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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2523 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

He was a member of the Cyclone Tracy relief team sent to Darwin in 1974 to work in search and rescue. When he joined the AFP he transferred to the ACT Region where he was a member of the Fraud Squad and was also an instructor in recruit training and detective training.

It is since 1986, Mr Speaker, that Sergeant Brodie has been in his element. Never before have I met someone with such a knowledge of bombs, incendiary devices and other forms of explosives. He is regarded as one of Australia's foremost police officers in this field, and his advice is regularly sought by fellow bomb technicians all over Australia. He also regularly participates in national anti-terrorist exercises, including as an umpire and adviser. But, above all that, Sergeant Brodie is a professional police officer whose leadership to younger officers is exceptional, and his strength and courage are to be admired by every citizen of Canberra.

I spoke about his recognition around Australia for his expertise in the field, but his modesty is another character trait for which he is well recognised. I do not follow how one can be modest dealing with devices which, as he tells me, explode at 20 kilometres per second. That is roughly 50 times the speed of sound. Of all the people I have ever met, I think Sergeant Brodie has the safest and steadiest hands, and it is not surprising why. As one of his colleagues told me today, he has served his country through law enforcement for over 30 years at a standard many have aimed for but few have achieved, and few ever will. I wish Sergeant Brodie and his wife, Lynne, every success and happiness in his retirement.

Carers Week - Children Who Care

MR WOOD (6.36): At a forum this morning about young carers, I heard that about 600 children under 15 in Canberra are carers; 600 children as young as nine provide care to a parent or sibling with a disability or chronic illness; 250 of them provide the majority of care, often with little adult support. Young carers take on the full range of responsibilities, from personal care and medication to shopping, cooking and cleaning for the family.

One report of a nine-year-old is an example. She gets up early to help her mother get dressed, bathed and fed, then does the same for her younger brothers. She says she is tired at school and often gets into trouble for not doing her homework. She says that she wishes she had someone to help her. When her friends are playing or watching TV after school, she is still caring for the younger ones and coping with the many tasks involved in running a home. Children like her have incredible responsibilities that many adults would find almost an intolerable burden.

Let me quote one of the stories I heard about today. A 12-year-old, David, provides considerable care for his older brother who is 14 and who has a disability. His mother works part time and three afternoons each week arrives home after the bus drops the brother off. On those afternoons David is responsible for watching Ben to ensure that he does not hurt himself. He assists his brother with toileting and prepares his afternoon tea. While David does not complain about his family situation, he often wishes he had the same amount of freedom as his friends.

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