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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (19 May) . . Page.. 294 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

and to be instrumental in many community policing programs in the ACT. During the time I knew Alex in the police force he always struck me as a thoroughly decent, totally honest, totally dependable, most competent and very unflappable man. I valued his counsel and his advice at the times that I sought it. I found that I not only liked but also very much respected this most competent officer.

I was, therefore, delighted when Alex joined the Assembly as the Principal Attendant in February 1991. Most members spoke, when he left here two weeks ago hoping to enjoy a retirement that was sadly cut so terribly short, about how much he helped everyone in the Assembly and how much we all appreciated the work he did here. He brought the same qualities I have mentioned in his job as a police officer to his job as an attendant in this Assembly. Alex Fyfe was a man who cared about people and a man who did his job to the best of his ability.

Members so far have not mentioned some other aspects of Alex's life, and I think they are very important aspects. Alex also was a very brave and courageous man. Mr Speaker, you do not get a Police Valour Medal for nothing. Members have made reference to that, but I think it is worthy to put on the record the wording of the citation because it is a true testimonial of the courage of Alex Fyfe. The citation reads:

On Monday the 18th day of December 1967, whilst officer in charge of the Kerema Police Station in the Gulf District of Papua, Sub Inspector Fyfe was called to Sirivi Village No. 1 and informed that cries for help had been heard coming from the waters of Kerema Bay.

A storm was raging at the time. Heavy rain, driven by a strong wind, reduced visibility to no more than fifteen feet. The water in the bay was extremely rough with waves up to ten feet.

Sub Inspector Fyfe in company with Sub Inspector Sutton unhesitatingly commandeered a seventeen foot, flat-bottom punt,
with a small outboard motor, and ventured into the bay, despite the fact that the local people were afraid to put to sea.

After approximately forty minutes of fruitless search in the open water to the south of the bay, Sub Inspectors Fyfe and Sutton were forced to return to the shore to bail the large amount of water taken on by the punt as a result of the heavy seas. Having tipped the water out they this time directed their search towards the west. At about 10.15 pm, by which time the wind had dropped appreciably, they came upon seven native women clinging to a capsized canoe. With the aid of a small torch the attention of a large native canoe was attracted and together the two vessels brought the women safely to shore.

Sub Inspectors Fyfe and Sutton displayed conspicuous bravery, initiative and devotion to duty in effecting this successful rescue at great personal risk.

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