Save Search

Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 20 June 2011
Page: 6600


Mrs D'ATH ( Petrie ) ( 20: 42 ): I move:

That this House:

(1) expresses:

(a) its condolences to:

(i) the family of Senior Constable Damian Leeding who was shot in the line of duty on Sunday evening, 29 May 2011; and

(ii) the colleagues of Senior Constable Leeding at Coomera CIB, Queensland Police Service; and

(b) our gratitude to men and women who serve in our police forces across Australia for the burden placed upon them and the sacrifices they make to protect others; and

(2) acknowledges:

(a) the risks associated with the work performed by our men and women in the police forces across Australia and the bravery that they display in the performance of their duty; and

(b) the husbands, wives and partners of serving police officers for their support of those who serve in our police forces.

It is not just the members of this parliament but also the Australian people who express their sadness at the death of Senior Constable Damian Leeding from Coomera CIB. I acknowledge the members speaking on this condolence motion, the members for Fowler, Riverina and Macarthur, and I thank them for that.

Damian Leeding was shot while attending an armed robbery on the Gold Coast on Sunday evening, 29 May 2011. Damian received a gunshot wound to the face. He was then placed on life support until 1 June 2011, when his wife, Sonya, and his family made the agonising decision to switch off his life support. Senior Constable Leeding was only 35 years old and was married to Sonya Leeding, also a police officer with the Queensland Police Service. They have two children, their son Hudson, who is aged two, and baby Grace.

This House wishes to express its condolences to Sonya and her children and to Damian's family members, including his parents. We hope that they take some solace from the fact that Damian died doing what he loved and what he believed in. He put his life on the line to protect others. That makes him a hero in the hearts of the Australian people.

This House also extends it condolences to Senior Constable Damian Leeding's colleagues at the Coomera CIB, Queensland Police Service, who are also grieving at this very difficult time. This House wishes to convey our gratitude to the men and women who serve in our police forces across Australia for the burdens they carry and the sacrifices that they make to protect others, and no greater sacrifice has been made than that made by Senior Constable Damian Leeding and his police officer partner, Sonya. This House acknowledges the risks associated with the work performed by our men and women in the police forces across Australia and the bravery that they display in the performance of their duty. The Australian public know that, when they need help, police are there to assist, but sometimes police officers are not shown the respect that they deserve. Maybe the public are going about their busy lives and do not stop and consider the risks that our men and women voluntarily face for the sole purpose of protecting people in our community.

I believe a renewed level of respect is being shown out of this terrible tragedy. What I ask of the people in our communities is that maybe when you are being pulled over for a speeding ticket or you are complaining about having to stop for a breath test, stop and think this is to protect you and your loved ones on the road. You should also consider the other work that those officers do—for example, walking into a domestic violence situation not knowing what they might face, finding children in the house when one spouse has taken the ultimate action and ended the life of the other parent with the children present or discovering paedophilia material when that officer has children the same age as the children that have been abused, or facing horrific traffic accidents and then telling the loved ones of that fatal accident, or being assaulted while trying to protect others.

The risk that our police officers face is evident every day and once again it is evident today. Just today it was reported by Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Proctor, officer in charge at Coomera CIB where Senior Constable Damian Leeding worked, was slashed by a glass tube during a raid on an illegal drug lab last night on the Gold Coast. Detective Senior Sergeant Proctor was a close friend of Damien Leeding. Thankfully, Mr Proctor escaped serious injury but this is just another example of the risks that our police officers face.

I would also like to acknowledge the husbands, wives and partners of serving police officers for their support of those who serve in our police forces. As Sonya Leeding said in the 60 Minutes interview last night, the knock on the door from police officers is a wife or husband's worst nightmare, especially when you know the duty that your partner performs.

Why do I move this motion tonight? I did not know Senior Constable Leeding nor do I represent the Gold Coast where he worked. I move this motion this evening because I am the wife of a police officer. I am the proud wife of a man who has served the Queensland Police Service for more than 17 years. I have had the nights worrying why my husband is not home at 3 o'clock in the morning when he was supposed to finish at midnight. I have seen him come home with bruises and blood on him. I have heard the stories of being spat on or abused when you are trying to help someone who is being assaulted. It is for this reason that I move this motion tonight. It is for this reason that I support our police forces throughout Australia and support the need for appropriate legislation and resources for them to do their job properly. We need to ensure that they have appropriate staffing levels, that they are being given the tools to protect themselves and others, and that they are treated as valuable employees and paid accordingly. I support the men and women of our police forces.

This House thanks Damian Leeding and Sonya Leeding for putting their lives on the line and our thoughts are with Sonya and her family and Damian Leeding's family as they grieve and face their future without the loving husband and father that he was. I end on the note that a fund has been set up to support Damian Leeding's family. I encourage people to support and donate to that fund and also to donate to the Police Legacy fund to support all families of fallen police officers. They are our protectors and they are our heroes.