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Monday, 19 September 2011
Page: 10631

Mr WYATT (Hasluck) (12:29): I want to thank the member for Fowler for this motion. It is important that we acknowledge and recognise police officers who have given of their lives in the course of their duty. I also acknowledge our serving policemen and women but in particular National Police Remembrance Day, which is celebrated every year on 29 September. Since 1829 there have been over 10,000 people who have served in the Western Australian police service, protecting our way of life on a daily basis. They go out to work each day and their mission is to enhance the quality of life and the wellbeing of all people in Western Australia by contributing to making our state a safe and secure place.

Services will be taking place all around the country to remember our brave men and women in the police services who have lost their lives in the course of their duty. The National Police Remembrance Day service commemorates those Australian police officers who have been killed in the course of their duty or have died as a result of their duties. Equally, I want to acknowledge those who have also been injured whilst performing their duty. We often see photographic evidence of police officers with injuries that leave you mind-boggled by the fact that somebody who is protecting society has been injured in such a heinous way, because it is not of their making.

Police around the world have a day of recognition observed of the main feast day of Saint Michael the Archangel, patron saint of police. In Western Australia there have been 79 police officers killed in the line of duty since Captain Ellis was speared in the Battle of Pinjarra in 1834. In more recent times, Constable Damien Murphy was killed in a traffic accident in 2007 in Perth while attending to the issue of a domestic violence situation in the suburb of Craigie. Many Western Australians will also still remember the dark day of 26 January 2001, when four officers were killed in a plane crash outside of the remote town of Newman.

The majority of West Australian police officers killed in recent times have died as a result of traffic accidents or plane crashes. This reflects the unique challenges faced by WA police services. Western Australia is the world's largest non-federated police jurisdiction. It covers some 2.5 million square kilometres and is bigger than many countries around the world. Deaths in travel reflect the difficult terrain and the vast distances that our police services are required to cover in their daily working lives.

I have a strong working relationship with the police in my electorate of Hasluck. This comes from their involvement in the Gosnells and Midlands—the PCYC and officers at the Gosnells, Forrestfield and Midland police stations, who in their efforts combat hooning and anti-social behaviour within my electorate. The police do a tough job and work 24 hours a day to keep the people of Hasluck and Western Australia safe. I think that this is a point often forgotten by some people. When there is a noise in our house at night or a violent situation, who we call is always important and it is always our local police. It is their job to put themselves in harm's way to protect us and, sadly, a number have paid the ultimate price over the years. Their families are affected because it is difficult for any of us to accept a loss in our families, and the gap that is left is challenging. It not only impacts on a partner; it impacts on children, it impacts on the mother and father, the father- and the mother-in-laws and the other members of the family. They also know that their son or daughter served in the line of duty.

The community also suffers at the death of a police officer. This is a person who dedicated their professional life to protecting Western Australians and we are weaker for the loss. I welcome this motion and stand here today to recognise our police in Western Australia and police officers all around this nation who go and stand where others fear to tread in the name of protecting our society and way of life. I have had the privilege of being associated with the police force through being a mentor to a squad within the Western Australian academy and it is a privilege that I will always cherish and remember. I understand the principle of the police family and the way in which they connect with each other and support each other in times of both need and crisis.