Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart) (15:23): I rise today to do the saddest thing that I have had to do as a member of parliament, and in many other ways, and that is to express my condolences and deep sympathy to Chris Rowe, whose parents and sister were tragically slain, it seems, in Kapunda during Sunday night. I am sure that all members of this house join with me in passing on their sadness for him and the surviving members of his family and close friends. This has obviously had a devastating effect on the town and the whole district, but no more so than he will feel himself, and we will do anything we possibly can to help him.

I spent the day in Kapunda yesterday, and I thank the house for the opportunity to miss parliament for the day. The whole town is devastated. I visited a lot of businesses and a lot of people and, while there was absolutely nothing I could do to change the circumstances affecting everybody, it was good at least to be able to offer some link to government services and support, and things like that, if people want it. I know that the government will do whatever it can to support the people of Kapunda at the moment.

Certainly, the district is in mourning. It is very unsure about itself at the moment. There is a killer at large, which of course is a terribly disconcerting feeling. I know that the police are doing everything that they possibly can to apprehend the person, but certainly everybody in Kapunda is very uncomfortable with the fact that somebody is still out there.

I would like to give my support and appreciation to the police, who are doing absolutely everything they can. I think it is important also to point out that I am actually a bit disappointed with the article in The Advertiser this morning that implied that the police should have provided more information to people more quickly. The reality of the situation is that three people have been tragically slain, and that cannot be undone.

What is most important now is that they charge and hopefully convict whoever is responsible for this. If it takes a few more hours or a few more days for the people of Kapunda or for the media to find out what they would like to know, then so be it, if that helps the police in their endeavours; next week, next month, next year, next decade, catching the person is what is most important, not that the curiosity of the media is immediately satisfied. The police will do absolutely everything that they possibly can.

I would like to also talk briefly about the strong and positive history, the strong and positive present, and the strong and positive future Kapunda has. It is a very proud town. This is a great tragedy for Kapunda. Kapunda has been around for a very long time. It was established in the early 1840s after the discovery of copper in farming land. It has produced quite a few members of parliament, including four South Australian premiers, and there are families living there today whose ancestors were in Kapunda back in the 1840s and 1850s, and there are people and families who moved to Kapunda 100 years ago, 50 years ago and very recently.

There are good people who live in Kapunda, and it is a great shame if people associate Kapunda with this tragedy. This is an enormous problem. It is worth saying that we are very lucky to live in Australia, where the murder of three people is such a great tragedy. I think it is worth pointing that out. I am not trying to diminish the tragedy to the family or the people at all, but it is very worthwhile pointing out how lucky we are when this is such a tragedy.

Kapunda has produced many very good capable South Australians: Sir Sidney Kidman is well known, the Dutton family is well known, the Hayward family and the Hazel family are two there now, just to mention two of a few who have a strong association. I was fortunate enough to open the 153rd Kapunda Show a week and a half ago, and I know that Kapunda has an extremely strong future and that the people of Kapunda will pull together, get through this and move on, not forgetting the tragedy or forgetting the support they will give to Christopher and his close friends and family. I certainly ask the government and every single government department to do everything they possibly can to support the people of Kapunda.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, member for Stuart, and I am sure that this whole house joins you in your very sincere condolences to Mr Christopher Rowe and, indeed, the people of Kapunda. It is a very small town but a very strong community, and I wish them all the very best in the days to come.

Honourable members: Hear, hear!


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