a multitude of challenges every day. Their work helps to ensure our streets and neighbourhoods are safe, often dealing with dangerous situations and confronting the worst elements of society. They are among our first responders during times of crisis and are sworn to protect us from harm.

When an officer leaves their home each day, they do not know what challenges they may face, yet they do so with a sense of duty and commitment to protect their local community. Their sacrifices extend not only to the fallen but also to their families, families who wait for their loved one to return home safely and those who live with the uncertainty of their loved one's safety each day.

It is important to remember that the sacrifices made by our police officers do not end with their lives. The physical and emotional toll that their service can take is immense. We must provide support and care for officers who continue to serve and protect us. We must ensure they have the resources and assistance they need to deal with the experiences they may face in the line of duty.

National Police Remembrance Day is an opportunity each year for all of us to express our gratitude to those who have served and to those who continue to serve. It is a day to let them know that we appreciate their dedication, their resilience and their selflessness. We can show our support through simple acts of kindness, through acknowledging their service and through contributing to initiatives that help the families of fallen officers.

In conclusion, National Police Remembrance Day is a day to honour those gone, support the serving members and reflect on the vital role police officers play in our society. It is a day to recognise that they are not just officers in uniforms but individuals who put the safety and security of our community above all else. Their sacrifices should never be forgotten, and their service should be celebrated and respected. Thank you, and let us agree as a chamber that National Police Remembrance Day should be afforded this attention every single year.

The Hon. L.A. HENDERSON (17:03): I rise today in support of the motion and to recognise that 29 September 2023 was National Police Remembrance Day. I thank the honourable member for bringing this important motion to the chamber. I would like to start by acknowledging and giving honour to the 61 SAPOL members and their counterparts from other Australasian police jurisdictions who lost their lives in the past year while serving their communities. I would like to commemorate officers whose death did not occur as a consequence of their duties and recognise their service of protecting and keeping our communities safe. To all family members, friends and colleagues of these officers who have passed, I give my condolences.

National Police Remembrance Day was first held in 1989 as a result of a joint decision at the 1988 Australasia and South West Pacific Region Commissioners Conference. The day of observance is that of the feast day for St Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of police, who is recognised as an archangel by the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths. It is a day to allow an opportunity for us to commemorate police officers throughout the region who were killed on duty or died while serving.

Members of our police force continue to protect our community, despite the danger that comes with the nature of the work of policing. We often read in the newspaper, or might see on the news, police officers responding to situations where their lives may be put at risk. It sees them daily facing uncertainties and the risk of getting in harm's way. When they leave home, they never know what the day ahead of them has in store.

I am committed to championing those who serve our community, often to the detriment of their own safety, so they can protect our community. Today, in this chamber, we acknowledge and honour all police officers who have been killed on duty or because of their duties. These men and women paid the ultimate price in exchange for the continuous safekeeping of our communities. It is only right that we honour them and their service and sacrifice, and also that of their families in their loss. Once again, I support and commend the mover of this motion.

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (17:05): I would like to start by thanking the other speakers for their contributions. I think the Hon. Nicola Centofanti said it well when she said that this is a day that does not get due acknowledgement and recognition—and it is good that this parliament is likely to support that. I also appreciate the speech by the Hon. Laura Henderson. This is an issue and an area that I know she is particularly passionate about. She is a powerful advocate in this area. I thank both speakers for their contribution, and I look forward to the support of the house for this motion.

Motion carried.