HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
I rise today to remember and honour those police men and women in Queensland who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. I recognise the commitment, dedication and bravery of all past, present and future police officers in the state of Queensland.
On the 2016 National Police Remembrance Day, police officers and their families, friends and representatives of the wider Blair community marched to Browns Park in North Ipswich for a service to honour those police men and women who had been killed in the line of duty, along with those who have died as a result of injuries sustained in the line of duty.
The concept of National Police Remembrance Day came from John 'Bluey' O'Gorman. The idea occurred to him in 1986, when, as the Vice President of the Queensland Police Union, he was travelling to Adelaide to attend the annual conference of the Police Federation of Australia and New Zealand. As he drove through western New South Wales, he cast his mind back to try to remember the name of a police officer who had been killed on duty several years earlier. He could not remember, much to his disappointment. So, concerned about the memory lapse, he was determined to do something about it. He spoke to Queensland Police Union President Col Chant and together they spoke with other fellow conference delegates. That is why we have National Police Remembrance Day, and I want to pay tribute to John 'Bluey' O'Gorman for the work he did.
One hundred and forty three Queensland police officers have lost their lives since the Queensland Police Service was founded in 1864. Thankfully, no officers have lost their lives in the line of duty in the Ipswich region in the past 12 months. At the service at North Ipswich we paid tribute to Senior Constable Peter McDougall, who passed away in August 2016 as a result of natural causes.
This year, following an historical review, three Queenslanders were added to the National Police Memorial's Honour Roll and their lives and service were commemorated: Sergeant Thomas Heaney, who died in September 1906 in South Brisbane from assault injuries he sustained while attempting to arrest two break and enter offenders in 1905: Constable Benjamin Ebbitt, who died in 1984 in Highgate Hill from assault injuries sustained during an attempted arrest of two offenders four years earlier; and Senior Constable Henry Fetherston, who died from a horse riding accident in Maryborough.
I thank Superintendent Charysse Pond, who oversees the Ipswich District.
I will finish on these words said in a prayer by Police Chaplain Brian Hoole at the local commemorative service:
We know that the greatest ingratitude of a nation is to neglect the price that is paid to maintain its freedom. So we declare today, we will not be a community that neglects the price that has been paid to uphold our freedom.
Thank you to the Queensland Police Service and particularly those men and women who bravely serve in Queensland Police Service in the Ipswich region.