Bourke Street tragedy

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Mr McCURDY (Ovens Valley) — I rise to support the condolence motion, along with my colleagues, and I certainly pay my respects to the families and all who have been affected by this callous and gutless act in the Bourke Street Mall.

Families have lost loved ones, but so many have been scarred for life, and what a price they will pay for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I cannot even try to imagine the grief, the despair and the sense of loss, and these feelings will shadow many for years to come, and I wonder: how can this happen in Victoria?

This is not New York or Chicago; it is the Bourke Street Mall in one of the most livable cities in the world, but Melbourne has lost its innocence and we can no longer preach our community safety record.

The families who were walking and shopping in the Bourke Street Mall had a right to feel safe and had a right to be safe, and I ask: where are their rights?

The tributes have flowed and the stories have been told. Many bystanders offered amazing support for those most in need, but we cannot stop there.

We need action, because the writing has been on the wall for some time now. In my own community in north-east Victoria and Wangaratta there has been a campaign running for 12 months or more called Enough is Enough.

Tania Maxwell and Carol Roadknight continue to support us to do all they can to get the bail system changed.

They are not blaming the bail justices or police; they want leadership in this state to act. A year ago 1000 people marched through the streets of Wangaratta calling for a safer community.

When a country community like Wangaratta in north-east Victoria — which is removed from the crime wave in Melbourne — demands action, to me that means the system is broken. Only last week that group met with Derryn Hinch to try to talk about bail reform as well.

This condolence motion is for the families, the victims, for those who have suffered and will suffer into the future because of this terrible crime.

But I cannot and will not miss this opportunity to get this message through that enough is enough.

I believe in a second chance. Everybody deserves another go, but when you cross that line for the second, third and fourth time I believe you forgo your right to remain in that community.

And what will it take to get this broken system fixed? If the Bourke Street Mall tragedy is not enough to make wholesale changes to our system, then sadly the changes will not occur.

Again, I offer my utmost respect and sympathy to all of those families who have been affected by this tragedy.

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