Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) — I would like to support the condolence motion moved by the Leader of the Government. As we have heard from others today, the events of 20 January have just been etched not only on our minds but on the whole public consciousness of not only Victoria but Australia. Tragically, the six people who have been confirmed dead are a three-month-old baby, a 10-year-old child, a 22-year-old interstate tourist, a 33-year-old man, a 33-year-old woman and a 25-year-old Japanese tourist, and many people are still in hospital with injuries, some very severe — all their lives so heinously affected or cut short in an incident that I do not think anyone here or around the state could have predicted.
I, like many of you, sat glued to the radio and to social media, listening with disbelief as the events were unfolding and hearing the witnesses. It was shocking and it was frightening, and I do not think I have ever experienced something like it before, not to mention the people who were there in Bourke Street on that day. I can only imagine how that day will affect them forever forward.
But as we remember this day, as many of us have said, and as we mourn those lost we remember too the courage shown by ordinary Melburnians, those bystanders who, with more than 37 people injured, having narrowly avoided being injured themselves, rushed to help — what bravery! We have spoken about Lou the taxidriver. I think I was struck by him saying, ‘I am Lou, you are going to be okay, we are looking after you’. Those comforting words I think encapsulated the kindness that we saw on such a terrible day.
I would also like to thank the first responders — the paramedics, the ambulance operators, the police and the fire brigade — who were there and all of those medical people who were not on duty but who responded.
Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and all those injured. Like so many, I laid flowers at the makeshift memorial and paid my respects. As I saw flowers dotted up the street I was struck by the fact that that was where someone had died. But while being overwhelmed with sadness I was also overwhelmed by the love and compassion that we saw in the messages from young children and from people who were all strangers to those victims. So, Melbourne, we will mourn, but I think we will much longer remember the courage and compassion that have shone through. I support this motion and commend it to the house.