Condolence speech – Constable Anthony Woods

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, Assistant Minister for the Public Service

Constable Anthony Woods’s role was to turn danger into safety, something police do every day, in every state and territory.

At 1 am on Thursday 8 June, Constable Woods was doing his job. The 28-year-old stopped a vehicle, something he would have done countless times. But what occurred in the suburb of Ascot, on Ascot Place, has shocked Western Australia. It has shocked Australia. He was run over, pinned and dragged under the vehicle he had stopped. His colleagues came to his aid, performing CPR before he was transferred to Royal Perth Hospital. There he fought for his life for four days. He did not come home.

So today we are sadly honouring his life and service. I note that the driver has been charged with murder, but I will not mention him in this place.

Every worker should come home safe. Police are not an exception to this principle. They are essential to upholding it. As the statement released by his wife, Emily, on behalf of his family said:

“He was a devoted husband and loving son, brother, and uncle who was taken from this earth far too soon. Anthony will be remembered as a funny, hard-working man who loved the West Coast Eagles and mucking around with his mates.”

In just those few words, every member of this House knows exactly the type of Australian we have lost, an Australian, a police officer, who served countless Australians in the line of duty, a reminder that serving in the Police Force is exactly that: service from one human to their community. That is why Constable Woods will be remembered as an exemplary police officer.

As WA police said, ‘Constable Anthony Woods exemplified the values of the WA Police Force’-values of duty, teamwork, integrity and care. These are the values that attracted this hardworking, football-loving Western Australian to WA police, values that carried him from volunteering in his work at PCYC through to his service as a police officer. He began his career with WA police in 2019 as a trainee. He was 25 at the time. In 2021 he was inducted into the academy.

The very start of his career was serving a community in crisis. He was posted to Operation Tide, tasked with protecting Western Australia during the challenges of COVID. He built on this frontline service with his postings to Kensington Police Station and, finally, to Belmont Police Station. Constable Anthony Woods died just a month after the completion of his probationary period.

The Western Australian community have shown their shock and their support. Several Perth landmarks have been lit up in blue lights to commemorate his life, including Council House, the Matagarup Bridge and the East Perth headquarters of WA police. Flowers and handwritten notes have inundated Belmont Police Station. Flags at the station have flown at half-mast. Flags at police stations across Western Australia have done the same. A fundraiser organised to support the Woods family raised close to $14,000 in the first 24 hours alone. His local footy club, the Winnacott Football Club, played a tribute match over the weekend. They have retired the No. 3 jersey to honour their teammate, Woodsy.

WA premier Roger Cook and Governor Chris Dawson have joined many Western Australians in their messages of condolence and in our gratitude for a life lived in service of others. I thank the member for Canning for being here and joining us in this condolence. I note the presence of Western Australian members of the House, including Constable Woods’ local member, the member for Swan.

The Australian Government and this Parliament pass on our condolences to his wife, Emily, his family, friends and colleagues in WA police, especially those at Belmont Police Station. In honouring his life, we honour his colleagues and their service to the Australian community, and we honour his family and the families of all who serve in Australia’s police forces.

/Public Release. View in full here.