Mr BROADBENT (McMillan) (13:05): Can I echo those remarks in regard to every electorate across Australia. I hope they have a happy and safe holiday. There is not one of us in this place—or probably in our broader communities—that has not been directly or indirectly affected by motor accident trauma. In fact, we can all go back to somebody, where we have attended a funeral, where families have been devastated. When you lose a child, often the history is that the family breaks up—not because there was anything wrong with the family unit before the child was killed in the accident, but these things are pretty hard to deal with in families. In fact, it is so traumatic that it not only affects the siblings and the cousins and the friends but has long-term effects on families.
I can personally attest from my own youth. People do not notice, but my left hand is quite severely smashed to pieces. It was at 16 years of age, and it was the first operation that used microsurgery at the Box Hill Hospital, to sew my wrist back on and connect up the nerves. It is not noticed that I suffered that trauma myself and lost my best friend in the process at that time, a tragic accident that affected his family so enormously that I could not explain to you the enormity of what happened at that time. So I can identify with every family who has lost a child, even in my own close family. They lost a brilliant young doctor in Western Australia who was only hurrying home to watch Collingwood on the television, and the car slipped on some gravel—tree; end of story.
I do not know what message we can possibly send to the Australian people when the Victorian road toll is actually increasing after all we have done, after all the advertising programs, after, ‘If you drink and drive, you’re a bloody idiot,’ and, ‘Don’t get on the back of the ute.’ How many instances have you seen of kids on the backs of utes in country Victoria being killed. There were those four wonderful young men in South Australia going to work at three o’clock in the morning, obviously to get there by 7 o’clock in the morning to start work in the forest industry—all killed. We do not know the background to the story or what happened, but four of them were killed. It completely changes the history and lives and generations of people.
There have been 1,200 people killed across Australia this year—1,271, I think. If that were an epidemic or a sickness or something else, this parliament would be running against it. We have become immune in our heart and soul and being to what is happening in our community, because these are, in many cases, very young people—highly talented in some cases—that are a massive loss to our community, yet we say, ‘There’s been another road accident,’ and we move on.
The other road accident recently that I heard about in my area turned out to be someone very close to me; his mum was very close to me. They just make a one-second mistake or a two-second mistake—’I didn’t see it coming.’ In front of me the other day, there was a brown-coloured car in front of me on the way to Phillip Island, and a silver-coloured car was doing a right-hand turn. Just as the brown-coloured car came to that silver-coloured car, the silver-coloured car turned right directly in front of the car, missing it by seconds. The silver car did not see the brown car. It saw me, but in the light of that time of night they just did not see the brown car at all, or obviously they would not have turned in front of it. We are moving at such speeds these days that your life is gone in a second with one mistake.
The last thing I bring to you is: where is the road rage coming from? I have to say to those around me: do not respond. I wish everybody, as every member in this House does, a safe Christmas on the roads, but the only person that can protect you is yourself.