PARLIAMENT HOUSE, Canberra: I rise also to support this motion which supports National Police Remembrance Day, which in Victoria we commemorate as Blue Ribbon Day. This day was instigated in 1989 and is held on 29 September the origins of which is the feast day of Saint Michael, who is the patron saint of police. The Christian tradition recognises Saint Michael as a representative of many virtues and a spiritual warrior in conflict with evil.
This motion and the day it observes provides an opportunity for us to honour all police who live their lives in service of our community and especially those who have given their lives serving the Australian and south-west Pacific communities.
Across Australia over 56,000 men and women daily put their lives in jeopardy, in the course of duty, to create a safe and peaceful nation where we can live our lives, raise our children, conduct our businesses and seek peace and justice in a well-ordered society. On National Police Remembrance Day, or Blue Ribbon Day, we particularly remember the 750 Australia police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty—157 of whom were from Victoria. We pay tribute to them and their loved ones. Each member killed in the line of duty has meant that someone has lost a father, or a mother, or a husband, or a wife, or a son, or a daughter, or a brother, or a sister or a friend. We stop and we reflect and we remember each one of those people and we offer our condolences to those family members and friends who are left behind and who will still be grieving for their lost loved one.
Tragically three more police officers have been killed in the line of duty since 29 September last year: Senior Constable David James Rixon from Tamworth and Queensland police officers, Sergeant Daniel Stiller and Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding. We pay particular tribute for the service of those three police officers and acknowledge the families of those police officers also.
Could I also during this motion pay a particular tribute to Senior Constable Tony Clarke, who was from my electorate and tragically died in 2005. He was a member of the Knox Regional Traffic Task Unit that was on patrol on the Warburton Highway. It is alleged that he intercepted a vehicle and was about to administer a breath test when at some point the driver of the vehicle managed to take possession of his weapon and shot Constable Clarke in the process. That occurred back on 24 April 2005 and, being the representative for that area, I would like to pay tribute to his family on this day.
As well as remembering those fallen police officers through this motion, and on 29 September, we give thanks to all of the police men and women from across this country, all 56,000 of them—and 12,500 from Victoria. I particularly give thanks to police officers in my electorate, and I acknowledge the work of the Knox Police Station officers, which are ably led by Senior Sergeant John Hess and Senior Sergeant Phil Edmunds. I also acknowledge the work of the Rowville Police Station and the Boronia Police Station, led by Senior Sergeant Peter Trichias and Senior Sergeant Cliff Sunderland respectively. I give my personal thanks to the work of those men and women in those police stations. I have got to know many of them personally. I see them around the community regularly. They act with great professionalism and with great dignity, and they have a very visible presence in my electorate of Aston. I would like to pay tribute to them as well through this motion.
In conclusion, I refer back to the Blue Ribbon Foundation and note what they say on their website, which I would like to conclude with. They note that: “157 police officers have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our community. We can do nothing to bring them back but as a grateful community we can take steps to honour their memory and ensure their sacrifice is acknowledged.” I hope that this motion of the federal parliament contributes to this aim.