Prime Minister, the Honourable John Howard,
Premier for NSW the Honourable Morris Iemma,
Chief Minister for the Australian Capital Territory Jon Stanhope,
Ministers of Police for all of the Australian States and Territories,
Members of Parliament of the various State and Territories and the Federal Parliament
my fellow Commissioners of Police for every jurisdiction in Australia,
members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Service Chiefs, Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie representing the Chief of The Defence Force.
I start by acknowledging that the ceremony that we are performing tonight is being performed on the land of the Ngunnawal people and acknowledge their connection to the land.
At the outset of tonight's ceremony, can I offer our condolences to the family of NSW Police Sergeant Colin McKenzie who died here, around this time last night in the rehearsal for today's ceremony.
It is worthwhile noting in the context of today's ceremony, the presence of all of the Police Commissioners and all of the Police Ministers who together form the Australasian Police Minister's Council - which is the body responsible for the decision to proceed with the creation of this National Police Memorial.
In welcoming you here tonight I would like to acknowledge the presence of the former Commissioners of Police and indeed some former Ministers of Police, who nearly ten years ago, placed the creation of a National Police Memorial on the agenda of the Australasian Police Ministers Council.
We would also like to welcome members of the Police from every State and Territory. We welcome the employee representative groups particularly their peak body, the Police Federation of Australia.
We also welcome and thank the Chief Executive of the National Capital Authority, M/s Annabelle Pegrum and the members of her staff.
But most importantly, we would like to welcome the families and friends of police, especially those family and friends who have lost their loved ones in connection of their work in performance of police duties.
I also would like to point out in welcoming you here tonight that I do so on behalf of all the Australian Police Commissioners.
Because the Ceremony tonight is in Canberra I was elected the host Commissioner. But each and every Commissioner has contributed to this ceremony in an equal way. You can see this through the contribution of the police bands and police numbers that have been rehearsing and part of this ceremony since its early planning.
This memorial, and today's ceremony, are further symbols of how cross jurisdictional collaboration and co-operation are so much a part of today's policing environment here in Australia.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, today's ceremony is the culmination of significant contributions from a number of people. After the decision was taken by the Australasian Police Ministers' Council to proceed with this memorial, a Committee was formed under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner John Lawler of the AFP, and it comprised each of the Deputy Commissioners from each of the jurisdictions. It also comprised the Police Federation of Australia and the National Capital Authority.
We thank you all for the work you have done in bringing the decision to build a National Memorial to finality. In particular I would like to thank the president of the PFA, Mr Peter Alexander and the Secretary Mr Mark Burgess, for their support in getting the planning for the Memorial underway.
It is also important to recognise the various Ceremonial sections of the jurisdictions who have planned and practiced for today's event. These events don't just happen, and so I would like to, on behalf the Commissioners, to thank you all for the work - particularly the Dedication Ceremonial Team.
I'd like to thank Ita Buttrose on behalf of all the Commissioners. Ita actually embraced this Project from day one and has made significant contributions in the planning and also in the rehearsing of today's event.
However, this is a day for the families of police. After all, it is the families of the police who have to endure the trauma of suddenly being left without a husband, wife or partner, father or mother, son or daughter or simply, their best mate.
Today's ceremony acknowledges the good that policing is and the great Australians who have chosen policing as a career and have given everything, including their own lives, so that we may prosper.
We cannot change the course of history.
Nor can we bring back our loved ones.
But we can ensure that history records, and that we dedicate, a permanent reminder to the contribution these police and their families have made to protect the quality of our Australian life, whether it be in our small towns, our cities, our states or indeed our nation.
Thank you and welcome tonight.