That this house—
(a) recognises National Police Remembrance Day;
(b) values the work that South Australia Police do on behalf of our community; and
(c) expresses its sadness for and deep gratitude to those officers who have lost their lives while doing their duty and to their families.
I have never been a serving police officer. I do not have the hands-on experience that the member for Little Para does, which I respect enormously. My closest connection with police has been as the former shadow minister for police for the Liberal opposition and also as a community member living in country and outback towns where, regardless of what your job, profession or role is that you technically play in the community, we are pretty much all there together to help each other whenever necessary.
I am very familiar with some of the stresses and strains that both our country and our city police officers face in doing their duty, and also some of the stresses and strains they face when they are away from work, because they are very significant for police officers. While those stresses and strains come from many different directions, while they do their very best to do their work, one of the strongest impacts is the risk that they might lose their life at work, and that is something that can never be underestimated.
All of us in this house come from a wide range of backgrounds and we have done an enormous range of different work among the things all of us have done before we came to parliament, but very few of us would ever have had the alarm go off, get in the shower, get dressed, and turn up to work thinking that it is possible that our life might be put in danger at work today. That is not normal, and all responsible employers, all responsible workplaces, do everything they possibly can do to minimise and, ideally, remove all those risks for their employees, customers and other people associated with the workplace.
Of course, it is not possible to completely remove that risk for police officers. It is possible to reduce the risks, and I very genuinely applaud successive police commissioners and successive governments for doing everything they can to reduce those risks, but we acknowledge that it is not possible to remove the risk, to make the risk zero per cent that a police officer’s life might be put in danger any day that he or she turns up to work. It is probably not possible for us, other than the member for Little Para, to fully comprehend. We can try to put ourselves in people’s shoes, but until we are in that situation the best we can do is try to understand what it might be like.
Very unfortunately, over the last 176-odd years that we have had South Australia Police, 61 officers have died. Last year, I talked to a very similar motion when I was the shadow minister for police. In all the facts and details (and I ask people who might be interested to go back to that speech this time last year because it had some stark and useful information in it), for me the most critical statistic I found was that, on average, a police officer has died every 2.9 years. Every 2.9 years since we started South Australia Police, an officer has died.
If you put that into context, in any other work place with which we are familiar in Australia, that is an exceptionally stark number. Less than every three years, on average, a police officer has died. That really puts things into perspective, when you are trying to imagine being the police officer going to work, trained well, equipped well and doing everything possible, but thinking, ‘I have to not be complacent, I have to recognise that today might be the day.’ It happens once every 2.9 years on average, and that really puts things into perspective.
Of course, things are improving, and it is a very positive fact that it has been just over 12 years since the last officer died on duty: back on 26 May 2002, Bogdan Sobczak died in a motor vehicle accident at work. It is a reality. This is not about risks that are unlikely to eventuate. Let us just hope that improvements in the way the police are able to go about their work over the last several decades mean that that once every 2.9 year statistic can be left way behind. We are now up to just over 12 years, let us make it 22 or 32. Let us do everything we possibly can.
Of course, another critical component of this whole topic is that it is not just the police officers who have to take responsibility for this. It is not just the government that needs to offer the best training possible, offer the best equipment possible, and offer the appropriate number of police officers. It is not just the commissioner and all of the senior ranks of South Australian police who have to do everything they can to make sure that their colleagues and their officers are as safe as possible. The community has to take a huge part of the responsibility for keeping our police officers safe. While I know, unfortunately, there is a very small percentage of our community who would not focus on that as a high priority, I do know that the vast majority of South Australians value their police.
We consistently have our police ranked more highly than other states with regard to community satisfaction and community trust, and it is incumbent upon the government to keep resourcing the police so that they can do the job that they are required to do. The vast majority of our South Australian community really value police, and I have no doubt that the vast majority of South Australians, if they saw a police officer in harms way, would do what he or she responsibly could to support that police officer, and that happens a lot in country towns.
That happens a lot in country towns where you have a single-officer station. It might be a radius of a couple of hundred kilometres in an outback setting and it might be 30, 40 or 50 kilometres to the closest police station. Country people do rally to support their police officers and the police officers do know that if they are facing what might be a particularly risky situation that they can actually ask a couple of people to be available if necessary, and I think that is a very positive, very healthy fact that exists.
It is not to say it would not be the same in the city but, of course, police officers have their colleagues far more closely at hand in the city, and there is not quite the same community relationship in a suburban setting that there is in a country setting where everybody knows each other and everybody is prepared to help each other. Community has to take a significant role in trying to support our police officers in being safe at work.
The last part of my motion concerns expressing sadness and gratitude to the officers and their families, because it goes without saying that the stresses and strains that go with being a police officer are not confined to that officer. That person’s family and friends are tied up and connected in that stress and strain. They are also tied up and connected in the successes and the events that can be celebrated as well, which is great, but if you are the husband or wife or mother or father or son or daughter of a police officer, you also know that each time that officer goes to work they may well be put in harms way.
I am not talking about STAR officers who have a particular role. Of course, I admire the work that they do. That is at one end of the spectrum. They have actually voluntarily signed up and been trained for the most risky events, but every officer potentially could be called up or could find themselves in a situation that puts their life at risk, so it is a stress and a strain on families too.
I would like to not only thank the officers who do this work for us but also thank their families who give them that support because, as we are often reminded in our own work, we cannot be good members of parliament, we cannot represent our communities nearly as well without our families and without our friends supporting us as we can if they do, and it is even more true for police officers. They could not do their work well if they did not have a strong network of supporting people around them.
I will just finish by making a brief comment on the two Victorian AFP officers who were stabbed two days ago.
Mr Gardner: One was AFP, one Victorian police.
Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: Thank you very much—one Australian Federal Police officer and one Victorian police officer who were stabbed recently unexpectedly. Thankfully, I suppose, it is not a South Australian example, but it is a really good reminder. Those officers had no idea, and probably no reason to expect, that the interview that they were about to conduct with a member of the public who had come to their station voluntarily to participate was going to become a violent incident.
It is exceptionally sad that the member of the public died through that altercation, but the reality is that it is a stark example of those two officers ending up in a situation that they could not predict. They have both been harmed. Thankfully, they are going to get better and thankfully everything will turn out well for them, but it is an incredibly poignant, recent, real reminder of the sort of risks that police officers face when they are doing their work.
Members, please keep in mind that average: over the last 176 years, an officer has died every 2.9 years. But please also keep in mind that it has been over 12 years since the last one has died. In our work with regard to engaging with the community and contributing legislation and, from the government’s side, at least, making decisions about resourcing of police officers, let us do everything that we possibly can to turn that three-year average into a 23-year average or a 33-year average.
The Hon. A. PICCOLO ( Light—Minister for Disabilities, Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) (12:26:49): I would like to thank the member for Stuart for his motion and indicate that I will be speaking in support of the motion he has brought forward. Today, we all wear this ribbon as we remember that Monday next week marks the 25th National Police Remembrance Day and we pay tribute to the 61 members of the South Australian police force who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while performing their duties as police officers.
As the member for Stuart has already mentioned, on average, a South Australian police officer has died while on duty almost every three years. Other than the military defence forces, what other public workplace is there where a worker faces such risks? National Police Remembrance Day is a significant day of commemoration where people can reflect on each individual police officer and remember those officers who have died whilst on duty.
It provides an opportunity to honour all police officers who have given their life while serving not only Australia but also South-West Pacific communities, with ceremonies being held right across the state. On Monday, I will be attending a Remembrance Day memorial service at the Police Academy parade grounds, together with representatives of law enforcement agencies, the armed forces, support organisations within the police and community and families of fallen members.
My colleague the member for Little Para, a prior serving police officer, knows firsthand of the dangers faced by police officers on a daily basis and will stand today to pay tribute to our fallen police officers. As the member for Stuart has mentioned, it is very difficult to actually put yourself in those shoes, because it is a very different experience. Unless you are an officer in that circumstance at that time, you do not really appreciate how difficult and dangerous it can be. With those few comments, I commend the member for his motion and indicate my support for it.
Ms CHAPMAN ( Bragg—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (12:28:52): I rise to support the member for Stuart’s motion, and I thank him for bringing it to the chamber. It recognises National Police Remembrance Day and the value of the work of our South Australian policemen and policewomen, and expresses gratitude for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the course of their duties. May I particularly acknowledge today one who has a continuing memorial in my own electorate in Leabrook, South Australia.
Constable William Hyde, in 1909, died from wounds as a result of being, as they describe, shot by a highwayman. There were many burglaries in the area and, sadly, he did pay the ultimate price. Many members would not know that there was a memorial on the western side of Tusmore Avenue for many years, and in the 1980s was relocated into a site of an old primary school on the eastern side. The reason I particularly mention that is because it was with horror that I read around a year ago that it was the intention of the Department for Education to sell off the land which retained the memorial plaque and memorial gardens for private development.
It is a highly sought after residential property area, I might say—with a great local member. of course—but, nevertheless, with the help of the member for Hartley and his predecessor, much concern was raised in the local community and approaches were made. Sadly, I received correspondence from the Minister for Education simply saying, ‘Look, it is surplus to requirements and is going to be sent off to Renewal SA to dispose of,’ and that was the end of it. I again want to acknowledge mayor David Parkin and the Burnside council for sitting down and working with Renewal SA, ultimately, to try and work out how there could be an exchange of land surplus to requirements for the council so that there could be a retention of this important memorial.
In speaking to this motion today and in supporting the member for Stuart in recognising this as we approach the National Police Remembrance Day, I just urge members to be alert to circumstances where we have placed a memorial. Constable Hyde is just one who has fallen. There has been considerable money and time invested by the Police Association in South Australia to upgrade his gravesite at West Terrace, and I applaud them for that as well. But, be alert and ensure that we do maintain a permanent recognition and memorial site for those who have fallen, and that we are not just speaking of that on an annual basis on this important day.
Mr ODENWALDER ( Little Para ) ( 12:31 :41 ): I am of course more than happy to support this important motion brought by the member for Stuart, and I am glad the minister has expressed the government’s support and the support of everyone on this side of the house for this motion. The police, as has been said several times already, do a pretty unique job in our community. We are all beneficiaries of the work they do and the risks that they take in order to keep the rest of us safe, and it is often while we are work or while we are sleeping. We are largely unaware that this work goes on, but it goes on every day, day in, day out, night and day.
Members will be aware, of course, that I was in a previous life, for a short time at least, a patrol officer based at Elizabeth and Salisbury, which as you would appreciate are fairly busy patrol bases, so I do know something of the risks that serving police officers face. I am going to talk mostly about patrol officers since is this my direct experiences, but obviously, as the member for Stuart has been through, all police officers face varying levels and various types of risks and they are all called upon to act as patrol officers at certain times depending on numbers and so on.
I am grateful, and lucky I guess, that I managed to never get seriously injured while at work, but of course some of my colleagues and friends were not so lucky. The fact is, as has been alluded to by the member for Stuart, in many cases, patrol officers and others just have no idea what to expect when they get tasked to a disturbance, a breach of peace, a fight, or a report of disorderly behaviour. They just have no idea what to expect.
The police communications do a really good job, and an ever-improving job, I have to say, in trying to provide as much information as they possibly can, in trying to get as much information from the members of the public and passing that on to the sergeants and the patrol officers. But, when push comes to shove, you really do not know what you are getting in to. It could be, as it thankfully almost always is, just a simple case of talking to people, talking to a few people, and perhaps metaphorically knocking a few heads together, and easily resolving and diffusing potentially messy situations. But, as we all know, sometimes things can go horribly wrong.
Pride and trust in our police is, of course, a bipartisan issue, and I hope it always will be. I know the member for Stuart did a great job as shadow minister. I respect the work that the member for Morialta is doing at the moment, and I see him from time to time at the Police Academy. I do just want to put on the record how proud I am that this Labor government over the past 12 years has been committed to providing our serving police with all the protection it can (largely with the support of the opposition, I have to say) whether it is by providing new technologies to help keep them safe and give officers more options to protect themselves and the public, or by increasing the penalties for assaulting a police officer and making it a much more serious offence.
But, realistically, it is a job which can still at times be very dangerous. People go into the job knowing that and accepting that, and those police who make the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our community should be remembered. As we know, 29 September this year is the 25th National Police Remembrance Day and it will be celebrated on Monday with ceremonies all over the state and all over the country. Those ceremonies, as the minister has said, will remember and honour those South Australian officers who have died on duty.
As the mover of the motion said, we have had a functioning police force in South Australia for over 175 years now and, sadly over that time, we have lost 61 officers while on duty. The first of these was Mounted Constable John Carter aged 22, and Lance Corporal William Wickam aged 24, both died on 7 May 1847 by drowning. The most recent, as the member for Stuart said, was Senior Constable Bob Sobczak, aged 52, who on 26 May 2002, died in a motorcycle accident.
Police officers have died in the line of duty from drownings, from accidental shootings, from car, bicycle and horse accidents, one stabbing, one gassing and, overall, eight murders. Four have been taken by bushfire, including what must have been an incredibly sad situation where we lost three officers, special constables Mervyn Casey and Colin Kroemer, and Sergeant Cecil William Sparkes, all on the same day, 19 January 1951, when they were trapped and died together in a bushfire in the Adelaide Hills.
But perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of loss of life, followed by murder, has been from motor vehicle accidents. Of course, none of these facts and figures include the countless injuries, from minor to serious, incurred by police officers every day in the course of their duty.
National Police Remembrance Day is traditionally held on 29 September, as I said, that day being the Feast Day of St Michael, the Archangel, the patron saint of police men and women. It goes without saying that the 61 SAPOL officers killed in the course of their service will be deeply missed, and their work and the work of their surviving colleagues is very much appreciated by South Australians right across the community, and I urge members to support this motion.
Mr GARDNER ( Morialta ) ( 12:36 :51 ): It is an honour to be the shadow police minister; it is a privilege and a role that I take very seriously, and I am very pleased to speak on this motion that the member for Stuart has brought. Members have spoken about the unique role the police play in our community and the unique sort of job that being a police officer is. I thank the member for Little Para for the reflections that he has made on his time in the service.
As the member for Stuart said, I have not spent any time as a police officer. My connection is through my grandfather who, before he came to Australia after the Second World War, served in England as a police officer. Obviously all members would have police officers in their communities, friends, families, and I do as well, so we pay a tribute to both those who we know and those who we do not, but who continue to serve a role in our communities, and to those in particular who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Through a motion such as this we have the opportunity to reflect on their service and their sacrifice, and their memory deserves nothing less. By doing so we also honour those who continue to put themselves in harm’s way every day.
Others have mentioned the two police officers who suffered stabbings earlier this week in the line of their duty, and thankfully are still with us, and we wish them a full and speedy recovery. But it is a poignant moment that reminds us of the risks that every police officer faces in the course of their duty. Those police officers did not have any reason to expect to be in harm’s way on that day over and above the fact that every day when a police officer goes to work they are doing a job where they are at potential risk, because they are the thin blue line between the community and chaos.
The member for Little Para identified that it is the 25th National Police Remembrance Day and, in Canberra on 29 September 2006—so eight years ago—the National Police Memorial was completed and dedicated. As I have done before, I encourage any member when they are in Canberra to visit the National Police Memorial next to the Carillon. It is a modest monument, it is a thoroughly dignified and appropriate monument and, on the monument, all of the names of those who have fallen in all jurisdictions are remembered together with some extremely heartfelt remembrances by family members, friends and colleagues in the way that the monument is presented.
I commend the officers, the former federal government and state governments, the Police Federation of Australia and all the state bodies which contributed to the dedication of that memorial. Whenever I am in Canberra, if I have the opportunity I take the time to visit it and pay that remembrance.
I think that it does actually bear four minutes of the house’s time to read the names of the 61 officers who have fallen in the line of duty in South Australia, serving our community. I do so not just to again immortalise their service, but to bring home to us all the danger in which all officers place themselves:
in 1847, as the member for Little Para said, the first were Mounted Constable John Dunning Carter and Lance Corporal William Wickam;
in 1850, Mounted Constable William Freebody, Mounted Constable Robert Hill and Sergeant Richard Ward;
in 1852, Mounted Constable John Forsayth;
in 1855, Trooper James Higgins;
in 1861, Inspector William Reid and Corporal Henry Kemp Brown Nixon;
in 1862, Inspector Richard Palmer Pettinger;
in 1880, Mounted Constable John Barwick Porter;
in 1881, Mounted Constable Harry Edmonds Pearce;
in 1883, Mounted Constable John Charles Shirley;
in 1884, Mounted Constable James Newsome Nalty, Mounted Constable Richard Willliam Spicer and Foot Constable Thomas Charlesworth;
in 1885, Mounted Constable Charles Ballantyne McCullagh;
in 1886, Foot Constable James Murray;
in 1907, Mounted Constable Charles Patrick Johnston;
in 1908, Foot Constable Albert Edward Ring;
in 1909, Foot Constable William Hyde (the great-great uncle of the member for Finniss);
in 1911, Mounted Constable Harry Chance;
in 1919, Foot Constable Walter John Wissell;
in 1925, Foot Constable Albert Leslie Bowley;
in 1926, Foot Constable Thomas Alfred John Tregoweth;
in 1928, Foot Constable Cyril Fletcher Clayton and Mounted Constable George Thomas Smith;
in 1929, Foot Constable John McLennan Holman;
in 1930, Motor Traffic Constable Andrew MacBorough Copley;
in 1934, Mounted Constable Clifford Laurence Evans;
in 1946, Foot Constable James Webber;
in 1949, Mounted Constable Eric Walter Jones;
in 1950, Motor Traffic Constable Laurence Trevor Arney;
in 1951, Special Constable Mervyn George Casey, Special Constable Colin Roy Kroemer and Sergeant Cecil William Sparkes (whose tragic story the member for Little Para identified earlier);
in 1955, Motor Traffic Constable Ronald John Grosvenor;
in 1956, Motor Traffic Constable John Westley Raggatt, Motor Traffic Constable Theodore Arthur Nixon, Motor Traffic Constable Brian Humphrey Harvey and Foot Constable William Laurence McInerney;
in 1957, Motor Traffic Constable Clive Richard Taylor and Senior Constable Harold Rae Pannell;
in 1960, Constable 1st Class John Maxwell Philp;
in 1962, Senior Constable Ronald Cyril Huddy;
in 1963, Motor Traffic Constable Ronald Graham Grindlay;
in 1969, Sergeant Llewelyn John Thomas;
in 1970, Motor Traffic Constable Brian Joseph Kain;
in 1976, Senior Constable John Adams;
in 1979, Sergeant Claude Allen Munson;
in 1980, Motor Traffic Constable Jerry George Preston, Constable 1st Class James Webb and Constable 1st Class Dennis Ronald Pugsley;
in 1981, Constable Kym Andrew Godfrey;
in 1982, Constable Warren John Matheson and Constable Mathew John Payne;
in 1985, Constable 1st Class Lyncon Robert Dix Williams and Sergeant Martin Henry Harnath;
in 1990, Senior Constable David Thomas Hill Barr;
in 1991, Senior Constable Gordon James Loft; and
as others have identified, our most recent loss was in May 2002, Senior Constable Bogdan Josef Sobczak.
I know that all members will support the motion. I look forward on Monday to, along with the minister, attending the SA Police Academy at Taperoo to lay a wreath on behalf of the opposition at the National Police Remembrance Day memorial service here in Adelaide. I look forward to the contributions from the members for Hartley and Bright to come, and others who may speak, and thank the member for Stuart for bringing it to the house. I acknowledge the contributions from the minister, the member for Bragg and the member for Little Para, and I support the motion.
The Hon. T.R. KENYON ( Newland ) ( 12:44 :21 ): I rise to support this motion for many of the same reasons that members have already identified. I thank the member for Morialta for reading into Hansard the list of officers; I think it was very worthwhile. Most of what I want to say has already been said about the risks officers take in the protection of our society. I want to place on the record my thanks and appreciation of the fact that they do that, that they take those risks on our behalf.
Our society is good only because it is largely law abiding and kept in a peaceful situation by the rule of law. Having said that, there are people who step outside those boundaries, who choose not to obey laws, who make decisions or find themselves in situations that cause trouble, pain, suffering and even death for other people. Police are necessary in the prevention or the minimisation of that crime and damage to society. If they were not there, the society we currently enjoy, with peace, order and laws, would not exist. It would degenerate and fall into chaos, and we would all be worse off for it.
We have been able to become a peaceful and prosperous society in part because of the work that police do. A number of those police have made the ultimate sacrifice in dying in the service of others. That is something that is very noble and something that we should all appreciate, and it is certainly something that I appreciate. I now record my thanks on behalf of my electorate and also on my own behalf for their service.
Mr TARZIA ( Hartley ) ( 12:46 :26 ): I rise to speak in favour of the motion and commend the member for Stuart for initiating it. I have an enormous amount of respect for the police not only on the front line but also in the important other roles they play—in Neighbourhood Watch, for example, in keeping our community areas safe and informed. As we have heard, National Police Remembrance Day on 29 September will see the day on which South Australia Police stop to honour its officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. This is one of the most significant days on the policing calendar.
It is a time for members of the service and the community to remember, honour and express their gratitude to the dedicated men and women who have died whilst serving. Obviously, this service is held at the Fort Largs Police Academy each year. Police officers, staff and members of the public are called by the police to pay tribute to this cause, something I can see many of the members are doing at the moment by wearing the appropriate ribbon. National Police Remembrance Day was first commemorated in 1989, and it is held each year on 29 September, or the nearest working day, in memory of police officers killed in the performance of their duty.
As we heard this morning, a total of 61 local police officers have lost their lives in the performance of their duty since 1838, when South Australia Police was formed. The day is remembered on 29 September, as it marks the feast, as the member for Little Para pointed out, of the archangel St Michael, who was, amongst other things, the patron of police men and women. On behalf of my constituents and also those across the state, I thank all the police who serve not only in our local areas but across the state and nation. I also thank the families behind the badge for their support, love and care of their family members who have been officers, especially the ones who have died while serving. It is extremely important that we continue to acknowledge and protect the people who serve and protect our community. I commend the motion to the house.
Mr SPEIRS ( Bright ) ( 12:48 :33 ): 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.
Mr PICTON ( Kaurna ) ( 12:52 :36 ): I rise to support this motion from the member for Stuart. This is a very important motion. I fundamentally support the comments he has made, as well as the member for Little Para and the minister, amongst others. We have a fantastic police force in South Australia. In fact, it is the oldest organised police force in the Australasia region and, I understand, the third-oldest in the world. I believe it has a high level of trust in the community. I think that is something that we should be particularly proud of as a parliament. We pass laws in this place and we rely on the police force to do the hard yards of upholding those laws and upholding order and community safety in our state—and they do a fantastic job.
I think one of the reasons why there is tremendous trust in police in this state is that they are willing to communicate with the public about what they are doing. I note in my community in particular there is always a strong presence from the police at local Neighbourhood Watch meetings, but a recent innovation of the police in my local service area which has started—and I would like to commend it publicly—is to undertake community consultations with people in the community. They undertook one recently at Woodcroft and, next Wednesday, they are undertaking one at Seaford in my electorate, which I believe will be very well attended because more and more people are keen to have input into policing in our community and to hear from police about issues of community safety. I commend the motion to the house.
Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN ( Stuart ) ( 12:54 :17 ): Thank you very much to all members who have contributed, especially the minister and the shadow minister. I appreciate everybody’s contributions. When I was a boy I thought it would be great to be a police officer, or a train driver, or an astronaut, or a racing car driver—they were all the ones that were right up.
The Hon. A. Piccolo: And you ended up here.
Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: Yes. As the minister says, as proud as I am to represent my community here in parliament, there are days when any one of those occupations still seems a lot more appealing.
I grew up with a very healthy, very positive regard for police officers. I grew up in the days when my mother and my father said, ‘If you ever, ever need anything—if you are lost or unsure, anything—find a police officer.’ I think that is a wonderful way to grow up. It is wonderful advice and it is a wonderful reflection upon the police.
This motion is not to glorify police, but it is important to recognise that police are people too. We know that in our own work we all have better days than others, and it is the same for police as it is the same for absolutely every other community member. I have an exceptionally high regard for the police as a whole, and I know that our South Australian community also has an exceptionally high regard for police as a whole. This motion is certainly not to glorify them, it is to thank them. It is to thank them for the work they do and it is also to make very, very clear that all police officers deserve to be as safe as it is absolutely possible for our government, for the police organisation and for our community to make them at their work. That is absolutely vital.
I urge all members of this house to attend a Police Remembrance Day ceremony in their electorate or in another part of South Australia on Monday. It is a very positive, visible and genuine way to show your support for our police. I thank members for supporting this motion and I thank the government for supporting this motion. Like the shadow minister, the member for Morialta, and quite possibly the minister as well, I have been to Canberra and to the National Police Memorial. It is an absolutely outstanding place to visit, and is one of those very special memorial grounds where you do get the sense of the importance of the work the police do; you do get the sense of the respect with which that memorial was created, to pay tribute and show respect to officers who have, unfortunately, died. So to all members of both houses, please attend a memorial service on Monday and please continue to do everything that we can, as members of parliament, to keep our police officers safe at work.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( 12:57 :00 ): Before I put the motion I would like to record my gratitude, on behalf of the electors of Florey, to all police, past and present, and acknowledge their service—even more particularly, the service of those who have died or been injured whilst on duty in pursuit of enforcement of the rule of law.