Today, 9 years ago, Daniel Morcombe disappeared from a bus stop on Queensland's Sunshine coast. Today 9 years ago, I was the same age as Daniel, walking from the caravan park at Cotton Tree, to Sunshine Plaza with two younger children in my care, on the Sunshine Coast. That day was the day it all changed. I remember the fear in my parent's voices, even Dad's, when he told me to get the others and wait, and that my friend's Dad would be picking us up and we were not to walk home, because a boy had been taken. I remember looking for Daniel for weeks after. I remember the years passing by, I remember wondering how his family was doing, and I remember the day they found him. I look forward to remembering the day they lock the scum who did this to him away for life without parole, as we all do.
And I will remember today, the day that Bruce and Denise, and Daniel's brothers, friends, and family get to lay their boy to rest, deliver him into the arms of the angels, and to finally say goodbye.
Today my heart is with the Morcombes and their friends, on a day that they not only say goodbye, but also celebrate the life of a sweet boy who in life bought so much light to everyone's day, and in death moves us all to teach our children to be safe. Australia will never forget you, Daniel. In this land you are immortal.
Daniel would be so proud of his Mum and Dad, and I know that because what kid wouldn't be? Bruce and Denise, you have strived to make something good come of your own personal tragedy, and succeeded. We are all proud of you, and as a nation we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Without your tireless efforts to educate us all on the issue of child safety, who knows how many other families may have had to carry the same burden that you have done all these years. There is an old Irish saying, and that is "I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final goodbye" and that is what I wish for you today.
As sad as today has the potential to be, the girls and I will be going for a walk in our red shirts, with our giant red pram, and with smiles on our faces knowing that today is the day that Daniel finds peace, and that his death has not been in vain thanks to the tireless efforts of his wonderful and strong family. They have helped to build a safer Australia for my children to grow up in, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Goodbye Daniel, you are forever loved, and will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, darling angel.
Bruce and Denise have asked that today we all wear red and a smile in memory of their sweet boy, so please don a red shirt, pants, whatever you have, and show you are there in heart for this brave family.