I want to thank all of you for your support in being here today. Another Australia Day is almost upon us and it will be the sixth anniversary of Bob’s disappearance. He is not forgotten! We miss him terribly and, although he is no longer with us physically, he lives on in our hearts and minds.
Bob was an amazing person and we honour his memory daily in many small ways. I, and my daughters, shared his life for nearly twenty years and it is largely thanks to him that they were able to grow up in an environment where ideas were valued, independent thinking nurtured and differing ideologies could be freely discussed. Our home was a place where people could drop in and always be made welcome. Those close to us, remember Bob as a deep thinker, someone who was not afraid to speak his mind; and we also remember, if he felt strongly about an issue, he would pursue an intellectual argument with, at times, an uncomfortable vigour.
I often think of the curry nights and gatherings: the house perfumed with wonderful aromas of spice grinding, and I smile at the memory of Bob hovering jealously over a simmering wok, fending off would be tasters, and the cats, with equal enthusiasm. It is these memories that sustain me now.
I urge you to reflect for a moment, what it would be like to spend long years in prison, wrongly convicted of a terrible crime? I am doing just that. I had always believed in our system of justice, however, I now know how easily it can be manipulated if the right checks and balances are absent. Rumour and innuendo, circulated in the community, can affect outcomes. Once convicted, the road leading back to freedom is long and difficult.
I have come to understand this is not just about Bob and me and our family. Nor is it about blaming police or the judicial system for mistakes made, but rather, a search for the truth. If we are to move forward in a constructive, positive way, we must find a mechanism which allows those with legitimate claims of a miscarriage of justice to have all the evidence re-visited by an independent judicial body. If this can happen to me it can happen to any one of us/you!