Friday, 23 September 2022
Death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth Ii and Accession of His Majesty King Charles Iii
We, the members of the House of Representatives in the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, express our deep sympathy with Your Majesty and members of the Royal Family for the great loss sustained in the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, our late Sovereign.
On behalf of the Australian people, we pay tribute to and acknowledge Her late Majesty's exceptional life of dedication to duty and commitment to Australia and the Commonwealth.
We extend our congratulations to Your Majesty on your accession to the throne.
We express our respect for Your Majesty and pledge to work to achieve peace and prosperity for Australia and the Commonwealth.
With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, an historic reign and a long life devoted to duty, family, faith and service have come to an end. The second Elizabethan age is over. Despite all the solemn pageantry that has served to remind us of this sad fact, it is hard to grasp that Queen Elizabeth II now belongs to the realm of memory.
We give thanks for her long and exceptionally well lived life, and we do so here in the building she opened for a nation she loved as part of her greater family—a new permanent home for the parliament she described as 'both the living expression of that federation and the embodiment of the democratic principles of freedom, equality and justice'. When she joined Bob Hawke to do the honours in 1988 out there by the Michael Nelson Jagamara mosaic that so caught her eye, she could see the Old Parliament House that her own father opened in 1927—what a shining thread through our houses of democracy, through our own history. Indeed, Her Majesty's reign was so long that, to most of us, she was simply always there. She was a rare and reassuring constant amidst rapid change. But even the brightest star must eventually set, leaving us with the memory of the glow. The Queen was our head of state for a majority of our existence as a federation.
It's also important to remember the personal as well: a much-loved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, the gravitational centre around which a family turned, which I believe is one of the reasons that she was always so much more than a monarch to us. The Queen lived a life of privilege but one that was always balanced by an unyielding sense of duty, of service, a desire to give. That noble counterweight of the spirit was something she bore faithfully for the United Kingdom, for Australia and for the great family of nations we call the Commonwealth—a family that grew so swiftly on her watch. Even as the focus began to shift more towards the individual, the Queen embodied a sense of duty that placed community and selflessness first. The Queen never lost her belief in society.
Underpinning all of it was an inner strength, one that was tested early. The first time was when her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated—a seismic act that shifted the crown onto her father's head, transforming him into George VI and the young princess into the heir to the throne. It all unfurled as Britain was about to face the threat of what Winston Churchill called 'the abyss of a new dark age'. The second time was when her beloved father died, aged just 56, finally spent by the burdens of war and illness. Princess Elizabeth was only 25. The news reached her in Kenya the day before she and Prince Philip were due to board the SS Gothic for their journey to Australia. The dream of relatively calm years raising a family with Philip was over. The princess returned to England as Queen, the responsibilities of the throne on one shoulder, the sudden absence of her father on the other.
Somehow in her grief she found the strength to measure up to the expectations of a nation and the thousand-year-old institution into which she had been born. When asked what name she would be taking as Queen, she bucked the trend by replying, 'My own, of course.' It was just one hint of the stability and continuity that she would provide. Over the past 184 years, the throne has been held by women for 133 of them—but, remarkably, just two women: Queen Victoria, who was on the throne for over six decades, and her great-great-granddaughter Queen Elizabeth, the first British monarch to reign for seven decades.
When it came to the relationship between Queen Elizabeth II and Australia, 16 truly was the number most recalled. Through her reign she consulted with 16 Australian prime ministers, starting with Sir Robert Menzies, and 16 governors-general, starting with Sir William McKell. She made 16 visits to our shores, starting with a 58-day tour that saw her visit 57 towns and cities and pass through so many more. According to someone quoted at the time in the ForbesAdvocate, 'By comparison, organising the Olympic Games would be quite simple.'
She got to know us, appreciate us and embrace us. And the feeling was very much mutual. She handed out trophies in schools. She chatted with outback families on the radio. There were people to comfort and achievements to be celebrated. There were openings and festivals, rodeos and surf carnivals. She got to know our landscapes and our character. All the time, she was gently endearing herself ever deeper into our national life.
Along the way, Her Majesty had one of the most Australian experiences of all: sitting next to Bob Hawke at the races when his horse was winning. The photograph of these two connoisseurs of the turf in that moment is a perfect study in balance: the Queen sitting serenely; the Prime Minister like a firecracker in a suit. Bob was criticised, but, as he later reflected, 'I took great pleasure in pointing a little later to a photo of the Queen showing similar exultation when one of her horses won in England.'
When she first came to us, our pockets jingled with pennies and shillings. Television was still in the future, as was the filling of Lake Burley Griffin. When the Queen first addressed our parliament, she was one of just a handful of women in the room, and that wasn't the only deficit among the faces gazing up at her. The White Australia policy was still in place, and—the gift to the Queen of an Albert Namatjira painting notwithstanding—this nation was still a long way off any sort of reckoning with the truth of this continent's first inhabitants. Since then, we've changed in so many ways for the better, and the Queen saw it all.
She was the patron of more than 20 Australian charities and associations. Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth II showed a deep affection for her country. From her famous first trip to Australia, the only reigning sovereign to ever visit, it was clear Her Majesty held a special place in her heart for Australia. Fifteen more tours before cheering crowds in every part of the country confirmed the special place that she held in ours.
As monarch for more than half the life of our federation, the relationship between Australia and Britain matured and evolved throughout Her Majesty's reign. The Queen greeted each and every change with understanding, good grace and an abiding faith in the Australian people's good judgement. This was the deft and diplomatic way she bound the diversity of the modern Commonwealth.
The world today is almost unrecognisable from what it was in 1952, and there is no doubt, given modern technology, including television, that the Queen is the most famous woman who during her life has walked this earth. Throughout all the tumult and noise and tectonic shifts in those 70 years, so many old certainties were broken. New, more tentative ones took their place. Throughout it all was Her Majesty, a Queen who let her humanity show, who stood with us in times of hardship, even as she had endured her own.
Of course, there was always Philip, whom the Queen once described as her 'strength and stay'. Between the layers of formality and protocol, we sometimes got glimpses of the affection and the tenderness between Queen and Duke. After Prince Philip died, the most striking image from the funeral was the most human: no pomp, no regal splendour—just the Queen, alone in her sorrow. As Her Majesty once put it, 'Grief is the price we pay for love.'
Seventy years as sovereign is a towering record, yet what will always stand tallest in our hearts and our memories is the commitment and spirit to service and duty that the Queen so unflaggingly brought to her role and the pride and sense of unity that she engendered. The Queen served with dignity, fidelity, humour and a grace that was indefatigable, and she took nothing for granted. When she opened this place in 1988, she said something that rings even truer today given global events:
Parliamentary democracy is a compelling ideal, but it is a fragile institution. It cannot be imposed and it is only too easily destroyed. It needs the positive dedication of the people as a whole, and of their elected representatives, to make it work.
We knew her voice and we knew her mannerisms: the stately expressions and the impish twinkle; the hats and the headscarves; the corgis and the horses; the hands that so lovingly gripped the steering wheels of generations of Land Rovers; the eagerness to perform with James Bond for the London Olympics; a princess who trained as a motor mechanic in World War II; a Queen who inspired Duke Ellington to compose a suite for her and present her with the solitary copy of its only recording; a sovereign who appreciated the value of being roused from every sleep every morning by bagpipes, knowing no alarm clock could ever be quite so emphatic.
It is perhaps fitting that in what proved to be the twilight of a remarkably long life she was drawn home to the corner of Scotland that spoke so powerfully to her heart. There at Balmoral, amid the sometimes severe splendour of the Highlands, she found that which eluded her in London: moments of solitude away from a life in the spotlight, the most famous woman in the world able to enjoy the luxury of the intimacy of family and of friends.
At the Sydney Opera House in 2000, Her Majesty bared the heart of her feelings for our country, saying:
… since I first stepped ashore here … I have felt part of this rugged, honest, creative land. I have shared in the joys and the sorrows, the challenges and the changes that have shaped this country's history …
But even as history continued to shape and change us and as the bond between our two nations evolved, the affection and respect in which we held Her Majesty remained. The Queen transcended barriers. You could be a republican and still feel nothing but regard and respect for her. She celebrated our good times and stood with us in our times of trial, bringing sympathy and comfort when it was so badly needed. Through fire and flood, drought and cyclone, and pandemic, she was there. As she said 20 years ago:
… my admiration, affection and regard for the people of Australia will remain, as it has been … constant, sure and true.
Let it be said we felt the same way. The Queen always had a special place in the hearts of Australians, and she always will. I thank His Excellency the Governor-General and Mrs Hurley, as well as the Australians—led by Dylan Alcott, the Australian of the Year—who graced London as part of the delegation and did Australia proud.
Our thoughts are with all the royal family as they mourn. In particular, we think of King Charles, who feels the weight of his sorrow as he takes on the weight of the Crown. When I met with him a few days ago in London, I conveyed on behalf of the Australian people our grief, our gratitude, our condolences and our respect. Our conversation was a reminder that Australia has always been very dear to him, not least Victoria, where he did some of his schooling all those years ago. As His Majesty put it on one occasion:
If you want to develop character, go to Australia.
I admire King Charles's passion and his commitment to the natural environment and sustainability. At the dawn of his reign, we wish His Majesty well, and, now that the great Elizabethan reign is over, may Her Majesty rest in eternal peace.
I thank the Prime Minister for his moving words and second the motion. It's a great honour to be here in this chamber; I appreciate the opportunity to reiterate and build upon my remarks at yesterday's solemn national memorial service. On the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, I said:
Never in modern history has there been a more dignified monarch, a more dutiful leader, or a more decent human than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The past 15 days of tears and tributes from around the world are testimony to the truth of that sentiment. We've been moved by the flowers laid, wreaths placed, notes left, speeches delivered, condolences penned, candles lit, prayers said, salutes fired and silences held—no more so than by the poignant final farewell of Her Majesty's state funeral. If 'grief is the price we pay for love', then the outpouring of global grief for our dearly departed sovereign speaks to just how much she was loved.
Queen Elizabeth's rule was extraordinary, the like of which we will never see again—a reign spanning 70 years with tens of thousands of public engagements. It's a legacy that little Lilibet could not have imagined. A sweet and shy child, who loved horses, adored corgis, and liked to keep things tidy with a dustpan and brush, she wanted to be a lady living in the country. But a King's abdication and her father's reluctant accession in 1936 brought an end to the idyllic family life spent at 145 Piccadilly in London and the Royal Lodge in Windsor. Ten-year-old Elizabeth, heir to the throne, was appalled to hear that she would be moving into Buckingham Palace forever.
Fate thrust a life of duty upon Elizabeth, but to duty Elizabeth would dedicate her life. Only four years later, in 1940, the teenage princess, matured by war, made her first radio broadcast, reassuring evacuated children that all would be well. Indeed, 80 years on, in one of her last broadcasts, she would echo those sentiments of comfort to those isolated and separated by COVID-19. 'We will meet again,' she said.
After turning 18, she contributed to the war effort as an army mechanic and learned to drive trucks. Aged just 25 years old, she succeeded her father on the throne, inheriting a shrinking empire and a country trying to carve out a new patriotic identity in the Cold War world. From one young person so much was expected by so many. Elizabeth neither yearned for a return to empire nor sought to reinstate it. She had the strength to venture beyond the safeties of the past, knowing that the path to modernity must be forged differently: her emphasis not on the people serving the monarch, but rather on being a monarch who tirelessly served the people.
She set a new course, giving herself, her heart and her soul, to the Commonwealth, to champion, as she described it, 'that equal partnership of nations and races, built on friendship, loyalty and the desire for freedom and peace'. That commitment saw her travel the world. She covered more than 1½ million kilometres, visited more than 100 countries and met many thousands of people and hundreds of leaders. With characteristic humility, she greeted all those she met with courtesy, treated them all as equals and offered an attentive ear.
It was, however, Churchill, Reagan, Obama and Mandela who left a lasting impression. She said of the latter, 'The most gracious of men has shown us all how to accept the facts of the past without bitterness.' Her historic trip to the Republic of Ireland in 2011 exemplified that spirit of reconciliation.
Our sovereign had a deep affection for Australia, visiting on 16 occasions between 1954 and 2011. She opened our new Parliament House and the Sydney Opera House. She attended the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane and in Melbourne, lit the eternal flame at the base of the cenotaph at Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance and met construction workers in a tunnel of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme. Beyond our capital cities, she visited places in every state and territory: Alice Springs and Albany, Dubbo and Devonport, Mackay and Mildura, Tamworth and Townsville, Whyalla and Wollongong and more besides. She looked forward to meeting people from remote locations, who, she said, 'have been such a distinct and enduring part of the Australian way of life'.
The Queen would admit that she 'always felt a special bond with a people whose creative energy and collective ambition is leavened by genuine warmth, generosity and humour'. She admired that Australian trait 'to honour those who go about their essential business without fuss or media attention'. But, of course, wherever the Queen went, crowds choked the streets, cheering and clapping and waving flags to express their adoration, as, of course, did Prime Minister Menzies. His fulsome and awkward tribute in 1963, quoting English poet Thomas Ford, perhaps now strikes a different chord: 'I did but see her passing by, and yet I love her till I die.'
Queen Elizabeth lived through the pivotal events of the 20th and 21st centuries: wars and conflicts, depression and recession, decolonisation and independence, the race to the moon and the attainment of civil rights, the brilliance of Olympic Games and the barbarity of terrorism, the sorrow of natural disasters and the solitude of pandemic. She was a realist and an optimist, stating: 'I have lived long enough to know that things never remain quite the same for very long. The future is, as ever, obscure. The only certainty is that it will present the world with new and daunting problems. But, if we continue to stick to our fundamental ideals, I have every confidence that we can resolve them.'
Elizabeth presided over an era of remarkable technological change. In 1983 she reflected:
In the year I was born, radio communication was barely out of its infancy; there was no television; civil aviation had hardly started and space satellites were still in the realm of science fiction. When my Grandfather visited India in 1911, it took three weeks by sea to get there.
Last month I flew back from Delhi to London in a matter of hours.
Nineteen fifty-seven saw her first televised Christmas message. Year after year after that, that inviting, warm and familiar face of our Queen, with her radiant smile, would beam into our living rooms.
Most never met her, of course, but felt they knew her. We drew on the wisdom of her words and on the comfort of her voice. As technology evolved, she embraced its changes. As we got to see more of the Queen, we saw more of her cheeky humour and her sense of fun: her joy at the racecourse; her quip at the G7 leaders photo shoot, with her dry sense of humour—'Are you supposed to be looking as if you're enjoying yourself?' she said; her Olympics cameo with Daniel Craig, delivering a perfect 'Good evening, Mr Bond'; and, most magically, her tea with Paddington Bear, confessing that she too hid marmalade sandwiches.
Despite being royal, the Queen was rarely ostentatious. Many of her habits, as we know now, were frugal—eating cornflakes out of Tupperware, turning off lights to save electricity and using two-bar electric heaters instead of lighting grand fireplaces. Like us, she had her own television show favourites: Downton Abbey, Dad's Army and Doctor Who. Churchill was right in his assessment: she was 'a lady whom we respect because she is our Queen and whom we love because she is herself'.
Each year the Queen took a summer break at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. There she fleetingly lived out her alternative life as a country lady. Her dedication to duty rarely saw her down tools in paving the royal road of service. Indeed, her service was grounded in regimented routine. Each day she would receive the red box, judiciously going through its contents of briefing papers and legislation. Her diary full of official meetings, engagements or visits would follow. The Queen found joy in reading and responding to correspondence from the public, saying:
Every day hundreds of letters come to my desk, and I make a point of reading as many of them as I possibly can.
… … …
I value all these letters for keeping me in touch with your views and opinions …
Just as people from all walks of life were inspired by the Queen, so too was she inspired by them. She said:
We hear much of 'public life'—the hurly-burly of Parliament, the media, big business, city life. But for most people their contribution, at whatever age, is made quietly through their local communities … To most of them, service is its own reward.
… … …
There are all sorts of elements to a free society, but I believe that among the most important is the willingness of ordinary men and women to play a part in the life of their community, rather than confining themselves to their own narrow interests.
Above all else, what made Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II tick was the importance she placed on family, on faith, on democratic institutions and on values. Those constants permeated throughout her reign, which was characterised, of course, by great change. The Queen saw the family as the focal point of her and our existence, the core of a thriving community. In her duty to country and Commonwealth, Elizabeth did not neglect her responsibilities as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a grandmother or a great-grandmother. Yes, her own life, of course, was not without family controversies and tragedies—her annus horribilis in 1992, Princess Diana's death in 1997 and the losses of her mother and sister in 2002—but, for a Queen admired for her almost transcendent qualities, those events would reinforce just how human she was.
The Queen suffered her greatest loss in 2021: the death of her beloved husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip. Gone was her 'strength and stay' of all those years, the man she so admired for his irrepressible sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation. In her last Christmas message, the Queen spoke about the joy of family, about death and birth. Her dedication to duty and family was linked with devotion to her God. For Elizabeth, the teachings of Christ and her personal accountability before God provided a framework in which she tried to live her life. She said:
At the centre of our lives … must be the message of caring for others, the message at the heart of Christianity and of all the great religions.
The Queen spoke often about the good Samaritan parable—how we are all neighbours who depend upon each other, no matter our race, creed or colour, and we all have something to learn from one another, whatever our faith, whatever our background and whether we be young or old, from town or countryside.
Throughout her reign, the Queen recognised that parliamentary democracy was 'a compelling ideal but a fragile institution'. She valued the lessons of history, counselling us to have the good sense to learn from the experience of those who have gone before us. She encouraged us, as the beneficiaries of a remarkable inheritance, to hold on to all the good that had been handed down to us in trust. We remember her profound words of 1957:
The trouble is caused by unthinking people who carelessly throw away ageless ideals as if they were old and outworn machinery.
They would have religion thrown aside, morality in personal and public life made meaningless, honesty counted as foolishness and self-interest set up in place of self-restraint.
She stated in 1990:
Nowadays there are all too many causes that press their claims with a loud voice and a strong arm rather than with the language of reason.
The record attests to the achievements of the second Elizabethan age. She left the monarchy in a stronger position than the precarious one she inherited. But perhaps Her Majesty's greatest triumph will be a renaissance of the virtues and values she embodied in life, virtues and values which we still admire but which are often wanting in a more retributive, revisionist and self-entitled world today—those of duty, service, sacrifice, fortitude, stoicism, grace, humility, generosity, forgiveness and empathy. May our dearly departed Queen inspire the very best in Australians for generations to come.
Over the course of the last fortnight, Australians have been glued to their television sets and to their devices, where they've embraced the recounting of the many interactions that the Queen has had with people in the United Kingdom, here in Australia and, of course, abroad. It is a time to celebrate our connection with our British heritage. I acknowledge the presence in the chamber today of the British High Commissioner, a very dear friend of our country and a great ambassador for her own country. The way in which the Prime Minister, the Governor-General and the delegation that they led represented our country in the United Kingdom over the course of the celebration of the Queen's life and the commemoration services that were conducted in London was a great credit to each of them, and a great moment of honour for our country. Today we say with heartfelt gratitude: goodnight to the Queen, may she rest in eternal peace, and long live the King.
MARLES (—) (): I acknowledge the beautiful words of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, and I also acknowledge the presence in our chamber of the high commissioner from the United Kingdom, Vicki Treadell. It is really wonderful to have you here today.
After 64 years on the throne, when Queen Victoria died at her retreat on the Isle of Wight in January 1901, the response across the British Empire was profound and it was consistent. It was observed that most people had lived their entire lives during her reign and that Queen Victoria had been a constant during a period of unmatched change, defined by the Industrial Revolution and the tremendous developments in technology which it initiated. That change was seen in Australia through Queen Victoria's presence accompanying federation. She died just three weeks after the birth of our nation, and her touch is everywhere. Two states are named after her. Our country's first capital was named after her first British Prime Minister, and, in one form or another, there is a memorial to Queen Victoria in every major city in the country. As we think about the events and the response of the last two weeks, with the death of Queen Elizabeth II, we know there was an earlier expression in those events which occurred more than a century ago. As the Prime Minister rightly observed, it is remarkable to think that, since 1837, in the 185 years hence, the throne has been occupied for more than 70 per cent of that time by just two women.
On the death of Queen Victoria, the Newcastle Chronicle, in the north-east of England, reported that, whilst few of its inhabitants had ever seen Her Majesty, all knew of her good works. And here's where the comparison starts to differ, because, while Queen Victoria provided that incredible constant of presence, she did so during an era where the public glare was relatively limited. There are no photos of an early Queen Victoria. There are just a few videos which show a grainy image of an older Queen Victoria in the distance, and there is no recording of Queen Victoria's voice which is in existence. And yet those technologies, which emerged during her reign, made the corresponding task of Queen Elizabeth to provide that constant presence, that constancy which has been the handrail for change, a task of a completely different order of magnitude.
Queen Elizabeth's coronation was the most watched event on TV to that point in time. The video which documents the 1954 visit to Australia is regarded to this day as the most important pre-TV footage in Australia's social history. Indeed, on that visit, almost three-quarters of the entire population, over those two months, actually came out to see Queen Elizabeth. Queen Victoria never left Europe. In her 70 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth embarked on 250 official overseas trips to 131 different countries. Her image and her voice are the most seen and most heard of any human in history. It's estimated that during her reign she shook the hands of hundreds of thousands of people—it must be closing in on a million people—and through all that time her presence has been constant and predictable, calm and full of grace. In 70 years she did not put a foot wrong. It is an achievement of public engagement on a gargantuan scale. What it really means is, if you think about the entire history of the kings and queens of England, from 1066 and William the Conqueror right through to the present, Queen Elizabeth, perhaps alongside her namesake, stands right up there as one of the greatest.
The essence of her engagement was a comforting reassurance, which was never felt so much as during times of crisis, such as in 1966, during the Aberfan mine disaster in Wales, where a mudslide claimed the lives of 151 people, most of whom were kids. The Queen visited Aberfan eight days after that event, and her presence and her visit gave comfort to grieving parents. Decades later, survivors of that disaster would describe the Queen's visit as a positive and integral part of their experience of that tragedy. In turn, the Queen would say of Aberfan that she was impressed by 'the remarkable fortitude, dignity and indomitable spirit that characterises the people of this village and the surrounding valleys'. After the September 11 attacks, the Queen said to the people of New York:
… nothing that can be said can begin to take away the anguish and the pain of these moments. Grief is the price we pay for love.
In the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, the Queen asked to be kept abreast on a daily basis, personally, about the disaster, its aftermath and the government response, and she sought those daily briefings for months after the event. That, accompanied by a contribution that she made to the local Red Cross, gave a sense of connection with the Queen to the people on the fireground. Then, more recently, during the pandemic, her words come with a wisdom of an intelligent mind that has experienced a long life. She said to the world:
And though self-isolating may at times be hard, many people of all faiths, and of none, are discovering that it presents an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect, in prayer or meditation.
… … …
… using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal. We will succeed—and that success will belong to every one of us.
During these times of crisis, she was the exhausting focus of attention, and it's worth dwelling on that. To give a moment to shake the hand of a complete stranger was literally the daily routine of the Queen's life, and yet, for the person who received that moment, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To understand that difference and yet to give every time, hour in, hour out; day in, day out; year in, year out, shows an astonishing generosity of spirit and a bigness of heart. She must have been a truly remarkable person.
For those who had the opportunity to know her just a little, that has been the consistent testimony. When I was much younger, I had the thrill of having lunch at university with Gough Whitlam, and of all the topics about which I might have spoken to that great man, we found ourselves talking about the Queen, and he spoke in such glowing terms about how wonderful a person she was. I was really struck by his description, but I was just as struck by the fact that it was Gough Whitlam who was giving the description. His words align with all we've heard spoken about the Queen in the last two weeks. I think it does give something of a sense of why we are experiencing and why there has been such an outpouring of emotion across Australia, irrespective of one's views about our constitutional arrangements, across the Commonwealth and, most particularly, across the United Kingdom.
Yes, it is about the fact that this is a moment in time, a moment in history. We are, most of us, experiencing an event that we've never seen before and maybe we won't see again, and so, in these moments, there is a natural tendency to walk down an introspective path about our own life's journey—but it's also about the person. It is about her. It is about acknowledging an astonishing life of unparalleled service to others. The Queen was right when she said that grief is the price we pay for love. But, in this instance, grief is also the appreciation, across the breadth of Australia, of a deeply grateful nation. Vale Queen Elizabeth II.
As the Leader of the Nationals, I extend my appreciation to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, and join with them in their tributes to the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia and Head of the Commonwealth. Firstly, may I say that the National Party of Australia unites with millions of Australians in sending our heartfelt condolences to the royal family, to whom Her Majesty was a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
My reflections today will focus largely on the unique role Her Majesty played in the hearts of millions of Australians that live outside our capital cities. Since Her Majesty passed away peacefully at the age of 96, Australia has mourned the loss of a truly exceptional leader, a monarch who had a real, profound and enduring affinity with our regions. Over the past 14 days, we have seen magnificent and powerful tributes in honour of Her Majesty. We have witnessed our nation coming together in the spirit of unity on a scale that has been truly remarkable. We have seen public outpourings of grief and admiration through an avalanche of touching condolences, breathtaking spectacles and solemn beauty.
We know that Australia shared so much with Her Majesty. Indeed, it was during a visit 16 years ago that she memorably said:
As Queen of Australia, I have always felt a special bond with a people whose creative energy and collective ambition is leavened by genuine warmth, generosity and humour.
But that bond gets stronger as we go out to our regions. Throughout her life, regional Australians have celebrated Her Majesty in many different ways. Be it in our town halls, our schools or even our pubs, it is heartwarming that you could be in Mildura, Geraldton or even Whyalla and spy a solitary portrait sitting on a wall. This is often a small, yet strong tribute that can embody a community's sentiment without anything needing to be said at all.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was a shining light of great hope but also comfort for communities across regional, rural and remote Australia. In the midst of regional Australia's toughest times, Her Majesty provided many messages of support and strength. These efforts showed her true kindness, humanity and leadership. Across the 16 royal visits to Australia, accompanied by His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, Her Majesty graced towns across the regions more than 60 times. In a stunning display of affection for our land, in the incredible royal tour in 1954, the first ever by a reigning monarch, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh called through 35 regional towns, and many of these towns were lucky enough to get a second visit. These occasions took many different formats and held many a different tone. Some of these were showcases and celebrations. Some were deeply sombre ceremonies, marks of respect and remembrance. Yet almost all of these moments were simply a dream come true. They were real-life storybook moments where it did not matter whether you were a small child in Coffs Harbour or a middle-aged bloke in Mackay; this was an opportunity to get a glimpse of or even meet the Queen.
Perhaps the greatest testament that Her Majesty will be remembered by the regions, we are left with stories from each of these visits that she was certainly more than engaged with everywhere she went. In my own electorate of Maranoa, Her Majesty went through Cunnamulla and Longreach twice. Dan Walker, or 'Outback Dan', as he is commonly known, tells the story of the visit to Camden Park Station in Longreach: 'On 15 April 1970, the Queen arrived in her Rolls-Royce, and it was my dad's job for the day to ensure the driveway leading into Camden Park Station was graded so the Rolls-Royce didn't bottom out.' People came from as far as Roma, Rockhampton and Mount Isa to attend a luncheon hosted by the matron of the local hospital. The matron sat with the Queen, introducing her to the dignitaries, and over lunch they discussed issues regarding rural women, their lifestyles, the community and what they had been able to pioneer, while Prince Philip mingled with the men. Her Majesty marvelled that it was the only place she'd been to the world where she could actually see 360-degree views without a man-made structure in sight.
One of the reporters from the travelling media pack thought she'd visit the local pub to ask the locals what the visit meant to them personally, and all they could talk about was the chair that Her Majesty sat in and what they were going to do with it. The chair was nicknamed 'the Throne', and can be found to this day at the homestead.
Her Majesty returned to Longreach in 1988, our bicentennial year, to officially open the Australian Stockmans Hall of Fame, just one of the many projects she opened that have meant so much to our communities. But there was one small problem in Longreach: there were only 30 motel rooms. Visitors brought their own swags and tents and simply did what they do best in the outback: they camped out. It's reported more than 12,000 people came to Longreach on that occasion alone.
These are just some of the stories that have been swapped and passed down through generations, and will be for generations to come. They occur right across, throughout and without wonderful regions such as Dubbo, Benalla, Broken Hill, Armidale, Orange, Shepparton, Swan Hill, Broome and Cooma. The member for Hinkler recently retold the story of Her Majesty's visit to Bundaberg. Our royal visitors were to spend two hours in Bundaberg, but these two hours captivated the region. There were days upon days of rehearsals that even included intense practice and scrutiny of handshakes. This was also set to be the first time that children would take part in a civic reception in Queensland. As recalled by Bundaberg Now, the local newspaper, in the 40 days before the visit it had published 57 articles about the forthcoming event, and the week before her visit the paper published daily hints for residents on how to cope with the whole experience. A full-scale dress rehearsal was held at Bundaberg Showground days before the royal visit and the complete royal reception procedures were run through numerous times until it was faultless.
Ten trains arrived in Bundaberg early Thursday morning, from Maryborough, Gympie, Isis, Monto, Kingaroy, Morganville, Mount Perry and Gladstone, with more than 5,000 people on board, and most had returned home by 9 pm the same night.
In the end, over 30,000 people pooled into Bundaberg Showgrounds that day. Legend has it that Her Majesty also took an interest in the making of a certain local tipple and asked the mayor, Fred Buss, if he enjoyed it. The mayor, who was never one to miss an opportunity, replied that he did but that it was too expensive and cost one shilling a nip when it should only cost a penny—because of the excise duty from the federal government. Nothing's changed! Years later Her Majesty's son, our now King Charles III, visited the Bundy Rum Distillery and blended his own rum. Perhaps His Majesty had been given the heads-up.
There were also visits where Her Majesty marvelled at our great regional challenges and the practical innovations that our communities used to overcome them. After all, Her Majesty famously joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, learning how to drive and how to service an army truck. In 1963, she visited Snowy Hydro and Eucumbene Dam and then went up north to Kununurra and Diversion Dam. In 1970, she visited the Royal Flying Doctor Service based in Mount Isa and visited the Mount Isa Mines. But this interest and fondness was not a one-way street; our communities worshipped these occasions. Just about every visit shares a similar picture: usually spacious and comfortable country main streets are flooded with thousands.
This fondness is also reflected in our communities through our rural agricultural shows. Entry and participation into these shows has traditionally been a chance to showcase a region's finest for judging as a prize suitable for the Queen. In the member for Riverina's electorate in 1954 Her Majesty attended the Wagga Wagga agricultural show, observing the woodchopping and wool classing. Yet again, thousands lined the streets, and it's been heralded as Wagga's greatest day. These moments have been preserved by our towns. When Her Majesty visited the member for Capricornia's electorate, there were two chairs made especially elegant, stylish and, of course, looking very comfortable. They were there for them to sit outside the Rockhampton Town Hall. They are now on display at the Rockhampton Museum of Art for all to see.
There are countless yarns, and, of course, some of those stories shared might not be entirely true; some that no-one would happen to believe did not in fact happen. That is the beauty of legend and that is the beauty of our regions—that they, the people who make up the very soul and identity of our nation, in their own backyard shared their own unique moment of history with a legend. Regional Australia will be devastated by Her Majesty's passing but can take great comfort that she's at peace. Moments in history like this are an occasion for deep reflection, and, as we reflect on Her Majesty's life, what we see is an incredible record of service, sacrifice and accomplishment.
As Australians, it's worth remembering how blessed we are to live in a society which is defined by a set of core fundamental principles, which have built our nation into what it is today. Australia is the Lucky Country, and part of that luck has been due to the fact that Her Majesty has been able to reign over us. The stability Her Majesty has provided has improved the lives of many. Freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and a free, robust democratic system of government—we owe these values to the United Kingdom and to Her Majesty, who was the proud and living embodiment of them. It is by staying true to these values as Australians that the memory of Queen Elizabeth II will always live in our hearts.
This is a sad time as we now say our final goodbye, and goodbyes are always hard. As we grieve for Her Majesty, we also say thank you. Thank you for your remarkable leadership, thank you for your immense contribution to our nation and our history, and thank you for your love, loyalty and sacrifice. I would like to finish by quoting a message of condolence that was left in my electorate office in Dalby by Mr Arthur Coutts:
To their royal highnesses. Our deepest heartfelt sympathies to you all on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I had the honour of serving as a soldier under her and took pride in my service for her. Never forgotten and always loved.
It was not appropriate at the start, when I was moving the procedural motions, to give a speech explaining what the arrangements for the day would be, so I'll do that now so that the House is aware. But I thank the House for allowing that to go through without debate. It was important that the Prime Minister's moving speech be the first speech of the day.
This will be the only issue that we deal with today. Speeches are five minutes. The tradition historically has actually only been leaders' speeches given and we finish up quite early, but there has been an understandable wish for extra time from members, and there is a significant number of people who would like to make additional comments. That's why we have gone for a different procedure to what has happened previously, although it's some years since the House has had to use the protocols for an event such as this.
At the end of the debate, it will simply be dealt with on the voices and the House will automatically adjourn. There will be no adjournment debate today. I also raise the protocol with respect to which many members will want to make speeches. I suspect more members will be in attendance. There is within the resolution that the House carried earlier today the standard clause that these arrangements can be varied on a motion moved by a minister. No-one should be concerned about that. That is just part of it, as it always is. There is no intention for there to be any further divisions or any quorums or anything like that during the course of the day. I'll just add that, for those members who feel that the leaders' speeches have in fact dealt with the issues that they wanted to raise, that's understood and there is no disrespect from any members who may choose not to make a speech today.
I will simply add, on behalf of the people of Watson, my condolences and deepest respect and gratitude for a life of service. I have very early memories of the two great-aunts who raised my father, who had all sorts of views about the United Kingdom, being the Irish Catholics that they were. But they were so proud of the photographs they had from when Her Majesty visited Sydney and always had on display their best fine bone china teacup, which was always known as 'the cup for the Queen' in case she ever popped around. I simply add those comments and join with all members in sending condolences to everybody who is grieving but most specifically those people who have lost a dear member of their family as well. May she rest in peace.
The passing of Queen Elizabeth II is tremendously sad for the world. It is a day many of us simply did not believe would arrive, but sadly arrive it did. The second Elizabethan age encompassed the most significant decades of human history. It's hard for us to fathom the breadth and pace of change throughout the Queen's life. The Queen's reign spanned prime ministers from Winston Churchill, born in 1874, to Liz Truss, sworn in days ago and born in 1975—15 British prime ministers, 14 US presidents and 16 of our own leaders.
The Queen was a bridge between the 19th and 21st centuries, a living connection to the trials of our past. Crowned at just 25 years of age, called by fate to a duty unexpected, she weathered the winds of change. A member of the greatest generation, she lived through the battle to defeat fascism, serving as part of the Auxiliary Territorial Service. She saw the rise and fall of communism and lived through the spectre and prospect of nuclear Armageddon. She held the monarchy through a world rapidly connecting and digitising and led the Commonwealth as it democratised and evolved. In the final years of her reign, she kept her people together throughout a pandemic. For 70 years, she gave unfailing public service to the people of the Commonwealth. Indeed, she discharged her duty with such eloquence, commitment and consistency that we took her presence well and truly for granted.
The loss of a queen is not merely the loss of a leader, nor simply the loss of a figurehead, because behind that crown was a mother and daughter. Behind the crown was a woman who loved and who lost. Behind the crown was a woman who had fears, who had hopes and who had dreams. We cannot forget: what made Queen Elizabeth II remarkable was not her title but who she was. The loss we are speaking about today is not about changing anthems, it's not about changing coins or public holidays and it isn't about proclamations or coronations. In our own Australian way, today we acknowledge the remarkable woman the Queen was.
Today is about recognising everything the Queen meant for so many Australians, because, for so many of us, we've lost someone who was a constant companion as we've travelled our own journeys through life. From those yearly Christmas messages of hope to those shared experiences of national commemoration or her consistent concern and attention for those Australians affected by fires, floods and drought, the Queen has been there. She played a starring role in so many of our big national moments, from her first visit in 1954, attended by 70 per cent of Australians, to the opening of the Sydney Opera House or, indeed, to the inauguration of this very parliament. She's imprinted on our memory.
But it was not just those great national moments; it was the many thousands of memories made on her travels across our wide brown land. In my own electorate in 1988, on her first visit to Albury, she was welcomed by the entire town and was to cruise the Murray on the historic paddle steamer Cumberoona. Alas, once aboard, the Murray River wasn't full enough to transport the vessel. The newspapers carried the headline 'Royals all steamed up with nowhere to go,' paraphrasing Captain Frank Tucker, who also said, 'It's a real pain in the butt, but you can't argue with nature.' We now know the Queen and her husband found these sorts of hiccups quite enjoyable, and I'm glad her visit to Albury would have been a memorable one.
Another unique connection for my community was master milliner Freddie Fox, who hailed from the humble town of Urana in the Riverina. In all, Freddie Fox made more than 350 hats for the Queen over a 35-year period, surviving, as he put it, 'three tailors, four dressmakers and two designers'. At one stage, he was creating hats not only for Her Majesty but also for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and for Diana the Princess of Wales. You can see Freddie Fox's hats in the museum in Urana today.
Like so many Australians, my experience with the Queen was a brief glimpse and a short conversation. I met the Queen with my daughter Georgina at a reception held in the Great Hall of Parliament House in 2011. She was introduced to us by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. It was a special moment.
The Queen's commitment to duty never faltered, and it is so fittingly captured by the address she made in April 2020, at the height of the COVID pandemic, when she said:
We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.
We have indeed lost one of the most substantial world figures of our time. Thank you, Your Majesty, for everything.
I rise today as member for Barton and Minister for Indigenous Australians. Queen Elizabeth II's service and contribution to public life is rightly being remembered with appreciation across the world and, indeed, in this place today. Heir to the throne at 10; Queen at 25.
I was born four years after Elizabeth II was crowned. I grew up in a home where the Queen's picture was cut out of papers and kept. In the sixties and seventies, images of the royal family were everywhere. As a primary school student, we saluted the flag and sang 'God Save the Queen.' I also grew up not being counted as an Australian and not enjoying the same citizenship rights as others did. The monarchy was deeply embedded in the fabric of our popular culture and our identity as a nation.
No matter what your personal views, the collective outpouring of emotion in the days since the Queen's passing has been nothing short of remarkable. It clearly reflects the love and respect she inspired and the strong connections she built with people throughout the Commonwealth—indeed, the world.
In Aboriginal culture, sorry business is deeply important. Just this week, I have been to two funerals of women of Elizabeth II's generation: Aunty Esther Carol in Sydney on Monday and Aunty Neita Scott in Narromine on Tuesday, two extraordinary women born at a time in this country where they were subject to the horrors of a New South Wales welfare board, which rendered every Aboriginal person a ward of the state. It had total control. Both women grew up on Aboriginal reserves and experienced the yoke of the Welfare Board. But they were women of great determination and courage and, like the Queen, full of grace and dedicated to service.
For many Indigenous Australians, the legacy of the monarchy is fraught, a complex, difficult and painful reminder of the impact of colonisation. This week has seen many wrestling with the swirling emotions, as Stan Grant has said. But, equally, there are many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have respect for the Queen, especially as a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
The Queen's relationship with Indigenous Australians reflects both how far we have come and how far we still have to go. In 1954 she visited Shepparton in central Victoria. The Yorta Yorta people had taken up occupation across what was known as the Flats. It was considered too unsightly for the Queen's eyes, and the people were hidden away. Telling this story now is shocking, but at the time it is what it was.
But we have come a long way: the '67 referendum, the Mabo decision, land rights, the apology. And we have still much more work to do—more steps to be taken on the long road to reconciliation, more steps on the road to truth-telling and treaty. Because with each generation we make progress, it is my great hope that the years ahead bring us closer to fulfilling Australia's greatest promise. As the Uluru Statement from the Heart so eloquently states:
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs.
With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia's nationhood. Perhaps because of our relative powerlessness of the past 200 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people knew the implicit power of the Crown, when William Cooper in the 1930s circulated a petition and had it sent to King George VI.
The hallmark of Queen Elizabeth is a life of service. She worked to leave the world a better place than she found it through fostering unity and common purpose and by acknowledging those less powerful and less fortunate. In this way, she was so similar to the women like Esther and Neita who lived lives of service that should inspire us all. I believe deeply that Her Majesty understood in a very real way the concept of sovereignty never ceded.
I rise to give my condolences on the death of Queen Elizabeth II. May she rest in peace. I pay my respects to her family and all those who loved her and all those grieving.
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor became the Queen of England and of Australia in 1952. As a symbol, she was powerful. She was the head of her family, the head of her nation, the head of her church and the Head of the Commonwealth for over 70 years. Her face was a fixture of the 20th and 21st centuries. Her face was in our courts, in our parliaments, on our envelopes and on our currency—a feature of our visual landscape. As a human being, she loved horses, she drove a four-wheel drive and, by all reports, she had a wry sense of humour.
During her reign, we've seen the decline of what was the British Empire. In 1952, when Elizabeth came to power, five years after India was partitioned, the British were fighting against uprisings in Kenya and a coup in Egypt. During her reign, 35 countries which previously had the Queen as head of state became republics. However, the impact of that empire is still felt here and across the world amongst those who suffered the loss of their country, including First Nations people.
At the moving ceremony yesterday, the Governor-General made an important acknowledgement. He acknowledged that the response of many First Nations people is shaped by our colonial history and that we have unfinished business. He is right, and we must acknowledge it, as a parliament, too. Also, because the Queen's passing means that we get a new head of state without having any say in the matter, it is absolutely the appropriate time to talk respectfully about whether that is right for us as a country. We can offer our condolences to those grieving her personally while also talking respectfully about what it means for us as a people. Australia has not taken our opportunity to become a republic. Australia still does not have a treaty. Australia's former Prime Minister was once removed by the Queen's representative. And it was only in 1986, less than 40 years ago, that the power of the parliament of the United Kingdom to make laws for Australia was finally terminated. And now the Queen has passed, but, despite her longevity and readily apparent restraint, what she represented has not. Now we have a king. We did not elect this man, nor did we as a people truly consent to being governed by him. We have, respectfully, unfinished business.
The head of state of this country should be chosen by the people, for the people and from the people. We should respect the civility with which Elizabeth Windsor oversaw the drawing down of what was once the British Empire and take the cue to grow up and move out. We must recognise, as our Governor-General said, that people around this country are experiencing this moment in different ways. We must recognise the cultural, structural and institutional ways in which the Crown, which we remain a part of, has oppressed First Nations peoples here and around the world. We must first reach a treaty with our First Nations. Once we have struck a treaty then it will be time for a republic—one based on truth, justice and the inclusion of all.
When it comes to our history there is no glory in make-believe, because the pain of colonisation is real. The Queen's true gift was that she allowed and encouraged so many countries to grow up, move out and move on. As Stan Grant wrote:
We aren't supposed to talk about these things this week. We aren't supposed to talk about colonisation, empire, violence, about Aboriginal sovereignty, not even about the republic.
But now is the time to look back honestly and to move forward with courage, grace and humility. We can use this moment to genuinely empower people, to choose our leader, to own up to our past and to forge a future as a country, like so many countries who have embraced their independence. As my colleague Lidia Thorpe said:
That unity would be more powerful than any King.
For those close to her, who loved her: we recognise your loss and we pay our respects. But her reign has ended, and now we must, finally, take control of our destiny for the good of all who've lived here, who do live here and who will come to live here in the future.
I rise today to add my voice, on behalf of the constituents of Burt, in the south-eastern suburbs of Perth in Western Australia, and as a minister of Her late Majesty's government in Australia, in support of this formal motion of condolence from this House of Representatives on the passing of Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia and her other realms.
Her Majesty's was a reign that became presumptive upon the abdication of her uncle in 1936. The political and royal goings-on of that year led the future queen to receiving expert tutelage in constitutional history from the Vice-Provost at Eton College. This oft-stated fact is underappreciated for the foundations it established for a queen who was to oversee the unwinding of British colonial rule around the world and who, as she spoke of here at the opening of this Parliament House building, acknowledged the precious nature of democracy. These foundations also enabled an approach by Her Majesty to supporting the Australian polity as an independent nation on the world stage, free to choose its own path but, at the same time, always welcomed as a leader in the Empire and then the Commonwealth of Nations. This understanding of the precious nature of democracy no doubt also influenced what we acknowledge as her great life of service through her consistent and energetic support of community groups, local champions, charities, and causes in support of those less well off or afflicted by disaster. For all of this, our nation says thank you.
As Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel, I wish to also acknowledge Her Majesty's service with our armed forces. Not only did she serve during the Second World War in the British Army Auxiliary Territorial Service at the age of 18, training as a mechanic and learning to drive trucks, but she held many esteemed roles with Australian Defence Force organisations, including as the Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Engineers, the Royal Australian Infantry Corps, the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps and the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps. She was also the Captain-General of the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery and the Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force Reserve.
Her Majesty had a very special affection for our Australian defence personnel and veterans. Likewise, our current and ex-serving personnel have always held Her Majesty in the highest esteem, swearing to serve her and resist her enemies. As an example of this special relationship, I'd like to share the experience of Australia's oldest surviving Victoria Cross recipient, whom I had the honour of meeting myself on a recent trip to Darwin: 89-year-old Keith Payne VC. Keith first met the Queen in 1954 on her first tour of Australia. As a young soldier, he was assigned to Her Majesty, opening doors for her and clearing the way for her as she walked. Keith served in Korea in the 1950s. Then he was deployed to Malaysia and Papua New Guinea in the 1960s. In February 1969 he was appointed to the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam. Soon after, he and his company were attacked. His heroic actions that day, described as 'exceptional personal bravery', earned him a Victoria Cross. He was the fourth and final Australian to earn such an award in the Vietnam War.
Sixteen years following their first encounter, Keith again met Her Majesty, for the investiture of his Victoria Cross aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia. They met on many more occasions, and the Queen came to describe Keith as an 'old friend'. Keith has described Her Majesty as 'not only a Queen but a royal above royals'. I'm so glad that her old friend was able to bid Her Majesty a final farewell well this week, with Keith attending the Queen's funeral in London alongside his son, as did other Victoria and George Cross recipients from the Commonwealth at Her Majesty's request. The Queen holds a special place in the hearts of many Australians and, indeed, people across the world but none so much as those who have served in her name.
My most is sincere condolences to the royal family and in particular, her successor, His Majesty King Charles III, and we wish him every success in his new role as King of Australia. After 70 years of faithful service, 16 tours of Australia and 16 Australian Prime Ministers, may she now rest in eternal peace.
It's a great pleasure and privilege, in fact, to rise on an occasion which was inevitable and which many of us forlornly hoped would never come. Her Majesty the Queen was unlike any other. The Queen was a great-grandmother whose small stature will forever cast a shadow over the 20th and 21st centuries and beyond. She leaves in her wake a legacy we will never be able to quantify. I vividly recall Her Majesty's visit to the Sunshine Coast in 2002, one of 16 trips to Australia during her reign. Flanked by the leaders of over 50 Commonwealth countries, the royal household descended on the Sunshine Coast for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Here, at a hidden surfers haven, the Queen gave voice and effect to the historic 2002 Declaration on the Commonwealth in the 21st Century. The declaration committed to eradicating terrorism, fostering cultural diversity and emphasising the Commonwealth as a free association based on democratic ideals. In the wake of 9/11, I remember the constant roar of RAAF F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets circling above the skies of the Sunshine Coast during the course of those few days. Our world seemed to have changed for the worse. Our world was less secure, less optimistic and much more guarded. And yet, through those days of terrorism and change across the world, the Queen was the Commonwealth's constant guiding light for more than 70 years.
Her death stilled a frenzied world and continues to bring us together in both gratitude and grief. In my electorate of Fisher, I've been encouraged by the tributes offered in response to Her Majesty's passing. I think of the students of Buddina State School, with their fantastic paintings of the Queen, her guard and her beloved corgis. I think of the Caloundra RSL, who hosted a moving memorial service late last week. And I think of Valda Langton, a 96-year-old constituent from Dicky Beach, who penned a poem,'The Queen and I'. She wrote of the Queen:
Her crowning in the Abbey, with Prince Philip by her side,
The choir singing anthems! That mem'ry will abide.
That solemn coronation as per ancient rule and rite
Had sealed the new Queen's destiny, to only do what's right
For her Commonwealth of Nations,
North, South, East and West!
Needing God's guidance to know for each what's best!
Her Majesty's faith in God, which she called her 'bedrock', has been noted in the days since her passing. Her pledge to serve was a lifelong vow to her people before her God. This vow she kept. Whether in St George's Chapel on bended knee or enthroned in the House of Lords, it was Her Majesty's example of Christianity, humility and duty which marked this second Elizabethan age.
And it really was a defining era. In the face of devastating disasters and the darkness of war and terror, Her Majesty inspired unity, forgiveness and national pride. In our throwaway culture, Her Majesty inspired reverence for ancient tradition. In a world expanding at what she described as 'a bewildering pace', the Queen called for greater compassion and connection with one another. The Queen could draw crowds of millions. In fact, as many as four billion are said to have watched Her Majesty's funeral. Yet, in the same way, Her Majesty inspired families, streets and community groups to join together in intimate celebration of every wedding, anniversary and jubilee. Her faith and her faithfulness, her service and her selflessness have anchored our nation, and our family of nations, through thick and thin. Our Queen was a constant in moments of national reckoning and global change. She saw 16 Australian prime ministers and 16 governors-general. While kingdoms and countries have risen and fallen, she continued to rule with grit and grace.
In closing, I want to share a piece of advice offered by Her Majesty not too long ago. In her 2021 Christmas address, the Queen said:
Adults, when weighed down with worries, sometimes fail to see the joy in simple things …
Today we may find the joy in the simple faith and service of Elizabeth the great. On behalf of the people of the electorate of Fisher, on the Sunshine Coast, I offer the royal family my heartfelt condolences. May God keep her and grant her peace, and may God save the King.
I begin with a story about an encounter from Buckingham Palace. Madeleine Buchner, a local from Melbourne, received a call in 2016 to say that she was to meet Queen Elizabeth. Madeleine was given the honour after being accepted into the 2017 Queen's Young Leaders program. From Madeleine's own experiences growing up as a carer for her brother and her mum, Madeleine saw the need to support other carers, and she tried to fill that need. She created an organisation called Little Dreamers. Little Dreamers supports people who provide unpaid care for a family member affected by disability, chronic or mental illness, addiction or frail age. And so Madeleine set off to meet the Queen. After 10 days in London, the finale of the Queen's Young Leaders program was a gathering at Her Majesty's residence. After almost two hours of etiquette lessons, Madeleine entered the famous ballroom at Buckingham Palace. With a touch of elegant fanfare, the Queen walked into the room with Prince Harry. Harry, being almost six feet two, was easily seen by the crowd, but, because Her Majesty was only five foot four, Madeleine could only see the royal monarch's head bobbing along above the crowd. Despite not being properly able to see her, Madeleine said the room changed immediately after her entrance, and then the encounter happened that changed Madeleine's life.
I'm reliably told that, despite the Queen meeting hundreds of people that day, for the few moments she spent with Madeleine, the Queen was in the moment, entirely present. The Queen asked Madeleine about what she does and why she does it. Madeleine spoke about her organisation, Little Dreamers, about her brother and about her mum. Then the Queen gave her some royal advice; the Queen said: 'It's incredible, turning a challenge into something that changes lives.' And then the Queen instructed her to keep going. The advice from the Queen gave Madeleine the confidence to trust her instincts and pursue her passion, which is exactly what Maddy did. She quit her job and poured everything into Little Dreamers, and it now partners with state and federal governments and literally changes thousands of lives every year.
Very few people can spark a cascade of good like that, and that is who we pay respects to in this place on this day, a person who lived in a world of diamonds and privilege and yet who touched and understood the imperfections of her fellow people. Today we pay our respects to a person of history; a person of our time; a person intertwined with Australian history and our national story; a person whose local residence, the magnificent Government House, welcomes visitors from across Victoria into the heart of my electorate of Macnamara; a person who rode a tram down St Kilda Road, who dedicated the Second World War Memorial Forecourt and lit the Eternal Flame at our Shine of Remembrance and who was admired by many in my community; and a person who, for some, also represented a position as sovereign that can't be separated from the hurt and suffering attached to our history and colonialism and the expansion of empire that has fractured and dispossessed generations.
I think particularly of our own First Nations people, but I'm grateful for the way that the Queen's understanding of Indigenous culture shifted over time, just as Australia's understanding has. Senator Pat Dodson was part of the first delegation of Indigenous Australians granted an audience by a reigning British monarch since Bennelong met King George II in 1793. He described how the Queen was genuinely interested to hear from them, about their stories, and she offered a reception better than what they were granted at home here in Australia.
As we pay our respects to an extraordinary life, the passage of the Crown has passed on. As one life ends, her position and considerable privilege is automatically passed on to her heir and her son, our new King. Birth gives him the Crown, the role as the head of the realm, and here lies the complexity of today's stories. We acknowledge the personal greatness of an individual who served with dignity and distinction, but I think it's okay to say that we begin the journey away from the institution that I don't think represents the modern aspects of a democracy that we can aspire to be. Power shouldn't be given by birth; it should only be given by the people. So today I pay my respects to a remarkable person while holding firm the belief that across our great nation young boys and girls should grow up knowing that they could one day serve our country as the head of Australia, that they could serve with intellect, dignity and warmth, just as Queen Elizabeth II did. May she rest in peace.
Today I rise to pay tribute to the life, dedication and unwavering service of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the electorate of La Trobe. Celebrated as the longest reigning monarch in British history, Her Majesty received 16 Australian Prime Ministers, from Robert Menzies. I personally thank Her Majesty for being an inspirational leader to me and so many Australians. Her Majesty was greatly loved and admired across the Commonwealth nations for her tenacity, generosity of spirit and commitment to her role as sovereign. Our admiration unites the Commonwealth family across the globe, where, for generations, we have watched and admired Her Majesty's service to her people.
Following the death of her father, King George VI in 1952, as a young woman of just 25 years, with two young children, the role of monarch was placed upon then Princess Elizabeth. Without question, the young Queen undertook the role with resolution and devotion, and she pledged her life to fulfilling the position as monarch, just as her father and ancestors had done for hundreds of years before her.
During her 70 years on the throne, Her Majesty undertook significant patronages of various organisations. I particularly admired Her Majesty's philanthropic endeavours. At the height of her reign, the Queen was patron to over 600 charities, some of which she proudly advocated for for over 75 years, including the RSPCA and, of course, Scouts Australia. Her charitable efforts saw Her Majesty host regular fundraising events at Buckingham Palace to garner support for charities that she represented, especially those helping people in need. Her Majesty was such a kind and thoughtful person and often donated so much of her own funds to these organisations.
Queen Elizabeth notably visited Australia 16 times during her 70-year reign, with her last visit being in 2011. In Melbourne, alongside her husband, Prince Philip, Her Majesty rode a royal tram along St Kilda Road to lunch at Government House, opened the newly built $1 billion Royal Children's Hospital and visited Federation Square and the Ian Potter Centre, whilst throngs of Melburnians lined the streets to welcome the Queen, greeting her with flowers and keepsakes.
As a member of parliament and a former member of Victoria Police, my professional life has been underpinned by service and I've been honoured to see the Queen on two occasions. One occasion was in 2006 at the Exhibition Building in Melbourne, under the Howard government. I actually took my mother along. So many senior Australians admired the Queen through their younger lives and have books and magazines in her honour. Again, during my time with Victoria Police, when I was directing traffic in St Kilda Road, I had the great honour of seeing her go by very late at night.
This brings me to the efforts of the showcase—if I can call it that—and the services provided during her funeral, where I saw 10,000 police officers on duty, in London's biggest police operation, with 1,650 military personnel in the coffin procession of Her Majesty, and 142 Royal Navy officers pulling the gun carriage carrying Her Majesty's coffin. It was an incredible effort by them.
Just finally, my wife, Judy, has actually met the Queen and shaken her hand on two occasions—once when she provided her with flowers during a royal visit to the Solomon Islands in October 1982, and again in Hong Kong in 1986. Only a young girl at the time, my wife proudly recalls representing her school to greet the Queen and Prince Philip. This was very special for her. She is very much a huge fan of the Queen, as so many people were.
We talk a lot in this place about service—in the past few years often about the frontline workers who have protected us and shielded us and served us in the face of fires and floods, and, in the teeth of the pandemic, nurses, teachers, bus drivers, truck drivers, firefighters, the SES, cleaners, supermarket workers, doctors, pharmacists and a multitude of volunteers. Service comes in many forms. And, in all of the commentary since the passing of the Queen, it's the one word that consistently rings out. She was a woman who was not necessarily destined to be Queen, but, standing here at the end of a 70-year reign, it is difficult to imagine her not being there. The Queen was a constant in most of our lives. She reigned for more than half the life of this Federation. Winston Churchill was born in 1874; Liz Truss was born in 1975—101 years apart. Both were her prime ministers. That gives you an idea of the sweep of time and the generations through which she lived. Throughout all that time, in good times and not so good, the defining feature of it all was service. You don't have to be a monarchist to admire that, just a human being.
In 1980 the Queen visited my local community in Bankstown. She came to declare it a city and she left impressions that have lasted till this day. It was a really big deal. Thousands lined the route from Bankstown Airport to the council chambers. The Queen was loved by my community, then and now.
As education minister, I also want to mention some of the other places she visited. I asked the Parliamentary Library for a list of the schools, TAFEs and universities that the Queen visited in her 16 visits to Australia. It's a long list—everywhere from Broome state school to Bourke Primary School, from Bridgewater High School in Hobart to the School of the Air in Alice. She talked to students over the phone and she listened to their speeches. And they came to her, in their thousands, everywhere she went. She visited apprentices in dockyards in Newcastle and workshops in Melbourne. She visited teachers' colleges from Wollongong to Townsville, opened the medical school at the University of New South Wales and had a buffet lunch with female students at the University of Sydney. She attended a banquet to mark the centenary of the University of Adelaide and gave royal assent to the bill that created James Cook University. Along the way, she also awarded a few Duke of Edinburgh awards.
The Queen understood the power of education and wanted to see it for herself, and, with her passing, she becomes the lesson—a life dedicated unflinchingly to duty, to family, to faith and to the service of others. For all of us here who aspire to serve others, that is a life well lived. May Her Majesty rest in peace.
I rise to speak on behalf of my electorate of Lindsay in Western Sydney to express condolences to the royal family and also our mates in the United Kingdom on the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In 1954, our Queen and Prince Philip visited the Blue Mountains. Unfortunately I was not the member of parliament at that time, so I couldn't convince them to stop in Penrith, but the train did slow as it passed through Penrith station and the memories of the Queen waving to the citizens of Penrith have lasted a lifetime. When I spoke to volunteers at the Penrith hospital auxiliary at their 90th anniversary just last week, it was quite extraordinary how many people had in fact been there on that occasion and waved to the Queen. For those who met the Queen in person, their stories that lasted a lifetime were quite profound in the impact that she had on their lives.
Earlier this week, into the morning here in Australia, we watched on and said our final goodbyes to our beloved Queen, an extraordinary 70 years of devoted and unparalleled service to Australia, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, a commitment that was fulfilled, as promised, with all her heart. It is this level of service and dedication to service that I would like to speak about today.
One of my constituents from Glenmore Park, Jennifer Delaney, said:
I would like to pass on a story regarding my late father, WO1 Lionel Stanley Jackson BEM "Bluey Jackson" as he was known in his long military life, who until he passed 2 years ago this week … Dad was a long time Penrith resident and a passionate admirer of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
My dad served in the Australian Army for 26 years and lived in the Penrith area from 1971 until his passing in 2020 … The young Queen was coming on a Royal visit to Australia in 1963, and my parents had just returned … from dad serving in Borneo and Malay Peninsula. Dad joined the Army in 1952 just before the king died and at that point had already served in the Korea War.
They were posted to Brisbane at the time of this visit and dad was just so proud to be selected, along with his Army mate Keith Payne OAM VC … to welcome her onto the tarmac.
Dad only ever had a black and white pic from that day and in it you can see he is just so proud and stands so tall as he holds the Queen's umbrella out for her and Keith holds the door open for her to get into the car.
… … …
He would always say that Her Majesty was absolutely stunning and the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and that she had the most stunning blue dress on, but we had only seen the black and white image. Apparently when he got home he told Mum (Gwen) he was sorry he said that and that she was really more beautiful than the Queen though … A few days ago I was so shocked to see the actual footage come across the tv here at home in Glenmore Park and I saw my own dad walking next to her. He has such a straight back look of pride and her in her beautiful blue dress. It stopped me in my tracks … Dad was a very very proud Australian and he always said … that he joined the Army as he wanted to serve. From a very young lad he wanted to serve King and country and then he was so thrilled when his motto became Queen and Country.
His proudest moment was when he was listed in the Queen's Birthday Honours in June 1970 as a recipient of the British Empire Medal … An award from his Queen … well nothing would ever beat that for him. And then we were posted as a family to PNG … and he was awarded the Queens Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977. He was once again involved in a royal visit. His happiest times.
Everything in dad's life was about service and he served with both honour and conviction, it is in this way I know our beloved Queen was always his inspiration. He obviously has passed this lesson of service to us his family as 3 of his 5 children and 6 of his grandchildren, have served our country in the defence forces all having been deployed and some seeing active duty multiple times. We love our country, our Queen and our Commonwealth. And now feel the exact same for our King.
I agree with Jennifer. I can think of no better way of showing our enormous gratitude to our Queen than by supporting His Majesty King Charles III. We are so fortunate in our system to have a sovereign that is above politics, a sovereign who considers the public interest and never the political interest when undertaking their duty. I am rather fond of Paddington Bear. He expressed the same feelings as I have about the Queen when he said, 'Thank you, ma'am, for everything.' (Time expired)
The Queen was a truly remarkable person. For me, as a young fella growing up in the country, it was really the face on our coins that was my relationship with the Queen, as it was for so many young Australians. You were doing your jobs or your chores, you were getting some coins, and there was her face. I never met her, but you didn't need to meet her to understand that she was a remarkable person, and we have seen her now mourned by hundreds of millions of people, including millions of Australians, since the news of her passing.
I want to start by telling a quick story from one of my constituents, Harry Barnett. We were chatting down the pub the other night—the Buff Club in Darwin—and he told me about his encounter with the Queen. He grew up in Melbourne, and it was arranged for him as a nine- or 10-year-old boy—he can't quite remember—to meet Her Majesty. So he'd been rehearsing quite a bit, and his role was to say: 'Good morning, Your Majesty. Welcome to Australia. I hope you are enjoying your time here.' But Harry then says: 'I looked at her, and she was so beautiful, and I got it wrong, so I ended up saying: 'G'day, Mrs Queen. How ya going?' And he had this sense as a young man that he had done wrong, but he says the Queen gave him a wry little smile, patted him on the head and said, 'What a delightful young man.' Harry got a medal for meeting the Queen and for doing his duty. Harry's mum, who still lives in Melbourne, is in her 90s now, and she has Harry's medal. With all due respects, Mrs Barnett, Harry wants his medal back!
So, with my duty done to pass on Harry's message, I just want to reflect on her comments, quoted by the Prime Minister and so many others, which ring so true in these days that we live in, and that is, 'Grief is the price we pay for love.' It's such a poignant remark and observation of life.
Reflecting back to her coronation in 1953, there were over 7,000 Australians and 250 Australian military personnel who took part in the Queen's coronation. We saw again members of our armed services go over recently to the Queen's funeral. I pay my respects to the Queen for her own military service. She joined the war effort in World War II as a truck driver and as a mechanic when that was not required of her by her station in life as a royal. Thirty years after that coronation, Her Majesty came to Darwin to open the Larrakeyah naval base. Ten years later, 40 years after her coronation, I received my Queen's commission as an Army officer, when I was posted to the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment. To receive a Queen's commission means that you are granted the authority to lead Australian soldiers. It's an incredibly great honour. So, on behalf of all those in my electorate, the people of Darwin and Palmerston who miss her greatly, and on behalf of all those who were so proud to serve her when they served in the Australian military with her as the Queen, I simply say:
God save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen.
It's a privilege to rise in this House today to speak on this condolence motion and to pay tribute to what many have reflected on was a most remarkable woman of our generation, Queen Elizabeth II, who sadly passed away on 8 September. I wish to take this opportunity to express my condolences to our new king, King Charles III; all the members of the royal household; the residents of the United Kingdom; and the citizens of our great Commonwealth on this sad loss. I would also like to pass on what I am sure are the heartfelt condolences from my constituents in the electorate of Forde, who live in the city of Logan and on the northern Gold Coast.
The young princess ascended to the throne in 1952 at the age of just 25. Prior to her death, at 96 years of age, she was the oldest monarch in the world and had reigned for more than 70 years—longer than any British monarch in history. A truly remarkable story and a truly remarkable life. Queen Elizabeth was the monarch to 14 countries, in addition to the United Kingdom, and she was also head of the Commonwealth, which consists of 54 nations today. During her speech to mark her 21st birthday in 1947, Queen Elizabeth declared that her whole life, whether it be long or short, would be devoted to the service of her subjects across the Commonwealth—a vow, we've all recognised in this place, that she held through to her passing. During her record-breaking reign, the Queen visited 117 countries and clocked up more than 1.5 million kilometres. That's the equivalent of 42 trips around the world. The Queen was a frequent visitor to Australia from her first visit in 1954, when she also became the first and so far only reigning monarch to set foot on our soil.
There were two things I found amazing about this tour. The first was the number of places the Queen visited with her husband, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. They visited 57 towns and cities in just 58 days, in a time and age when transport was nowhere near as easy and simple as it is today. They traversed the country by plane, train, ship and car, from Cairns in the north to Broken Hill in the west and Hobart in the south. An estimated three-quarters of the Australian population turned out to see the then 27-year-old monarch. Admittedly, our population in 1954 was just under nine million, but it was an incredible figure nonetheless. But it was the subsequent visits, 16 in all over the years, that brought home to Australians right across this country the importance that the Queen placed in Australia and the joy she had whenever she visited here. During many of those stays, she came to my home state of Queensland. She visited Queensland eight times and visited our national capital some 14 times.
Due to the longevity of her reign, the advances in travel—in particular air travel—the breadth of the domain and the frequency of her trips, the Queen probably met more people than any other monarch or person in history. It's interesting to reflect on the number of people that she came across in her reign and, importantly, the number of leaders that she outserved—14 US presidents, 15 British prime ministers and 16 Australian prime ministers. I remember her visit here in 2011, her last here, and a brief encounter where I had the opportunity to shake her hand and wish her well. It's something that I'll never forget.
As we mourn her passing, there are already plans underway to erect a permanent memorial to the Queen on the Gold Coast, and the mayor has indicated he's going to invite King Charles to officially unveil it during his first visit to Australia as our now sovereign. This would follow the Queen's first visit to the Gold Coast back in March 1963. Those of us here from South-East Queensland, I'm sure, know how much the Gold Coast has changed. (Time expired)
I rise to make my contribution to the condolence motion for Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth's death on 9 September ended a reign of 70 years and 214 days. Almost 92 per cent of the electorate of Werriwa has not known another monarch. For the rest of us, we remember when 'God Save the Queen' was the national anthem and when we toasted the Queen at all civic functions and in classrooms. Whilst that has changed, so many hold Her Majesty in high esteem and have been moved by her death.
The 70 years of the Queen's reign saw many of the world's most momentous events as humankind raced forward at a pace never seen before in human history: the beginning of the Cold War; the invention of computers; the moon landing, women in space and the International Space Station; the internet; the fall of the Berlin Wall and with that the end of the Cold War; the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa; a global financial crisis; Brexit; a global pandemic; and, for the Queen and her family, most recently, the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip. It is difficult to think of any significant event during the 20th and 21st century without the constant presence of the Queen and her messages of hope and support when they were needed.
Since the beginning of the Queen's reign on 6 February 1952, she has been a symbol of leadership throughout the Commonwealth and the world. Her service to country, though, did not start with her accession to the throne but during the Second World War. She knitted for troops and, when she was old enough, joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service in the British Army, where she trained as a mechanic to contribute to the war effort. Even 48 hours before her death, the Queen continued her duty to the people of the UK as their head of state with the swearing in of the 15th British Prime Minister during her reign, Liz Truss. In Australia, there were 16 Prime Ministers elected, from Menzies to Albanese, during her reign. Many of the constituents of Werriwa have contacted my office to express gratitude for Queen Elizabeth's service and leadership over the last 70 years, as well as their condolences for her family.
News reports have covered anecdotes about the Queen's sense of fun and ability to laugh at herself, which in recent years have been more properly celebrated, and it was because the Queen was willing to showcase this herself. The opening of the 2012 Olympic Games in London with Daniel Craig to the recent appearances with Paddington Bear are examples of how she connected with her people, and her sense of fun. These examples show just how great her understanding was of the people she represented, as well as providing comfort to those struck by disaster or other issues.
Her reign and impact are unrivalled and will most likely not be replicated. The Queen famously said, 'Grief is the price we pay for love.' I provide the deepest condolences to her family, who have lost a special mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and I also offer condolences from the people of Werriwa to the UK and the Commonwealth. The Queen's service and leadership were constants that did not waver during her life. On behalf of myself and the constituents of Werriwa, may Queen Elizabeth II rest in eternal peace.
The people of Barker have honoured the Queen's life of service with tributes and memories shared throughout the region. I've read many of these in local newspapers, and I've heard stories on local radio stations as I've driven around the electorate over the past fortnight. I've spoken to so many people in the community, particularly as they've come to leave their condolences at my offices in Mount Gambier and in Murray Bridge. Sharing stories, of courses, is an important way to come together during a period of mourning, and these shared experiences have brought us closer together as a community.
The Queen was crowned on 2 June 1953, and, in the following year, in February 1954, she visited Australia, with her first stop on South Australian soil being Mount Gambier, my home town. On 26 February, Her Majesty, together with her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, spent the day in Mount Gambier, where she arrived by plane and was greeted by South Australian governor Air Vice Marshal Sir Robert George and then premier Sir Thomas Playford. Cheering locals lined the six-mile route from the airport to the town. Indeed, farmers along the route also ensured their very best cattle lined the fences along the way. More than 50,000 people were in Mount Gambier on that day. That's more than five times the population of the town at that time. Over 6,000 school children dressed in red, white and blue assembled to watch the Queen plant a tree at Queen Elizabeth Park to commemorate her visit, one of an estimated 1,500 trees she planted during her reign. Reporting on the royal visit in February 1954, the Sydney Morning Herald described the Mount Gambier reception as a 'rollicking, carefree country welcome'.
The following month, on 25 February 1954, the Queen and the Duke visited Renmark, where a crowd of 35,000 people from across the Riverland congregated to welcome the couple. The Queen was presented with a basket of freshly grown produce picked that morning by the mayor's daughter, Gillian James. It was a symbol of Renmark's productivity, and the Queen later remarked about the Riverland:
Our visit here will always remind us of what can be achieved by the use of natural resources in what must perhaps have originally appeared difficult and unpromising surroundings.
That settlers, including so many ex-servicemen, should have found a profitable and useful way of life on the banks of Australia's main water way, is evidence of their ingenuity and hard work. For they have succeeded in harnessing nature's resources to achieve a wonderful result.
Later, in 1977, Her Majesty visited Australia for her silver jubilee, which included a trip to the Barossa Valley. At the Kaiser Stuhl winery in Nuriootpa, the Queen and Duke were shown the wine production process, and the history of the Barossa was explained to them. Her Majesty's love of horses was honoured with a visit to Lindsay Park Stud in Angaston on the same day. The Queen is said to have bonded with a dashing stallion called Without Fear. The Australian government later sent a filly sired by Without Fear to England for the Queen to race. Her Majesty's third and final visit to Barker was in February 2002, when she travelled on the Wine Train from Adelaide to Lyndoch and Tanunda and visited Chateau Tanunda, where Her Majesty planted a Queen Elizabeth rose and unveiled a plaque to officially open the Chateau Barossa Rose Garden. In Tanunda the Queen and Duke visited Tanunda Lutheran Home, where 180 nursing-home residents enthusiastically welcomed her into their home, including Mr Eric Roth, who had previously met the Queen and Princess Margaret at a London party in 1946, where he'd attended as a Royal Australian Airforce officer.
Not only did our Queen earn our trust as our monarch but she also won our admiration. That is blindingly clear to me in the remarks and memories that have been shared over the past fortnight, right across Barker. Queen Elizabeth II was a monarch who ruled with an empathetic heart and wisdom, both innate and gained from almost a century of life and experience. She was Australia's longest serving monarch and, for many of us, the only one in living memory, having served for over seven decades. As our second Elizabethan age comes to an end, and as our period of mourning concludes, may the memories of our Queen, both personal and shared, inspire the very best of us, particularly for those of us in Barker and, indeed, the wider Commonwealth. May Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II rest in eternal peace. Long live the King.
On behalf of the electorate of Brand in Western Australia, I rise to offer condolences upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth stands as one of the most important and remarkable figures of the past century. Not only does her passing mark a significant moment in history; it is also a marker for the passing of a generation to whom we owe a great deal. It is the generation sometimes referred to as the greatest generation—that is, the generation that confronted and defeated evil on a grand scale in Europe and the Pacific. It is the generation that put service before self, that put the greater good ahead of individual gain—which is not to say that consequent generations have not done the same. We see demonstrations of selflessness and service and constancy all around us every day in our communities, but it was the challenge of the global conflict of World War II and its consequences that serve as a continuing example to all that follow. Few of that generation typify this dedication to duty and selflessness more than Queen Elizabeth II. Hers was a life of perhaps unrivalled privilege, granted by circumstances of her birth, but the price was a lifetime of service, equally unrivalled. I watched her funeral earlier this week with my husband, Jamie, and my mum, Diana. Mum is 10 years younger than the Queen and she remembers King George VI and the coronation and we recalled how my dad, John Harvie Morris, would tell us the story, often, of how he slept overnight with friends and thousands of others in Green Park by The Mall on the eve of her coronation in June 1953. Hundreds of thousands of people, like my dad, filled London on that summer day in June 1953 to catch a glimpse and be part of a momentous event. That commitment and dedication was replicated last week, nearly 70 years later, as we all watched the queue in all its British magnificence and then the crowds that gathered in their hundreds of thousands to say farewell.
Her Majesty will be remembered for her success in preserving the monarchy and the Commonwealth through turbulent times. Under her reign the monarchy survived the tumult that followed the Second World War, the retreat of British influence around the world and waves of social change. Her Majesty served as a constant in a fast-changing world and as an example of how to 'carry on' in difficult times. As former Prime Minister Paul Keating noted, 'Queen Elizabeth II was an exemplar of public leadership who committed herself to a lifetime of political restraint, and she was the embodiment of every good instinct and custom that the British people possess.'
In my home state of WA, Her Majesty is regarded with unique affection, and, in particular, in Brand, which enjoys a high proportion of migrants from the United Kingdom and all Commonwealth nations. She was the first reigning monarch to set foot on Australian soil and visited Western Australia on seven occasions, with engagements stretching from Kununurra to Albany. She made her first visit to Perth with Prince Philip in 1954, when Western Australia was a very different place and most still regarded themselves as subjects of the British Empire. She was greeted with equal excitement in WA when she visited for what would be her last time, in 2011, at the age of 85, for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Her remarkable 70-year reign is unlikely to be matched, either in length of time or in the reverence in which a monarch can be held. With her passing, we are reminded of the values of selfless public service and duty that she embodied for an entire generation.
For those of us that grew up in households where the Queen's Christmas speech was as compulsory as watching the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and the Boxing Day Test the very next day, it is the passing of someone who we never knew but who was so familiar and tied us to family and friends—and, in my case, my father—that were of her generation and that are now no longer here. We pay our respects to Queen Elizabeth II. Our deepest condolences to her family that remain, and, of course, we wish King Charles III every best wish upon his ascension to that throne. Vale Queen Elizabeth II. God save the King.
I think there are no greater words than the words of my constituents in terms of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II:
Rest in peace, united with Prince Philip once more. You have been an inspiration to all.
What a terrible loss to humanity. You were an amazing woman. Someone who will never be replaced.
You were such a beautiful lady. Thank you for all you have done. Now you can rest.
We loved you. We honour your call to duty. We loved how you wore your clothes. You were an inspiration to everyone.
The passing of a wonderful Queen, will be felt by young and old. Our Queen was a constant in our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren.
Thank you your Majesty for your lifetime of service to millions of people worldwide. Go to your beloved Philip now your service is complete. Rest in peace. Thank you.
A great lady, monarch and mother. RIP. You will shine bright in the sky above.
She will always be in our heart.
The Queen has had a long relationship with Australia, and, in fact, is so famous that she's been immortalised in film, in pop culture, in radio. Here are just a few of the selection: National Lampoon's European Vacation, The Naked Gun,The BFG, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Churchill: The Hollywood Years, The Queen, The King's Speech, Walking the Dogs, A Royal Night Out, Minions, The Queen's Corgi, Spencer and the Netflix series The Crown. She appeared in six episodes of The Simpsons. Andy Warhol created a portrait which has been used countless times on postage stamps and featured on bills. The opera Gloriana was written in honour of the Queen's coronation and first performed in 1953. The Beatles released a song titled 'Her Majesty'. She attended multiple James Bond movie premieres. She visited the Game of Thrones set in 2014, and, of course, we all remember the opening of the 2012 Olympics and her cameo with Daniel Craig as James Bond. And who can forget Paddington Bear?
In Australia, she was immortalised in How Green Was My Cactus, a very long-running radio show. For context, where I come from, you downed tools in the workshop for the two minutes of Cactus so you didn't miss any of it. It commenced in 1986 and has characters that commenced with the Bob Hawke character, King Bonza the Charismatic, and included Emperor Malcolm Talkbul, Prime Minister Tony Abs and others. And, of course, it immortalised the Queen. On Cactus Island, in an particular episode known as 'Off with His Head', when the prime minister of Cactus Island particularly annoyed Queen Bessie of Buckinghuge Palace, she was disappointed not to have the same powers as previous monarchs. The character said:
Philip, do I still have the power to behead people? Lock them in the tower, perhaps? Punch in the face would do.
I say to all of those listening: there is no greater compliment in Australia than to be part of the tradition of using humour to deal with difficult times and grief. For me, How Green Was My Cactus was part of growing up. It was part of working with the tools and being in workshops and working with those hardworking men and women out there in Australia.
Of course, Her Majesty was a visitor to Australia many times. In fact, the 1954 visit to Bundaberg is recalled still by many, including my father, Trevor, who attended as a 10-year-old and was in the stands. He came over in a bus from the Childers school to see the Queen. Some 30,000 people were at the showground, an estimated 10,000 at the airport and another 10,000 on the street. It was quite incredible—absolutely incredible.
The now King Charles, Prince Charles at the time, visited the distillery in Bundaberg in 2018. I had the honour to meet the now king. We were informed in no uncertain terms that the then Prince Charles would not be speaking at the event and that he would participate in the mixing and blending of rum at the Bundaberg rum distillery, which is still, to the best of my knowledge, one of the biggest events worldwide on the internet and everywhere else. But he got such a rousing reception when his departure came up that he, unprompted, gave a speech, if I recall correctly, of about 20 seconds. He said: 'I know the Australian spirit and character is such that you are unbelievably resilient and somehow you manage, regardless of what happens. That is one of the great characteristics that I've always admired ever since I first came here 52 years ago. Don't change. You are just as wonderful.'
Whilst we are going through a difficult period of time mourning Queen Elizabeth II, we see the ascension of King Charles. Vale Queen Elizabeth II, and long live the King.
Contrary to the speculation of my colleagues, there is no risk of a breach of standing order 88. But I am going to start with a confession, and I've never said this publicly. Despite being a loud and proud lifelong republican, I have a small secret collection of royal glassware—George VI coronation glasses from 1937, Queen Elizabeth II coronation glasses from 1953, official cups from Her Majesty's Australian tour in 1954 and the odd Queen's jubilee mementos from the years, most recently some coffee cups for her Diamond Jubilee that someone gave me. I also have some lovely Charles and Di royal wedding glasses from 1981, although it's best we don't dwell on those! It may seem quite incongruous to those who know me that I have such a collection, but it was handed down from my grandmother to my mother and from my mum to me. It's certainly not unique. I know others who have such ephemera and, like me, are not quite sure what to do with them. It seems a bit wrong to throw them out, although we have no real purpose for them in the modern age. But such was the magic of the monarchy for so many Australians over so many years that people like my mum collected trinkets commemorating royal occasions and milestones. Last week some friends were over, all republicans, but we got the royal glasses out to have a little toast to the Queen and a life well lived.
It is entirely appropriate to record a few words now, I believe, both as an Australian and on behalf of the Bruce electorate, in recognition of the service of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II through her long reign. This is not a motion about what our system of government could be, or should be, or the British Empire or colonialism, or the Queen or the King's role in the dismissal or whatever else some may try to make it today. It's a motion of condolence to recognise a truly remarkable life well lived and the passing of Australia's head of state. Whatever the different views people may hold on constitutional monarchy, Her Majesty was Australia's head of state for over 70 years. Almost all Australians have never known any other sovereign. She reigned for well over half of the length of our Federation. Indeed, she is the only British monarch and therefore the only Australian head of state ever to have actually visited Australia, and she did so 16 times. Some 70 per cent of Australia's population at the time were said to have seen her in 1954 on her first tour. She reigned always in accordance with the values of the oath that she took to serve the people of Australia and the Commonwealth. We should acknowledge that with respect and gratitude. Hers was a remarkable role model of service and, as was aptly said yesterday, servant leadership. The crown fell upon her head when she was just 25 years old. She fulfilled her duties with dignity, grace, never a hint of personal scandal and always in the public interest.
I will quote Paul Keating's poignant words upon her death:
Queen Elizabeth … instinctively attached herself to the public good against what she recognised as a tidal wave of private interest and private reward. And she did this for a lifetime. Never deviating.
He also said:
She was an exemplar of public leadership, married for a lifetime to political restraint, remaining always the constitutional monarch.
Elizabeth II was a constant figure across so much of the world for the better part of a century. With her passing ends an era, the so-called second Elizabethan age. You won't find speeches from me lauding the coming of the so-called third Carolean era or singing or chanting the British national anthem, but Elizabeth was an icon of an age, of generations, for Britain, our nation and the world.
In 2010, the Queen addressed the United Nations General Assembly. She did so as the head of state for 16 member states and head of the Commonwealth of 54 countries. She commenced her address by saying, 'I believe I was last here in 1957.' What a true remarkable incarnation she had through a span of history. Today it's right that the parliament honours the service of Her Majesty the Queen, whose like will not be seen again in our lifetimes—if ever. Her memory will live for centuries hence. May she rest in eternal peace.
It's a great honour and privilege for me to speak today on behalf of the people of the Parkes electorate, an electorate that covers half of New South Wales and an area that had a great affection for the Queen. Over the last week or so, we've seen a farewell to a monarch that was years in the planning and executed to perfection—something that was rehearsed and practised. What wasn't rehearsed was the outpouring of emotion and feeling from billions of people around the globe.
My own response on hearing, early that morning, of the Queen's passing—even though somewhat inevitable, at 96 years of age—was to feel an emotional impact. That emotional impact was felt right across Australia, the Commonwealth and, indeed, the globe.
In my electorate, the connection to Queen Elizabeth II was somewhat personal, due to several visits over a period of time. There was the time when she gave her title to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, in a visit to Broken Hill where she spoke to patients via the radio at the Broken Hill base, all those years ago; and her visit to Dubbo, where many people came in from right across western New South Wales to meet with her. There was her visit to the town of Bourke, and people who were students at Bourke's school have that fond memory of actually meeting and seeing the Queen up close for the first time. Even her family has visited: King Charles, in the 1980s, when visiting his polo coach Sinclair Hill, attended church at Croppa Creek, a village north of Moree; and, more recently, her grandson Harry and his wife Meghan made a visit to Dubbo. So that connection to the royal family is close and personal for the people that I represent.
I just want to reflect on a story my mother used to tell. In 1954, as a very young schoolteacher at Warialda, she was in charge of a busload of students going to Casino, over on the coast, to see the Queen. They boarded Louis Kratz's school bus—a very rudimentary form of transport, even by that standard—and, on a gravel road over the Great Dividing Range, travelled through the night. Most of the kids, on a very hot and humid night, were carsick. They got there, to join thousands at Casino, saw the Queen pass by, piled on the bus and drove through the next night to go home again. And that was the response in 1954, when 70 per cent of Australia's population actually saw the Queen at first hand.
So there's the personal connection to the Queen. But there's also what she symbolises: stability, decency, a sense of duty, family, commitment to marriage—all of those things that we admire, as Australians, she embodied.
It is the end of an era. The people of the Parkes electorate certainly have been mourning the loss of their Queen. Probably the most recent connection was when last year's Local Hero, Shanna Whan, had a Zoom meeting with the Queen during the pandemic, where she talked about her home village of Maules Creek; more recently, she was one of the privileged few to represent Australia in that delegation to the Queen's funeral in Westminster Abbey.
Vale, Queen Elizabeth II. The people of the Parkes electorate are offering their sincere condolences to her family. May her memory live forevermore.
On behalf of the people of Kingsford Smith, I offer my sincerest condolences to members of the royal family on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. It truly is the end of an era with the closing of the second Elizabethan age. While it's been a time for mourning, so too have we all celebrated the compassion, the strength and the resilience of Queen Elizabeth II over her seven decades of service.
Queen Elizabeth II probably visited my electorate more than any other electorate in this parliament—not only because Kingsford Smith airport is in my electorate and, when you come to Australia, you fly into Kingsford Smith airport but also because the Queen had a very fond love of the horseracing industry and, in particular, visiting Royal Randwick Racecourse. Her Majesty attended Royal Randwick on three occasions during her visits to Australia: in 1954, in 1970 and in 1992.
We all know that the Queen loved her horseracing. Her Majesty rode for pleasure as well as in ceremonial events. But it was her passion for racing that stayed the course throughout her life. It was a rare outlet in which she had the opportunity to revel in competition and enjoy the spoils of sport. Her Majesty said:
I enjoy breeding a horse that is faster than other people's. And, to me, that is a gamble from way back in life.
Indeed, the Queen's first win on the turf as an owner and a breeder was in the UK with Monaveen over the jumps at Fontwell Park in 1949. Her first flat winner followed soon after in 1950 with Astrakhan, a horse that was given to her by the Aga Khan as a wedding present.
It was only a few years later, when Queen Elizabeth II was 27 years old, that she sailed into Sydney Harbour on 3 February 1954 and practically stopped the nation. She was the first and, to date, the only British monarch to visit Australia. On that busy first trip, Her Majesty made time for a special visit to Randwick Racecourse on 6 February for the running of the newly named Queen Elizabeth Stakes. On her return to Australia in 1970, the Queen also visited Randwick Racecourse, this time for the third day of the Autumn Carnival, featuring the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, where she presented the winning trophy.
It was on Her Majesty's visit to Randwick in 1992 that the then Australian Jockey Club was granted the rare honour of calling and renaming the racecourse the Royal Randwick Racecourse. Royal Randwick and Royal Ascot are the only two racecourses anywhere in the world that are allowed to use the official title 'Royal', as approved by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It's a pretty special quinella, and Randwick can forever be proud of that special bond with Her Majesty's love of horses and racing.
While she enjoyed thousands of winners throughout her life and throughout the world as an owner and a breeder, it wasn't until 2016 that Her Majesty claimed her first win on Australian turf, with Bold Sniper coming first in a race in Sandown in Victoria. It was only earlier this month that a horse owned by the Queen, Chalk Stream, ran in her famous colours at Royal Randwick. Sadly, that will be the last time that purple, gold braid, scarlet sleeves, black velvet cap and gold fringe will be carried by a horse in an Australian horse race. But that connection will continue not just in Randwick but in our broader community and beyond.
Queen Elizabeth II's life was dedicated to serving the people, her nation and the Commonwealth. She was, of course, supported along the way by her late husband, Prince Philip. He'd been her strength and stay for 73 years. On behalf of the people of Kingsford Smith, I pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II for her compassion, her strength and her resilience over seven decades of service. May she rest in peace.
Queen Elizabeth II is mourned throughout the world not only for who she was but for what she represented: a set of values that are as important today as at any time in our history. First, the Queen represented the ideals of monarchy, encompassing values of duty, service, honour, dignity, tradition, continuity and stability, of grandeur yet understatement and leadership beyond politics.
Second, she represented her family, providing a link between all of Australia's monarchs, from George III to Charles III, and, beyond, to the next generations: William V and George VII. In particular, she was a link to her revered parents, George VI and the Queen Mother.
Third, the Queen represented the wartime generation, and that is why losing the Queen is like losing a beloved grandmother. In a sense, she was everybody's grandmother. She was a living link to that greatest generation which put country before self—a generation whose values of service, modesty, dignity and thrift helped reshape the postwar world for the better; a generation that prevailed through depression and war to rebuild the world with hope and optimism. We have, in a sense, lost our anchor to that world and those values and find ourselves adrift, bobbing like a cork on the sea.
The Queen's generation projected a sense of moral clarity less observed today. It was a generation in which fewer people were formally educated, and yet seemed wiser; a generation, in Great Britain, Australia and the Commonwealth, that stood alone against the tyranny of Nazism; a generation in which commitment to faith was the norm; and a generation which had more in common with each other because of the shared privations of depression and war. That common experience was shared by the Queen and her family remaining in London during the blitz. As the Queen Mother famously said, 'The children won't go without me, I won't leave without the King, and the King will never leave.' The strength of George VI in those days—not a strongman like the European dictators but a man of character—set an example that inspired people across the globe. The stoicism of the royal family during the war represented a gritty British spirit and never-say-die attitude shared by Australians. Those, then, are the values that we mourn and the generation that we've lost, represented by the Queen.
Queen Elizabeth was never meant to be queen. She was born the eldest daughter of the Duke of York—the equivalent, in today's generation, of Princess Beatrice. She was 10 when her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated, in 1936, and the accession of her father, George VI, made her heir to the throne. It's hard for us to imagine what it must be like at age 10 to have a responsibility like the Crown thrust upon you—to have no choice in the matter and to do that job for the rest of your life, right up until the day you die. It makes the Queen's flawless service even more extraordinary. In her 21st-birthday broadcast she said, 'My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.' It was a promise that she kept till the end.
During the war, she served as a mechanic in the British Army and later assumed a number of honorary military roles in the Australian Army and the RAAF Reserves. When George VI died, in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne, at 25. She went on to become our longest-serving sovereign and, in 1954, became the first reigning monarch to tour Australia. Seventy-five per cent of Australians saw her on that tour. She went on to visit Australia a further 15 times, the most recent being 2011. The Queen's interest in Australia and Australians remained deep and abiding. She took particular interest in Indigenous Australians and attended Indigenous events during visits. She was the patron of nearly 30 organisations.
Queen Elizabeth touched the lives of millions of Australians—people like Richard and Gwen Howes, of Berowra, who watched the Queen's coronation procession travel up London's Northumberland Avenue. Richard hung a piece of rope from a lamppost for a foothold to get a better view of the Queen. During Queen Elizabeth's first visit to Australia, Janette Batcheler, a member of the Anglican Girls Friendly Society, was in a guard of honour outside St Andrew's Cathedral when the Queen attended a morning service. In 1986 Sue Batho, of Beecroft, was invited to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace. She records with pride her English father standing to attention when 'Rule, Britannia!' was played. Graham Bruce, Secretary of Glenorie RSL Sub Branch, led the air transport security team responsible for the Queen and Prince Philip during their visit to New Zealand in 1990. Dorothy and Greg Davidson, of Cheltenham, saw the Queen during many of her visits to Sydney. On one such visit, the Queen spoke to Dorothy's late mother. When the Daily Telegraph took a photo, it became a significant keepsake for Dorothy. And Graham Ross, of Beecroft, was honoured with Queen Victoria's gold Veitch Memorial Medal at Hampton Court for his work filming an Anzac poppies project and was invited by Her Majesty to film her private garden.
As we contemplate a world without Queen Elizabeth II, we give thanks for her life of service. We pray for the life and health of our new King, Charles III. May he be inspired by the life and example of his late mother, and may her memory be a blessing to us all.
THWAITES () (): Queen Elizabeth II lived a life of duty and diligence, and today we pay respect to and honour that life. She is, of course, the only reigning monarch to have ever visited Australia, and since Her Majesty's death so many Australians have shared their memories of moments from her visits here. The Queen actually visited Jagajaga twice, first during her 1954 tour when she and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital. Along the way to get to the hospital, she drove through local streets, where residents and businesses had spent time and money on beautification, and thousands of schoolchildren were organised to line the route. There was, apparently, some last-minute consternation when it was proposed that, instead of driving this route, the Queen catch the train for this section of this journey. In fact, the Victorian Premier, John Cain, had to intervene to make sure that the journey took place as originally planned.
The second visit to Jagajaga was when the Queen was in Australia in 1970. The Queen, Prince Philip and Princess Anne were at the opening of the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research in Brown Street in Heidelberg. The local newspaper at the time reported more than 2,000 people attended the ceremony. The Victoria Police band entertained the crowd. The Scouts and Guides were represented. Many children were there and, apparently, some 70 corgi dogs, brought by the Welsh Corgi Club of Victoria, who were given pride of place on both sides of the entrance to greet the official visitors.
I have to thank the Heidelberg Historical Society for putting all of that information together. Over the past week, I have really enjoyed following the public comments on the historical society's Facebook page about this visit, because there are so many locals who remember that day and who have shared their memories. Many of them were schoolchildren at the time, and there's a repeated theme in the comments of shoes being shined and socks being pulled up before their parents allowed them to come and stand by the roadside to wave at the royal cars passing by. Many of the comments also claimed to have been the recipient of a wave back. Whether or not that actually happened, I think it's about the memory that was created. There's a warmth and respect in these comments from those who were there that demonstrates how all those people felt that sense of occasion that the Queen brought, of being part of a moment in history, just as today there is a sense of history in us marking this solemn occasion, the death of the only monarch most of us have known.
Of course, history isn't just one story and it isn't just one emotion. I do want to acknowledge that these are not universal sentiments and we must find a place in our national conversation for other sentiments as well. Today we are truly marking the end of an era, the close of the second Elizabethan age. We do so with deep respect and warm regard for Her Majesty's life of service. May she rest in eternal peace.
This has been a time of mourning across our country, with waves of sorrow and grief from coast to coast. But it has also been a time of rich and fond remembrance. It has been a time of thanksgiving and gratitude for a remarkable life of service in Her Majesty. I acknowledge the many fine contributions of those in this House that have preceded mine and will follow mine. With duty, dignity, dedication, service, strength, courage, compassion, grace, humility and love, Her Majesty was one who served, when so many others might have sought to be served in such a role. She was a rock. She was a constant for the Commonwealth as Queen of Australia. But I think, more than that, she was a rock and a constant in so many people's lives. She was something that didn't change in a world that changed every minute of every day. From that, people found the strength and the fortitude to carry on in the worst of times and to celebrate in the best.
What, do we ask, enables someone, in Her Majesty, to live such a life? What sustained her in this service and sacrifice? This is what I want to reflect on today. Many have told stories, and I welcome those; I could tell them also. But what I want to focus on is what I believe sustained Her Majesty in all of this. She answered the question herself in her many Christmas messages, which I've taken the time to go back over and read. By her own confession, it was her deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ that she so often referenced in those messages. Most recently, in 2014 she said:
For me, the life of Jesus Christ … is an inspiration and an anchor in my own life.
In 2002—and the Leader of the Opposition made reference to this—in what was one of her most difficult years, having lost her mother and her sister, she must have felt, apart from having Philip with her, so alone. She said this in her Christmas message:
I know just how much I rely on my own faith to guide me through the good times and the bad … and put my trust in God.
It says in 2 Samuel what I think is the best description of Her Majesty's reign:
… who rules righteously, who rules in the fear of God, is like the light of the morning as the sun rises. A morning without clouds, when the fresh grass springs out of the earth from sunshine after rain.
That was a testimony to Her Majesty's reign.
So, as a grateful nation, we do give thanks, and so many from all of our constituencies right across the country have done that, as have mine in the electorate of Cook in the Sutherland shire and St George area. Margaret Crowley says, 'Thank you. Thank you for being an irreplaceable constant in our lives.' Janice Dent from Gymea says, 'The world is a better place because of her reign.' Jillian Won from Carss Park says, 'The world has lost a wonderful woman, and I feel I've lost a family member. Rest in peace, Ma'am. You have earned it.' Margaret Tattersall of Sylvania said this: 'Forever loved but never forgotten.' Angela Holmes, a registered nurse—she signs herself off as from Burraneer—says: 'Thank you, Ma'am, from the bottom of our hearts.'
But it is this one that I really appreciate, and it's from Susan Hitchen in Dolans Bay, not far from where I live. It says: 'To my Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: it has been an honour and a privilege to have you as my Queen. You have been an outstanding role model of displaying strength and wisdom through grace and humility. Well done, thou good and faithful servant. You endured in this strength until the end. You are now in the joy of the Lord at your forever home. Bless you.'
As we've heard, she was the first reigning monarch to visit our nation. Her Majesty visited my home state of Tasmania on seven occasions over the years. Her first visit to Tasmania was on her first visit to the nation, in 1954. That visit included Hobart, Wynyard, Burnie, Devonport, Latrobe and Cressy. She certainly got around my island home. During this visit, she met with many thousands of Tasmanians who came out to see her. She opened a session of our state parliament. She met with some troops, greeted schoolchildren, planted a tree, and, of course, had many official lunches, dinners, receptions and afternoon teas.
Her second visit in 1963 was a much shorter affair, with official events in Hobart, a civic reception, a quick visit up to Mount Wellington, overlooking Hobart, and attending the Hobart Regatta. In early 1970, after the devastating 1967 bushfires in Tasmania, after passing on her sympathies at the time of the event, Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh took the time to visit Huon Valley, in my electorate, which was impacted. She went to see the apple industry there—the grading, the packing and the shipping of the apples that Tasmania was once famous for; we were known then as the Apple Isle. The visit also included more official events, as always happens. She visited on more occasions, in 1977 and 1981, and in 1988 for the bicentenary. Her last visit to Tasmania was in the year 2000. Her Majesty was always sure of a warm welcome from the Tasmanian people, and she was always accompanied—on every visit—by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.
With Tasmanians mourning her death and reminiscing about her visits to Tasmania, I've heard many stories about interactions where she was thoughtful, kind and inquisitive about our island home. Some people in the electorate and elsewhere in Tasmania even sent me copies of their personal memorabilia from their times and visits with the Queen. I've been sent a lovely photo of the Queen meeting school students in 1981. But I've also got a lovely story from a veteran broadcaster who, during Her Majesty's 1970 visit, was a 22-year-old cadet who had a little incident. The story from Ric Patterson goes:
It was my first of many big royal broadcasts, and I was positioned on top of the lavatory roof at Beauty Point Wharf. The Queen had arrived on the Royal Yacht, 'Britannia', accompanied by Prince Phillip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne.
My involvement in the final part of the broadcast that day, was to describe the departure of the Royal Family. Trying to be smart, I didn't write anything out on paper, to avoid rustling on the mics. Instead, I wrote the procedures out onto a series of little filing cards.
We got the OK to go to air, with the Royal Party arriving back at Beauty Point. As the Queen exited the car, a gust of wind blew up to where I was positioned above her, and blew all of my filing cards out of my hands, and they fell like confetti all over the Queen! I was mortified, but being a true pro, the Queen didn't bat an eyelid, continuing to perform her duties with all the composure and grace you would expect from her.'
This story is emblematic of Her Majesty. She always got on with the job, regardless of the circumstances, and was professional, but she also kept her sense of humour.
Over my many years as an MP, like many in this place I had people proudly contact me to get their letter from the Queen on their 100th birthday. Just in the last three years, we've had well over a hundred constituents get that letter that so many people wait for. I know that many Tasmanians have acknowledged her death in many different ways, depending on the circumstances, with some of them reflecting on how our nation has come to where we are today.
Her service to her nation and to the Commonwealth is unparalleled. A 70-year reign is unlikely to be repeated. She has the privilege of being the longest reigning monarch in British history, and of course she truly gave her all right to the very end. As Britons and others across the globe mourn her death, they rejoice in her reign and they acknowledge her leadership. Queen was not a role that she was born into initially, but of course one she took on with a sense of duty to uphold the institution that became her life's work. Stepping into this role at such an early age would have been daunting, but she just got on with it. In the seven decades of her reign, there have been many changes, but she remained steadfast as Queen of the United Kingdom and Head of the Commonwealth. On behalf of the residents of Franklin, I pass our sincere condolences on to her family and friends, and we say: thank you for your loyal service, Your Majesty.
A little over a month ago I was speaking to the assembly at Boronia Heights Primary School as we officially opened the ring of trees planted around the oval to mark the Queen's jubilee. I said to the children that the trees and the accompanying new seating were to honour and to recognise one of the most remarkable people of the last century and that, hopefully, in years to come, children will sit on the marked chairs and reflect on who she was and her incredible service. Today, with the Queen's passing, I have no doubt that this will occur, as it will occur at the hundreds of existing monuments to Her Majesty and the many more that will be erected in the months and years ahead. This will occur not just because of who she was and her longevity as a monarch but because of the values she represented and those we may have lost.
The longevity of the Queen's reign is remarkable in itself. Few of us in this parliament were even born when she came to the throne in February 1952. She was the longest-serving English monarch in history. She witnessed 16 Australian prime ministers, from Menzies to Anthony Albanese, and 15 British ones. As senior journalist Paul Kelly notes, 'At every juncture she upheld constitutional propriety.'
She loved our country. She visited often, but she always respected the wishes of our nation. Even when Prime Minister Paul Keating informed her of his desire to become a republic, she replied impeccably, saying:
I will, of course, take the advice of Australian ministers and respect the wishes of the Australian people.
When she became Queen, it was almost a different world both here and globally. We were just 10 million people. We were a relatively inward-looking country then. We were largely monocultural. Television had not even come to our shores. Today the world is so different, with the internet, globalisation, modern multicultural society and alternative powers. But through it all the Queen endured. She was the constant in our lives for 70 years. She was the North Star—or, in our case, the Southern Cross—that was always there no matter what social and cultural change was occurring beneath our feet. Through all seven decades, she practised and exemplified a constant set of values: of faith, of stoicism, of grace and humility, of duty above self, of love of country and above all of service literally until her dying days. And these values did not deviate over seven decades.
With her passing, do these values also die or at least diminish? British author Douglas Murray wrote that she seemed at times 'to be single-handedly holding back so many ugly forces challenging these values'. Deep down, is this the reason that so many of us deeply mourn her passing? Is it not just because of the loss of an incredible servant leader but because of the potential loss of the values that she represented—the official passing of an age, the official cutting of the last link to our greatest generation. I hope our fears are not realised, and perhaps the reflections occurring today and at monuments of Queen Elizabeth in the future will cause us actually to be more like her. I'm sure her son, King Charles III, will continue to serve and honour the legacy his late mother has left behind, and we wish him well.
In the condolence motion for the passing of the former monarch, King George VI, the Queen's father, on 7 February 1952, in this very place Prime Minister Menzies said of the newly crowned 25-year-old:
As she goes through her sorrow to her great responsibilities it would be the wish of all of us to say to her that we have faith in her ; that … we are resolved to do all that we may to make her reign as rich and kind and good and memorable as that of her illustrious father.
That faith was more than warranted. Her reign was richer than anyone could have possibly imagined. I thank Queen Elizabeth for her service. May she rest in peace.
It is with sadness today that I rise to speak on the passing of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The people of Canberra offer our deepest condolences to the royal family on the loss of a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her remarkable life of service and unwavering dedication to duty has been truly inspirational, and certainly I and, I think, many of us reflect with some awe on the experience of a young woman at the age of 25, following the death of her own father, taking on such a great responsibility and duty, and then to hold that responsibility and fulfil it with grace, dignity and respect for all people that she encountered every day until her death at the age of 96.
Her Majesty, of course, lived and reigned through the pivotal events of the 20th and 21st centuries. In Australia her long and record-breaking reign spanned 16 separate Australian prime ministers, and 16 governors-general served in her name. For 70 years she remained steadfast, a rare and reassuring constant in a rapidly changing and at times uncertain world. For most Australians, she was the only monarch we have ever known. The Queen visited Australia 16 times between 1954 and 2011, visiting every state and territory. She opened the Sydney Opera House, attended the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane and Melbourne and, in 1988, opened our parliament in which we stand today, 61 years to the day after her father opened the Provisional Parliament House just down the hill. At the time, she would have been one of the only women in the room, as she would have been frequently throughout her reign. Her appearances were always met with adoring crowds cheering, clapping and taking photographs in a show of affection. It was clear that Her Majesty had a special place in our hearts, as Australia and Canberra did in hers.
I remember clearly, as a primary school student in 1992, being one of these well-wishers, lining up along Drakeford Drive to watch and wave flags and being very excited to catch just a glimpse of her waving. She must have been on her way to open Bonython Primary School. Many of my Canberra constituents share such memories as mine, as the Queen visited the national capital on 14 occasions, more than any other Australian city. As a result, she holds a special place in the history of my electorate and the national capital. She visited Parliament House, both old and new, on eight occasions and opened the federal parliament three times, including in 1977, the year of her Silver Jubilee. She opened many of the capital's best-known and most important institutions: the Parliament House in which we stand but also the High Court and the National Gallery of Australia. She featured prominently within the parliament and national capital this year as we commemorated her Platinum Jubilee, and I was very pleased to support applications from many organisations in my electorate to be part of the Planting Trees for the Queen's Jubilee program. I have already been to two ceremonies: one at St John's Church in Reid, where the Queen attended many times, and one just last week at Macquarie Primary School. These trees obviously take on a very special meaning now. It's wonderful to think that those young students at Macquarie primary, who will not see a monarch reign for 70 years again, will have cause to reflect on the remarkable life of Queen Elizabeth.
She was born into a role in which she had little choice but fulfilled it with a deep sense of dedication all the days of her life. As others have said, she was a great example of servant leadership. As former prime minister Paul Keating said:
Queen Elizabeth … instinctively attached herself to the public good against what she recognised as a tidal wave of private interest and private reward. And she did this for a lifetime. Never deviating.
As Prime Minister Albanese reflected yesterday, perhaps the best way that we can honour the life of Her Majesty is not with statues but with:
… a renewed embrace of service to community.
A truer understanding of our duty to others.
A stronger commitment to respect for all.
This would be the most fitting memorial to a magnificent life. May she rest in peace.
As the longest-reigning monarch in the history of the United Kingdom, with over 70 years of exemplary service, Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral, aged 96, at 4.30 pm on Thursday 8 September, which was 1.30 am for us here on the east coast of Australia. In the two weeks that have followed, we have witnessed an extraordinary outpouring of love, of respect and of admiration from people from right across the world for Her Majesty—people of all ages, of all nationalities, of all ethnicities. We've also listened in this place and elsewhere to some of the most eloquent of speeches about Queen Elizabeth II, about her life and about her person. And so the small contribution that I make today I make on behalf of the people I represent in this parliament, who are the people of Fairfax, on the Sunshine Coast. With them, I carry a message of deep gratitude and respect to Her Majesty for her service over so many years as not just the Queen of the United Kingdom but also the Queen of Australia.
When Queen Elizabeth II was last on the Sunshine Coast, she opened the CHOGM meeting between heads of governments of the Commonwealth. There she said:
The Commonwealth must move with the times if it is to remain relevant to all generations—
sage advice for the Commonwealth but a glimpse maybe also into how Queen Elizabeth II saw her own role. She had that remarkable ability to, indeed, move with the times and appeal to people of different generations. We saw that probably most famously with her appearance with James Bond at the 2012 opening of the Olympic Games and, my favourite, her sitting across the table from Paddington Bear, swapping notes about where to best hide marmalade sandwiches.
In the spirit of Queen Elizabeth's humour in that regard, I'm sure the House wouldn't mind me recounting what a constituent of mine told me had happened on the Saturday morning when her family woke up to the front page of the paper with a large photo of the Queen due to her passing. The lady's little boy excitedly pointed to the photo and said: 'Mummy, she's famous. That lady's famous. She's met Paddington Bear!' This is the sort of humour that you can picture Queen Elizabeth herself appreciating. Indeed, she was able to therefore appeal to and move with the times.
For me, that was a reflection of an innate humility that she possessed as a human being—a humility that said, despite being born into a royal family and despite being the sovereign of so many nations, including our own, she recognised the need to change and to adjust. It was a humility that was also reflected in her style of leadership. For her, she did not have a job to execute but a vocation to live—a vocation of service. But, so much as Queen Elizabeth II may have indeed moved with the times, that's not to suggest she ever swayed from her core values—values that included the importance of family and the importance of faith.
On a personal level, as I think of her passing—and over and above the role that she has had in our world and in our country—I think of her own values of family and faith. I celebrate the thought of her being reunited with her love in heaven, Prince Philip.
I think, as members here, we're all very conscious that we are selected to serve. It's why we become members of parliament. Her Majesty was the embodiment of someone who devoted her life to serving her people across the Commonwealth. She faced every moment of public life and service with dignity, grace and respect—one who knew her duty and her responsibility. It's for that reason she's remembered so warmly by the people, particularly in the area that I represent, from Mount Druitt to Blacktown.
One moment fondly recalled is Her Majesty's visit in 1982 to open Mount Druitt Hospital. The hospital will mark 40 years since its foundation this October and was built by the Neville Wran government to serve the rapidly expanding population of our area. People do recall with excitement their school trip to see the Queen open the hospital that day, while others remember waiting alongside the street, eager to wave as the official vehicle drove past.
Sonya from my area was one of those students on a school excursion. She now works as a general services assistant at the hospital. The Whalan resident and former Madang Avenue Public School student vividly remembers the visit by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and how the duke shook her hand.
Another one of my constituents with fond memories of the Queen's visit is Robyn, who now works in the imaging department of the hospital. In 1982, she was 19 years old and worked in hospital admissions. She tells me that the Queen's visit was a huge day for the community and made her feel like her work at the hospital mattered. Her Majesty was a figurehead that allowed people to reflect on their own role in the community. Within her years of dedicated service, many people could see a purpose for their own contributions.
As Minister for Industry and Science, I note that Her Majesty was a supporter of Australian science and even contributed personally to the success of the mainstay of Australian summer, Aerogard. The CSIRO had developed an insect repellent in the 1940s, but it wasn't until the Queen's visit in 1963 that it became a household name. Attending a garden party at Government House, an aide was meant to apply the spray to Her Majesty but lost his nerve, with the Queen left swatting flies. The next day, ahead of a golf game, staff ensured the Queen was wearing the CSIRO developed repellent, and she was noticeably insect free, and word of the repellent quickly spread. The inventor from the CSIRO, Doug Waterhouse, passed on the formula to Mortein, which went on to develop Aerogard. The rest, as they say, is history.
During her first visit, in 1954, the Queen personally presented the royal charter for the Australian Academy of Science, the academy's founding document. My department tells me that this might have been the only time in the history of a monarch that they had the presentation of a royal charter in person. It's a measure of the importance that the Queen attached to the formation of a learned academy for science in Australia.
What I and, I suspect, many love about our nation is that at particular moments in time we tend to think and feel as one, but I think it's also important to acknowledge that we walk different paths, and that has brought different views. The passing of Her Majesty has brought to the fore varied emotion and thought. I think we can acknowledge—we're big enough to acknowledge—that the weight of matters past can be remembered and should be responded to, and we can also know that choices about our future direction can be considered in the future.
But at this point, this moment, we dedicate our time to thanking someone who occupies a special place of earned admiration and respect and who herself said we can learn a lot from each other. Across the Commonwealth of Australia and the Commonwealth of Nations, millions are grateful to Her Majesty for her tireless service, and I join with those in the electorate of Chifley and the country in acknowledging that service and in their mourning for the loss of their Queen, our Queen. May she rest in peace.
It's estimated that, over her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth undertook more than 21,000 official engagements, averaging around 300 a year. Even in the last few years, as age and a global pandemic challenged this heavy workload, Her Majesty's commitment to service and duty did not waver, swapping personal visits across the UK and the Commonwealth for engagements via Zoom.
Since unexpectedly taking over from her beloved father, King George VI, in February 1952, Her Majesty visited Australia on 16 occasions, with our island state proudly hosting Queen Elizabeth seven times: in 1954, 1963, 1970, 1977, 1981, 1988 and 2000. At the time of her first visit to Tasmania with Prince Philip by her side, in 1954, Tasmania's population was just over 300,000. An astounding 75,000 Tasmanians lined the streets of Launceston on Wednesday 24 February to wave to the Queen and the duke as they made their way from the Six Ways to York Park and back again. The visit to northern Tasmania capped off the end of a four-day visit to the state, and I couldn't help but have a laugh when I read the editorial in the local paper after the visit, which somewhat sulkily stated:
… but now that the Queen has gone it can be said emphatically that the basis of allocation of time between Hobart and the rest of the state was most unjust to the majority of the people of Tasmania.
This snippet of the editorial proves that the north-south parochial wars were alive and well even back then.
As we've witnessed in the weeks since Her Majesty's passing, there are so many in communities across Australia who have stories to tell of seeing the Queen or, if lucky, having an opportunity to chat with her during an official engagement. Northern Tasmania's Professor Nigel Forteath recently spoke of his role in guiding the Queen during her tour of what was then the Tasmanian State Institute of Technology's aquaculture centre in 1988. He recalls that Her Majesty was very interested in the animals at the centre:
We went to where we had all kinds of fish and aquatic life, and at nearly every tank she had something to ask and enquired the whole time about things. She was interested in everything we were doing, which made it so easy.
Professor Forteath went on to share an amusing anecdote from the end of the tour:
We went into the area where we kept trout and I remember I told one of the students that when the Queen comes in to feed the trout, so she could see them all splashing around on the surface. Unfortunately the student waited until the Queen was horribly close to the tank and threw in some pellets and the trout went berserk. The Queen nearly jumped out of her skin I think, and moved backwards, so I felt a bit embarrassed … she took it all in her stride. She was just so good at relaxing you, and that's what I remember most.
Much has been said, and will continue to be said, about Her Majesty's life, and, at the end of the day, there are a range of views and feelings about what the monarchy represents. As I've reflected on these sentiments over the past few weeks, I've also been reflecting on an incredible reign that we'll not see again for generations to come. My thoughts have always come back to her dedication to a life of service. As she famously said in a radio broadcast even before taking the throne: 'I declare before you all that all my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.'
It's this declaration that sticks in my mind as I think about that poignant moment that has stuck with me in recent years, and that's the Queen sitting alone in St George's Chapel at the funeral of Prince Philip last year. On that day, despite her immense privilege, Her Majesty was simply somebody's mother or grandmother mourning the loss of the love of her life. Despite being offered otherwise, she'd refused to bend the COVID restrictions that the entire UK was enduring at that moment. In solidarity with so many who were saying goodbye to loved ones, and with just a few family members, the Queen sat alone as she said goodbye to her love of 73 years.
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor came into this world in 1926 without the weight of expectations on her shoulders, before her world changed unexpectedly when her father took the throne just 10 years later. At just 25 years of age, her life was forever altered upon the death of King George VI, and it led to a reign that the world may never see again. On behalf of the people of Bass, I say thank you for your service, Your Majesty, and may you rest in eternal peace with your beloved Philip.
I rise to express my sorrow and condolences, on behalf of the people of Spence, on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Many of my constituents have attended my electorate office to transcribe their messages of condolences, so I do the same in this place. Sharon from Elizabeth Downs wrote, 'My heart and prayers to the Royal Family in this sad time'. Brad from Elizabeth South wrote, 'Thank you, Ma'am, for your service.' Pam and Patrick from Gawler wrote, 'With gratitude of your service, your grace and your fine example.'
Most notably, in 1963 the Queen visited the electorate of Spence to unveil the suburb which had been named in her honour, Elizabeth. There she unveiled a sculpture fountain in Windsor Green and visited an assembly of local schoolchildren and the General Motors Holden vehicle-assembly plant. There's a really deep connection with and affection for the Queen in my electorate. Many, many thousands of migrants have come from the United Kingdom to reside within the boundaries of my seat. And there has been an outpouring of grief and sorrow across the last week and a half since her passing.
There have been many, many others in this place who have quoted comments about her service, her devotion to duty, her faith, and her family. Her lifetime of service is evident of a dedication to upholding the principles of constitutional government across the realm and in this country, in particular. I could continue to go on, but I would like to just close in saying: rest in eternal peace, Queen, and God save the King. Thank you.
Can I start by associating myself with the remarks that were made earlier today by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Nationals, who I think spoke incredibly well and described very accurately the views that have been held by me, by members—my colleagues—in this place and also by the people who live in the electorate of McPherson, whom I have the honour to represent in this place. I would also like to commend the previous speakers for their comments, the views that they have put and the memories that they have of Her Majesty themselves, as well as their families' views and of the views of their constituents.
I, like many others in Australia, woke to the news that Her Majesty had passed with a significant level of sadness because for me, as for many people across Australia, she had been the only sovereign during my lifetime. And, as I reflected on it even more, I realised that, in my lifetime, I will never, ever see another reigning queen, because the line of succession is all male at the moment. I make no remark on that other than to say that I will never see another reigning queen during my own lifetime.
By recognising that, I was able to put in place what Her Majesty's life had meant to me when I was growing up as a young girl in Townsville in North Queensland. I remember that the first time that I saw the Queen was when she was driving along the Strand in Townsville. Many of the schoolchildren had the opportunity to go down to the Strand just to see her drive past. It was the most fleeting of glimpses, but I have never, ever forgotten that. I subsequently made a journey into the heart of Brisbane some years later to see her when she was there. Whilst I certainly didn't get very close to her, I remember seeing her at a distance and the fact that there were so many people who were gathered on the streets in Brisbane at that time to be able to see her.
I also recall some comments that my mother had made to me, and I think she makes these remarks almost annually to me and my sister. She remembers very fondly when the Queen and Prince Philip were in Brisbane some time before that, and she actually threw a rose to Prince Philip. She claims that it landed in the car. It may well have; I accept my mother's view of what happened then. I remember when I actually did get to meet the Queen and Prince Philip, when they were here at Parliament House in 2011. I spoke to Prince Philip and said, 'My mother threw a rose to you when you visited Brisbane all those years ago.' He looked at me and said, 'Did she really, or are you just saying that?' and I said, 'No, she really did.' Interestingly, I've always had a very high regard for Prince Philip because sometimes, when I look at him, I see my own father. They have quite an uncanny physical resemblance, and, when I read the reports about Prince Philip, I am reminded of my own father.
The day I met the Queen was a tremendous honour for me. I felt very proud to be able to meet her. When I look at the final stages of her life, there are some things that really stand out to me. One is the image of her on her own in the church at Prince Philip's funeral. I think that we all recognised how sad it must be losing a partner of so many years and not being able to sit directly beside your own loved ones and share that so intimately. The other image that comes to mind is the image of her when she met the incoming Prime Minister, Liz Truss. I looked at her and thought, 'Yes, you look frail; you look little,' but she looked so happy. And it was beyond my imagination to contemplate that some 48 hours later Her Majesty would have died. I certainly did not expect that.
So to Her Majesty I say: I thank you for your service, for what you demonstrated to us over so many years. To King Charles: I truly wish you all the very best. Long live the King.
With the passing Elizabeth II, our Queen, it is the end of an era and the final chapter of a great life. Australians have respected Her Majesty's grace and dignity and have seen in her the example of the very best of royalty: steady, composed, reassuring and ever committed to service and duty. As Paul Keating, one of the Queen's 16 Australian prime ministers, put it:
With her passing, her example of public service remains with us as a lesson in dedication to a lifelong mission in what she saw as the value of what is both enduringly good and right.
Queen Elizabeth was there in the background through most of our lives. She was there as we moved from black and white into colour, from the white Australia policy to our great multicultural presence. After 70 years with her at the centre of public life, we all caught a glimpse of this passage of time and the long arc of our shared lives together, because the world has changed so much in the 70 years of this reign. Under her watch, the British Empire became the Commonwealth. This was the Queen's great project and it helped make our world a better, more open and more democratic place. The Queen understood the enormous changes that were happening all around her, and she didn't struggle against them as a different leader might have. She appreciated the strict line between her duties as a constitutional monarch and the prerogatives of democracy.
The Queen reigned longer than Victoria, longer than Elizabeth I—two other great female monarchs who also defined their eras and our image of the British Crown. She was a great friend to Australia from the first time she arrived on our shores in 1954 through to the bicentenary and the opening of new Parliament House in 1988 and to her final tour in 2011, where I, along with many people here, was honoured to meet her—in my case, for the second time.
She visited our great house of democracy, but she also visited the homes and communities of ordinary Australians. In fact, in my electorate she opened the Opera House in 1973. She was also there in the year 2000 to open the western colonnade of the Opera House. But she also visited the public housing flats in Belvoir Street in Waterloo in 1977, and she was so popular on that visit that the Sydney Morning Herald described that visit as 'victory at Waterloo'. When I first became the member for Sydney, I was visiting the high-rise flats there in Waterloo and I met some of the residents who were there when the Queen visited in 1977, including residents who had welcomed her into their home. I can tell you no-one had forgotten that day. That was a day that really lived with them and stayed with them.
The Queen respected our independence as a nation but always cared deeply about the welfare of Australians. Beneath all the protocol and decorum, there was a rich humanity. She enjoyed a great romance with Philip—as many have said, the love of her life—to whom she was married for more than 70 years. She was a proud mother and—I think this is important—a proud working mother and grandmother and great-grandmother. I think one of the reasons that so many Australians followed her life and her progress and her work so closely was because they related to elements of that life, particularly her love and support for her family. I know—we were talking earlier—my own mother grew up in the then Yugoslavia. She was probably the Queen's biggest fan in Australia, and it was about her dignity, her years of service and her loyalty to her family. When the Queen chose to give us a peek at her inner life in public, as at the Platinum Jubilee alongside Paddington Bear, she revealed wonderful humour and impeccable comic timing.
So today I join the Australian parliament in paying my final respects to Queen Elizabeth II. We send our love and thoughts to everyone mourning her loss, particularly her family and loved ones.
I rise to speak on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. September 8 2022 is a moment in history etched in our hearts forever. The passing of our beloved sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch in British history, brought the world to a standstill. As the news of Her Majesty's passing reached the nations, a deep sense of loss and reflection settled across the world. There was comfort in knowing Queen Elizabeth II in her final hours was surrounded by her family, whom she loved so deeply, and was at peace in her favourite home, Balmoral Castle.
Her extraordinary, selfless commitment to duty and service over her 70-year reign was both impeccable and historic. The grace and dignity she displayed in the face of the many public and personal challenges she faced during her reign served as an example and an inspiration to us all. The gracious, generous commitment she gave to the leadership of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the royal family was extraordinary. Has there been such an outpouring of grief at the passing of a monarch? We will remember her for her compassion, kindness, humility, faith and endearing smile. These qualities have touched us all and are testament to the decent human being she was.
It appears that even at the tender age of 25, when Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary became the monarch following the sudden death of her father, King George VI, her natural charm and regal character shone. It is hard to believe that Queen Elizabeth's time on the throne goes back to the time of Prime Minister Robert Menzies. I am sure that at one time or another we have all seen the footage of Mr Menzies—later Sir Robert Menzies—toasting the Queen at a dinner on her first visit to Australia, where he borrowed those wonderful words from Thomas Ford:
I did but see her passing by
And yet I love her till I die.
And so we did. There would be 15 more prime ministers while the Queen was on the throne, from both sides of the political fence, and she charmed them all. Even the most devout republican supporters who were prime ministers have written and spoken of their deep affection for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
One of the staff in my office told me the story of a friend's young daughter who, while watching the many reports of the Queen's death, turned to her father and said, 'Who's going to look after the world now, Dad?' Out of the mouths of children comes the essence of what the Queen gave us: the safety of knowing she was always there, someone to look to and someone to turn to in times of trouble and in times of joy. How wonderful it is to know that, at her recent Platinum Jubilee celebrations, the world had the chance to say thank you to the Queen for over 70 years of service and she, in turn, found out categorically how much she was truly loved.
Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, visited Rockhampton in 1954. The Queen was 27 years old at the time. The visit made history, as it was the first time that a monarch had set foot in Queensland. The specially made chairs the Queen and Prince Philip sat on have been on display at Rockhampton Town Hall since their visit and have recently been placed at the Rockhampton Museum of Art so more people can see them. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's remarkable contribution to the Commonwealth will go down in history, and we will miss her wisdom and her guidance. From the people of Capricornia: we thank you, Your Majesty, for your service. May you rest in peace.
Changes will occur with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Foremost is the proclamation and crowning of King Charles III and the taking on of more duties and roles by other senior working members of the royal family. I am in no doubt that King Charles III, who adored his late mother, will honour her steady and loving guidance over the past 70 years and reign with the same sense of duty, commitment and generosity that are hallmarks of Her Majesty's formidable legacy. My deepest sympathy and prayers are with the royal family at this sad time, particularly with our new monarch, King Charles III. God save our King.
I also rise to make a contribution to this condolence motion for Queen Elizabeth II, and I pay my respects for her extraordinary life of leadership, duty and service.
I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service—
And as the Archbishop of Canterbury said at the Queen's funeral:
Rarely has such a promise been so well kept.
Today we proudly honour her memory.
Queen Elizabeth II had such an enduring relationship and fondness for our country, visiting Australia 16 times over 57 years between 1954 and 2011. In that time, she visited each and every state and territory, including the opening of our federal parliament in 1988. Her Majesty's trips to Australia were often lengthy, with her visit in 1954 spanning eight weeks. I pay tribute to all these visits, particularly those ones to regional Australia. In fact, on the royal tour in 1963, Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh made visits to over 70 country towns across the nation, which of course included our beautiful Northern Rivers and places close to home like Casino and Lismore. Many across the nation have fond and everlasting memories of meeting or seeing the Queen and were deeply touched by her warmth and her generosity and her interest in the lives of all Australians.
In 2000, on Her Majesty's 13th visit to Australia, she explained:
It is my duty to seek to remain true to the interests of Australia and all Australians … That is my duty. It is also my privilege and my pleasure.
Now, we all know the loss of the Queen is being felt right throughout the Commonwealth, throughout Australia, and indeed, throughout my electorate of Richmond. Many on the New South Wales North Coast are mourning her loss intensely, a loss of a constant and reassuring presence in all of our lives, one who was a source of comfort and familiarity against the backdrop of an ever-changing world.
My office, like many here, has been inundated with countless tributes and many attending in person to sign the condolence book. These contributions include a deep appreciation for the kindness shown by the Queen whenever Australia fell into crisis, such as floods, bushfires, the pandemic—all of which my electorate has felt acutely. I'd share some of the sentiments shared by some of the community in the condolence book. From a very young child:
Thank you so much for everything you've done and all your service. You were such a loyal and loving Queen, and I am so grateful that we got to call you our Queen.
Fely Hamer, the coordinator of the Tweed Filipino Support Group, said:
The loss of a significant personality in the world is a setback for us all. Condolences.
Brenda Jack of Kingcsliff said:
A thousand thank yous. There will never be another so dedicated and so loved.
Of course, many of the contributions in the condolence book have even included some lovely messages about Her Majesty's corgis, and I can inform those interested the Queen had 30 dogs that she cared for throughout her lifetime.
Today, along with my parliamentary colleagues, I pay tribute to Her Majesty's lifetime of leadership, loyalty and commitment. This year was of particular significance with the Queen celebrating her Platinum Jubilee. In her role as the Head of the British Armed Forces, the Queen acted as the captain-general and colonel-in-chief of a number of Australian defence force corps and units. It was because of this that the Queen was always a champion of defence forces right across the Commonwealth. She often met with ex-service personnel wherever she visited. In honouring the Queen's dedication to our armed forces, I, of course, pay tribute to all the veterans in my electorate of Richmond.
With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, an historic reign and a long life devoted to duty, faith, family and service have come to an end. There is, indeed, comfort to be found in Her Majesty's own words: 'Grief is the price we pay for love.' Now is also the time to send our thoughts to King Charles and the entire royal family, who've lost a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. The fact is Her Majesty provided continuity and certainty during some of the most uncertain times, and she now rightfully takes her place in history amongst the most revered.
In 2006, during a visit to parliament, the Queen described the people of Australia as 'leavened by generous warmth and humour'. This is how we today are remembering her. Vale Her Majesty the Queen. May you be eternally with your strength and stay.
I rise to give thanks for the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Praise has poured in from all corners of the Commonwealth and beyond its horizons, too, all repeating words of love and respect for Her Majesty. I'll add the words of the Toowoomba region to that refrain. Like many other towns, we had our first visit in 1954, with Her Majesty's convoy only just slowing down to wave at the people of Oakey on its way to an official welcome in Toowoomba.
In the days since Her Majesty's passing, I've met with so many locals, most of whom won't mind the description 'well seasoned', who still remember that day with some fondness and excitement. At the Goombungee QCWA hall Mr Lyle Voll told the story of lining up with his schoolmates, all fighting to get to the front of the crowd and then arguing afterwards over who the young Queen had actually been waving at. I had been at the hall to replace the portrait of the Queen, something that hadn't been done, judging by her youthful appearance in the picture, since at least the 1980s. There would be very few monarchs or leaders who have had their portraits replaced so often. I can assure the House the ladies of the QCWA were very happy to receive that new portrait.
As the Leader of the Opposition said this morning, Her Majesty was very much a country lady at heart and nowhere more than in a CWA hall, which she genuinely loved and respected. In both the blink of an eye and the long, hard grind of a 70-year reign, Her Majesty went from someone handwaving in a passing car to somebody we all felt an extraordinary attachment to. It wasn't just the length of her reign or the relentless workload she undertook but rather the manner in which she performed her role that let her into our hearts.
My generation saw her deal with the more universal issues that we recognise in our own lives, those of family breakdown and personal loss. I pause to remember the contribution of her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, in supporting Her Majesty. But those of Mr Voll's generation I think saw her greater work, that of her early years, the slow welding together of the then still new Commonwealth. It was and is a beautiful concept, a union not of Crown possessions but of nations that share the desire to treat each other with the grace, dignity, compassion and respect with which Her Majesty treated all she met. It is an idea that dwarfs that of empire, making something even better from the last strains of its long coda.
At yesterday's memorial service at St Luke's in Toowoomba we saw a great reminder of how just how full a chord that idea of Commonwealth struck. Amongst the packed crowd, representatives of many Commonwealth nations came forward and laid wreaths from their home countries. It was not only a great display of Her Majesty's success in building the Commonwealth but also a demonstration of the Toowoomba region's wholehearted embrace of it. How could the Queen have imagined during her first visit to Toowoomba that at the end of her reign that small country town would be a city filled with people from all corners of the Earth, Her Majesty's vast vision of Commonwealth played out so beautifully in regional Australia.
In praising the Queen's extraordinary vigour, leadership and vision, I wish also to speak to her more ordinary traits. She may well have been the greatest leader of her time. Even in the company of Churchill, Roosevelt and Mandela those words ring true. But it is on her connection to us, the everyman and everywoman, that she is most dearly remembered. It would not take too much imagination to see her cheering on her ponies as they came up the long hill and towards the final straight at Clifford Park or to see her letting her corgis off the leash at Queens Park golf course on a cold and foggy Toowoomba morning, maybe holding a hot coffee, or to see her navigating some of the muddy dirt roads after a storm out past Bogie in her old Land Rover Defender. My only personal connection to Her Majesty is a shared ownership of the same vehicle. Her Majesty's experience as a mechanic during World War II would have been well needed, I suspect, on more than a few hunting trips around Balmoral as they have a tendency to break down on occasion, leading to the wonderful line, 'It's not broken; it's British.' There is some analogy there to the triumph of will and determination over our physical bounds that I think speaks well to the British spirit.
We have grieved as a nation, as individuals and as a Commonwealth. We've all shared in a loss that we perhaps each understand in a different way. However, for me, I now feel a sense of hope that has followed my time of mourning because the traits Her Majesty has been so celebrated for are not just valued by those of her generation or mine; her traits of dignity, respect, service, grace and humility are very much valued by our younger generations, too. At Coronation Park, I stopped with the member for Toowoomba South, Mr David Janetzki, to lay a wreath in the hours after her passing and caught the attention of a few young gentleman from Harristown State High School. When I explained to them that the park had been named after Her Majesty's ascension to the throne, they all agreed with something of youthful enthusiasm that she was a good queen, a great leader and an even better person. Rest in peace, Your Majesty.
I am humbled to join my colleagues in offering condolences to the royal family as we mourn the loss of one of history's great monarchs and people, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I, like many speakers before, have known no other monarch during my life, and I take this moment to acknowledge a new era for the Commonwealth under the reign of King Charles III. For 70 years, though, the world looked to the late Queen as a beacon of stability, grace, fortitude and compassion. All the stories she would have heard, the meetings she would have encountered, the challenges through history that she witnessed and faced seemed to be received with dignity and respect for people, regardless of who they were.
My memories of the Queen were first formed by the way my grandmother spoke about her. I know that the monarchy, and the Queen in particular, heavily influenced her. She was a monarchist to the end, and, if royal traditions could be woven into our own family fabric, then my grandmother would have ensured they were. The Queen's Christmas message was on television at my grandmother's house every year. Through her, I developed a profound respect for Queen Elizabeth II.
The Queen both inspired my grandmother and guided her choices in the circumstances she faced as a young woman living through the Second World War. My grandmother chose to enlist in the Women's Royal Naval Service, known as the Wrens, to support the United Kingdom's second war effort. The Wrens enlisted to carry out often auxiliary war efforts that, at the time of recruitment, declared a Wren's duty to be to 'free a man for the fleet' to fight for King and country. As a Wren, my grandmother took to her duty to act as a driver for the admiralty. This was dangerous work and exposed my grandmother to situations many women were at the time heavily shielded from. When she finished her shift, she would jump on her bike and ride home through the streets of London, through sirens, shelling and air raids. During those tumultuous years of war, she took risks that were a first for many women in dedicating their lives to service and country.
Of course, Queen Elizabeth II took those first-time risks and precisely those I learned of my grandmother taking. She too, as we've heard, was a mechanic and a driver for the British Army, performing duties alongside service men and women of the Commonwealth. Then a princess, she was the first female British royal to actively serve in the British armed forces, and I believe this resonated with my grandmother and, of course, other wartime women who had chosen to make the same sacrifices. It was the Queen's humanity at the time that endeared her to and inspired those for whom she would become Queen for 70 years.
Queen Elizabeth connected with people across the Commonwealth whenever she could, and it was during her visit to Australia in 2011 that I had my own chance to meet her. On that occasion, I relayed the story of my grandmother's service as a Wren, her life as a war bride and her emigrating to Australia to be with my grandfather, following the war. It was sad that I couldn't reflect sharing that story with the Queen back to my grandmother, as she had already passed, because I know she would have been incredibly proud. But it was the Queen's response to my story—one that she'd obviously heard countless times—that was incredibly endearing and even a little amusing. She told me it was 'a common story'. Now, I'm sure it was the nature of the times she was referring to, as the British colonies were taking on more and more resettling of those fleeing war-ravaged Europe and Great Britain, but I did chuckle at the use of the word 'common'. It did also resonate with me, though, that Queen Elizabeth II was from a different world to that of my grandmother, but the Queen radiated a down-to-earth authenticity that connected her to so many people, including commoners like my grandmother.
Of course, the Queen visited Australia many times, and it was in 1986 that she formally opened Aberfoyle Park High School, in my electorate. Photos show young boys and girls lining the streets, waving Australian flags and being greeted with obvious warmth by the Queen, who waved and smiled back. These types of connections were formed for generations of women and men from all over the world, as she continued to meet with them throughout her 70-year reign.
I conclude by saying that Queen Elizabeth II never looked tired, bored or uncommitted. It was stability, grace, fortitude and compassion to the end. May you rest in peace, Your Majesty.
In the Book of Kings, the Bible tells the story of Zadok, a priest, and Nathan, a prophet, who anointed Solomon king. For so much of history monarchs have derived their power and authority from that idea, that idea of divine right, that, anointed by God, their rule is legitimate. But this was always a structure of power with the deep flaw of placing all power in the hands of, and at the whim of, one single human ruler. Indeed, even at a time when all-powerful kings reigned supreme, the Bible goes on to tell us that this could never work very well. Even Solomon, in all of his renowned wisdom, erred, exceeded his power and was punished by God.
In fact, all recorded human history tells us this same story—the difficult struggles of populations, ordinary people, individuals, citizens to structure their society to protect against abuses of power by their ruler or by the state, the central question being how to disperse power, to limit it, to neutralise it from being exercised by, or through, any one single person and their capricious whim. History teaches us that it was the British who, from Magna Carta through to a brutal civil war, finally established the supremacy of the people through parliament and who first devised then refined and almost perfected the notion of limited government through constitutional monarchy. This legacy of representative parliamentary democracy, governed by a monarch, limited by constitution and the rule of laws, was brought to Australia by British settlers and strengthened by the founding fathers in our own Australian Constitution.
Constitutional monarchy is rightly the inheritance of every single Australian. And what a success it has been. Like in the United Kingdom, constitutional monarchy has given Australia unprecedented freedom, political stability and the means of managing crises that have seen other modern political systems break and their societies dissolve. In just our short time in the history of the world, we have paradoxically become one of the oldest continuous democratic societies in the world today. By limiting the power of our of head of state, our Queen or King, by strictly defining the use and limitations of their power, we've answered well that central question of good political structure that has plagued so many and continues to confront so many societies today.
In Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II we have the exemplar of the success of our model of government, a queen who perfectly understood her role in our Constitution and did her duty every single second of every single hour of every single day of her 70-year reign, the second-longest reign of a monarch in all human history, a sovereign who held absolute power under our Constitution for all of that time but never wielded it or sought to wield it, except under the strictly agreed terms as defined between the ruler and the ruled. For Australia, she so elegantly represented our nation and was loved by us, and in return loved us as a people—the first and only reigning monarch to visit Australia, who went on to visit us 16 times.
It is astonishing to think of the debt that we owe our Queen. This amazing woman served as our sovereign, perfectly, for 70 years. Never once did she express an opinion outside of her role, nor breach her duty, nor give us cause for concern. And, in a modern world, with tabloids, paparazzi, the loss of privacy, this is a truly remarkable thing. Her sacrifice of her individuality her entire life to serve us is a perfect service that will forever dominate our nation's destiny.
So, to those here who say we should use this moment to consider changing our system, I say this: our free, democratic, safe and successful society is no accident. Proper political structure matters, and constitutional monarchy remains one of the best-ever devised protections against abuses of power, and we should not change it.
Meeting Her Majesty just once, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard, was the greatest privilege of my lifetime, as it was for every Australian who had that chance, as was the chance to serve in Her Majesty's Australian armed forces, and as a minister in Her Majesty's Australian government. She was a queen, as she believed, who was anointed by God and whose reign has now been ended by God. So, in thanking and farewelling this remarkable woman, we turn from the Book of Kings to the Gospel of Matthew to say: 'Well done, good and faithful servant,' Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, Queen of Australia and its people, and the queen of our hearts.
Today I rise to pay my respects, on behalf of people in the Gilmore electorate, on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and, in doing so, acknowledge Her Majesty's extraordinary life of dedication to service, country and Commonwealth.
There has been an absolute outpouring of sadness that Queen Elizabeth II has passed on, but there has also been immense interest in learning more about Her Majesty's extraordinary 70-year reign. Her Majesty touched the lives of so many people. I think it's also fair to say that we've been getting a history lesson in royal protocol. After all, it's been 70 years since Queen Elizabeth II's own father, King George VI, passed away and Elizabeth became Queen, at just 25 years of age. Most people, myself included, have known no other queen as head of the Commonwealth. For a young queen in a male-dominated world to help steer that change over 70 years as Queen truly was extraordinary. The Queen saw wars, pandemics, the introduction of technology such as the internet, changes in the workplace—the list goes on. Through it all, the Queen was always there, a steadying force.
On her 21st birthday, the Queen said, 'I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service,' and that's just what Her Majesty did. What we are seeing now is an outpouring of recognition of the dignity with which Her Majesty navigated all of life's ups and downs.
Mr Speaker, I placed official condolence books in my electorate offices at both Nowra and Batemans Bay, and the books kept filling up. But, of course, that should come as no surprise. I'm now going to read some of the messages from my constituents, because they say it so well.
What a great loss to the world, how lucky we were to have her in our lives. My condolences to her family. She was a remarkable woman.
Thank you, well done, good and faithful servant—you kept the Commonwealth together through thick and thin—your love for the people, your husband and your family (and dogs, and horses) shone through every year of your service. God bless you—and your family.
Remembering all the wonderful service given by a grand, kind and remarkable Queen and woman. Forever grateful for all her dedication and also the incredible example to us all of honour, dignity, kindness and devotion. God bless our beloved Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II now with our Lord Jesus forever.
Queen Elizabeth II, you have been an inspiration to all women. Thank you for your dedication of duty to the Commonwealth and your people. You kept your promise that you would serve your people which you did, above and beyond. We appreciate all your efforts through the tough times where you displayed leadership although painful periods. God bless the Queen.
Legends never die—you were and continue to be a legend. An inspiration to all young women around the world and a leader the future generation will strive to be. Thank you for everything.
You lived your life as you promised, like one of your thoroughbred horses—a race you did not expect to run. But, with grace and strength you took the reins and you cleared the hurdles with strength and grace—and you won. Well done.
Queen Elizabeth II, thank you for your inestimable, inspirational life of service to your people. As Queen of Australia you were a constant extraordinary figure in the background of my whole life. A Queen who remarkably commanded respect and love on the world stage for all her reign. Your beauty, grace and dignity will always be remembered, along with the selfless devotion to the Commonwealth of nations. May you Rest in Peace.
A truly beautiful lady. So well respected and admired. Saying goodbye to your majesty Queen Elizabeth was so sad. Like saying goodbye to my mum a second time. Thank you for your dedication. Rest in Peace.
Valerie and Richard said:
Rest in Peace our dear Queen. You served us well and for so long. You will be remembered fondly forever.
So many beautiful condolences for Her Majesty the Queen, which sum up the true depth of love and thankfulness for her service! May she rest in peace.
The second Elizabethan age has closed, and we mark its closure with sad hearts as we mourn the departure of its namesake, our sovereign lady, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She defined the age by her benevolent leadership of the Commonwealth, by the symmetry of her private and public virtues—virtues informed by a living and committed Christian faith—and by the grace and dignity that united her to millions of subjects.
In the long history of British kings and queens, she was a queen who wore her crown lightly. She was perhaps the most open-handed monarch to take the throne in the last 1,000 years, as she presided over the dissolution of the British Empire, not the gathering of more territory to the Crown. She relinquished power and might instead of seizing it. Instead, she gave life and energy to the Commonwealth—to what she called 'an equal partnership of nations and races' that was built on 'friendship, loyalty and the desire for freedom and peace'. Australia is a proud member of that Commonwealth, and we were glad to call her our Queen.
Our lives are often shaped by events beyond our control. For Her Majesty, she did not choose the crown; that duty fell on her by birth. The crown came to her much earlier than she imagined, along with the painful grief as she mourned the early passing of her father, King George VI. A lesser woman might have chafed at the imposition so early in life, but she gave herself to the institution and became the leader that we came to know—that ever-present benevolence that was never far from our thoughts: her visage on our coins and $5 notes; her photo hanging on walls in government buildings and defence barracks across the country; the loyal toasts at countless dinners over the years.
In my family, she was present at our dinner table, in my mother admonishing us for our lack of manners. She would often say, 'Imagine if the Queen was here,' and we'd sit up and eat in a more dignified manner. And her presence was generational, too. My children sat transfixed, recently, watching on YouTube the Queen and Paddington share a marmalade sandwich together.
She did touch our lives in many ways—not as a celebrity, but as a woman who lived out her calling with Christian grace, humility and quiet strength. She lived those virtues as our Queen, in her private role as guidance counsellor to prime ministers and in her public leadership of the Commonwealth. In both ways, she touched the great and small alike with her example of service. It is right that we should mourn her—for her life of duty and service, and because we may not see her like for another thousand years. May she rest in eternal peace in the comfort of her lord and God. And may God save the King, His Majesty Charles III. We wish him peace, stability and wisdom in the leadership of our Commonwealth.
Never again will Australians see the like of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth II reigned for 70 years, seven months and two days. She was the longest serving monarch in the history of Great Britain. Across her reign, there were 16 different Australian prime ministers. The durability of her popularity was more consistent than that of contemporary Australian political leaders.
The longevity of her reign alone elevates her to the dais of history, but it doesn't sufficiently, I think, explain her contribution to Australia and her significance for Australians. Here, and right around the world, there has been a grief which has been universal and democratic in nature. Citizens who take little interest in politics have stopped to watch the melancholic pageantry of the Queen's funeral. The grief in Australians—the sense of our irrevocable loss, our awareness of permanent change—is not explained simply by the longevity of her reign.
You see, I think Australians understand that Elizabeth II provided continuity and certainty in a rapidly changing and divided world. She respected her role as head of state as constitutional and non-partisan; she didn't see herself as a serving Prime Minister with real power. A link through the ages to modern Australia, from the Second World War to 2022, she uniquely joined our past to our present. In 1926, the year she was born, Gandhi was still in jail for inciting rebellion against the British Empire for Indian independence. The memory of Gallipoli was not even 11 years old. Joan Sutherland was to be born seven months later, and Phar Lap was yet to win the Melbourne Cup. Right now, there are fewer than 50,000 Australians who are older than 95, which means Her Majesty's life has spanned the lives of more than 25 million Australians. From the Blitz to Afghanistan, from the White Australia policy to the multicultural Australia of today, from Australian women in the kitchen to Australian women in the parliament and every other forum in the nation, she has presided over and been present at our change.
I was fortunate enough to meet Her Majesty in 2011 on her final visit to Australia. I was struck by her modesty—how entirely engaged she was with every person she met, from schoolchildren to veterans to politicians. The fact that a person such as myself may be a committed believer in an Australian head of state should not prevent us from recognising the greatness inherent in the person of Elizabeth Windsor—her selflessness, calm, stoicism and unflagging commitment to public duty. In fact, some of the most excellent and fitting tributes in recent days have been from Australian republicans. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese remembered the words the Queen used after the September 11 attacks, that 'grief is the price we pay for love'. Former prime minister Paul Keating expertly located the Queen's broader cultural relevance in a century where the self was 'privatised' and the public good 'broadly neglected'. He noted:
Queen Elizabeth understood this and instinctively attached herself to the public good against what she recognised as a tidal wave of private interest and private reward. And she did this for a lifetime. Never deviating.
The quiet Queen never embraced partisanship, which allowed her to be the constitutional monarch for all, regardless of creed, colour or conviction—a head of state for all. This silence should not be mistaken for disinterest but rather is an acute wisdom that the role of head of state is to unite, even as nations change and governments change direction. Such purposeful unity enabled the diverse nations of our Commonwealth the time and space to evolve national identity. History salutes strong leaders who accumulate power, but leaders who disperse power are infinitely rarer. In recent weeks, we've lost two of that rarer kind in former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and, now, the Queen. Australians should just pause for a moment and reflect that the Queen oversaw the transformation of the British Empire into a multicultural Commonwealth of more than one billion people. In this great room of Australia where we gather, we should all take a moment to reflect on the particular grandeur of this great woman and Queen. May she rest in peace. The Queen was a figure of constancy, not a partisan nor an activist, and that is at the heart of the public's affection for her.
The supreme irony is that the Queen is the exemplar of the type of personality—humble, dutiful, thoughtful and abiding—that Australians would want in an Australian head of state. The Queen never embraced partisanship, which allowed her to be a monarch for all. She never ignored the realities of shifting social norms. She did indeed acknowledge after the 1999 referendum that it had been clear for some time that, in her own words, 'many Australians' wanted to see constitutional change. She stressed, though, that the future of the monarchy in Australia was for the Australian people alone to decide, while reassuring us that, whatever happened, it would not change her family's 'deep affection for Australia and Australians everywhere'. That discussion will happen in other times. That change will happen in other times. But, with Her Majesty's indulgence, we take a breath to reflect on the end of the second Elizabethan era and with it the profound loss of a great woman.
'The price of greatness is responsibility,' said Winston Churchill, the first English prime minister that Queen Elizabeth II worked with and, reportedly, her favourite. Her Majesty never sought greatness, but, through her devotion and service to her country and to the Commonwealth over an extraordinary 70-year reign, the Queen achieved a rare measure of greatness the world seldom sees. Through the peaks and valleys of war and peace, through the darkest days and in times of triumph, in a rapidly changing world, she was a reassuring presence of continuity and calm. She was a 25-year-old who became the longest-reigning monarch in British history and, for many, was the most loved. As we mourn her passing, country communities have come together across our electorate of Calare to share memories of when the Queen swapped the comforts of Buckingham Palace, Balmoral and Windsor Castle for the wonders of the Central West.
On the first of the Queen's 16 visits to Australia, in 1954, the royals visited 57 towns and cities in 58 days, including two in the region that I'm lucky enough to call home. On 12 February the royal flight touched down at Raglan Aerodrome, and the Queen said g'day to Bathurst for the very first time. In the 1954 census, Bathurst had just over 16,000 residents, so you can imagine the pandemonium as the city's population swelled five times over, with an estimated 90,000 people gathering in the city's CBD to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty. That's about the same number of motor racing fans that descend on Mount Panorama for the Bathurst 1000 each year. Later that day, the Queen and Prince Philip boarded the royal train from Bathurst to Lithgow, where 20,000 people gathered at Lithgow Park, including 6,000 children from 45 schools across Lithgow, Mudgee, Gulgong and Kandos, who each carried a Union Jack flag made in Lithgow. The name of that park was subsequently changed to Queen Elizabeth II, in honour of her visit that day.
She was a Queen, but she never lost her connection to the people she led. She loved meeting regional Australians from all walks of life. After her visit, the Queen sent a letter to the Mayor of Lithgow, writing:
I am well aware that this area with its coal and its industry is making a notable contribution to the strength of Australia, and I am very glad that I have been able to come here and see something of it.
I am still more pleased to be able to meet some of the men and women who work the mines and man the machines.
This week, Ann and Owen Murray from Manildra, and their granddaughter Lily, stopped in to my Orange office to sign the book of condolence. Ann recalled the Queen and Prince Philip's visit to Orange on 28 April 1970, when, as a young girl, she happily sat in the street outside the former Bank of New South Wales for hours, waiting to see Her Majesty. While in Orange, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited the Email fridge-making factory, which was to be a key employer for the city for several decades.
While the royal visit largely went off without a hitch, decades later it was revealed that there had been an assassination attempt on the journey to Orange. According to former detective Superintendent Cliff McHardy, a large wooden log was placed over the train tracks at Bowenfels, near Lithgow, in an attempt to derail the train carrying the royals. The advancing train struck the log, but, fortunately, it was travelling slowly enough that it didn't derail. The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the public were unaware anything had happened for three decades, before the Lithgow Mercury finally broke the story of the Lithgow plot. I bumped into the legendary former Lithgow Mercury editor Len Ashworth last week, who recounted how pleased he was that the story he did not print at the time has finally now been told. The identity of the perpetrators remains a mystery to this day.
In 1982 the Queen visited Bathurst for a second time, demonstrating her great fondness of and interest in regional Australia and affirming a strong and lasting connection between residents of the Central West and the royal family. Her presence and support in times of tragedy and loss will never be forgotten. Douglas Brooks of Orange echoed the sentiments of many, when he wrote in our book of condolence:
In others' tribulations your loyalty held sway
We honour and salute you and bid farewell today.
It was truly an honour to attend the national memorial service yesterday on behalf of the Calare electorate. We thank and salute Her Majesty for her seven decades of unwavering and resolute service to the Commonwealth and the international community of nations. Hers was a life of duty, dignity, service above self and love, including love of Australia and love of country Australia and its people. She was truly exceptional. May she rest in peace.
The passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II marks the end of an era—her era. I acknowledge this is a sad period for many Australians. She has been a fixture in their lives. Over her 70-year reign, she remained an enduring symbol of stability.
Queensland mathematician, entrepreneur and part-time historian Nigel Greenwood wrote a book, For the Sovereignty of the People, in which he discussed the Crown and its reserve powers. He spent a lot of time researching the monarch's responsibility in constitutional government. Recently, he said: 'One of the striking things about the accounts of prime ministers of Commonwealth nations across the many decades of the Queen's reign was the consistency of their accounts of her valuable counsel and the depth of her work in understanding the political difficulties of the day.' When British Prime Minister Harold Wilson had his first meeting with her, he was embarrassed to discover that she understood the current political issues confronting him better than he did because she had always diligently worked through her briefs, in his government and in prior governments across her reign. He vowed never to go unprepared to another meeting with her. Dr Greenwood noted that the Queen championed the Commonwealth's interests across the decades, when British prime ministers seemed obsessed with Europe. While for many she embodied the dignity and grace we might expect of a British monarch, history tells us these traits are not necessarily inherited with or imbued within the Crown.
I know that Queen Elizabeth II was admired and respected in Queensland. She was the only reigning British monarch to visit my home state. Nine months after Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on 2 June 1953 at Westminster Abbey in London, she arrived in Brisbane on 9 March 1954. She stayed at Government House in Brisbane with Queensland Governor Sir John Lavarack and Lady Sybil Lavarack. Her busy itinerary included many regional visits to Bundaberg, Oakey, Toowoomba, Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, Rockhampton and the Great Barrier Reef. This was the first of 16 visits to Australia and eight to Queensland as the Queen.
Queen Elizabeth II remained a welcome and popular visitor to Queensland shores throughout her life, celebrating our culture and traditions. She provided reassurance in the aftermath of natural disasters and at times of concern for Queenslanders, sending messages of strength and support. On her final visit to Queensland in October 2011, Her Majesty paid tribute to the resilience and courage of Queenslanders in the aftermath of floods and cyclones. Her subsequent public walk along Brisbane's South Bank was greeted by thousands of Queenslanders, emphasising the great affection with which she was held in Queensland.
When she was a young princess, we first saw a glimpse of the style of monarch she would become. In World War II she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, where she learned to drive and maintain vehicles. She was, as many have said, the first female member of the British royal family to join the armed services as a full-time active member. Seeing the young Princess Elizabeth in overalls, with her head underneath a car bonnet, inspired many.
The Queen served, with impartiality and dedication, Britain and her realms, of which Australia is one. Across her long reign, the same cannot be said of every single governor-general who served in her name.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was devoted to her duty. She will be remembered fondly as the longest reigning monarch of the Commonwealth, having succeeded to the throne on 6 February 1952 on the death of her father, King George VI. The Queen was an intelligent and engaged monarch who took her duties very seriously. Hers was a life dedicated to service.
I do hope, expect and pray that one day we'll have different constitutional arrangements in this country as we evolve in the 21st century. This will be the subject of ongoing debate in our national and political discourse until its resolution.
I acknowledge and understand this is a difficult time for many of our First Nations people. We're still dealing with the generational legacy of British colonisation. The cultural juxtaposition has been on full display at our football finals, with welcome to country ceremonies followed by a minute's silence for Her Majesty's death.
Whatever your views about the British monarchy—and they vary across the country; I'm a lifelong republican—the Queen has been regarded very widely as a friend of this country, and it is right to respectfully recognise her many years of faithful service over seven decades.
Our deepest condolences from my electorate, the people of Blair, to the royal family and her many friends. May she rest in peace.
It is a great honour to be able to stand in this House and pay my respects and the respects of my electorate, the electorate of Wannon, to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. On behalf of my electorate, can I say to King Charles III and his extended family: our thoughts and prayers are with you, at this time.
It is a show of the importance and the respect in which the Queen was held that two prime ministers, on either side of the political spectrum, thought that it was warranted that she should have her title enacted in law, here, in this parliament. The first was Sir Robert Menzies and the second was Gough Whitlam. The change in that title, under the Royal Style and Titles Act, gives you a sense of the type of person the Queen was. In 1953 Sir Robert Menzies enacted a title and then, in 1973, Gough Whitlam thought that it needed to be updated. It needed to be updated because that title needed to divorce state from church. It also needed to give primacy to the Queen's sovereign rule of Australia.
When Gough Whitlam put this to the Queen, she agreed because she understood that it was the will of the Australian people that this change should be made. But not only did she agree; she wanted to be the person who signed the act, here in Australia, in 1973, when she visited for the opening of the Sydney Opera House. So she went to Government House, here in Canberra, and signed that act. She did it because she understood the primacy of democracy, the importance of democracy, and she also understood that as sovereign she needed to obey the will of the Australian people. It also showed her humour, because at the lunch, after the signing of that act, one Australian rather impolitely said to her, 'Congratulations on becoming naturalised, Your Majesty,' to which she smiled. It showed her willingness to understand that unique Australian sense of humour.
The Queen left a mark that I think no other world leader will ever leave on Australia. When she visited the electorate of Wannon in 1954 she went to Hamilton, then a population of 5,000. Seventy thousand people came to Hamilton that day to see the Queen. The people of Portland were so upset that they weren't included in the visit that they complained bitterly. That old rivalry between towns was alive, well and truly, then. So what did Her Majesty do? In 1970 she visited Portland. It just shows how she knew and understood this nation and wanted to make sure that she represented everyone she possibly could.
Her sense of dignity, her sense of duty, her sense of service, in many ways, epitomises what is so great about our own nation. Every time you see fire, floods or cyclones, what is it that we are reminded of? It's that sense of service, that sense of giving to others, that sense that self is not as important as giving to those around us. She led us in that, and she epitomised it in every act she undertook over 70 years of service.
I never met the Queen, and I would have loved to have. But one thing we share in common is a love of the psalm 'The Lord is My Shepherd':
Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me,
and in God's house forevermore
My dwelling place shall be.
Thank you, Your Majesty, on behalf of my electorate, on behalf of the nation, for everything that you have done. May you rest in peace.
Queen Elizabeth II saw her homeland, the Commonwealth and the world rebuild after World War II. During that war, she first spoke to the world. Broadcasting to the children of the Commonwealth, then princess Elizabeth said on 13 October 1940:
… when peace comes, remember it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place—
her own fear repressed, seeking instead to bring hope to children displaced by the horrors of war. Some 70 years later she saw her grandson Prince Harry leave to serve in Afghanistan. She never saw the world completely at peace, but she always used her role to advocate for peace.
There is no foreign leader who loved Australia more than Queen Elizabeth. She was the first reigning monarch to visit Australia. There were 16 visits. She opened parliament twice; state parliaments, five times. She officially opened Parliament House, this building, in 1988. During her first royal tour, in 1954, she travelled some 16,000 kilometres by air—33 separate flights—and made 207 separate trips in the car, visiting more than 70 country towns. That included Northam, Kalgoorlie and Perth in Western Australia. When she was in Perth, she opened the modernist icon Council House, in the heart of the Perth electorate. During her visits over the years, she saw more of Western Australia than many who live in this country have seen; indeed, she saw more of Western Australia than many who serve in this parliament. She did love the west.
On that first visit in 1954, the White Australia policy still prevailed. With time, Australia and our monarch changed. In 1967 we recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through a referendum; in 1992 the landmark Mabo decision recognised rights to traditional land; and, at the turn of the century, a group of Aboriginal leaders travelled to Buckingham Palace to discuss 'the unfinished business of reconciliation'. After that meeting, now Western Australian senator Patrick Dodson said the meeting with the Queen had been 'extraordinarily beneficial'. Now King Charles III, too, will see great advancements during his reign, both in our work here and in work across the Commonwealth.
I came to this world halfway through her reign. I was fortunate in 2005 to meet her son Prince Charles, when I was still a university student. I congratulate the King on his accession to the throne. In 2011, I watched as the Queen spoke at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, proudly hosted in the Perth electorate and including the Great Aussie BBQ—120,000 sausages, 100 barbecue hotplates—with the naming of Elizabeth Quay in her honour a lasting reminder, in the heart of the Perth electorate, of the important role she played for our city and our state and our country.
In 2015 my wife, Jess, and I stayed with a friend in London. Our friend didn't live in a poky flat. She had the honour of working for then prince Charles, and she lived at Buckingham Palace, in the Royal Mews. So, above the royal stable with 30 of England's finest horses, the gold state coach, and many of the staff of Buckingham Palace, Jess and I enjoyed a week in the Queen's home town from her unique perspective on that fabulous city.
In the ceremonial role of queen, she was not a legislator or decision-maker. However, she demonstrated the true meaning of leadership—that your role is to inspire others. She reflected upon this when she spoke at the Perth Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2011. Quoting an Aboriginal saying, she said:
We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love … and then we return home.
She learned, she grew, she loved; now she returns home.
On behalf of the people of the Perth electorate, condolences to the royal family and to all of those who loved and admired Queen Elizabeth II.
It is hard to capture the essence of a life as dedicated to service as Queen Elizabeth II's and the impact that that life has had on Australians in such a short time. It is reflective of the love and respect of Her Majesty that so many members here today wish to pay their respects.
It should be noted, though, that the longest-reigning English monarch was not born to be Queen. Had it not been for her uncle's abdication and her father's untimely death, the 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth would not have ascended to the throne she was to hold for 70 years. Couple the unexpected ascension with the fact that Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953 was the first to be broadcast on television, and what resulted was a level of public access and scrutiny never seen before. A young woman grieving the loss of her father and creating a family of her own was thrust further into the limelight of a world of expectation.
As she fronted the cameras upon returning to England after her father's death, she stated:
By the sudden death of my dear father I am called to assume the duties and responsibility of sovereignty … My heart is too full for me to say more to you to-day than that I shall always work, as my father did throughout his reign, to … advance the happiness and prosperity of my peoples, spread as they are all the world over.
There were many assumptions that she would fail, would not be able to step up to the responsibilities expected of her and would falter at the task of uniting the Commonwealth. But, with poise, dignity, an innate understanding of symbolism and a deep appreciation for humanity, she persevered and created a modern monarchy, the likes of which we will never see again.
Queen Elizabeth II was a bastion of strength, calm and pride for many Australians. 'Our Lizzie' was relatable as a wife, a mother and a grandmother who appeared to add Queen to her list of titles with warm affection rather than stuffy superiority. While it was ever clear that she took on her role with the solemnity and gravity it deserved, she did so with an approachable smile and a kindly, considered word. At the time of her ascension, her steady, calm presence gave Australians exactly what was needed as we emerged from the chaotic postwar period. While the process of establishing what is today known as the Commonwealth began in the late 19th century, it fell to Queen Elizabeth II to guide its acceleration. She oversaw a process in which the British Empire was transformed into a voluntary association of sovereign nations, in which Australia is included.
The Queen visited Australia on 16 separate occasions throughout her reign and drew crowds of thousands wherever she went, including in Coffs Harbour within my own electorate of Cowper in 1970. Coffs was quite a different place 52 years ago, and many in my electorate recall the thrill they felt upon hearing the Queen would visit what was then a small, modest seaside town. Many felt her visit put us on the map, and they remember how proud they felt to show off our beauty to royalty. The Queen had that effect on Australians. We wanted to show off our country, our culture, our natural beauty and—let's face it—our far superior weather. She possessed a motherly symbolism that we wanted to impress and, in wanting her to experience our country fondly, we found ourselves showcasing and appreciating all the things that make Australia great and of which we should be proud.
In 1989, as a 19-year-old probationary police officer, I swore an oath to the Queen; in 2001, having been sworn into the New South Wales Supreme Court, I took an oath to the Supreme Court under the Commonwealth of Australia; and in 2019 I swore an oath to Her Majesty in this place. It has been a pleasure to serve Her Majesty, and I thank her for her service to our country.
I rise to pay tribute to the extraordinary life and service of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. On 9 September the Australian people woke to the news that the Queen's historic reign and her long life devoted to duty, family, faith and service had come to an end. From the moment the young princess became Queen in 1952, Her Majesty's dedication to duty and service over self was the hallmark of her reign, and she performed her responsibilities with fidelity, integrity and respect for everyone she met. We saw those qualities each time she visited our shores, which she did on 16 separate occasions, travelling to every state and territory across our vast continent. She visited my electorate of Newcastle on four occasions: in 1954, 1970 and 1977—when she came to open our Newcastle Art Gallery, which I got to witness firsthand—and then again in 1988.
Queen Elizabeth reigned for 70 years, making her the longest-reigning woman in history. There have been many monarchs in Great Britain, but it is worth noting that three of the longest reigning, and arguably most impactful, were women. Queen Elizabeth I reigned from 1558 to 1603, and Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. But Queen Elizabeth II, of those three queens, was the most fully evolved monarch. She inherited a monarchy whose political power had been steadily eroding since the 18th century but whose role in public life was, paradoxically, to increase in its importance. She handled her often difficult and delicate constitutional role with grace and, it must be said, remarkable political skill. Perhaps nowhere was that more evident than in the way in which the Queen engaged with Australia, our contested histories of colonisation, the unfinished business of a just and proper relationship with our First Nations people and the unsettled questions about our constitutional arrangements.
Over the course of seven decades, Her Majesty observed closely the evolution of former colonies, the emergence of independent nation-states and the formation of new alliances and new political power. Yet she remained welcome and a constant presence throughout the Commonwealth. She embodied and exhibited a timeless decency and an enduring calm.
When the princess became Queen, women's roles were overwhelmingly domestic. Indeed, women were discouraged from working outside the home. This was especially true of married women with children. The Second World War, however, demanded a radical rethink of those social norms, and millions of women took on wartime jobs, working in the factories producing munitions, building ships, serving as air raid wardens and fire officers, volunteering with the Red Cross, keeping the economy going while the men went to war. A young Princess Elizabeth was one of these women when she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service as a military driver and mechanic. I expect that experience of working within a traditionally male-dominated workplace held Her Majesty and millions of other women in good stead for what was yet to come. Despite those women surrendering their jobs, voluntarily or not, to the men who returned from war, the world of work and the work of women were destined to change for ever. It's just taken a lot longer than we might have expected.
With the death of her father, King George VI, the young princess instantly became Queen and head of state for more than 50 million people across 32 nations, many of which were emerging still from the massive destruction and political upheavals of the Second World War. For 70 years she embodied leadership. She showed generations of women and men that women can be leaders; indeed, women are more than capable of leadership.
Queen Elizabeth is the only reigning monarch most Australians have ever known and the only one to visit Australia. Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth showed a deep affection for our nation, and she was held in high regard by most Australians too. Notwithstanding her lifelong dedicated service to others, the passing of the Queen has reignited questions and conversations about our nationhood and our constitutional arrangements. These are conversations that are a sign of a healthy, mature nation and should not for one moment take away from the very important business of wishing the Queen and her family peace at this difficult time.
Here is an acrostic tribute:
Her Royal Highness has passed from this life, but her legacy will long live on.
Across the world, tributes have been given and gratitude shared for an iconic figure.
Never before has an English monarch enjoyed such affection in life and in death.
Kings and queens have always been looked up to from afar by their subjects, yet Elizabeth was able to transcend the way the Crown once ruled and was accessible and available like no monarch before her.
Shedding tears is not needed for someone who has lived a full and good life and departed at age 96.
Yes, it is sad that she has gone, but we should be ever grateful we had her as Queen at all given the circumstances of her accession, let alone for as long as she was on the throne.
Over recent years there has been a growing push for a republic in Australia, yet even those who are not within the Commonwealth or those within royal realms who are avowed republicans have been touched by her 8 September passing.
Understandably, good people with good hearts have not rushed to question our constitutional monarchy at this time of grief and loss.
Reigning for a record 70 years, the Queen brought her own unique sense of devotion, duty, service and self to the demanding role.
May she be always remembered for her dignity, grace and style.
A woman who, as a princess, paid for her own wedding dress in 1947 using ration coupons because of austerity measures after World War II.
Just imagine for a moment the enormous pressure on this young lady who, from a young age, was heir to the throne after the shock 1936 abdication of her uncle, King Edward VIII.
Elizabeth did not wish for the crown, it is said, and as a very young girl apparently prayed for a brother so the crown could pass her by.
So it was, however, that at just age 25 she became the monarch upon the death of her father, King George VI.
The crown was a perfect fit, and she would become much loved at home and abroad.
Yearning to be seen as a queen for all, Elizabeth wasted little time before she travelled overseas and, in 1954, came to Australia.
Until that inaugural visit, no reigning English monarch had ever been to Australia.
Even country centres were on the itinerary, and the Queen toured the countryside—including my home town, Wagga Wagga, on 13 February.
Everyone who saw her on that special day, Wagga Wagga's greatest day, remembers her being so beautiful, radiant and smiling.
Never before and certainly not since has our city enjoyed such an occasion.
Elizabeth II's ability as Queen to be there for her people always shone through, whether they were the sheep farmers and woodchoppers at the Wagga Wagga Showground or the civic leaders on that hot summer afternoon.
Legend has it a stray woodchip came hurtling towards the Queen as she watched the demonstration by the axemen, which Her Majesty deftly deflected with her umbrella.
I met her with a group of daily newspaper editors in 2000 and was impressed by her instant recall of her visit to Wagga Wagga—'a market town', as she put it—46 years earlier.
Zeal, commitment, faith, allegiance—all are attributes the queen gave and was given in return during her reign.
At all times through the most traumatic social changes in human history, the Queen was a rock for Great Britain and the world.
Being so steady, such a constant, gave Britons and people from other nations a sense of pride, patriotism and belief that tradition still mattered in an ever-changing world.
England's Queen, our Queen, was an exemplar of what a leader should be in difficult and trying times.
The economic and military upheavals which beset the world would have been enough to test the resolve of any monarch.
Her own family challenges pushed the limits.
Through it all, however, the Queen remained true and unwavering.
England's monarchy is a 1,000-year institution.
Symbolism is an important part of any organisation with the history and power of the English sovereignty.
Certainly it was a service and an occasion fit for a queen.
Only a monarch of the extraordinary qualities of Elizabeth II could have drawn the worldwide outpouring of love and respect afforded at her farewell, watched by billions across the globe.
Now it is up to King Charles III to carry his mother's torch and forge his own identity, and may he live long to do just that.
Doubtless, whatever happens in the future, we can say we were blessed to live in this great, second Elizabethan age and may I respectfully say: thank you, ma'am.
It is indeed a privilege to be able to rise, here in this House today, to pass on my condolences, and indeed the deep condolences of the people of Cowan, on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
There's not much that I can say that hasn't already been said in honour of Her Majesty and in honour of the remarkable 70 years of service that we have heard about that over the past few days. Many here have spoken about how they had the opportunity, and indeed the honour, to meet the Queen. I never met the Queen but, I must say, the one thing that stands out to me, upon hearing from people who have met her, was not so much the honour of meeting Her Majesty—for indeed it would have been an honour—but the fact that it was an experience in human connection and that Her Majesty greeted a Prime Minister and a member of parliament with the same deference with which she greeted any man or person or woman in the street.
Much has also been said of Her Majesty's many visits to Australia—16, in fact. Queen Elizabeth II was the first reigning monarch to visit Australia, and she first visited Western Australia in 1954 and again in 2011. In fact, her last days on Australian soil were spent attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, hosted by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard. During that visit, she was also a special guest of the Great Aussie Barbecue, which saw 120,000 Western Australians descend on the former Esplanade Park, in the Perth CBD, to share a sausage sizzle with the Queen. Elizabeth Quay was named in her honour as the site of the Great Aussie Barbecue. A red gum tree she planted during her visit in March in 1954 now stands tall and strong in Kings Park.
Upon the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth in 2011, Her Majesty said:
I am delighted to join you all here in Perth for a meeting that promises to bring new vibrancy to the Commonwealth.
is known for its optimism; this state—
is known for its opportunity and potential; and, this country—
is known for its warmth, openness and generosity.
Dare I say that Australians also came to know Her Majesty for her warmth, openness and generosity.
In 2022, the vast majority of Australians—around 88 per cent, in fact—have only ever known Queen Elizabeth II as the Queen. Reflecting on my life as a migrant child in Australia, hardly speaking any English, one of the first things that we learned at school was how to sing 'God Save the Queen'. When my family took the oath of allegiance to Australia in taking Australian citizenship in 1974, I watched on as my parents also sang 'God Save the Queen'. Indeed, that theme of constancy has been one that has come out quite profoundly during all the speeches that we've heard here in this chamber today and over the past 14 days of commemoration for the passing of Her Majesty.
She has been a source of strength and a source of comfort for many in uncertain and changing times. Many speakers before me have said, in much more eloquent words, just how much of a comfort she was in those various times during her reign.
May I end on this: a wish that we all have the strength to answer the call of service and duty—even when it is unexpected, as it was for Her Majesty—with the same grace, with the same humour and with the same integrity as Queen Elizabeth did.
I rise to speak on this condolence motion and pay tribute to the life of Queen Elizabeth II, a true servant leader who never made it about herself. In her 70 years on the throne, the Queen was a constant presence in the lives of most Australians and certainly in my life. Her Majesty was a head of state with enormous power, at least in theory, but she recognised the importance of only exercising that power in the most extreme circumstances and avoiding any commentary on issues of contested politics. Having a head of state who chooses not to exercise power is something we should cherish, because there will always be a long list of interests wanting the exercise of power. Queen Elizabeth lived and breathed her duty and was rarely tempted to go out on a limb and engage in anything political. She also brought stability to a changing nation and a changing world, and for that the world is a better place.
Despite her role and position, however, she was incredibly down to earth in practice, as we've been hearing from so many here today. That's what my grandparents told me. They hosted her during a three-day tour of the original Snowy scheme in 1963. My grandfather William Hudson was the chief engineer of the project, and he and my grandmother had the great honour of showing Her Majesty and Prince Philip around the project. What stood out most for them was the way she engaged with the workers. She asked questions and was genuinely interested in the hard and dangerous work they were doing and what this project meant to Australia and to them. The workers were a remarkable group who had migrated to Australia following the Second World War. They were tough people who had witnessed atrocities but were given an extraordinary opportunity to meet with someone of such privilege, yet she treated them as if they were no different to a prime minister or a president.
During that tour, the Queen and Prince Philip joined my grandparents for dinner at their home in Cooma North. My grandmother was from a dour, stoic South Island New Zealand farming family with deep Scottish ancestry. Like the Queen, she was heavily influenced by the ravages of the Depression and the two world wars and revered the simplest things in life: family, faith, service and simple food. She served the Queen lamb chops, followed by tinned peaches and ice cream for dessert. By all accounts, that simple home-cooked meal—an Australian dinner in a very traditional Australian home on a hill in Cooma, a meal many of us in rural Australia were brought up on—was gratefully received by both the Queen and Prince Philip. My grandmother's reverence for the Queen was bolstered by what she saw of her on that visit. Each Christmas, she would demand we all watch the Queen's Christmas broadcast and stand in the living room to sing 'God Save the Queen'.
It strikes me that the loss of the Queen is part of the loss of that remarkable generation, who saw duty as more important than rights; service as more important than being served; and truth as coming from the simplest and most traditional things in life, not the shiny temptations. Perhaps what we are seeing now is some rediscovery of the virtue and values of that remarkable generation, a generation who saw unprecedented adversity and tumultuous change.
On her 21st birthday, the then Princess famously declared that her whole life, whether it be short or long, would be devoted to service. True to her word and stoic until the very end, her final act as monarch took place just two days before her death, when she formally appointed Liz Truss as her 15th UK Prime Minister—a fitting end to a lifetime of service, dedication and devotion to her people. May she rest in peace.
I rise to honour the memory of Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the people of McEwen and to offer our sincere condolences to her family. This has been a surreal moment in time. I've heard many in our community, young and old, comment that she has been the Queen for all their lives. She has always been there, and she's been a great comfort to many, the one constant in an ever-changing world. She was the Queen for our parents, our grandparents and even our great-grandparents. Her 70-year reign was without a doubt an amazing achievement. She was the longest-serving monarch in British history.
During her reign, we've witnessed extraordinary change—everything from decolonisation to the emergence of women's rights and LGBTIQ rights as well. We went to the moon. We saw televisions in our homes for the first time, the birth of rock and roll, the dawn of the internet and, more recently, a worldwide pandemic.
Today, as we reflect on her legacy, it's clear that Australians will hold different views about our past and the direction of our future. But we know that the Queen accompanied us for 70 of Australia's 121 years as a federation, serving as Queen and head of state.
In my own electorate of McEwen, in a time that we have faced many challenges and, unfortunately, tragic events, including Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday, as Australia's head of state Queen Elizabeth spoke of her shock and sadness at the number of deaths as well as expressed her admiration for the extraordinary work of our emergency service crews and the resilience of our people.
After the Black Saturday bushfires, according to my friend and former premier John Brumby, the royal family donated to Victoria's bushfire relief fund, and the Queen then requested daily updates on the recovery effort. After providing a daily brief to the palace for three months, the Victorian government thought that we were past the worst of it and could stop sending such frequent updates. Two days later, the Premier received another message, saying that Her Majesty was keen to continue with the daily briefings, which is quite remarkable.
There has been a steady stream of people coming into my office in McEwen to sign the condolence book, mostly from the town where my office is but many have travelled from quite a few kilometres away—from Romsey, Lancefield, Kilmore and such—to come in, sign, put their pen to paper, and formally pay their respects.
In preparing for today, I took the opportunity to read their words, reflect on their remarks and speak to people. One lady told us about a certificate she received as a three-year-old, in London, at the time of the coronation. Eileen Buckley of Kilmore and her five-year-old sister from Holberton Gardens, College Park, were among the many children in London who received a certificate for participating in local celebrations to mark the coronation. Eileen recalled it was a time of great celebration, with streets holding their own parties, decorated with red, white and blue bunting, and children dressing up as royals for the day.
When Eileen married, there was a portrait of the Queen in the place where the ceremony was held. Eileen and her husband came to Australia in 1972 and later became Australian citizens. There was a portrait of the Queen for their citizenship ceremony. When Eileen became a justice of the peace, the Queen was there too. In fact, images of the Queen were at the most significant events in her life.
Many people have come in and written of their sincere gratitude to the Queen for her years of service, for being an enduring constant in their life and for the profound sense of loss they feel. In fact, the words 'profound sense of loss' are repeated time and time again in the condolence book. They talk about the sense of connection the Queen gave Australia to a bigger family, the 'incredible and enduring mark' she left on the world and her dedication to lifelong service, and 'an amazing monarch that we will not see again'. There is no doubt that many people have a great deal of regard for her and are grateful for the respect, calm and resilience she embodied.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will certainly live on in the hearts and minds of many in our electorate. May she rest in peace.
I rise today to express my condolences, on behalf of the community of Wentworth, on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II—not just to express my condolence but also to pay tribute and to celebrate the extraordinary life of a remarkable woman: a woman who was our Queen and the head of the Commonwealth; a woman who was a quiet but persistent model for duty, for service, for tolerance, for humility and for respect; and a woman who was dearly and clearly loved and respected by many millions of people right around the world.
One lesson we can learn from her life is how much people value constancy in their leaders. Not just doggedly sticking to a belief or attitude, regardless of changing facts or the changing world, Elizabeth clearly saw and understood, perhaps better than most, that the world is changing. She took the crown at a time when the British Empire was in terminal decline and oversaw its transformation into a Commonwealth of, largely, independent states.
Her coronation was for many people the first television program they would ever watch, while every single moment of her funeral was documented on social media. The world changed and Elizabeth changed. But it felt as if she was entirely unchanging. That is because she remained true to her values. People felt they understood her. They knew who she was and what she was about. I think this is what people want from their leaders. They want someone who knows themselves, who knows what they believe in, and someone who will stand by their principles their entire careers and lives.
A second thing we can take from the Queen's life is that she took her responsibilities and commitments seriously. She made a pledge on her 21st birthday that her whole life would be devoted to the service of her people, a pledge that she recommitted to on her coronation day and a pledge that she honoured for seven long decades. She honoured that commitment. It seemed that all her days were devoted to meeting people from all walks of life, celebrating their achievements, raising the profile of those who supported others, and offering comfort and support to those in hardship.
This devotion to service was best demonstrated through her work with the Commonwealth, which has supported democratic values, human rights and the rule of law in member states throughout her reign. She took her responsibilities and her commitments seriously and she honoured them for every day of her life. It is clear to me that this is what people want, what they and what others value in their leaders. That is why there's so much respect for Elizabeth. As the Prime Minister said this morning, 'You could be a republican and still have a deep affection and respect for her.' I think people in all walks of life, certainly in Wentworth, acknowledge the stability that her reign has provided our own democracy, even as many consider how our democracy may change.
Elizabeth II was a remarkable woman, one who was respected and admired by so many Australians for so many reasons. I'm deeply honoured to be representing the people of Wentworth as I say, 'Thank you for a full life of devoted service.' I would like to finish with a brief note from one of the constituents who left a condolence in my office. They're simple words, but I think it is well expressed: 'Sincere condolences. Thank you for your lifetime of service and duty. Always loved and missed.'
I rise today to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the only sovereign many Australians have ever known and a head of state who will remembered fondly by our great nation as the perfect example of duty, respect and leadership. It is difficult to adequately reflect upon Her Majesty's long life in these brief remarks, but I do know she deeply touched the hearts of people in Greenway across generations during her 70 years as sovereign. I say this confidently, having seen photos from Her Majesty's coronation, an event warmly celebrated by the people of Greenway and right across the Commonwealth. Young boys and girls danced in Francis Park while a convoy of cars and floats paraded down Main Street, then dirt and gravel, to pay tribute to the newly crowned Queen. Military personnel, including sailors from the nearby HMAS Nirimba training facility in Quakers Hill, joined the procession in great numbers, supplemented by local young men dressed impeccably in the outfits of the National Guard. By all accounts it was a truly momentous occasion.
Yet it was Her Majesty's visit to Australia in 1954, the only visit of a reigning monarch to our shores, that remains firmly in our nation's history book. The royal tour brought our country to a standstill, with some 70 per cent of the population flocking to witness a young and energetic Queen. Her Majesty touched many hearts on that tour, including people in my community. I've often remarked that Western Sydney is a very large place, and it must have felt even more so when Her Majesty travelled by unelectrified train from Wynyard to Penrith on tour. Crowds of Blacktown residents lined the Western rail line to catch a glimpse of their new sovereign. Despite the long trip, Her Majesty remained steadfast, standing at the rear of the final carriage to smile and greet many Australians. This is how many would remember their Queen—steadfast in her duty, unwavering and resolute. Images from this visit pay great tribute to a sovereign who maintained the same energy throughout her whole life and into her final years.
Her Majesty would return to Western Sydney many times during her reign, including to open the Mount Druitt Hospital alongside former New South Wales premier Neville Wran. Here were two figures of completely different backgrounds: a member of the British royal family and a premier from humble beginnings who was the leader of our great state of New South Wales. Queen Elizabeth was comfortable with all people. There was a generosity and warmth in all she did, and it is evident in those photos as she graciously walked the crowds gathered to witness the historic event. The people of Western Sydney loved their Queen.
On behalf of the people of Greenway, I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for her long service to our great nation. For 70 years Her Majesty remained an anchor in a world engulfed by rapid change. Many, including myself, will miss the familiarity that came with Her Majesty's reign as the only sovereign I and many others had known for our entire lives. We will miss the comfort of Her Majesty's Christmas broadcasts and the wisdom imparted by the Crown. Above all else, we will miss a sovereign who showed a deep admiration and abiding respect for Australia, that unique island nation on the other side of the globe which so many before her had overlooked as just another colony, yet one Her Majesty lovingly embraced as part of the Commonwealth family and celebrated as an independent nation with its own sovereignty.
May Her Majesty rest in eternal peace in the love and comfort of the Lord. I also acknowledge the succession of His Majesty King Charles III. On behalf of the good people of Greenway, I extend His Majesty our very best wishes for his reign.
Her Majesty has now passed on to eternal life. While we knew that this day would inevitably come, our nation has still felt a tremendous sadness and a sense of great personal loss. I wish to express the condolences and the gratitude of my community to our late sovereign. My office has been inundated with calls from local households keen to receive a portrait of the late Queen for their own commemoration. They have expressed to me their deep sorrow at her passing and their appreciation of her untiring service.
For seven decades Her Majesty was the embodiment of duty, discipline and selfless devotion. Queen Elizabeth performed a difficult task over a difficult period, always with immense grace, warmth and compassion. She was the epitome of a servant leader. This approach was reflective of her Christian faith, which was such an important part of her life and her character. The photographs that have gone around the world of Her Majesty performing her final duty in the days before her passing will come to symbolise her virtues for years to come. She overcame her declining health to invite her final Prime Minister to form a new government. You get a strong sense from the image that nothing was going to stop her from performing this final official act. Despite her frailty, she was dutiful to the very end.
Many have mentioned the first Queen Elizabeth throughout this morning and this afternoon. When the first Queen Elizabeth addressed her troops, assembled to see off the Spanish invasion of 1588, she remarked, 'I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and the stomach of a king, and a king of England, too.' Well, our Queen Elizabeth had a heart for her realms that was more than a match of that of any historic king.
While Queen Elizabeth II adopted the role as grandmother of the nation, her gentleness and fragility belied a tireless tenacity and an abiding strength. It is right that her subjects in the United Kingdom are referring to this period as a second Elizabethan age, but for her Australian subjects this has been our first Elizabethan age, mirroring the national flourishing experienced in England during the reign of first Elizabeth.
Her Majesty reigned for a remarkable 58 per cent of Australia's life as a federated nation. Over the course of her 16 visits to our country, she saw Australia come of age, shifting from postwar austerity to a nation of unrivalled prosperity and promise. She was a constant in the lives of Australians, a symbol of permanency and steadiness despite all the change that our nation has seen over the seven decades since her coronation.
My grandfather Roger Pike was selected among other Second World War veterans to take part in Her Majesty's coronation as a member of the Australian Army's Coronation Contingent. Before the coronation took place, the Australians took part in the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. They marched into the palace square to the tune of Waltzing Matilda. It gives me a great sense of pride that my grandfather was there at the start of Australia's relationship with Her Majesty and that, 70 years on, I had the privilege of swearing allegiance to Queen Elizabeth and her heirs and successors at the start of this 47th Parliament. While this is just one small personal connection, it is reflective of so many private stories that have been shared with me by my constituents over the last few weeks—small recollections of her amazing reign, memories of Her Majesty's triumphant tour in 1954, well wishes exchanged when she opened Brisbane's World Expo 88, and anecdotes that illustrate her sincere love for our country and her concern for our welfare in times of trial.
Australians adored our Queen. Over the last couple of weeks, we have witnessed the most heartfelt outpouring of grief from across the country and across the world. She leaves behind an unmatchable legacy of selfless service and will stand as an inspiration for years to come. As we mourn the passing of Her Majesty, I thank God for blessing our family of nations with a sovereign of such remarkable character, and I send the best wishes of my community to our new king as he takes on this heavy responsibility at a time of such monumental personal grief. May Her late Majesty rest in eternal peace, and may God save the King.
On 9 February 1954, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited the Hunter region, travelling to Newcastle and then venturing on to Port Stephens that same day to visit Newcastle airport at Williamtown, home to Royal Australian Air Force Base Williamtown in my seat of Paterson. Unusually, the weather that day was not good. However, it was well reported that the Queen ignored concerns about the weather and insisted her visit proceed as planned. One can assume she was used to pretty bad weather back home! She had already visited Newcastle, where six double-decker buses had taken excited children from Raymond Terrace school to the Newcastle Showground. They, along with children from other district schools, made a guard of honour at the gates to the showground which took the form of the words 'welcome to our gracious Queen'. It was reported by the then named Newcastle Morning Herald that around 44,000 schoolchildren attended the Newcastle showground to meet Her Majesty.
This is a lasting memory for many in the Hunter, inspiring joy and appreciation not only for Her Majesty but for our system of government. And it included the lovely memory written in the condolence book in my office from Mrs Gough, who wrote: 'Our deepest sympathy to all the family. It was my husband's honour to open the door for Her Majesty and Prince Royal in Newcastle, as a Queen's scout. Thank you and may you rest in peace.'
Her Majesty travelled through Fern Bay in Port Stephens. This was the first country township and shire that she and Prince Philip passed through on that Australian tour. As her Daimler went through the streets lined with people, she insisted the car slow down to about 10 miles an hour so people could easily see her smiling and waving to them through the window as she passed. She was so committed to seeing the people that she ended up being 22 minutes late to the Williamtown aerodrome, as it was logged. She was met there by the president of Port Stephens shire, Councillor Shearman, and Mrs Shearman; the commandant of Williamtown aerodrome, Group Captain Davis, and Mrs Davis; and the Minister for Lands, Mr Hawkins, and Mrs Hawkins. In the course of the three-hour visit, she attended a civic reception, made two speeches and attended a gathering of ex-servicemen. She saw thousands of schoolchildren and visited the iconic steelworks. When they visited the steelworks, Mr EJ Power, in charge of the coke gas regulator, was asked by the duke whether it was a good place to work. He replied, in that classic Australian way of framing a reply in the negative, 'It couldn't be too bad, or a man wouldn't have stayed 30 years.'
At the conclusion of the trip, there was some question about whether they could fly to Evans Head, but they decided to go on, with the TAA Convair flying blind for most of the trip. Later that evening, the news correspondent covering the Queen's visit called the Newcastle trip 'sheer madness' due to the weather and what she was endeavouring to do. She doubted that the Queen would be able to remember anything of such a whirlwind tour. But, as many of the locals remarked, it was a fulfilling trip that would leave a lasting imprint on communities across the Hunter. Funnily enough, later that year, the Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend de Witt Batty, and his wife attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace, and, contrary to those media reports, he and his wife recounted that both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip remembered every detail of their trip. They had been delighted with the welcome that they had received from so many schoolchildren and were sorry that they couldn't have stayed longer. Queen Elizabeth, with Prince Philip, her consort, by her side, was truly a gracious and committed monarch. Many in my electorate based in the magnificent Hunter region of New South Wales share Her Majesty's love of horses and how these majestic creatures enhance our lives. Her early love of riding continued right up until she was 90 years old. This is truly extraordinary, and anyone who rides will tell you that riding side-saddle is another skill altogether.
It's an honour to speak today on the extraordinary service of Her Majesty the Queen. We, the Commonwealth, are united in our grief on this terribly sad, sad occasion, the death of our longstanding sovereign—a wife, a mother, a great-grandmother, a remarkable woman who gave herself to service. The only reigning monarch to visit Australia, Her Majesty visited South Australia seven times. On her first visit, with her husband, Prince Philip, some 200,000 people lined the route from Parafield Airport to Government House. While it's said that three-quarters of Australia came out to visit the Queen in 1954, many of us alive today have never met her, but I think we all feel that we knew her, whether it was through watching the Christmas messages or staring at portraits in our soldiers memorial halls or seeing her face on our coins and notes. My personal favourite memory is the video from the Platinum Jubilee where Her Majesty was sharing a cup of tea and a marmalade sandwich with Paddington Bear, and I think that gave me a glimpse of the Queen's wonderful sense of humour.
I want to share with the parliament Her Majesty's connection to Mayo and some of the memories that have been shared with me by my constituents. Mark Seymour Walsh shared his memories of the Queen and Prince Philip in their 1954 tour. He was just a young child, living in Renmark at the time, but he remembers the red, white and blue ribbons; the bunting; the rosettes; the flags, and he remembers the huge crowds. He said:
It was certainly a great day and a great celebration of our new and lovely Queen.
Colleen Brown sent me a heartwarming story complete with pictures of her childhood doll that was given to her by her parents in celebration of the Queen's coronation, a doll that came with a crown, lace gown and sash, and in the doll's tummy was a little recorder that played 'God Save the Queen' and the nursery rhyme 'Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat', which, for those of us who know our nursey rhymes, tells a story of when a cat visited the Queen.
Joan of Victor Harbor remembered being a little girl in primary school joining many other schools and thousands of students at Wayville to celebrate and wave to the Queen.
In 1977 the Queen came to Mayo, visiting Kersbrook in the Adelaide Hills at the Willomurra Quarter Horse Stud. I think we all know in this House of her love of horses.
The Adelaide Hills Kennel Club is unique in that it holds a royal connection directly with Her Majesty. The February 1986 expo was a world first in that the perpetual trophy was presented for Best of Breed Welsh Corgi Pembroke. This trophy was a personal gesture by Her Majesty in memory of the late Mrs Thelma Gray, an Adelaide Hills resident, corgi breeder and friend of the Queen.
Those in my electorate who have celebrated their centenary or 60th wedding anniversary received beautiful messages from the Queen. I've visited many to offer my best wishes, and it's clear to see the message from the Queen is the absolute highlight of their celebrations.
In May 1988, the Queen opened this very building, a symbol of the very heart of our democracy. In her speech at the opening of the new Parliament House, Her Majesty remarked:
Parliamentary democracy is a compelling ideal, but it is a fragile institution. It cannot be imposed and It is only too easily destroyed. It needs the positive dedication of the people as a whole, and of their elected representatives, to make it work.
A steady stream of constituents have attended my electorate. We've had more than 80 people sign the condolence book, and just today Mount Barker Primary School dropped off their condolence messages. I'd just like to share a couple. Betty wrote of the Queen:
… a mother figure to everyone and will be deeply missed. She will always be remembered for her gracious caring way and wonderful service.
Farewell my Queen, a constant in our everchanging world.
Ethan from Mount Barker Primary School wrote:
I'm grateful for the kindness you gave to everyone. You also made very kind decisions that influenced others to do the same.
In closing, I reflect on the eloquent words of Stefan and Janice: 'A golden heart at rest.' May our Queen rest in eternal peace, and God save the King.
I want to pay credit to the member for Mayo, to the Prime Minister and the opposition leader and to all the speeches that we've heard today. It's clear that we have a nation in grief, and I think the way that's being expressed in the parliament is really doing justice to how our constituents are feeling about this particular time.
It's a real privilege to be able to make a contribution to the discussion today on behalf of the people of Hotham, who I represent in this chamber. Like all of you and all of your constituents, they have experienced an outpouring of grief about the death of the monarch. It's come to me through emails and phone calls. People have stopped me in the street or in the supermarket to talk to me about this matter, and I can see that my community is feeling the need to talk about the Queen. There's a real sense, I think, that we all knew the passing of the monarch was inevitable but it also has been so shocking for it to happen. The Queen has been the monarch for my entire life and for the entire life of, I think, every member of this parliament. When I was born, the Queen had already been on the throne for almost 30 years. So, yes, we knew that she was going to pass, and it was inevitable that it would happen, but the shock has really, I think, struck everyone in my community.
Something that I think isn't always well understood is the level of regard and respect that the monarch held amongst many migrant communities in our country. I have one of the most multicultural electorates in Australia. More than half of my constituents were born overseas. A lot of the people that I represent in this parliament come from countries which are violent, repressive and unstable. This is a community of people that could not place more value on a stable democracy, and for a lot of these communities the monarch was the ultimate representation of that. I just want to express, on behalf of the many community groups that have come to me to reflect that, that we're very much standing with them in the difficult time that we're experiencing.
I talked a little bit about the shock, and I'm not sure if people in the gallery or members of parliament may feel this also, but I've been a little bit surprised by my own reaction to this. I've been thinking about the way that I was introduced to some of these ideas and remembering that the Queen first came into my orbit with a story that my mother told me continually when I was a child. She talked to me about what the royal family had done during the Blitz when London was being bombed. Many of you will know that the then Queen was told to leave London for her own safety and for the safety of her family, but she wouldn't do that because she didn't want to take herself out of that dangerous situation when her husband's subjects didn't have that same choice. Buckingham Palace was bombed. Five explosives were dropped on Buckingham Palace, and, when the King and the Queen were filmed inspecting it the next day, the Queen said: 'I'm glad we've been bombed. Now I can look the East End in the face.' My family are arch-republicans. That is a core value in the household that I grew up in. But what mattered far more to my family than our political system or what side of politics you came from was what it looked like to live a life of service, and that is exactly how we were told to think about the Queen. I was told that story by my mum so many times, because for her that was exactly what leadership looked like. Sometimes it's easy to be a leader, but it is about how you behave when the chips are down, and what she did was really quite extraordinary.
It was amazing, of course, for any individual to exercise the level of power and responsibility that the Queen did, but it was particularly so for a woman. It's hard to imagine becoming the most powerful woman in the world at the age of 25. It is impossible to imagine doing that in 1952. When the first Australian Parliament House was built down the street, that Parliament House was designed without any female bathrooms. That is how irrelevant women were to leadership at that time. Yet the Queen, at the ripe age of 25, became literally the most powerful woman in the world. She carried that off with a level of grace and respect that I think is truly outstanding.
If I can finish with one brief thought, one of the things I constantly reflected on with the Queen was that she didn't have the natural personality of someone to be a global leader. She wasn't full of ego and ambition, and she wasn't that outgoing. But that makes me respect her even more, because everything she did—all the leadership she showed—was done simply for one thing, and that is the duty that she felt towards her subjects. So I say on behalf of my constituents: may she rest in peace.
In 1936, at the age of 10, the life of Elizabeth of York changed forever after the abdication of her uncle, King Edward VIII. As her father, ill-equipped and unwilling, was thrust onto the throne as King George VI, the young princess's dream of living quietly as a country woman surrounded by dogs and horses vanished. This coincidence of birth, together with the premature death of the King, thrust Her Majesty, at the age of only 25, into a role for which she was barely prepared. However, in her inimitable, gracious and determined way, Her Majesty rose to her role and reigned for 70 years. Queen Elizabeth served her country and her Commonwealth, including Australia, with kindness and selflessness. In her coronation speech, Her Majesty said:
I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.
Her Majesty lived by this pledge, devoting her life to service and fulfilling her duty until she passed. She epitomised values of loyalty, duty, selfless service and, particularly, the importance of family.
In her final Christmas message, Her Majesty focused on the family and the importance of the circle of life, birth and death. Queen Elizabeth was a daughter, a sister, a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. As the head of the most famous family in the world, the Queen had to deal publicly with many of the family traumas that are faced by the rest of us in private. She did this with dignity and grace, although she did admit to her 'annus horribilis' in 1992. Her Majesty was also a wife. We occasionally caught glimpses of the private love and devotion that existed between her and the Duke of Edinburgh, who was, in her own words, her 'strength and stay' during her reign. The picture of Her Majesty, alone in her grief, farewelling her husband in 2021 is one that many of us will never forget. Indeed, it was Her Majesty who said, when comforting victims' families after the September 11 terrorist attacks, 'Grief is the price we pay for love.'
The Queen enjoyed a special relationship with Australia. She made 16 visits here during her reign, and her royal tour in 1954 marked the first time a reigning monarch had travelled to Australia. It was during this tour that she and the duke travelled to the Hughes electorate, in February 1954. Local news reports of the occasion paint a picture of 20,000 people lining the route as the royal motorcade passed under an arch reading, 'We welcome our Queen to Sutherland.' In what would have been a momentous occasion for our local area, men, women and children gathered along the highway to each wave as their sovereign passed by. Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh later made an unplanned journey by royal train through Hughes once more, travelling through what was then known as the National Park. The Royal National Park, as it is known today, was renamed in her honour the following year. Her Majesty's love of nature is well documented, and it is especially fitting that the world's second-oldest national park is also her namesake.
In what proved to be one of her final official acts, the Queen appointed her final Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Ms Truss, a mere 48 hours before her passing. Looking extremely frail, although happy and proud, she carried out her duty to the end. I take this opportunity, on behalf of the Hughes community, to express my gratitude for the service of Her Majesty and my condolences to the royal family, to the United Kingdom and to all of the nations of the Commonwealth. Vale, Queen Elizabeth.
Last Sunday, heading home, I stopped in the beautiful beachside town of Bicheno on Tasmania's east coast. While there, I chatted to a man, Charles, and his son, who were walking their dogs. Charles had celebrated his 100th birthday in August, and I noted that he would have been amongst the last to receive a message from Queen Elizabeth II. He smiled and politely noted that I had written to him too. Here we were, three people separated by continents and oceans but joined by the simple act of a birthday, a shared experience. Many of the hundreds of millions of people across the world who mourn the Queen's death would never have met her either, but they feel they knew her. As the Deputy Prime Minister noted earlier today, Queen Elizabeth II is the single most recorded person in human history and has personally met and shaken the hands of hundreds of thousands of people, if not a million.
For so many of us, Queen Elizabeth has been a constant presence, the only British monarch we have known in our lifetimes. Following the news of her death two weeks ago, my electorate office was inundated with calls and visits from constituents seeking a copy of her portrait. It seemed like everyone had a story, a small personal connection to the Queen, a reason why she meant so much to them. Nigel recounted how he had boarded at the Corio campus of Geelong Grammar with the now King in 1966. My staff spoke to a woman who collected a portrait for her 93-year-old mother, Kitty, who said she felt like she had lost a lifelong friend. Being of a similar age, Kitty had always felt a kinship with Queen Elizabeth, and this was strengthened during Her Majesty's visit to Tasmania in 2000, when Kitty had the opportunity to speak with the Queen and present her with a bouquet of flowers from her own garden, which the Queen declared to be beautiful.
Queen Elizabeth represented many things to many people, but, above all, hers was a life of service, responsibility and duty. From the moment she awoke each morning—apparently to bagpipes—to resting her head at night, hers was a daily regimen of duty, of service, of being in the public eye and having every utterance and gesture weighed and measured for its significance. Tabloids and magazines often report on the wealth and privilege that come with being royalty, but it is the duty, the never-ending responsibility that could have crushed lesser people, that is the true story of Elizabeth.
In 1954 the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth visited Australia. It was the first visit by a reigning monarch. Seventy-five per cent of the Australian population turned out to get even a fleeting glimpse of the Queen and Prince Philip. This visit included several stops in Tasmania, including a royal progress that took in Deloraine, Westbury, Longford and Cressy, with an overnight stay at the Connorville wool property, all of which are in my electorate. There is a quote here from the Advocate newspaper. 'Lovely Midlands sheep station home, Connorville, will be a royal residence for a night,' it proclaimed, going on to explain that the O'Connor family would remain at the property, as requested by the young Queen herself, going against the usual custom of vacating during a royal visit. During her visit to Connorville, Queen Elizabeth planted a golden elm, which still stands on the property today and has pride of place.
To conclude, I would like to quote just one of the heartfelt messages from the condolence books in my electorate office, by Wendy from Cressy, which I think sums up Queen Elizabeth's life with a hint of humour. I think it's known that the Queen herself had a wicked sense of humour. Wendy writes, 'You were Queen of hearts, ace at your job, jack-of-all-trades, and you even used a spade.' And Wendy was very insistent that her message finish with a kiss at the end.
On behalf of the people of Lyons, I extend my deepest sympathies to the royal family, who mourn the loss not of a monarch—a giant of her age—but of a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, a quiet, modest and contemplative woman whose duty is now done. May she rest in eternal peace.
As the representative of the community of Goldstein, I rise to pay my respect to Her Majesty the late Queen Elizabeth II. Like many Australians, I saw the Queen as a constant, a steadfast female leader and a woman of great dignity and poise who spent her lifetime in the service of the Commonwealth through a period of enormous geopolitical, social and technological change.
Over time, Australians' views of the monarchy have understandably evolved. But in many ways, I think, many of us see the genesis of our connection with the Queen through our grandparents. I acknowledge those of you in our community who have lived your lives through decades of immense change with the Queen as a rudder. Many of you have contacted my office for portraits and to send condolences. My late nan had served in the Australian Women's Army Service in Darwin in World War II. For her, the young Queen taking the throne was a symbol of hope and renewal. She also, I think, as a women of that era, was proud to look up to a female sovereign—as was I.
I acknowledge that some in our community will relate to this and that others will not. To the Boonwurrung people of the Kulin nation, on whose unceded lands Goldstein sits, I acknowledge that this connection that I feel, due in part to my connection with my grandmother, you may not. Indeed, you may feel deep disconnection due to the history that has shadowed generations of your families, and I hear your voices in this people's house.
When I was almost five, the Queen came to Launceston in Tasmania, where I grew up. My nan polished me up for the occasion, and with my mum's help we picked some fresh lilacs from the tree on the nature strip in the street out in front of our house. Mum wrapped the stems in foil from the kitchen drawer. 'The Queen loves lilacs,' Nan said. Together, we found a place along the route that the Queen would take. Times were different then. There were no metal barricades or heavy security that I can recall. The Queen eventually passed by, but I was too shy and she went on her way. When she paused a little further up the route, Nan gave me a nudge, 'Go, go, go now,' she whispered. So I ducked under the flimsy rail or rope, ran to the Queen and, with an awkward curtsy, handed her the flowers. 'Oh, lilacs. They're my favourite,' she smiled. 'Yeah, my nan told me,' I replied. 'Are they from your garden?' she asked. 'Nah, I picked them off the nature strip.' How she laughed! It was a special moment for a little girl and her nan.
But it's not 1977 anymore. To pay my respect to the Queen doesn't erase the possibility that this moment in history provides for reasoned conversations about our future. If we genuinely seek a mature and productive transition to a First Nations voice to this parliament, we must listen to that voice and those voices as we track a way forward, not as a relatively young nation of the Commonwealth but as a land with the oldest living history in the world. We must ensure that we are not sidetracked in the measured steps we take as a nation towards constitutional recognition of the Voice and that it is not allowed to be compromised by conflation with other constitutional concerns. It is overdue. It's a priority, and it demands a clear run to success. If we're to be truly one and free, this is part of that long and patient journey. Just as the young Queen's coronation was a turning point for hope, this is another.
As the federal member for Goldstein, I send my deep respect and my sympathies to Her Majesty's family and my sincere good wishes to King Charles III.
On behalf of the people of Shortland, I recognise and pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at this momentous time of her passing. Hers was a life of dedicated service to her nation and the broader Commonwealth of Nations. I know that the people of Shortland have been deeply impacted by her passing, and on their behalf I extend our condolences to the royal family and the people of the United Kingdom.
Today I particularly want to focus on the Queen's visits to the Hunter region and her special relationship with the Pacific through the Commonwealth of Nations. As minister for the Pacific, I know how strong the bonds of affection and kinship are between our Pacific island family who are also part of the Commonwealth.
Deputy Speaker Claydon, the Queen visited the Hunter region four times over the course of her reign, as I know you know intimately—her inaugural tour of 1954 and again in 1970, 1977 and 1988. Whilst in this region, she opened significant local landmarks: the Newcastle International Sports Centre, now Hunter Stadium, home of the Newcastle Knights and Jets; and Queens Wharf in Newcastle CBD in 1988. Queens Wharf and nearby Honeysuckle are central to the relaxation and enjoyment of the Newcastle CBD and its beautiful working harbour.
The Hunter region also has a proud industrial and manufacturing heritage, and Her Majesty saw this in her visit to the state dockyard in 1970. Damon Cronshaw recently noted in the Newcastle Herald the somewhat casual attire of some of the dockyard workers who greeted the Queen. The sandals, slippers and thongs may have come as a shock, but Her Majesty certainly witnessed firsthand the working people of Newcastle and the Hunter.
The Queen's visits to the region were centred on Newcastle city, naturally, but people from all over the Hunter region, including my electorate, flocked to see her on those visits, and she was much loved and respected by many. This is evident by the many people who have attended my electorate office, over the past weeks, to sign a condolence book for her and request a portrait of the Queen.
I'm also proud to serve as minister for the Pacific in the Albanese government. The passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II holds a particular significance for the Commonwealth nations of our Pacific family. For some, including here in Australia, the Queen was our head of state. In Papua New Guinea she was affectionately known as 'Mama Queen' or 'Mrs Queen'. For most of us, she was the only Queen we knew, a seemingly everlasting constant in a world of change and tumult. So although she was 96, her death has still somehow come as a terrible shock.
Prime Minister Albanese has spoken at length about the Queen's first visit to Australia in 1954, where many people have mentioned that an estimated 70 per cent of all Australians, at that time, came out to see her. What's less known is that this visit was the last leg of a tour which began in Fiji in 1953 and went on to Tonga and New Zealand. The newly crowned Queen had wanted to learn, firsthand, the triumphs and difficulties and hopes and fears of the people of the Commonwealth. She said:
I want to show that the Crown is not merely an abstract symbol of our unity but a personal and living bond between you and me.
She exemplified that bond like no-one else could.
In time, the Queen visited every Pacific Commonwealth country: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, first, in 1974; Samoa in 1977; Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru in 1982; and, as previously mentioned, Fiji, New Zealand and Tonga in 1953.
Last week I had the honour of travelling to London with a number of Pacific heads of state and their delegations, to pay our respects to her family, to honour her memory and to give thanks for her lifetime of dedicated service and devotion to duty. It was the Queen's wish that Pacific members of the Commonwealth would be able to attend her state funeral along with other Commonwealth nations. The Australian government was pleased to offer our support to fulfil this wish, because although our nations each grieve in our own way, in our own tradition, we share the loss as a family.
In 1953, at the start of that tour that would take her to Australia for the first time, the Queen made a pledge to the Commonwealth. She said:
To that new conception of an equal partnership of nations and races I shall give myself heart and soul every day of my life.
She certainly fulfilled that promise. May she rest in peace.
A lot has already been said today and over the past two weeks about Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We've heard words like 'kind', 'generous', 'personable', a 'humble leader', an 'inspiration', a 'mainstay' of most of our lives. The list of words could go on and on, but it would never be enough to truly encapsulate the incredible woman who we honour in this place today. Who she was, what she did and the way she did those things had a way of transcending the everyday. She led the Commonwealth through the worst of wars. She saw world leaders come and go. She was above politics but far from ignorant of it. She was the prime example of everything a sovereign should be. But, despite her high position, she had a way of touching the lives of so many.
Among the outpouring of grief and the sense of loss that is spread throughout all the communities of Australia has been the moving reaction of the people of Townsville. Like many members in this place, I set up a condolence book, in my electorate office, for local residents. The response has been incredible. For the past two weeks, barely five minutes has passed without someone coming in to write a message. It only serves to show what an incredible impact the Queen had on the people of Townsville—even though we are almost 15,000 kilometres away.
Local resident Paul wrote:
Thank you for being there my entire life. You provided us stability and security. I will always remember proudly singing 'God Save the Queen' every morning at the start of school.
You did it all … with great faith, grace, kindness and a wonderful smile. Thank you, Ma'am.
A guiding figure through some of our darkest days. Someone who cared and respected all. Will be sorely missed.
And a young man named Charlie wrote:
I had the honour of visiting your palace. It was lovely. My nanna actually lost me in it and your guards looked after her.
Some of those who left messages had personal memories of the Queen's two visits to Townsville in 1954 and in 1970. The Townsville Bulletin on Saturday 13 March 1954 had coverage of the visit of the day before splashed across every page of the edition. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness landed at RAAF Garbutt and travelled in the black open-top car to meet hundreds at the Sports Reserve. The report read:
A hushed air came over the crowd and the anxious men, women and children longed for their first glimpse of Queen Elizabeth on North Queensland soil.
Then the pent-up emotions of the large crowd, which had waited so long, burst, and cheers, shrieks and happy greetings filled the air.
The Queen was bright-eyed and smiling as she returned to wave at the children, who were waving flags and shrieking happily.
In her message to the crowds, she said:
Your beautiful city, with the vast and fruitful region of which it is the economic capital, stands … on the threshold of an era of rapid progress … and we shall see before long how this will bring a growing measure of prosperity to your people.
How right she was.
In April 1970, the Queen, Prince Philip and Princess Anne returned, visiting the Sports Reserve and then James Cook University and stopping in at Lavarack Barracks. At JCU, she gave the royal assent to the James Cook University of North Queensland Bill and said:
Queensland and indeed Australia will benefit greatly from this university in the years to come.
Since those two royal visits, the people of Townsville have had a deep love and appreciation of the Queen and her love for the north. You only have to look at the hundreds of her portraits which we've given out over the years, which of course are now out of stock.
With the passing of Her Majesty comes a new sovereign: King Charles III. I had the privilege of meeting the then Prince of Wales back in 2014, along with his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. I wish the King every success and look forward to another royal visit to Townsville. In the meantime, on behalf of the people of Townsville, I express my condolences to the royal family and offer our gratitude to Her late Majesty. Thank you, ma'am, for everything. Long live the King.
My maternal grandfather, George Kamal Guirguis, was an Egyptian auxiliary soldier in the British Army in Egypt and North Africa in World War II. Apart from stories of taking out Italian artillery units in the desert, two things came out of his experience, which he impressed upon me as I was growing up: his passion for the Liverpool Football Club, which he must have learnt from some of the Tommies he served with, and his deep, abiding respect and admiration for the monarch King George and then later Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. This wasn't shared by my dad or his side of the family, who came from a generation which was far more antagonistic to the British occupation of Egypt. But, nonetheless, my maternal grandparents, who migrated to Australia in 1971, had, in their modest housing commission home in Preston in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, a portrait of Her Majesty, which hung in the lounge room and looked over us as little kids running around in the seventies, as teenagers in the eighties and as younger adults visiting—perhaps less so—our grandparents in the 1990s and 2000s.
My grandfather passed away in 2009, but my nana is still alive. She's 96 years of age—or young. She's the same age as the Queen, and she shed tears last week at Her Majesty's passing. My nana, just like Her Majesty, has been the constant in our lives—constancy which we've heard a lot about today, in service; holding fast to duty; and constant commitment to faith and family: I'm mindful of these remarkable qualities and the example they present to us. On behalf of the people that I represent in my electorate, the people of Wills, I also pay respects and express condolences at the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
We often in this place reflect on service. All of us here, regardless of what side of politics we're on, are sent here by our constituents to serve, and that duty to serve, I think, is also a great privilege within our democracy. Despite the day-to-day rough and tumble of politics, I know we all come to this place with that firmly in mind because it's not just what our community expects but what they demonstrate themselves in their day-to-day lives.
When I'm not here in Canberra, I'm in my community in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. I'm sure all of my colleagues do the same back in their electorates—spend time with local organisations, sporting clubs, Scout groups, schools, mosques, temples, churches and so many other groups. All of them are bound by that common theme of service, the theme that the Deputy Prime Minister talked about earlier today, that binds us as a democracy and that Her Majesty placed such store in as the critical ingredient to the success of a democratic society, the service to others that she so amazingly embodied for seven decades—service to each other, service to worthy causes and service to the community. To represent my community in this place is to represent that very spirit that drives them, the spirit of service. We might say that this is the Australian spirit, one of looking out for others, a fair go and gratitude, in some ways, for all the great privileges and fortunes we have here in Australia.
It has been eloquently said by many speakers that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth dedicated all of her own life to the service of others. 'The little girl who was never meant to rule' we have seen her referred to as in recent weeks. Events, of course, would prove otherwise as she would go on to take the throne at just 25 years of age. Yet even well before all of this, her commitment to the service of others was clear. I think that's probably why the Queen's passing and loss have been so profoundly felt. It's because as Australians I think we can understand and really appreciate the selflessness of service and duty. No matter our background, we can all serve our community in some way.
One of the great privileges I have as the member for Wills is celebrating annual honours named as part of the Queen's birthday celebrations, and these past ones will be the last of her reign. They were given to people who served their communities, who gave something of themselves for others. That is the very best of our community. I wanted to recognise that here today as well in paying respects to Queen Elizabeth because, with her passing, she would expect everyone to remain focused on that commitment to service. May she rest in peace.
On behalf of the people of Nicholls, I pay tribute to the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II. Her character, courage and selfless devotion to duty were hallmarks of her 70-year reign. Soon after becoming the sovereign in 1954, a young Queen Elizabeth ventured to our shores and embarked on the most extensive tour of regional Australia of any royal before or since. On 4 March 1954, the Queen departed Melbourne on the royal train, stopping at Seymour before sleeping in the carriage of that train at Goorambat. Goorambat is a small town 60 kilometres to the east of Shepparton, nestled amongst the beautiful cropping country of the Dookie and Devenish plains. In 1954 its population was around 300 people. The Queen and Prince Philip came onto the viewing platform to wave to the people who had gathered to see them. A plaque on the front of the town hall commemorates the night when Goorambat became, for a few short hours, the centre of the British Commonwealth. The following day, the Queen visited Shepparton, Tatura, Echuca and Rochester in what is now part of the electorate of Nicholls. It was a grand occasion and people flocked from far away to catch a glimpse of the sovereign.
In those less enlightened times, protecting the Queen's sensitivities was on the minds of local organisers, who erected hessian screens so that the Indigenous camps on the flats between Shepparton and Mooroopna could not be seen. Many years later, Indigenous leaders, some of whom had been children running around on those flats in 1954, were able to meet with Her Majesty, which in itself is a measure of the change that has been achieved in our nation. She expressed regret that there was an attempt to shield her from things that were happening and affirmed her commitment to reconciliation.
Many years later, Queen Elizabeth would close the circle of another painful chapter for a Yorta Yorta family. In 1934 Yorta Yorta campaigner William Cooper wrote a petition asking George V for a representative for Indigenous people in federal parliament to help address injustices. The petition was delivered to Prime Minister Joseph Lyons but never passed on to Buckingham Palace. Uncle Boydie Turner, Mr Cooper's grandson, kept the dream of delivering the petition alive and found an ally in Governor-General Peter Cosgrove. In 2014, at the age of 85, Uncle Boydie was informed that Queen Elizabeth had accepted a replica of the original document in a ceremony in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
I cite these examples from my own electorate to highlight the steps forward that can be made when people of goodwill commit to serving one another with compassion and decency, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth certainly embodied those qualities. In nearly every aspect of life over the past 70 years, there's been incredible change, and Queen Elizabeth was remarkable in that she could accommodate change and often lead it but remain a constant, steady and respectful moral compass to guide us.
During that 1954 trip, Her Majesty spoke to thousands of people from around the Goulburn Valley at Shepparton's Deakin Reserve and alluded to her family's appreciation for the high-quality fruit products from this region that were being sent around the world. She said:
My beloved late father and my mother had been looking forward with great interest to visiting the Goulburn Valley, the products of which are so well known in England … To those of you who are present and to all those who have not been able to come here today, I send my warmest good wishes.
It is well known that Queen Elizabeth's knowledge of and interest in the nations of the Commonwealth was remarkable. Equally, her warmth, humility and mischievous sense of humour endeared her to all. The wonderful British humour she embodied was there for all to see as she 'parachuted' with Agent 007 into the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
She continues to inspire more recent generations. When the sad news of Queen Elizabeth's passing reached my household, my daughter, Sophie, made an observation on seeing a photo of her last public appearance, at the conclusion of the swearing-in of the new UK Prime Minister, Liz Truss, just two days earlier. 'She looked so at peace, Dad; I could see it in her smile,' Sophie said. She had done her final duty for the people, and she was ready to go.
Much has been said about that sense of duty, that unbroken commitment to serve made as a 25-year-old and sustained to the last. It is more than admirable or remarkable; it's the truest exemplar of the quote from Albert Einstein: 'Only a life lived in the service of others is a life worthwhile.' May she rest in eternal peace.
I rise to make a brief contribution to what is an important debate in this House of Representatives. It is important that we acknowledge the passing of Her Majesty and the accession of King Charles III. There is much to reflect on, and I don't propose to go over ground that has been well covered—in particular by the remarks of the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition this morning. But, across a reign that spanned 70 years, it is important that we look to what has happened to our country and its society in that time—as has been noted, the symmetry of 16 prime ministers and 16 visits. Our society has changed almost immeasurably, but Queen Elizabeth II's presence was an enduring constant, as the member for Wills just said, and I think this constancy is something that will not fade despite her passing.
In thinking about how to reflect appropriately on Her Majesty's passing, I have been thinking, as so many others have reflected upon, about service and the fact that each of us in this place has chosen public service. She, of course, did not. It was chosen for her. At a young age, she had extraordinary responsibilities thrust upon her—responsibilities that she could not at any time step away from. The scale of this seems almost unimaginable. What is to me equally unimaginable is that she was such an exemplar of a life in the service of others, and that is the reflection that I want to share with this House as a person who has chosen public service for the moment—to reflect on the manner in which she discharged her obligation to others and always put the community that she served first.
I rise here to speak on behalf of the people of the Scullin electorate, many of whom have been deeply affected by Her Majesty's passing. Unlike others, I have no personal story worthy of the telling. I never met Her Majesty, although as a primary school student I sought to wave to her. I'm not sure whether she saw my hand or my flag either. But I've been struck in the past fortnight by how much her passing has affected so many people, again in ways that I think many had not foreseen. I've seen the messages in the condolence book in my electorate office, and it's really touching to read those messages. The requests for Her Majesty's portraits have, I think, caused us all some logistical challenges in our electorate offices, so, if anyone could assist me, that would be much appreciated! Again, her passing has affected so many in so many ways. In recognising this, I'm mindful of those most affected: the royal family. In wishing that she rest in peace, my thoughts are with all of them. Vale.
I'm very pleased to rise to speak in this very important condolence motion, which of course also congratulates His Majesty King Charles III on ascending to the throne. I want to say that I've been struck by the quality of the contributions made by members from all sides of the parliament and by the many thoughtful observations and insights. Particularly, it's been fascinating to hear the anecdotes of the connections that Her Majesty formed with the people of electorates all across our vast nation. I think this is parliament doing the work that the Australian people would expect of it to acknowledge what is a sad but very significant event in the life of our nation.
As has been widely observed over the last 14 days, Her Majesty's time on the throne, which extended for more than half of the life of this nation post Federation, means that she has been an extraordinarily significant figure in the growth and development of our nation. As has been rightly reflected on, including most recently by the member for Scullin, our nation has changed enormously over that period. Therefore we are reflecting, as we think about her life of service, on the special relationship between Her Majesty and Australia and the way that our own nation has evolved and grown over that extraordinary period of 70 years.
Her first visit, as we've heard, was in 1954, but there was a view from Prime Minister Menzies that some features of that visit involved too much formality, and so there were some changes made. In her second tour, in 1963, she visited housing commission apartments and she delivered a broadcast to Australians in remote communities over the flying doctor network from Alice Springs. One of her other acts, noteworthy for all Australians who love the arts, was opening the Sydney Opera House in 1973—a building which has very rapidly become absolutely iconic and is a globally recognised symbol of our nation. Over the time of Her Majesty's reign, Australia's sense of self and sense of identity has grown and developed. She had a significant part in many steps along the way, including, of course, the opening of this building in which we are all privileged to work, Parliament House, in 1988.
In my electorate of Bradfield, there is great affection for Her Majesty. That does not distinguish my electorate from every electorate around the country, as many members have reported to the House. It's interesting to look back at some of the historical evidence of that affection for Her Majesty. There was spirited debate in the Sydney newspapers in advance of Her Majesty's first visit as to the itinerary of the royal tour, and there were complaints that Her Majesty would not be visiting what was described as 'the most attractive part of Sydney', that being the area from Chatswood north. Of course, I agree that that is the most attractive part of Sydney! The depth of feeling on this issue was so great that two members of the New South Wales Parliament, the members for Gordon and Hornsby, organised a deputation of aldermen to visit then Premier Cahill to demand a change to the royal program. It appears that their efforts were in vain, but a Miss Judith McAviney of Roseville told a reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald that she was delighted to have met her Majesty and the Duke at Concord Repatriation Hospital with these words: 'Even if Her Majesty did not come to us, we certainly came to Her Majesty.'
In recognition and acknowledgement of Her Majesty's personal qualities, John Howard said:
She had a great sense of humour she was a lively conversationalist and she had a wonderful sensitivity towards the different countries that call her Queen.
Prime Minister Gillard recalled her 'engaging sense of humour'. But I think what we can also see is a longstanding interest in Australia, evidenced, among other things, by the fact that she sent her young son to high school in Australia for a period of time.
I want to acknowledge in particular the seriousness and diligence with which she discharged her role as a constitutional monarch, occupying a key place in the systems of government of Britain, Australia, Canada and numerous other countries. It's significant, I think, that her last official act as sovereign was to appoint a new prime minister in the United Kingdom. It was a life of service, a life committed to timeless values and a life aligned with the growth in Australia's own sense of self and confidence.
The passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II marks the end of an era—an era of great social and political change marked by a world war, the Great Depression, the first landing on the moon, the increasing threat of terrorism and the rise of social media. Throughout these times, the Queen has remained a reassuring constant, the embodiment of decency and calm during turbulence and uncertainty.
The great majority of us have not known a time without Queen Elizabeth as our monarch. Many of us, including me, grew up singing 'God Save the Queen' at school assembly and seeing her image on our coins, notes and stamps. The Queen's historic reign and lifelong devotion to duty, family and service is unlikely ever to be equalled. On behalf of the people of my electorate of Corangamite, I offer our deep condolences to the royal family, who are grieving for a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother—yet this grief must be so publicly played out, with the world watching on.
In their own, less public ways, many people across my electorate and our nation are also grieving. Many are expressing their feelings of grief in condolence books like the one in my electorate office in Corangamite. Their grief and sadness are real and heartfelt. They are remembering how the Queen celebrated with us in good times and stood by us in times of challenge. They are recounting the sympathy and personal kindness Her Majesty extended to Australians during times of tragedy and disaster. She was a monarch who displayed humanity and performed her duty with integrity and humour. While memories will endure, adjusting to a new reality without the Queen will be difficult for many.
The Geelong region, which includes my electorate of Corangamite, has fond memories. The Queen visited the Geelong region twice: first in 1954 and then again in 1988. The Geelong Advertiser newspaper reported on the first visit, saying there was 'rousing applause and flag-waving' as the Queen's train carriage arrived at the South Geelong railway station. It went on to say, 'Petite and youthful with that fleeting but delightful smile, she came, she saw and she conquered the hearts of everyone.'
While in Geelong on her second visit, for the Australian bicentenary, she opened the National Wool Centre, which is still today home to a museum telling the Australian story of wool, fibre and textiles. The Queen's famous sense of humour was on show. Crowds cheered as the Queen beamed in all directions when Spud the sheepdog temporarily lost his way in the crowd while displaying his sheep-herding talents for the royal couple. A resulting photo of the Queen, head back in laughter, was published in news reports around the world. The natural, good-natured spontaneity and humour that endeared the Queen to Australians was apparent. It was clear why Her Majesty held a special place in her heart for Australia, just as Australians continue to hold a special place in their hearts for her.
People from all sides of the political divide have come together to mourn and pay tribute to her. It's testament to the Queen's integrity that people from across the political spectrum, regardless of their views on the monarchy, are recognising her selflessness, calm and stoicism. While the passing of the Queen has prompted many to consider our nation's future, there will be time to do so. But today we honour an extraordinary life, a life well lived, a life of service and public duty, and one that transcended politics.
During the Queen's reign, 16 different prime ministers led Australia—so much change, so much challenge, but all dealt with in good faith and good grace. Her diplomacy and embracing of diversity are significant reasons why people in Australia and around the world are mourning her passing. It's appropriate that we as Australians take time to reflect on the profound loss of this great woman and Queen. This time of mourning will pass. However, the deep respect and warm regard in which Australians have always held Queen Elizabeth II will live on. May she rest in peace.
I remember as a child standing in the old quadrangle of my primary school every Monday morning—rain, hail or shine—and singing 'God save the Queen' as the Australian flag was hoisted up the flagpole. We stood in class lines and affirmed our allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of Australia. As I reflect on those memories, I think the ritual embedded a sense of respect for authority more broadly. That was back in the 1960s. I reflect on the stability that the Queen has provided to Australia and, indeed, the world over seven decades. As the Leader of the Opposition stated yesterday, if 'grief is the price we pay for love'—quoting the Queen—then the outpouring of global grief in these past two weeks speaks to just how much she was loved.
I remember countless televised Christmas messages from the Queen, where she addressed the Commonwealth of Nations, not just Britain, with a message of hope. No matter how harrowing events may have been throughout the year and across the globe—due to war, natural disaster, recession or pandemic even—somehow she brought us all together to face a new year with optimism.
The late Queen reigned over 16 Australian prime ministers, from Menzies to the current Prime Minister, and over 16 governors-general, and she visited Australia 16 times. In my electorate of Mallee, she visited Maryborough, Mildura, Irymple and Red Cliffs in 1954 and then Swan Hill in 1970.
When she was just 21 years old, Princess Elizabeth said, 'My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.' And she kept her word for 70 years. Queen Elizabeth came to timelessly represent the virtues of service, sacrifice, duty, humility and hard work. She walked the talk. To my way of thinking, there has been no greater role model to women in leadership than Queen Elizabeth II. Following her coronation in 1953, the Queen said:
I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.
She not only earned our trust; she also won our hearts. Queen Elizabeth II was, and will continue to be, held in respect and deep affection by our nation, the people of the Commonwealth and around the world. She leaves a legacy of service, faith, stability, sacrifice and strength, through dark days and times of triumph. Though the world changed constantly, she remained steadfast in her devotion to God, her family, her country and the Commonwealth of Nations.
There is no greater honour than a child being named after you. I know, because one of my grandchildren is named after me. Indeed, royal names have been popular choices for many newborns. When Princess Elizabeth became Queen, baby girls across the world were named Elizabeth for years, and I am one. My husband was named Philip, after her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh—yes, with one 'l'.
I was deeply honoured to represent my electorate of Mallee at the national memorial service for Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Canberra yesterday. As we have now proclaimed our new sovereign, King Charles III, we look with anticipation to the service he will bring to Australia and to the Commonwealth. He has inherited a matchless legacy. On behalf of the people of Mallee, I thank Her Majesty the late Queen for her life of service and look to His Majesty King Charles III for his solemn devotion to continue for our nation. God save the King.
I rise to add my condolences, and those of the community I represent, on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In preparing to speak today, I was struck, like many in the chamber—many of whom have expressed it—by the longevity of the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth. In doing so, and in doing the research around the questions we've all been asking in preparation for today, I wondered: did the Queen visit my electorate? And the answer for me was proudly yes. She did in 1954. Young Queen Elizabeth visited just the outskirts of the electorate.
I notice the member for Gellibrand is here, and I'm going to be talking about the Queen's visit to Point Cook, to RAAF Base Williams, in 1954. I note that, while there may be a few exceptions, most of us in this room weren't born when she visited RAAF Base Williams in Point Cook that day. It was a warm summer day, and she was returning—the member for Corangamite is in front of me—from Geelong, where she had been that day. The train came back through and stopped at Aircraft station, and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip travelled to do a review, if you like, of the troops. What was important that day was that she was visiting the first RAAF base in Australia—the oldest RAAF base in Australia—but, more importantly, that the women's units from across Melbourne were there. It was noted in theAge two days later that the car that the Queen was travelling in slowed down for her to take special notice of the women in the RAAF at Point Cook that day.
It got me thinking about her reign, and I think it's worth noting this length of tenure. The best way that I can explain that to my community is the fact that, on her first visit, in 1954, Her Majesty was welcomed by Sir William Slim as Governor-General and Robert Menzies as Prime Minister. In her last visit, those positions were filled by Dame Quentin Bryce and Ms Julia Gillard.
Many have noted today how much the world had changed in that 70-year span. I want to focus on how much the world had changed for women. This whole thing has got me thinking about my mum—who I obviously lost quite recently, and most people know that—who was a great fan of Queen Elizabeth and a contemporary of Queen Elizabeth. It got me thinking about what it would have meant to my 23-year-old mother when Elizabeth ascended to the throne and became Queen, and what it meant to all the women of her generation. We often say of that generation that they're known for their stoicism, for their practicality and for the way they dealt with life. I think Queen Elizabeth led them in the development of those things that we say about that generation of people.
I wonder about my young mother, before having children, watching Elizabeth become Queen and having that 70-year journey with her, watching a woman as a leader in a very male dominated industry. Let's be blunt—other than Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth I, it is a very male dominated industry. They became aware, and they asked questions, I assume, that wouldn't have been asked had Elizabeth not been Queen. Queen Elizabeth being Queen caused them to observe and to ask questions of themselves and of their lifestyle. In doing so, she changed not just the way the women in Australia and across the Commonwealth saw their roles but possibly the way their husbands and partners saw women as well. That played a major part in the reason I'm sitting here in the House of Representatives today surrounded by my female colleagues.
So I think there's something really important about Elizabeth's reign that we should pause to remember, because it was Elizabeth leaving her child at home to tour Australia. Questions would have been asked: 'Could I be the Queen? Could I leave my children for the eight or 10 weeks that this was going to take?' They asked questions and then answered those questions in their own daughters' and sons' lives by changing expectations about their roles and seeing that the Queen was able to be an international leader and be a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. Rest in peace, Queen Elizabeth—and I hope my mum and you are sharing a cup of tea right now.
I'm very pleased to rise to speak on this motion of condolence on the death of Queen Elizabeth II and congratulations on the accession of King Charles III. I want to offer my condolences to her family, her people—both in the United Kingdom and in the Commonwealth—and all of those who are mourning her passing, and I want to celebrate this amazing woman: her devotion to duty, the grace, the dignity, the courage. She was a peacemaker. She was committed to her faith and has been described as a gentle Christian soul. She had respect for all those she met, showing strength in the toughest times—the one stable constant globally. She was measured but strong—that iron fist in the velvet glove.
She grew up never expecting to be Queen. The abdication of King Edward VIII came in 1936, when she was just 13. She had to grow up quickly. She had that role, as we know, as a mechanic and driver in World War II. The newspaper dubbed her 'Princess Auto Mechanic.' She gave that wonderful speech at 21, when she declared:
… my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.
Then, when her father, King George, died at 56 in 1952, there was never a hint of, 'Why me?' or, 'Poor me,' at having to take on an unexpected role. She dedicated her life. There are very clear lessons for us all in how she performed her role. She had a wonderful partnership with Prince Philip, and they were a formidable combination. She had that wonderful warmth and kindness. In those endless public events, she never flagged. I saw a report that said she'd personally met around three million people in her life. She was constantly on duty but was a devoted wife and mother, with an extreme love for her family.
We have lost our most important anchor: her unwavering loyalty and the stability she brought to the nation and the Commonwealth and globally. She was steadfast and uplifting in times of national tragedy or trial, like COVID, and always positive in a message of hope: we're in this together, it will be okay, and we will overcome. With that wonderful sense of duty of her generation, she was a key part of the courage and dedication of the royal family during the German Blitz on London in 1940 and 1941. I think, from memory, she is the last head of state who lived through World War II. She had a very profound effect in her visit to Northern Ireland in 2011. What courage that took.
In talking to other women—young and older women—I found that many felt that profound sense of grief and loss. For those of us who lost our mothers, in a sense it was like losing our own mothers again—that wise, strong, reliable and loving presence in our lives. That enormous sense of sadness and loss was shared by men and women. But what a wonderful example she was of how to come to the end of your life genuinely respected. The outpouring of grief and some of the messages in the floral tributes told her story. One said:
It hurts, ma'am. It hurts so bad. We're not ready to bid you farewell … Our hearts are shattered … A world without you is simply unimaginable. A Britain without its platinum Queen is unimaginable. You are irreplaceable. Wherever you are, never stop guiding and protecting us like you have done all these years … you were our strength and stay.
Seventy years on, for those of us fortunate enough to have lived during her reign, I suspect we won't ever see another monarch like her or one who serves 70 years in the role. But I really hope that she knew how much she was loved. I hope she knew how much she was respected, and I hope she knew what an inspiration she's been and will be for generations to come. It has been said that all she could do she has now done. And, as has been said: ma'am, your duty is done. May she rest in eternal peace.
While yesterday was a national day of mourning, today's condolence speeches have been full of the stories that each of us in this place has heard around our electorates over the past fortnight as people remember their interactions with the Queen with affection. My mum remembers, as a young teenager, being bussed from Temora to Wagga Wagga in 1954 to see the Queen. She was one of tens of thousands who travelled from all across the New South Wales Riverina, and she remembers it being a hot day, but she certainly got a glimpse of the Queen. Years later, I recall standing on the side of the road with my cousins, at an uncle's house, waving as the Queen drove through the Northern Beaches. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh during their 1986 visit to Australia, lining up with other journalists for a brief interaction and covering the Canberra leg of the royal visit.
Across Macquarie, everyone has their story. In the Hawkesbury, there has been much reminiscing about the Queen's visit to St Matthew's church in Windsor, an Anglican church designed by Francis Greenway that the Queen visited in April 1970. She reportedly examined the 1822 silver chalice and plate given to the church by King George IV. Rector Chris Jones dedicated a service to Queen Elizabeth on the Sunday following her death, and along with the congregation I was delighted to see some of the photos of that very historic visit.
The Blue Mountains has its own visit to speak of: the royal visit to Katoomba and Leura in 1954. Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived, on the royal train, at Katoomba, which had been painted blue for the occasion. It's estimated 75,000 people lined the streets of Katoomba as the procession travelled by car to Echo Point, a spectacular setting for any civic reception. Apparently, crowds at Echo Point—where you see the Three Sisters and look across the Jamison Valley—were hanging on the outside of the safety rails and, all around the clifftop, sitting on boulders so they could get a view of the royal party. Fully understanding that the visitors should be allowed time to enjoy the view, a very canny mayor let formalities run for only five minutes.
The Queen was quoted at the time as saying, 'My mother has often told me of the rare beauty of this mountain country, and today I have been delighted with it myself.' Her mother had visited, with the Duke of York, in 1927, lunching at the famous Carrington Hotel, taking in the views and then heading to Jenolan Caves. The photos of the 1954 visit show the royals with Clive R Evatt, the then state minister for art and education and the brother of 'Doc' Evatt; and with Clive's daughters, now recognised as Justice Elizabeth Evatt and Penelope Seidler—so a very prominent party. A well-loved photo locally is one of the Queen departing from Leura on the royal train.
Those are some of the memories of locals, and of course there are many more, such as the Queen presenting Australian polo players with the Coronation Cup in 2005 after they defeated England. The photo is in the Windsor Polo Club, with the winning jerseys, and the Queen is smiling, in spite of her team not having been successful. Di told me the story of how, as a little girl in New Zealand, she lined up to meet the Queen when she visited her school, a memory refreshed by all the discussion that there's been about the way the Queen interacted with the Commonwealth. There were memories of older Australians who could recall the death of her father and how they felt when they heard that a young woman would be the Queen. These memories were shared at the lovely Richmond St Andrew's Uniting Church service and afternoon tea earlier this week. There have been countless gems from moments of her 16 visits to Australia.
There's no doubt that, after 70 years, the affection and respect for Queen Elizabeth runs deep. In the condolence book in my office, Thomas wrote:
I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
She was an inspiring presence who carried out her duties with dignity, grace and care.
She has been a huge part of my life and I will miss her dearly.
There is sadness for many that this chapter in our history has closed, although there are clearly some mixed emotions. But it's an honour to be able to pay respect to Queen Elizabeth II.
It's a great honour for me, and indeed for all of us, to rise today, and I rise on behalf of the Deakin community to honour Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. So many days over the last fortnight have been days of reflection and remembrance, and today is one of those days for our parliament. Whilst we've always known about the inevitability of the passing of the Queen—inevitable for all of us, ultimately—this has nevertheless impacted so many Australians and indeed so many people around the world.
History will uniquely and favourably remember Queen Elizabeth II. Like most Australians, I've known no other monarch in my life. In a rapidly changing world, this has been a reassuring and immovable touchstone, particularly with change seemingly getting more rapid by the year. Her Majesty has also been a thread that has woven generations of Australian families together, including mine. I've got no doubt that her steady presence has not just supported so many Australians as individuals but also supported our confident national psyche. Most importantly for me, Her Majesty embodied servant leadership, something that's been mentioned a lot today. When she said in her speech on her 21st birthday in 1947:
I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong—
she set a lofty ambition, one which she truly meant and lived up to.
She also, importantly, led by example. In my view, there's no better illustration than when the then Princess Elizabeth, in 1944, joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, which was the women's branch of the British Army, when she became eligible on her 18th birthday. At that time unmarried women under 30 had to join the armed forces or work on the land or in industry. Princess Elizabeth enthusiastically enlisted and was later promoted to junior commander, which is the equivalent of a captain. And who, of course, could ever forget the sight of Her Majesty sitting silently, alone in her grief, at the funeral of her late husband, Prince Philip. This was at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and, whatever one's views of the rules that were imposed at that time, seeing the Queen following the same rules as all others and not seeking any form of preferential treatment was a testament to her leadership by example.
There's also no doubt that Her Majesty lived by many timeless values. She seemed unaffected by the fads or trends of the day, and, whilst she always reflected the inevitable evolution of the modern world and the Commonwealth, she never succumbed to the all-too-modern pressure of ditching those values which have stood the test of time. Indeed, her faith, which she famously described as one of the three pillars of her life, along with family and friends, remained strong throughout her life. Her words in the 2014 Queen's Christmas message said it best in my view:
For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life. A role-model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ's example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people of whatever faith or none.
Millions of Australians, including myself, see in this concise statement a reflection of our own values and motivations, and it was always comforting to know these underpinned Her Majesty's life.
I must say, like so many in this House, I've been struck by the outpouring of well wishes from members of the Deakin electorate, many hundreds of whom have contributed to our condolence book. I will read some of these messages. Lisa from North Ringwood wrote:
Dear your majesty Queen, we thank you for setting a perfect example for people. Thank you for everything you did. We will always love and remember you, may your soul rest in peace.
Marlene from Vermont wrote:
Her Majesty, you have been an inspiration for women worldwide and your hardworking ethic is a lesson for us all. Thank you for being a guiding light for your amazing 70 year reign. Rest peacefully your work is done.
Jing from Ringwood wrote:
We thank God for Queen Elizabeth II's life and witness to Jesus Christ and her love and care of the people of the Commonwealth. We are thankful for her wisdom and wise counsel and duty to the end.
Well done, good and faithful servant.
Your duty is done. May you rest in eternal peace.
The House meets today to mark the end of an era, the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the end of her historic reign. I convey my condolences to Her Majesty's family and friends for their deep personal loss of an obviously dearly loved matriarch. Death is a difficult thing for human beings to grapple with at the best of times, but it must be particularly hard to grapple with as public attention intrudes on personal grief.
Watching the public proceedings in the United Kingdom following her death, I was reminded of that great US historian Barbara Tuchman's account, in The Guns of August, of the funeral procession of Her Majesty's great-grandfather, King Edward VII, in 1910. It was, Tuchman noted, 'the greatest assemblage of royalty and rank ever gathered in one place'. Amongst the representatives of the 70 nations in attendance, there were nine kings, five heirs apparent, 40 imperial or royal highnesses, seven queens and 'a scattering of special ambassadors from uncrowned countries'. Tuchman wrote:
The muffled tongue of Big Ben tolled nine by the clock as the cortege left the palace, but on history's clock it was sunset, and the sun of the old world was setting in a dying blaze of splendor never to be seen again.
It did mark the end of an era. The arrival of the First World War in Europe, soon after this spectacle, radically changed the continent and the world.
As Her Majesty's funeral cortege made its way through London 112 years later, Big Ben tolled on a world radically changed again. While the spectre of war has once again returned to the continent, much else has changed again during the 70 years since the Queen was coronated at Westminster Abbey. When Her Majesty the Queen was coronated, in June 1953, the world was just starting to recover from the damages and the bloodshed of World War II. Australia looked very different to what it does today. Three-quarters of Australia's then population of nine million people turned out to see her first tour of Australia. It was the equivalent of nearly 19 million Australians turning out to see her today—unimaginable. It was a different time.
It was just four years before her coronation that the Chifley government passed the Nationality and Citizenship Act and anyone born or naturalised in Australia became an Australian citizen rather than a British subject. At the time of Australia's first citizenship ceremony, where seven European men from across the nation received Australian citizenship, nine out of 10 Australians were born locally and people from the United Kingdom comprised more than half of our limited migrant stock. The White Australia policy, in operation since Federation, would not start to be substantially unwound until 1966 and would not be completely dismantled until the Whitlam government. Today, around 30 per cent of people living in Australia were born overseas, only 15 per cent of whom were born in the United Kingdom. First Nations people didn't have a universal right to vote in Australian federal elections until nearly 10 years after Her Majesty ascended the throne, in 1962. It would be another 30 years after that before the High Court overturned the legal fiction of terra nullius and recognised the precolonial land interests of First Nations Australians in the 1992 Mabo decision. We will soon sow further change as our nation pursues the implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, voice, treaty and truth.
The collective identity of those living in this country has been constantly evolving through the actions of its changing inhabitants for centuries. We have changed so much for the better. But, while so much changed, Her Majesty remained. As Prime Minister Albanese said, 'Her Majesty was a rare and reassuring constant amidst rapid change.' We've seen, this week, the way that national symbols matter, how powerful they can be. We've seen it in the way so many people in the United Kingdom flocked to pay tribute to the passing of their monarch and the way their country has united in this moment. In Australia, Her Majesty was held in high personal regard by many Australians. She took on the throne at just 25 years of age, thrust into the unenviable role as a constitutional monarch. She was dedicated to duty as she conceived it. She sought to leave the institutions she worked within in better shape than when she'd inherited them. This is an example that all of us in this place can learn from.
The Australian public's continuing high regard for Her Majesty in the face of the dramatic change our nation has experienced over the last 70 years is extraordinary and a tribute to her service. It is also a source of wry frustration for republicans like myself. Republicans can only express our opposition to the continuance of the institution of hereditary monarchy in Australia, not to Her Majesty's extraordinary life of service. She was one of a kind, and her passing marks the end of an era. May she rest in peace.
It's with the deepest feelings of sadness that I rise to express my regret at the passing of our late Queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. So many of my constituents from the Lyne electorate have similar thoughts and would like that expressed in this chamber. Queen Elizabeth II was an amazing lady—monarch, head of the Church of England and Scotland, a titular leader and a constant in multiple generations of Australians' lives. She was not just a beacon of stability for the United Kingdom but an exemplary international leader and a source of unity for the whole Commonwealth and for our nation during her 70 years of faithful service to us. She was wise counsel to many Australian prime ministers—in fact, 16 of them—and 179 prime ministers around the Commonwealth. She went through wars, other conflicts, natural disasters, periods of rapid social change, political upheavals, boom and bust and depression, and she was a source of reassurance to people around the world, but particularly in Australia, during that time. Whether it was floods, droughts, bushfires or other natural disasters, she always kept a kindly and genuine interest in all of us.
One of my earliest memories of the Queen was her visit to Australia in 1963, when I was a five-year-old. She visited Canberra but also nearby Queanbeyan. She returned many times. I also saw her at the Bicentennial in Sydney, at the Opera House, and during my two years working in the United Kingdom. Living and working in London was a treat and an experience I'll never forget, but one of the highlights was to be invited to attend Royal Ascot and be in the royal enclosure, dressed up in a morning suit and a top hat and all, at the pleasure of Her Majesty. Having enjoyed many days at the races, that would have to go down as even better than a Melbourne Cup—which I haven't even got to yet.
On the four occasions I was sworn in as a minister, I was very proud to take the oath declaring my allegiance to the Crown. I made sure, during COVID, when I couldn't be in this chamber, that we had a portrait of Her Majesty behind me and able to be seen on Microsoft Teams meetings. Our nation and the whole of Lyne mourn her passing. I would like to formally express my and my electorate's deepest sympathies and condolences to King Charles and the whole royal family. As we mourn her loss, we welcome King Charles III to the Crown. I'm sure he has been trained by and learnt from the very best.
It's an opportune time for us to reflect on the constitutional monarchy that we have inherited from the United Kingdom. Seeing all the other systems of government around the world—the troubles with republics and various other forms of government, with ultimate and supreme power vested in one elected official who has essentially a political role—you can see the benefits of having a constitutional monarchy. Many in this chamber and around the world have a problem with a monarch being a hereditary position, but the fact that it's not political—it's above the fray and the monarch is generally well educated these days—is the essentially good thing about a constitutional monarchy. The Constitution has defined the powers of the government, the parliament, the ministers and the courts. We have the benefit of things that the United Kingdom went through in the 1600s. We're the beneficiary of all the turmoil that they went through, and many countries in the Commonwealth are similar beneficiaries.
Socrates, that Greek philosopher who gets mentioned many times, would be really proud of what Queen Elizabeth II turned out to be. When you see her personal musings and her published words of condolence, advice, encouragement and analysis on the big things in life in her public speeches, she really was a philosopher queen. It's only when you don't have something that you really notice its loss. So we all mourn her passing and thank her for her service. God save the King.
I rise to say a few words on behalf of the constituents of my electorate, the electorate of Bendigo. Like many, I was saddened to hear of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, who reigned as Australia's head of state for more than 70 years. This condolence motion for Her Majesty, moved by the Prime Minister, is a moment for this place to mark the passing of our nation's head of state. It is custom and protocol that we do. It signals the end of the 14 official days of mourning.
At 96, her passing was not a surprise. She had lived a good life—a good innings, as they say: just short of a ton—but it still is a sad time for many, particularly her family. The Queen was a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. She will be remembered for being a monarch who witnessed and influenced the trajectory of modern history.
I want to thank the constituents of my electorate who took the time to come into my office to leave a message of condolence. These messages will be collated and sent to Buckingham Palace with other messages from around the country. The messages will also be archived by the Commonwealth and may be displayed in national institutions to form a lasting record of this moment in our history. In the past fortnight, there have been many who have also shared their reflections of Her Majesty on social media, local media and social gatherings. Many have said things such as, 'She's the only queen I've ever known,' 'It is the end of an era,' 'A life of service and duty,' 'A kind lady with a generous smile,' 'She was like my grandmother,'—and that's a comment that we've heard quite a few times today—'and her passing just reminded me of my own personal loss.'
It was a life of privilege—she was the Queen—but with that privilege came great responsibility and great scrutiny. At the young age of 25, she became the head of our Commonwealth and many times was the only woman in those early days to stand in a room of leaders. Today, if she stood in that same room, some things will have changed, but there are still lots of men standing. We are still short of that goal of fifty-fifty. The scrutiny that she lived through—there aren't many that would be on the same level of scrutiny that she experienced: every word, every tour, every speech scrutinised. Every time a family member said something or did something wrong, it was quite often reflected on the Queen. Yes, in public life we expect scrutiny, but the scrutiny that the Queen went through was unprecedented.
Like many have reflected, the Queen did visit Bendigo and, yes, it was in 1954. She spent about 80 minutes in the town and was greeted by over 9,000 children in the upper reserve, renamed Queen Elizabeth Oval, the QEO, after her visit. My partner's mother, Gayle, was one of the 9,000 children that stood proudly on the ground, waving her Aussie flag.
I don't have any royal memories, but my favourite Queen moment was probably one of her most recent: her cameo with Paddington Bear. What a lovely moment to leave her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren and children everywhere.
I do think it's important that we acknowledge that, for some Australians, this period of mourning has been challenging, and, for some, they're indifferent. And I think that's okay. Australia today is a very different country to when the Queen was first crowned our sovereign. Today we are many cultures and histories woven together to make the modern Australian story. At yesterday's national memorial service in the Great Hall, I deeply admired the generosity of spirit of our First Nations elders who not only attended but participated in the service. It's perhaps the words of Queen Elizabeth II that really reflect that generosity:
It's worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.
The Queen was known for her words.
On behalf of the constituents of my electorate, I'd like to send condolences to the entire family. May she rest in eternal peace.
On behalf of my electorate of Dawson, I stand today to acknowledge and commemorate the life and leadership of the late Queen Elizabeth II, who, on 8 September, passed away peacefully at her Balmoral home at the age of 96. When Her Majesty acceded to the throne in 1952, aged just 25, her life changed overnight from that of a young naval wife and mother to a busy head of state. She was to become known as a symbol of stability and strength, an important figurehead for the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth during times of both crisis and celebration.
Throughout the Queen's 70-year reign, she appointed 15 UK prime ministers. Sixteen Australian prime ministers have served during her historic reign. She led the Commonwealth through many difficult times, the most recent being the COVID-19 pandemic. The Queen's husband, Prince Philip, was a constant strength by her side. Her lifelong companion of 73 years passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 99 in April 2021. We all saw Her Majesty sitting alone and bereaved in St George's Chapel.
The Queen was the only reigning monarch to visit Australia; she travelled to our nation a total of 16 times. As the member for Dawson, it was unique to hear that she had visited Mackay on more than one occasion. She travelled up our way in 1954, only months after she was crowned, and again in 1970. Many Dawson residents have told their stories of the time they got to meet our Queen. She famously said, following her visit to Mackay, that she left with a deeper understanding of North Queensland, its people and their way of life.
I've got a metaphor here that I think truly captures what Queen Elizabeth meant to us. If Australia is a house, then Queen Elizabeth was the concrete slab that was our foundation. It was not going anywhere. It didn't matter what was thrown at the house, because, no matter what, it was locked into that slab, and there was no way that slab was moving. The slab never cracks, and it never breaks. It does not matter what happens to the house—pieces can fall off and it can sway in the breeze, but that concrete slab holds it together. Whenever the house felt like it was going to fall down or wasn't going to be as strong as it could be, it could always rely on that slab to be just as stable as when it was first poured. Queen Elizabeth was that concrete slab. She was that stable rock that kept us strong through thick and thin. We could always rely on her. She was a kind, caring and compassionate leader, and a daughter, sister, aunty, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother whom everyone respected.
I would like to acknowledge the many people who have ordered a portrait of the Queen. I would also like to thank the many who have come into my office to leave a message of condolence. I will make sure that these messages are passed on. This outpouring of both grief and support demonstrates how highly regarded the late Queen was and how her legacy will stay with us. I'd like to pass on just one of those messages from Dawson. Mrs Jessie McCarthy of North Mackay says:
Thank you for your service to the commonwealth, your commitment loyalty with charm and dedication will always be remembered.
You are an amazing example to us all.
It is a sad time for the world, a time when we can all reflect. We really are the lucky country, and we're so lucky to have had a queen that brought out the best in us. May her inspirational life of service and sacrifice, fortitude and humility, grace and generosity, and forgiveness and empathy be remembered throughout the history of our nation. Rest in peace, o gracious lady. Long live the King.
On behalf of the electorate of Adelaide, I, too, rise to acknowledge the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the sad and momentous occasion that has touched so many people. My electorate office has been inundated with calls and people wanting portraits, wanting to express their dismay or simply looking to share their thoughts or sign the condolence book that we've set up in the reception area.
Queen Elizabeth meant many things to many people. But, regardless of what role the Queen may have played in individual lives, there is no doubt that this marks the end of a very significant era. Queen Elizabeth II was the UK's and the Commonwealth's longest serving monarch. She died peacefully at Balmoral, where she had spent most of the summer and many, many summers in the past. She was aged 96, and she reigned for an amazing 70 years. During her reign, she witnessed enormous social change.
I think all people, regardless of their political persuasion, cannot but admire the life of Queen Elizabeth II. She was a constant in our lives, and her loss has been profoundly felt around the world. Queen Elizabeth II will be remembered for her tireless sense of duty—and who can forget the image of her as she swore in the new UK Prime Minister just days before she passed away? She was frail but ever present. As Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said, she embodied a timeless decency and enduring calm. For over seven decades, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was a rare constant in our lives amidst continuous, rapid change. The Queen visited Australia 16 times during her reign, and her first tour, in 1954, came just eight months after her coronation. She visited South Australia, and Adelaide, seven of those times, and her last visit was in 2002.
Since her death, we've heard countless people recall their memories of the Queen, what she meant to them and what an important role she played in their lives. My own recollection of the Queen is from two occasions, the first being in 1963, when I'd just started school at Cowandilla Primary School, which was closest to the airport. When the Queen arrived, they had lined us up with Australian flags to wave for her as she drove past, and what I remember is a big car driving past. That memory has stayed with me forever and a day. The second occasion was here in this Parliament House in 2006, when the Queen was visiting for her Platinum Jubilee. We had a parliamentary dinner in the Great Hall in honour of the Queen, and all of us who were there that night recall a great speech that she gave, her main topic being our First Nations people.
For so many people, the Queen was a symbol of warmth and hardworking dedication. We also warmly welcome King Charles III, who has, like his mother, played an important part in our shared history. There will be a time to celebrate the new King, and there will be a time for reflection on what this new era means.
But, first, we bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II. For all she may represent in the minds of people all around the world, we shouldn't forget that she was also a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother, and, regardless of how deeply her death is felt around the world, her family is grieving their own personal loss. We acknowledge this with compassion and sadness. Vale, Queen Elizabeth II. After a lifetime of service, may she now rest in peace.
The death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has sent shockwaves across the globe and across our nation. The Queen was larger than life and, for many of us, she was the only monarch we've ever known. Elizabeth II loved Australia, visiting our shores 16 times, and we loved her deeply in return. Many Australians from my generation had a fondness for Her Majesty like that of a grandmother figure. We heard her voice through the radio, saw her face on coins, stamps and currency, and watched her deliver her Christmas message every year. She was the Queen who was never meant to be but through her circumstance stepped up to lead and to unite. For seven decades her graciousness ruled, modernising monarchy with a steady hand and heart.
Elizabeth reigned from the industrial age to the internet age against a backdrop of cultural and political change. Her Majesty stewarded 15 UK prime ministers, from Churchill to Truss, and 16 Australian prime ministers, from Menzies to Morrison. Across parties, across parliaments, through wars and recessions, good times and bad, she was always a constant bright light, with comforting and reassuring words. Her personality captured the hearts of millions around the world.
Since the news of her death, photos, videos and stories of her have circled the globe—deeply personal moments with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, stories of her time during World War II and of course tea with Paddington Bear and at the London Olympics with 007. Elizabeth II had a calm demeanour, a wicked sense of humour and an incredible love for her country, the Commonwealth, her family, corgis and all things equine. A favourite insight was when Her Majesty wore a brooch gifted to her by Barack Obama during an audience with Donald Trump. Such was the humour always on display for those who chose to look closely.
I spent the first eight years of my life growing up in a satellite city, Elizabeth, to the north of Adelaide named after Her Majesty. Later, I recall the royal visit in October 1981, when I was just 14 and in year 8. I walked with my high school peers to the Main North Road to see and honour our Queen and her prince as they passed by in their black Rolls-Royce. Two thousand children from Gawler high school waved ferociously with our Australian flags to welcome her to our town. Many will remember how we lined the road for kilometres for just one glimpse and a royal wave.
My late mother, Barbara, spoke of her fond memories at the tender age of eight in England in 1953 watching the Queen's coronation on the single television in the cul-de-sac in Roweth Road in Middlesborough. Her big sister, June, received a coronation book when she was selected by her school to wave a flag and in turn receive a royal wave, as I did 28 years later. Generations of Australians have cherished memories of Her Majesty, including those who immigrated here, including my mother's family, the Aldersons.
Elizabeth II visited the Gold Coast on one occasion, in March 1963, when she attended a royal surf carnival as patron of the Queensland surf life saving association. Some may have caught a glimpse of her or received a royal wave during that event, too. Many Moncrieff constituents have filled the pages of our condolence books with heartfelt messages to the Queen and to the royal family, including Nicholas Ewart, an Aussie digger and warrant officer class two, who wrote:
To Her Majesty the Queen, Ma'am it has been an honour and a privilege to serve you. May you rest in peace.
To Elizabeth II, your service and dedication to making Britain, the Commonwealth and the world a better place is your legacy. As we look to the future, we know King Charles III will continue to build on your commitment to public service, uphold your values and continue your work. On behalf of the good people of Moncrieff and, indeed, the community of Elizabeth, I offer my deepest condolences to all members of the royal family. May you rest peacefully with your beloved Philip. Thank you for all you did for the nations of the Commonwealth.
Today I rise to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and to pass on the condolences of the community of Pearce. We not only grieve the loss of a much loved Queen who was the epitome of loyalty, strength and dignity and who dedicated her life to service; we also celebrate what was an historic reign of 70 years. Indeed, our Queen was a constant reassurance and comfort in an era of change. For me, like many in my electorate of Pearce in WA—one of the fastest-growing and largest communities in Western Australia, with 42 per cent of residents born overseas—Queen Elizabeth was the only monarch we have known, and she was also much loved. In fact, there is a constant stream of members of my community signing the condolences book in my office, and there are many requests for portraits of the Queen.
I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service …
In 1952, at 25 years of age, the princess became Queen Elizabeth II, and 70 years later those words remain true, reflecting a lifetime of loyal service. During that same broadcast, the princess spoke about hope, as the world sought to recover following the Second World War. She stated:
If we all go forward together with an unwavering faith, a high courage, and a quiet heart, we shall be able to make of this ancient commonwealth, which we all love so dearly, an even grander thing—more free, more prosperous, more happy and a more powerful influence for good in the world …
She then went on to say:
To accomplish that, we must give nothing less than the whole of ourselves.
Words of wisdom indeed. Over the course of Her Majesty's reign, the Commonwealth grew from seven nations to 56 members, representing 2.5 billion people.
Next to me is my father's Grenadier Guards forage cap. My granddad, great-uncles, dad and uncle all served in the military. However, my dad chose the Grenadier Guards in which to serve. I also have a cross-stitch that my mum, as a young engaged woman, created. She added one stitch per day that her fiance was away on official duty with the Grenadier Guards. The result now is a beautiful cross-stitch of a Grenadier Guard proudly wearing his bearskin. During my childhood, very little was said about my dad's military career and his time in the SAS parachute corps, but I remember asking him why he joined the Grenadier Guards. His answer was swift and simple. He turned his full attention to me and without hesitation said, 'To serve and protect the Queen.' I remember the emotion in his eyes. I remember every fibre of my being reacting to the deep-seated, genuine reaction that I had just witnessed. It was spontaneous and it was genuine. It was a reaction that I vividly recalled just a few days ago whilst watching, like many others in this place and around the world, the Queen's state funeral. Her Majesty's royal military procession did her proud. It was a true reflection of the respect, love and loyalty each individual serviceman and servicewoman had for their Queen, and this resonated right around the world.
Having attended official Buckingham Palace events with my parents as a young girl, I saw for myself how much the Queen enjoyed meeting people and talking with them, easily putting everybody at ease with her caring demeanour. Her Majesty would not be rushed by officials and often had those to whom she was talking spontaneously burst out laughing at a comment she had made. Without doubt, the Queen most certainly did have a good sense of humour.
Her Majesty's devotion and service to her family, her nation and the Commonwealth was unparalleled, and I'm so very thankful to have borne witness to how much she cared genuinely about others. Our Queen was a loving wife, mother, aunty, granny, great-granny, great-aunty, friend and ruler and did her country proud. Leaders from all corners of the world attended the state funeral to pay respects. It was respect well and truly earnt and deserved. We all witnessed the outpouring of love and emotion expressed through community connection and presence. To King Charles, members of the royal family and her staff members: our thoughts and prayers are with you as you grieve your loss. May Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II rest in eternal peace, reunited with her beloved husband, strength and stay, Prince Philip.
I rise on behalf of the people of Casey to honour our late sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. During her reign, the Queen was a guiding light for us all. Following her coronation in 1953, our Queen said:
I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all of my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.
There is no doubt that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II lived up to her pledge during her 70-year reign. The Queen had a deep understanding of and commitment to her responsibilities and duty for her country, her Commonwealth but, most of all, her people. We will miss her steadfast leadership, her gentle guiding hand and her love, because she led not just through words but with her actions.
The Queen had a deep affection for Australia, visiting us 16 times during her reign. Like many here, I represent an electorate that she visited. She visited Casey in 1954, during her first royal tour. She was greeted by 20,000 locals in Lilydale who climbed trees and fences just to catch a glimpse of their young Queen. The crowd sang 'God Save the Queen' and waved 5,000 souvenir flags. Even though the Queen only stayed for 15 minutes, the local paper termed the visit 'a truly momentous occasion for Lilydale—one that the thousands of old and young will never forget'. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh went on to spend two nights at O'Shannassy Chalet, east of Warburton, which served as one of the residences of the Queen and the Duke during the tour.
I was fortunate to attend a memorial service for the late Queen at Yarra Glen Anglican church last Sunday. One of the speakers was Noel, who saw the Queen in 1954, and he'd brought with him the two flags that he waved on the day. It was touching to see and hear the emotion in Noel's voice and face as he described the visit and how much seeing the Queen, even fleetingly, meant to him. It was a poignant reminder of the place the Queen held in so many hearts. Neil Stony from Woori Yallock told of how as a young lad he had galloped at full speed on his horse, Norrie, alongside the train carrying Her Majesty to Warburton that day. As he rode, he waved to the Queen, and, to his delight, she came out onto the carriage observation deck and waved back. He often reflects on this experience and hopes she enjoyed his jubilation and horsemanship that day. Betty McGeorge, a Casey local celebrating her 90th birthday this week, saw the coronation of the Queen 70 years ago as the dawn of a new era.
Following the horrendous Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 that impacted many in Casey, the Queen sent a message to all Victorians. She said:
I was shocked and saddened to learn of the terrible toll being exacted by the fires this weekend. I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of all those who have died and my deep sympathy to the many that lost their homes in this disaster.
The royal family then made a generous donation to the bushfire fund, with the Queen requesting daily updates about the recovery from the Premier's office. After three months of regular updates to the palace, the Premier decided to cease sending them, as they were entering the recovery phase, and he assumed the Queen would not wish to continue receiving them so frequently. The Queen quickly sent a message: 'Her Majesty would be keen to continue with the daily briefings.' Her interest and empathy meant a lot to our community. Her care and love helped our community to grieve, recover and rebuild.
The Queen deeply understood her responsibility as a leader and set an example for all of us to emulate in our lives. She put the duty to her people above her own personal needs. She epitomised servant leadership. She truly was worthy of our trust. She gave us her heart and her devotion for her entire life, and we are thankful. Vale Queen Elizabeth II. God save the King.
MVAKINOU () (): Queen Elizabeth began her reign as a very young woman, unexpectedly, and it was filled with many, many challenges. Yet, as her 70-year reign has proven, Elizabeth II stood firmly in the place she was given and from there she went on to move the world, redefining and modernising the British monarchy and bringing together the Commonwealth of Nations that she was so devoted to—earning along the way the love, admiration and respect of her subjects, of leaders and of people across the world.
In the course of her 70-year reign and certainly in the aftermath of her death, she has been praised for her unwavering sense of commitment to duty and for being steadfast and resolute in her reign; praised for her dignity and stoicism, her wisdom and values; and admired and respected for the many roles she performed, firstly as the Queen, the defender of her faith, and then as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a mother and a great-grandmother—and a tradie also. It's well known that she was a car mechanic servicing army trucks during World War II, and I'd say that she would be a great model today for encouraging young women to actually go into the trade and help us deal with our skills shortages that we're enduring at this moment.
I migrated to Australia in 1963 and, as a child of migrants—or 'new Australians', as we were called—I remember my primary school years throughout the sixties were all very much about understanding and learning to become an Australian. Naturally, I had to learn the English language, and in our school hall at Brunswick South Primary School we would sing our national anthem, 'God Save the Queen', every morning, and we would listen to the BBC once a week. We traded in pennies, shillings and pounds, and Queen Elizabeth was the essential symbol upon which I was building my understanding of what being an Australian was. In fact, at that time, post Second World War migrants to Australia built their integration and new Australian identity around the persona of the Queen as our head of state. In acquiring citizenship in those days, it was, as my late father said, 'signing up to the Queen'.
I reflected on this when I visited the grade 5 and 6 students of Meadows Primary School in my electorate on the Friday morning after we'd heard the news of the Queen's passing. I shared my primary school memories with the students so that they could understand the significance of Queen Elizabeth to my generation almost six decades ago, because they too, being children of migrants and refugees, are developing a sense of being Australian and developing their own Australian identity but in a different era, one in which as Australians we have grown and matured, understanding ourselves as being a nation of early settlers, migrants and refugees with an Indigenous inheritance of our First People, who we continue to strive to appropriately recognise and reconcile with.
My dear friend Mary Elizabeth Calwell has spoken to me about the many times that she met the Queen. In fact, during the royal tour of 1963 she accompanied her father, the late Arthur Calwell, who was federal Leader of the Opposition at the time and who had also been Australia's first migration minister, to a dinner at Yarralumla. She recalls that the Queen conformed to the convention of withdrawing with the women from dinner after dessert to allow the men to enjoy port, cigars and conversation. Mary Elizabeth recalls that the Queen had to initiate all conversation and that she was, 'highly intelligent, knowledgeable and friendly, and throughout her reign the Queen adjusted to the changing mores of society that enabled the monarchy to become more identified with the wider community'.
My constituent, Nayana Bhandari, putting aside the turbulent history associated with India's independence, told me, 'I liked Queen Elizabeth II as a woman who served the community and her family in such a dignified manner.' Another constituent, Ali, who migrated from Turkey in the late sixties, just after the white Australia policy was dismantled, said to me emphatically: 'I liked her very much. She was a strong leader. There are not many leaders like her.'
I met the Queen here in Parliament House during her visit in 2011. As she moved through the crowd in the Great Hall, she did so effortlessly, with such grace and warmth. I fondly remember sharing small talk with the late Prince Philip; it was something along the lines of our shared Greek heritage. To see them both together gave you a full understanding and appreciation of their relationship, their teamwork. They were totally in sync with one another, and it was clear why she referred to him as her 'strength and stay'.
On behalf of the people of Calwell, I extend my condolences to King Charles III and the royal family. Long live the King, and may she rest in peace.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II lived an extraordinary life which touched so many. She was our sovereign, as she was for other nations of the Commonwealth spread across the world, a monarch who ruled with empathy and wisdom both innate and gained from almost a century of life and experience. At just 25, as a young wife and mother of two, she became a mother to a nation and to the Commonwealth of Nations around the globe. She became the Queen. Following her coronation on 2 June 1953, our Queen said:
I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.
Not only did our Queen earn our trust; she also won our admiration in serving the people. The people marvelled at her unflagging service.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II lived through the pivotal events of the 20th and 21st centuries—wars and conflicts, depression and recession, the end of an empire and decolonisation, the race to the moon and the attainment of civil rights, the brilliance of the Olympic Games and the barbarity of terrorism. During the Second World War, aged just 19, Princess Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service. After joining, she trained as a driver and a mechanic with the rank of second subaltern. Five months later she was promoted to junior commander, which was the equivalent of captain. Though the world changed around her, she remained steadfast in her devotion to God, her country and the Commonwealth.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited Australia on 16 separate occasions between 1954 and 2011, with her reign spanning 16 separate Australian prime ministers. The Queen and Prince Philip visited Rockhampton on 15 March 1954 following a major flood. The visit helped motivate the city to clean up after the Fitzroy River burst its banks and devastated the community. She visited every state and territory, opened our new Parliament House and the Sydney Opera House, and attended the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane and Melbourne. Wherever she went, crowds choked the streets, cheering, clapping and waving flags to express their admiration.
Despite her royalty, she possessed extraordinary humility, greeting all those she met with courtesy, treating them as equals and offering an attentive ear. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth again exemplified the optimism, poise and stoicism which she carried throughout her life and which inspired many. She told the people of the United Kingdom via broadcast:
We will succeed … better days will return … We will meet again.
May our memories of our dear Queen inspire the very best in us.
On behalf of the Flynn electorate, I offer heartfelt condolences to the royal family and to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Many Flynn residents have contacted both my Gladstone and Emerald offices with requests for a portrait of the late Queen and have signed the condolence books to pay their respects. In conclusion, Queen Elizabeth lived a life of service to her country and the Commonwealth. Above all, she was a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was the Everest on the mountain range of achievement. Her loyalty, selfless devotion, humility, honour and wisdom are unparalleled, and we will not see the like of them again in our lifetime. On behalf of the Flynn electorate, I offer our respectful condolences to the royal family. Ave atque vale—hail and farewell—to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 1926 to 2022.
There are moments and events in our lives that remain unforgettable and can never be replicated. Such has been the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the proclamation of Prince Charles as King Charles III. For the past two weeks, people around the world have been captivated by the unparalleled public display of tradition, protocol, regalia and sombre parades—an extraordinary public display of gratitude and admiration. Throughout it all, the world witnessed Great Britain at its best. With absolute perfection and precision at each step of the way, the endless formalities and ceremonies, which included the participation of a wide cross-section of British society, including the royal family, military and police sectors, Scottish bagpipes, religious ceremonies, angelic choirs and everyday British people, were all meticulously planned and superbly executed.
After two weeks of extreme commentary, glowing tributes and personal anecdotes, there is little left to say that has not been said, but I will share some brief observations about the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and events of recent days. The public fascination with protocol and regalia suggests to me that these practices still serve an important function in society and that there is a silent public craving for ceremonial conventions. In a world where there is growing indifference to civic standards of behaviour, protocols do not merely reflect heritage and historical traditions; they express public standards, pride, tradition and appreciation—protocols observed so well by Queen Elizabeth II. Protocols also reflect an orderly society and the values which guide that order. Importantly, protocol brings dignity to the person or the occasion. The protocols and ceremonies in response to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, including here in Australia and in this parliament, speak so clearly to how highly she was regarded, and how widely.
Notwithstanding their special status in society, members of the royal family have normal human emotions as they deal with both their personal and their public lives. Watching Queen Elizabeth's family members on ceremonial parade on the day of her funeral and on the days leading up to it, with media and public eyes scrutinising their every move, brought home the reality that these were real people grieving the loss of a person very dear to their hearts. To all of them, I—and on behalf of the people of Makin—offer my sincere condolences. More than anyone else I know of, Queen Elizabeth II lived under that intense spotlight for 70 years, never able to let her guard down whilst in public. Yet, to my knowledge, not once did she falter. It was her persona and her decency, which others have spoken so extensively about, that brought dignity and honour not just to herself but to the entire British monarchy.
Since her coronation in 1952, South Australians have had an enduring fondness for Queen Elizabeth. The City of Elizabeth and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide's western suburbs—and I note the member for Spence who is here mentioned them earlier in his address—were both established in the years immediately following her coronation and named in her honour, ensuring that her name will live on in South Australia.
A quotation from Roman philosopher Cicero perhaps best sums up the life of Queen Elizabeth II: 'The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.' The life of Queen Elizabeth II has been affectionately placed in the memories of countless people throughout the world. That is, I believe, the greatest honour that any person can receive. Queen Elizabeth II now lies in Windsor Castle, alongside her husband, Prince Philip; her father, King George VI; and her mother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, where now she can rest in peace.
On 6 February 1952, at the age of only 25, Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was pronounced Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II after the passing of her father, King George VI. What followed was 70 years—seven decades—of service, strength and steadfast devotion to Australia, to the Commonwealth and to her people throughout. She bravely led our world through the rapidly evolving eras of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Her Majesty was more than a figurehead of the monarchy. Behind the crown was a woman with a sense of humour, who loved her family and her country. Her public appearances were often noted by brightly coloured ensembles. She rode horses, owned thoroughbreds, raced pigeons and loved her corgis. I personally have been inspired by her leadership. Every day since I first stood in this House and publicly declared in my oath of allegiance, as I had done previously as a parliamentary secretary in the 46th Parliament, that 'I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second'—Queen of Australia—'so help me God', I've endeavoured to faithfully serve the people of Australia as Her Majesty herself so remarkably exemplified. Only two days prior to her passing, Her Majesty was still fulfilling her duties by inviting the United Kingdom's new Prime Minister, the Hon. Liz Truss, to form a government. What an example of life-long service.
The Queen knew that a life of public service was not for the faint-hearted. In 1945, during the Second World War, Her Majesty joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, becoming the first female royal to join the armed services as a full-time active member. There she was taught to service army trucks, which undoubtedly developed a love for cars, particularly Land Rovers, that would continue throughout her long life. Her relationship with the armed forces was deeply personal. She was the daughter, wife and mother of naval officers. She understood better than most the burdens and glory of a life in service.
Her Majesty knew how to serve others because she first served God. Her Christian faith was evident in her good works, contributing to hundreds of charities in her lifetime. She believed in peace and reconciliation with all people, no matter what race, religion, gender or social status. She believed wholeheartedly in Jesus Christ's teaching of forgiveness and love. In one of Her Majesty's famous Christmas broadcasts, she said:
Every day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.
The pages of Her Majesty's condolence book I had in my office was quickly filled with messages of reflection, hope and love for our beloved Queen and the royal family. I'd like to share some of those messages with you now. The Colgrave family of Bracken Ridge wrote, 'Thank you, Ma'am, for your amazing service to God and country. May you rest in peace.' Lynda Roberts in North Lakes said: 'No words can really express our thanks for your service. You were one in a million.' Chloe and Joshua Bachtman, from Mango Hill, with their children, Lucas, Hannah, Grace and Eli, say: 'Thank you for your stoic empowering service. You were a pillar of consistency in our life. Thank you for empowering young women around the world.' Maree Paul of Aspley wrote, 'Memories of the Queen will remain deep in all our hearts.' I visited BallyCara, a retirement village in Scarborough, recently, and it was great to see the residents come forward to share their condolences and memory of Her Majesty. Judy Copeland was one resident who remembered attending a coronation street party for the Queen, dressed as a fairy, in 1953. Lastly, from Fay Barron in Deception Bay, a simple, heartfelt message that echoes all of our sentiments: 'Thank you. Hard to believe she is gone.'
As Her Majesty once said, 'Grief is the price we pay for love.' Our world shares in the profound grief of the royal family in losing their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and I pass on my sincerest condolences during this time. On behalf of myself, the people of Petrie and Australia, I thank God for Her Majesty's faithful service and leadership. May she rest in eternal peace.
Much has been said of the Queen's long association with Australia. When the Queen travelled to Australia in 1954, it was the first time a reigning monarch had ever visited Australia. However, her association with Australia preceded that with almost 30 kilograms of dried fruit having been provided for her wedding cake in 1947, the '10,000 mile cake,' by Girl Guides Australia. Upon arriving in Melbourne in 1954, nearly a million people lined the Queen's 'Royal Road' from Essendon Airport to Government House. The Queen went on to visit Australia 15 more times and, over this time, built a special connection with so many in our community.
As the member for Fraser, I want to focus on the connection between the Queen's service, and the nature of my electorate and the broader, modern Australian community. When the Queen first toured Australia in 1954, Australia was still experiencing the burden of the white Australia policy. It was a very different nation from the Australia of 2022. Almost seven decades on from that first visit, we are now one of the world's great multicultural communities. We are simultaneously home to the world's oldest continuous culture and to people who identify from over 270 different ancestries. I represent one of the country's most diverse electorates, nearly half of its over 170,000 citizens were born overseas or have parents born overseas. They come from over 170 countries, with the largest community having its origins in Vietnam. The residents of Fraser speak over 111 languages and practice over 30 religions.
In reflecting on the Queen's life, I also reflected on why and how she mattered for a highly diverse modern community such as my own, many of whose members arrived in Australia only recently. What is the role the Queen played in modern Australia, and how had this evolved as Australia had? In a recent essay about the monarch's nuanced relationship with modern Australia's multiculturalism, a young person from Australia's Vietnamese community noted that the involvement of the Queen in community service over an extended period of time had resonated with her and many in her community. She said:
Look at my family, they're very big on the good works and good deeds … I think that could be a reflection of the wider community. Actions speak louder than words.
I'm a republican, but, regardless of where one stands on that issue, it's been very noticeable to me how the Queen's extended service to community resonated across the many different and varied elements of the Fraser community.
A second and related issue for me is the Queen's own observations on tolerance and diversity. She lived through an era when Australia and many other nations experienced a range of challenges that created many social tensions and were misused by many to sow division. A good example of her response to this was her 2004 annual Christmas message. When many countries in the world were responding to the threat of terrorism, she highlighted the parable of the good Samaritan, who helped a despised foreigner. She said:
Some people feel that their own beliefs are being threatened.
… … …
They all need to be reassured that there is so much to be gained by reaching out to others; that diversity is indeed a strength and not a threat.
In addition to her unwavering dedication to service, which many have noted eloquently in the course of today's speeches, I believe that it is this service—when coupled with the Queen's commitment to democratic institutions, to diversity and to tolerance—that helps explain why she appealed to a community like Fraser, which comes from so many varied backgrounds. Over her long reign, Queen Elizabeth II saw Australia change, and she knew that it would and should continue to do so. She always had faith in our nation's capacity to chart its own course.
To the Queen's family and loved ones, including to King Charles III, I pass on my condolences. I conclude by paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II and to her dedication to duty, faith, service and family, which was inspiring and comforting to so many.
I rise today to speak on behalf of the people of North Sydney, to extend our condolences to the royal family on the passing of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth II was an extraordinary person who dedicated her life to public service. Her Majesty's 70-year reign as head of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth has had a deep impact on the world as we know it. As the longest-ruling British monarch in history, Queen Elizabeth II presided over a period of immense change, from the aftermath of the Second World War to the moon landing, the development of television and the internet, multiple economic crises and the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Known for her quick wit—and generous wit—grace and fortitude, Her Majesty bore witness to some of the world's greatest medical and technological breakthroughs and was frequently a steadying presence and a source of comfort and constancy for many during turbulent and unpredictable times. Indeed, more than eight in 10 Australians have not known a world without Queen Elizabeth II.
In the North Sydney electorate, Queen Elizabeth II will be remembered fondly. She visited our community for the first time in February 1954, as part of her first official royal tour of Australia. Current Hunters Hill mayor Zac Miles described her visit as a 'cherished moment in history for our community'. He said:
Residents turned up in great numbers to wave and cheer at the open topped motorcade as out glided past Boronia Park on Ryde Road something specially arranged for the people of Hunters Hill by request of the Council of the day.
Similarly, in Lane Cove the royal entourage had planned to traverse quickly through the community by travelling from Concord repatriation hospital to Sydney via the Fig Tree Bridge and Burns Bay Road. According to the account of the current mayor, Andrew Zbik, however, the Lane Cove crowd lining Burns Bay Road was up to five people deep in places. The public reception was so immense that the car had to slow down to a snail's pace, and former mayor Alderman George Venteman was actually able to say, 'Welcome to Lane Cove, Your Majesty,' to which the Queen graciously responded, 'Thank you, Mr Mayor.'
Up at the main shopping centre, the Duke of Edinburgh spotted nine-year-old Rosemary Gardner holding a bouquet of flowers; Rosemary threw it and the duke caught it on the fly as the car moved on. At the corner of Parklands Avenue, the duke saw yet another girl, Susan Bowles, holding out a bouquet; this time the duke leaned out the car window and scooped it up as the motorcade drove past.
In the North Sydney local government area, crowds lined Military Road in Neutral Bay to see the royal motorcade, and 48,000 schoolchildren saw the Queen as she drove slowly through St Leonards Park, where a plaque was later placed to commemorate her visit. As the current mayor, Zoe Baker, has said, the Queen's long reign has been admired and respected by many, and she will be mourned and sadly missed. The Queen is also remembered fondly in the Willoughby local government area, with current Willoughby Mayor Tanya Taylor noting that the beloved Queen Elizabeth II grove in Muston Park, which features lemon scented gums and a beautiful wisteria walkway, is named in the Queen's honour and never ceases to enchant anyone who visits.
Meanwhile, in the small community of Alectown, near Parkes in New South Wales, my great-grandmother, Amy Marshall, had bought a new dress and was diligently practising her curtsy. My great-grandfather and Goobang Shire President, George Marshall, had been invited to attend the reception for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip when they visited Dubbo on 10 February in 1954. The Queen and Prince Philip may have been on the ground for just on an hour and a half that day, but both my great-grandmother's dress and the official invitation are still with my mum in Coonabarabran, who fondly recalls her grandparents regaling her with the experience. It seems that it really didn't matter how long you had in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II; somehow, she had a way of making every person she met feel like they were the only one that mattered in that moment and that she, like they, would remember the exchange for a lifetime.
Queen Elizabeth II's legacy to us has been one where she encouraged us to be all we can be, and she modelled for us what true servant leadership looks like. Vale, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
In speaking on this condolence motion, I want to convey the thanks of the people of Ballarat for Her Majesty's 70 years of service. In reflecting on Her Majesty's life, I am, and have been in the past 15 days, acutely conscious that many First Nations people have been grieving this week, for loss of place, culture and identity. I do believe, in the complex nature of this nation, there is room to both acknowledge and respect the role Her Majesty has played throughout her life and, at the same time, understand its place in our history. That is, after all, how we change: by recognising who we are as a nation—all of our history in its complexity and how it has been experienced differently by different peoples and by respecting those experiences and working together to shape what comes next. It's in that spirit that I wish to acknowledge the rich contribution of Queen Elizabeth II to our Australian story.
It seems unfathomable to all of us that, at the age of 25, someone could dedicate 70 years of their life to the service of the community with such grace, dignity and care and such constancy. The story of the past 70 years tells an extraordinary story of our nation's progress. From 1954, with the Queen's first visit to our shores, the nation was a very different place, and my home town of Ballarat was very different, too.
Since its founding, Ballarat has had a long history of royal visits. In the 19th century we welcomed Prince Alfred and Prince George, and in the 20th we welcomed more dukes, princes and assorted royalty than I could name. But the two visits that have meant the most in our living history and of which memories remain the strongest are of course the visits of Queen Elizabeth II.
In 1954 and in 2000, the people of Ballarat came out to welcome the Queen. If you look at the photos from 1954, it looks like the entire town of Ballarat was there, decked out in their best and crowding the streets for the very best view. The photos of the Queen in the Botanic Gardens at the—then only second—Ballarat Begonia Festival are very much part of our local history. It was reported that she said: 'We grow begonias as big as saucers, but you as big as dinner plates.' By the year 2000, the crowds along Sturt Street hadn't thinned. I was elected the year after her visit. If you talk to anyone who lived in Ballarat at the time, we have very clear memories of the day, whether it be of gathering with family, friends or school groups, or of some of the gorgeous women in our community dressed up in tiaras and pearls as they greeted her. I've never actually been able to confirm this story, but local legend tells us that there was some controversy that helicopters were hired to be flown down the main street the day before her visit to ensure that any lose acorns were blown from the trees, as there was great concern that Her Majesty would slip on one or roll her ankle on her walk down Sturt Street. We showed her our best on those occasions, whether it was through the beautiful Begonia Festival in 1954 or at our famous Sovereign Hill in 2000. I'm also pleased to report that the new King has also been to Ballarat and to Sovereign Hill.
When you think of those two visits to Ballarat, it's impossible not to reflect on how much our community and our city have changed over those years. In 1954, we were still a small town in a distant corner of the world. By 2000, Ballarat and the world had changed, and we've been changing ever since. Through all of that change, there has been a constant: a woman of extraordinary dedication to service, to duty, to family and to people. The people of Ballarat send our condolences to King Charles III and his family—it's a time of grief for them—and we wish him all the very best for the years to come.
My grandmother is the same age as Queen Elizabeth was and has now outlived her. She was part of the 70 per cent of Australians who turned out to see the Queen while she was visiting Australia. She had a fleeting interaction with the Queen, and it became an anecdote to be passed down the generations. I find it hard to imagine the pressure of every moment of small talk turning into a treasured anecdote for someone, let alone for 70 years.
The depth of mourning for the Queen across the world is largely because we know that we lose something extraordinary as we mark the passing of her and her generation. She was part of the generation who grew up in the Depression and spent their formative years in a world war. They were shaped by service to community and country and making the best of it. There was to be no complaining. People had manners, treated each other with compassion and focused more on their own obligations than on their rights. Life was about community, and she spent much of her energy recognising people's contributions to community. These are core virtues that have not been tested in a generation like mine in Australia. Living through relative peace and economic prosperity has shifted our focus inwards. In many ways, we are the poorer for it.
The world has changed so much in her 96 years, from radio to internet and from empire to Brexit. The role of the Crown has shifted and will continue to shift. There must have been times when she didn't know how to fulfil her duty, when the modern world and the millennium-old institution she was upholding came into conflict. She must have felt frustrated by decisions of the leaders who served alongside her, unsure about how to respond to the long-term impacts of colonisation and bemused by the shifting values of those around her. But she never showed it. She knew that her role was to provide stability and dignity, and she delivered that to the end, through 16 Australian prime ministers and 40 corgis. She was the custodian of the British culture of self-restraint.
For many, the Queen's passing is a painful reminder of the impact of colonisation. I learnt yesterday of the passing of another cultural leader, Mr Woolagoodja, a respected Worrorra man and artist from the Mowanjum community in the Kimberley region, whose art of the wandjina, a sacred creation spirit, was the centrepiece at the opening of the Sydney Olympics and whose cultural role it was to maintain wandjina cave paintings for his people and pass on knowledge of his country and culture to younger generations. He too, like the Queen, worked hard to preserve his culture following his people's removal off their country to Mowanjum community near Derby, leaving a legacy for emerging community leaders. I pay my respects for his passing too. Mowanjum is a long way from London, but, at this time of mourning across the world, we can learn from First Nations people's deep respect for their elders.
The Queen spoke to people of all ages with respect, and they returned her respect. The pre-primaries from Hollywood Primary in my electorate shared their thoughts about the Queen. River said:
She was the Queen. Her job was to tell people what to do and some things she had to do like helping people.
When the Queen dies everyone needed to do less work because they needed to remember her. Her job was to look after the government. Her crown had jewels and she wore it so everyone knew that she was the Queen.
She bossed the Prime Minister.
Her job was to work a lot.
I love her care. She cared about everyone.
These kids will remember her in name only, but those of us who witnessed some of the changes during her 70-year reign, both good and bad, will remember her quiet and committed service as we watch the world continue to change rapidly. The world will never see another like her.
On behalf of the people of Curtin, I extend my condolences to the family and the peoples of Queen Elizabeth.
I rise today to express my condolences and those of the people of Eden-Monaro on the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September this year. I wish to recognise the extraordinary and long-lasting contribution she has made and the great sense of loss being felt across Australia's territories, the Eden-Monaro region and our very diverse communities.
Her Majesty the Queen was a remarkable role model. In the course of 70 years of service and duty, we came to learn a lot about her sense of humour and her unwavering grace and commitment to service, including to the Australian people. Her Majesty demonstrated a great interest in the vitality and prosperity of regional Australia, and she spent time in many regional centres and small towns, many of which are in the electorate of Eden-Monaro.
In March 1963, on just her second trip to Australia, Queen Elizabeth II toured the then Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority, which we now know as Snowy Hydro. Her presence was felt across the region, visiting Cooma, Jindabyne, Eucumbene, Kiandra, Guthega and Cabramurra, from Talbingo to Khancoban and Adaminaby to Berridale, through to Queanbeyan, where Her Majesty unveiled a plaque to commemorate her visit in 1977 which still stands today in the bicentennial hall. The Queen made visiting our regions a priority, and these townships and their communities are forever etched into royal history.
As the member for the vast seat of Eden-Monaro, I often talk about the number of kilometres I've travelled visiting constituents and communities. It is not lost on me, when reflecting on Queen Elizabeth II's journey across Eden-Monaro, across Australia and the entire Commonwealth, that her journeys would have taken in probably millions of kilometres, travelling the realm, visiting communities big and small, to express her service to our communities. I want to express my deep respect and admiration to Her Majesty for that feat alone.
Through her visits, Her Majesty gained a deep understanding of regional Australia and the hardworking people in these communities. In her leadership and service, she has inspired countless people to advocate for and represent their own communities. I want to acknowledge the lasting connection Queen Elizabeth II had with two organisations that are especially active across Eden-Monaro. The Country Women's Association have said, through my office:
Our deepest sympathy to the Royal family on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second. The Queen was an inspiration to us all through our dedication and service to our country. May she rest in eternal peace.
The Girl Guides have said:
Her Majesty had a strong connection with Girl Guides from when she made her Girl Guide Promise at age eleven as a member of the first Buckingham Palace Guides. At Girl Guide halls throughout Eden-Monaro, portraits of the Queen have been a constant in the lives of the many girls and women who have passed through them.
Her Majesty showed the world the strength and courage of young women when they lead. Her Majesty demonstrated what it is to do your best and to positively contribute to your community, by keeping a promise that she made in her youth—no matter how short or long her life would be, it would be one of service.
I extend my deepest gratitude to the work of both of those organisations. As the Patron Girl Guide for Queanbeyan and Bega, I echo the sentiments from both the Girl Guides and the Country Women's Association.
In my role as minister for territories, I want to acknowledge the deep connection that Her Majesty had with the territories of Australia. Her commitment to Canberra, visiting the national capital on 14 separate occasions—more than any other Australian city—showed that the most. Queen Elizabeth II enjoyed a plentiful following, but in Canberra her royal visits captured the hearts of thousands as they gathered in droves just to catch a glimpse of her. Her Majesty's trips spanned the years from 1954, when she opened a session at what is now Old Parliament House, to her final visit in 2011, when she was welcomed by three exceptional women and leaders: our then Governor-General, Dame Quentin Bryce; the Hon. Julia Gillard, our first female Prime Minister; and Senator Katy Gallagher, who at the time was Chief Minister of the ACT.
On Her Majesty's second-last trip to Australia, in 2006, Queen Elizabeth II honoured the courageous and heroic firefighters who'd fought the January 2003 bushfires—an important acknowledgement of the nation's capital. She visited Cocos (Keeling) Islands in 1954 and Norfolk Island in 1974. Her generous time and presence on both islands was warmly welcomed. I'm grateful for the recognition that the people of our community have shown Queen Elizabeth. She was a remarkable woman and an exemplary role model, and her presence will be forever felt across our country.
I rise to speak on the address to His Majesty King Charles III and pay tribute to the life of Queen Elizabeth II, a remarkable sovereign but, first and foremost, a remarkable person, a remarkable human being. She was born in 1926 and, as a young girl, lived in London during the Blitz. My own grandfather, who's still alive, thankfully, also lived in London at that time, and I know, through the experiences he had, how significant that was in shaping her and her dedication to the future roles that she would undertake with such spectacular aplomb as our sovereign for 70 years.
The monarchy has a few compulsory elements and many, albeit expected, voluntary components. Queen Elizabeth II undertook an enormous workload and went far beyond the minimum requirements of the role of sovereign. Apart from opening the parliament and signing various instruments et cetera, which she did with great aplomb and consistency, she was an unbelievable leader, patron and contributor to communities throughout the Commonwealth, both before and during her 70-year reign. In this country, of course, we were particularly lucky to have her visit us on 16 separate occasions, and every time she had such a spectacular impact on so many communities throughout the nation.
We're so lucky to have a system of government with the institution of the monarchy at its pinnacle. We are one of the greatest, proudest and oldest continuing democracies, and it is because we have a constitutional monarchy. Her custodianship of the role of sovereign of the Crown and that institution for 70 years is why we continue to be such a vibrant democracy. The monarchy is at the head of so many elements of our society, government and economy—this parliament of course, the executive, the judiciary, the armed forces and many community organisations, from the Scouts and Girl Guides to the RSL. It is on our currency and, at times, on our postage stamps. We should cherish and fight for the stable system we have under the constitutional monarchy in this country and reflect on where we would be if we didn't have the spectacular, peaceful and tranquil democratic nation we live in and sometimes, perhaps, take for granted. We must always be vigilant and, in remembering Her Majesty, remember that while she was at the head of that institution we have had such an exceptional 70 years as a nation.
In my electorate, as in all electorates, there has been a remarkable outpouring of grief but also a commemoration and, sometimes, a celebration of a remarkable life and a remarkable contribution to this nation. As so many members have reflected, at all of the offices where we've had condolence books we've had people coming in a steady stream not only to leave a message but often to have conversations with members and staff. Sometimes they've spoken about personal experiences they had with the sovereign, but also they've spoken of their love and admiration for Queen Elizabeth II and what she did in that role for so very, very long.
In recent months we heard media reports of times when she could not maintain the pace and the workload that she had until so very recently. It reminds us of what an exceptionally hardworking lady she was into her 96th year. More than 30 years after the retirement age in the United Kingdom, she was still working harder than any of us—because, of course, she took so seriously that vow of serving the Commonwealth for the entirety of her life. She absolutely kept that vow.
Our deepest condolences to His Majesty King Charles III and the royal family, and grateful thanks from me, my electorate and all Australians for the Queen's service to this nation.
I am grateful for the opportunity to express my condolences for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty's dedicated service to the people of the United Kingdom and, indeed, all of her subjects within the Commonwealth since 1952 was without equal. For the vast majority of Australians, she was the only monarch we ever knew. Her warmth, presence and voice were a steady source of comfort and reassurance, and their absence will be sorely felt by many.
It is well known that the Queen truly loved Australia and its people. Our easygoing attitude and our beautiful land leave an impression on most, and this was certainly reflected by our Queen. Her admiration was shown on many occasions. Indeed, on her last visit to Australia, in 2011, she remarked:
Ever since I first came here in 1954, I have watched Australia grow and develop at an extraordinary rate. This country has made dramatic progress economically, in social, scientific and industrial endeavours and, above all, in self-confidence.
I do not doubt that the Queen remained impressed with our nation's path since that statement over a decade ago.
As our head of state, Queen Elizabeth oversaw the development of Australia's relationship with the United Kingdom from the 1950s to the present. No matter the issue or event, Her Majesty approached all matters with the grace and diligence she was well known for. She placed her faith in the people of Australia and in our institutions to solve the challenges facing our nation.
The Queen's ability to voluntarily keep together over 50 ethnically, religiously and culturally diverse nations in the Commonwealth for over seven decades is a testament to her statecraft. The Queen was truly dedicated to each Commonwealth nation and showed admiration for all cultures and religions. An example of this commitment was during the height of Britain's response to apartheid in South Africa. Her belief against apartheid was such that she outright rejected then British prime minister Margaret Thatcher's attempts to stop the sanctions against the apartheid regime. No-one was more grateful for her actions than Nelson Mandela, who always referred to the Queen as 'my dear friend Elizabeth'.
While the second Elizabethan era has come to an end, I am confident that our memories of Her Majesty will be with us for the rest of our lives. Queen Elizabeth II's example of public service and dedication should never be forgotten, and this is how I will continue to honour her.
In the days since Her Majesty's death, dozens of Kooyong constituents have contacted me to express their sadness and their sense of loss. What unites their views is the feeling that Queen Elizabeth was, to them, both a phenomenon, a symbol of modern history; and a person, a woman who assumed a role of great responsibility at an early age, who carried that responsibility throughout her adult life—a woman for whom most felt great respect and admiration.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II ruled for an extraordinary 70 years, a period of accelerating turbulence and seismic transition in our world. Her time on the throne saw a revolution in science, technology, industry, geopolitics and sociology.
When she was six years old a young Elizabeth told her riding instructor that she wanted to grow up to be a country lady with lots of horses and dogs. The circumstances of her birth were such that that could never be her future, but her love of the countryside remained and was transmitted into decades of advocacy for wildlife and the environment.
Australians in their 70s and older can remember when that 25-year-old English woman was suddenly thrust into the world's spotlight, placed on a 1,200 year old throne and crowned with the weight of history, the expectation and responsibility of a Commonwealth. Those older Australians grew up with Her Majesty. As they married and had children, so too did their Queen. As they moved through each stage of life experiencing love and loss, so too did their Queen. As they raised their children and their grandchildren, we learnt from them of a Queen that they felt connected to, a constant in their lives and then in our lives, whose steadfast stoicism was always there providing familiar comfort and calm.
For many Australians though this period of mourning the Queen cannot be separated from their own lifetimes of mourning—of mourning bloodlines and song lines—of land, language and children stolen. The persisting sorrow felt by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as Australia pays tribute to our Queen cannot be denied. Those First Nations people were dispossessed of a land on which they had lived for tens of thousands of years through a declaration of terra nullius—nobody's land. We all share this history. We must all speak and hear our truths. And we must acknowledge our past if we are to move forward together.
During the COVID-19 pandemic Queen Elizabeth took to the BBC to speak to her millions of subjects. She told them:
… while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.
At that time of great anxiety her message was a metaphorical steadying hand on the shoulder of a people grappling with uncharted uncertainty and fear for their loved ones and for themselves.
One of her final speeches was less than a year ago at the Glasgow Climate Change Conference. Unusually, she used that address to appeal directly to political leaders who had gathered to act on climate change. She told them:
If we fail to cope with this challenge, all the other problems will pale into insignificance.
Her parting words have become more poignant with the passage of time, but they apply to the people of Australia and they are very relevant to us in this House:
None of us will live forever. But we are doing this not for ourselves but for our children and our children's children…
When Queen Elizabeth was crowned in 1953 the Australian House of Representatives had 124 members; none were women. The past is a foreign country. The Australia of 1953 is a very different Australia from that of 2022. The second Elizabethan age has seen the world change immeasurably. It has seen Australia achieve a new maturity which has, I believe, allowed us to recognise that this is the time to recognise all of our history and to move on together as a nation.
The people of Kooyong thank Queen Elizabeth II for her duty and for her service. Her death marks the end of an era. May we all reflect on her words, her example and her legacy as we embark upon the next.
I rise to make a contribution on the condolence motion for Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the people of the Hunter. The Queen represents a generation that we may never see again, one of unwavering commitment to duty and a lifetime of public service in the greatest of limelight. She embodied grace, care, comfort and kindness. She was a source of strength and stability in an ever-changing world.
Something that I admire about the Queen is that she was certainly no stranger to hard work. She was the epitome of formality and elegance. She also loved to get her hands dirty. As the Second World War raged closer to the United Kingdom, a young Princess Elizabeth insisted on helping her country's war efforts. She began her training as a mechanic in March 1945 and undertook a driving and vehicle maintenance course. She carried what she learned as a mechanic throughout the whole of her life, often being seen behind the wheel. She was even known to diagnose and repair a faulty engine, just as she had been taught to do during her wartime service. Even as a Queen of 70 years she still had more experience in a trade than many in this place. This just goes to show you that, regardless of your status or position in the world, good life experience and hands-on training in a trade will never go to waste.
Her Majesty's love of horses was well known. She loved to ride them and she owned many a fine racehorse. She had close ties to Australian trainers. One of her horses was even entered in the Melbourne Cup. I have no doubt she would have loved to visit the word-class horse studs in my electorate. After visiting these myself, it was easy to see why she loved these amazing animals so much. Her love of cars and horses, plus her good sense of humour, made her well placed to fit in with many everyday Australians. I reckon she and I would have got along pretty well, too.
The Queen was a strong supporter of the Commonwealth Games. I've been lucky enough to represent Australia at four Commonwealth Games. I remember at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne the Queen visiting, which was met with much excitement by all the athletes involved. The Commonwealth Games gave me the opportunity to visit many different parts of the Commonwealth, which is a very diverse group of countries, all united by her reign. As someone who participated in the Commonwealth Games, I would thank Her Majesty for her support of the games and the athletes around the world. Some of my best memories are from representing Australia on the Commonwealth stage. This could not have been made possible without the support of the Queen. For this, I am extremely grateful.
Unfortunately, the people of the Hunter never had the chance to welcome the Queen to their area, with Newcastle and Maitland being the closest she got to the Hunter electorate. However, I'm sure that many in the Hunter have memories of heading to Newcastle or Maitland to join the thousands who lined the streets just to get a glimpse of the monarch.
Queen Elizabeth II was an example to all in public life. Her leadership leaves lessons for all of us to follow. On behalf of the residents of the Hunter electorate, I extend my sincere condolences to the royal family, and I wish the King, Charles III, all the best as he ascends to his lifelong destiny as King. I look forward to, hopefully, welcoming him to the Hunter at some point in the future and showing him the best part of the Commonwealth, the mighty Hunter Valley.
I rise to share condolences for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of my constituents of Fowler, one of the most culturally diverse communities in Australia, where over 70 per cent of our population were born overseas or had parents born overseas, a community that's resilient, hardworking and the economic backbone of this country, an electorate that reflects a vibrant and rich multicultural Australia, an Australia which I share, from the sound of it, with the member for Fraser.
We are concluding a period of mourning or, as we call it in Australia, a period of observance. We have heard many condolences from members in the House today paying tribute to and farewelling one of the longest-reigning monarchs, who served her people with grace, humility and empathy. Queen Elizabeth's reign was unique and it was selfless. A woman ahead of her time, she reigned with compassion and led by example in acts of service instead of ruling with an iron fist as those before her did. She knew the Crown and the monarchy could exist not by demanding service from its people but, rather, by serving them.
There have been great stories shared today of her visits to Australia. The closest she got to south-western Sydney was on a train passing Penrith, as the member for Lindsay recalled in her condolence speech this morning. Even the late former prime minister Gough Whitlam, who represented the electorate of Fowler, as I do today, loved the Queen and what she stood for, as recalled by the Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Marles, this morning.
I know that many of my constituents in Fowler love the Queen as well. Many are migrants and refugees and got to know the monarchy and its great democratic institutions following their resettlement here in Australia. Many of our culturally diverse groups have held memorial services to mark her passing, holding their own unique interpretations of a memorial service. Our Fowler electorate office has also been inundated with requests for her portrait, and we have a waiting list as we put in more orders.
I send my sincere condolences to the Queen's family and wish the new king, King Charles III, a prosperous and healthy reign. To the late Queen: now you can lay your crown at the feet of the Lord and rest your weary head, for he will give you rest in eternal peace in heaven.
I would like to end on a poem dedicated to the late Queen, written by some of my constituents, the Beherensch family of St Johns Park:
Today I walk this world with sorry
The darkest day I have now seen
For the news I have heard
The greatest Lady had past my Queen
Her life of service to the end
She walked the Commonwealth miles to miles
Alway's known for her Energetic Smiles
The greatest woman I have known
To the world she shone to all
A place in my heart will always's be there
My honour to your service will alway's be there
Your service has now come to past
We all feel with the heaviest of hearts
Vale to Queen Elizabeth II my Queen
With glinting eyes and beautiful smile to last
May a thousand Angel wing's
Will carry you to your heaven
The love of your life
To Phillip as to where the angels sing
Forever to your life service
And to all of those you rule over'
With a pure heart to all in between
Your my Ma'am, My sovereign, My Queen.
I rise today to offer my condolences to the family of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Twenty-five years old—what a young age to step into public life, and Her Majesty did this day after day for 70 years. We live in a time when people typically change their career three times in their lifetime and retire in their 60s as opposed to their 90s. Queen Elizabeth's commitment to community service was clear.
I like to think that Her Majesty was ahead of her time. When she was 19 years old, she trained as a mechanic. I imagine she was part of a small but growing number of women who picked up a trade during wartime efforts. I hope that this little-known fact encourages girls to understand that you can both get on the tools and put on a dress and frock up—but perhaps not at the same time!
Her Majesty was no technophobe. The Queen stepped into a role at a time when television was brand new. For the Queen's coronation ceremony, the then UK Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, was horrified at the thought of using cameras inside the sacred Westminster Abbey. Meanwhile, Her Majesty arguably wanted to break down class barriers and televise the ceremony. For the first time in history, about 30 million people witnessed the coronation, and many more tuned in across the world.
The Queen was one of the first televised working mothers the public saw. Yes, she had support bringing up her children; however, I think that she understood what working women needed—that support. I was so pleased to learn that Queen Elizabeth II opened Lady Gowrie kindergarten in 1953 in East Victoria Park, my home suburb in the heart of Swan. Lady Gowrie—another woman ahead of her time—was passionate about the wellbeing of children and early childhood education, particularly for disadvantaged children. She achieved the extraordinary, which was that the Commonwealth government established Lady Gowrie childcare centres in 1939. Child care was critical due to skills shortages from the wartime effort, and, of course, child care allowed women to step up and participate in the paid workforce. Better access to child care was needed in the 1930s, and we still need it in the 2020s.
In my humble opinion, our Queen had the most genuine smiles and the twinkliest eyes when she interacted with children. Perhaps this was because of children's infectious joy and unfiltered enthusiasm. I love this story from her visit to Geraldton in 1988. Two sisters, Belinda de Corti and Jo Hawkins, had travelled with their parents from Mullewa. As free-spirited country girls do, they ran into the crowd, past the barricades, to present the Queen with some flowers. Quickly, security nabbed Belinda, and she immediately burst into tears. Prince Philip quickly intervened, and the girls were able to meet Her Majesty. The girls remember a gentle and kind lady. The Queen was in disbelief when the girls explained that they had a pet kangaroo and an emu back on the farm.
There's another story from 1988. In the Goldfields, a young 26-year-old woman, Kerry Pettit, got the gig of teaching 1,200 students from multiple schools to perform a dance for the Queen. She only had three months to prepare. She had to somehow take a gaggle of students from multiple schools in multiple towns and transform them into a unified dance troupe literally fit for a Queen. Students from Kambalda, Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie piled onto the oval draped in green and gold. I was lucky enough to be one of those students, so I got to rock out to Johnny Farnham's 'You're the Voice' and 'Celebration' for the Queen.
I would not have imagined that a little girl who danced for the Queen on the grass at the Kalgoorlie oval would, 36 years later, swear allegiance to the Queen as our head of state in this very place. Of course, Her Majesty opened this building, which she explained is the embodiment of the democratic principles of freedom, equality and justice, which I feel is the reason why I'm here. Following on from what our Prime Minister said yesterday, I agree that the biggest tribute that we can pay to the Queen is to have a sense of duty to each other and a renewed sense of service to our community.
It's a great honour to be able to speak on this condolence motion today in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Many of my colleagues have spoken about the great affection in which the Queen was held, and they're right. No person was more respected across Australian society. That respect was held not simply because of her office but because of how she conducted herself in that office. We saw something in her that we would like to see in ourselves.
Often in life, the most profound thing we can do is persevere. The Queen was the living embodiment of the power of perseverance. Stoic, steadfast, resolute. Through the trials faced by her nation, her family and the world, she kept going. I think that quiet perseverance is at the heart of why we so admired the Queen. In every life, challenges arise, and it can be hard to stay the course. The Queen never wavered. On some deep level, as human beings, we know that perseverance is everything. The Queen persevered.
Those who have great privilege and responsibility given to them can respond in extremely different ways. There are countless examples in history of people who inherited great power behaving shamefully. Sometimes they were indifferent to the people they were meant to serve. Sometimes their self-absorption consumed them. Sometimes they were deliberately destructive. Their power allowed them to indulge themselves. The Queen took the exact opposite course.
Where some would look after their own interests, she served others. Where some would give lip service to the idea of duty, she lived it. She didn't flinch. She didn't falter. She never gave up. Her guiding light was not her ego, but her country. The values of duty, honour and country can seem passe in the modern world, but in the 20th century those values saved the world. They may be called upon again.
In thinking about we how conduct ourselves in years ahead, we should remember the example of the Queen. In our own ways, large and small, we should define our duty and then live it. Like her, we should persevere.
I rise to add my voice to this motion to celebrate the life of Queen Elizabeth II. I carry with me the voices of so many residents of Hasluck, including the grandmother who fondly remembers dancing before the Queen on one of her many visits and the older generation, who remember standing for the then anthem in the picture theatre.
After the Queen and Duke drove through the Swan Valley and the Perth Hills in 1954, local resident Anne Harding Bamford was quoted waxing lyrical in the Swan Express of her fleeting glimpse as they passed by:
Though no word was spoken, I clearly could see
That in that short moment between her and me
A bond had been forged, whose memory would stay
To remind me forever of that glorious day.
I especially want to mention the members of our RSL clubs in Bellevue, Chidlow, Ellenbrook and Kalamunda and Mundaring who express their reverence for the Queen's dedication to a life in public service. Likewise, a number of generations of veterans have served Queen and country. The Kalamunda sub-branch of the RSL remembers:
Australian men and women have proudly worn Her Majesty's emblems. Their Royal Australian Navy badge, their Army corps badges or their RAAF Squadron badges surmounted by the St Edward's crown Her Majesty wore at her coronation, have been proudly worn by our veterans in every corner of the world.
On her 21st birthday in 1947 the then Princess Elizabeth set the tone for her eventual reign, promising to us all that she would devote her life to our service, and to the very end she remained steadfast in that promise. And that term "Service" forms an inextricable bond between our members and Her Late Majesty. As we veterans have "served", along with our affiliate members from organisations such as the State Emergency Service and Volunteer Fire Brigades, we have had the beacon of her own unfailing service to guide our actions.
The Queen's very long reign, combined with her tireless work ethic, allowed her to connect directly and indirectly with more people across the globe than perhaps any world leader in history. She made the world smaller and united people from across many nations and cultures. On a personal level, this has meant that, even though I have personally never met Her Majesty, I am connected to her with only one degree of separation, in that, firstly, my parents-in-law, from the former Yugoslavia, had the opportunity in 1974, while living in what was then known as the Australian Territory of Papua New Guinea, to attend a garden party at Port Moresby with the Queen; and, secondly, some years ago, I had the opportunity to meet the lady from Subiaco, Western Australia, who taught the Queen to drive during World War II. As we've heard throughout the condolence motions today, these are not unusual stories.
In a time of rapid technological, economic, social and geopolitical change, it is hard to think of any person who managed to stand as steadfast as the Queen did and represent an unwavering ideal. I read through our office condolence book in Hasluck before coming to Canberra. One word was repeated: 'remarkable'.
On behalf of a grateful nation, I rise to convey my sincere condolences to the royal family on the passing of a beloved sovereign and head of state, Queen Elizabeth II. This parliament mourns the loss of our late Queen, who served the people of the Commonwealth beautifully, with great dignity and grace, for 70 years, celebrating her Platinum Jubilee this year. As Australia's head of state for the past seven decades, the Queen has led us both through the good times that have defined our nation and also through the struggles of the difficult times, uniting us, the Australian people, through natural disasters, international conflicts, economic downturns, crises and even the recent pandemic. Inspired by her leadership and example, Australians have built a thriving nation post the Second World War, with a strong, prosperous economy and a stable civil society.
Such is the esteem in which our late Queen is held that over the past few days we have seen millions of people across the globe queuing to sign condolence books, attending memorial services in churches, and paying their respects by lining the streets of the United Kingdom to witness her funeral procession. The sophistication, colour and pageantry of the proceedings served as a reminder to us all of the importance of economic development, military service, discipline, the rule of law and patriotism in defining who we are as a society and nation. As Queen of Australia, Queen Elizabeth II set a fine example for us to follow. Our national and cultural identity as Australians is inextricably entwined in the crown—if you like, like the direction provided by a compass. We are not the lucky country by chance. Our prosperity and stability is the result of our system of government.
My electorate of Moore is home to a large British community, with approximately 17 per cent of our population born in the United Kingdom and more than 40 per cent of residents having close family connections to Britain. British culture is an intrinsic part of our everyday lives. It is part of our language, our customs, our traditions, our culture, our manners and our social graces. We are proud of our British heritage that is now an intrinsic part of modern Australian culture.
As Head of the Commonwealth, the Queen has contributed to strengthening international relations. Today the Commonwealth comprises 56 member states covering an area of approximately 30 million square kilometres, with a combined population of more than 2.4 billion of the world's citizens. As the name suggests, the Commonwealth is an institution that has lifted billions of people out of poverty across the globe by providing governance and the rule of law, and promoting industry, economic development and security. The Crown is heavy because it represents a glorious burden of responsibility for the welfare, security and prosperity of the people of the Commonwealth.
I have fond memories of our late Queen. Growing up in Singapore, I first learned about Queen Elizabeth from my grandparents. As a Eurasian family, we are the descendants of British migrants who settled, as pioneers during the days of Raffles, in the bustling colony of the Straits Settlements which later became known as Singapore. My late maternal grandfather, TB Smith, kept a framed portrait at home of a very young Queen Elizabeth. I was brought up on stories of the history of the royal family, and as a high-school student I helped plant a tree in Leederville to commemorate the Ruby Jubilee in 1992. I recall queuing up among a large crowd in the warm sun on the tarmac at Perth airport, in 2002, to catch a glimpse of the Queen as she arrived in Western Australia, and again, years later, at Government House on St Georges Terrace, for her subsequent visit to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
The Queen was a remarkable lady who enjoyed the outdoors and rural pursuits. As we look to the future, in a rapidly changing and uncertain world, we will face new threats and challenges to our country, welfare and economic prosperity. We will rise to meet these new challenges. We now place our trust in the new king, Charles III, to lead us forward and overcome the obstacles in our path. Long may he reign, and may Almighty God save the King.
Many have had plenty to say here today, and I thought that the best way for me to pay tribute was to involve those in my electorate of Bennelong. Today I'll be reading out short messages of condolence on behalf of local community organisations.
On behalf of the members of North Ryde RSL Community Club and North Ryde RSL Sub-Branch, we offer our heartfelt condolences to King Charles III, his family and all the members of the Commonwealth on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Australia and the world have lost a truly inspirational woman, who in 1952 committed to public service when she said "I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong".
The Queen fulfilled this commitment throughout her 70 year reign during the good times and the not-so-good with integrity, humility and grace. Indeed, an excellent example of how one should live one's life during these difficult times.
She had a commitment to independent thought, a policy of non-interference and an ability to join disparate peoples together. We should all aspire to these standards. She saw and understood the greater good.
May she rest in eternal peace.
This message of condolence is from John Curdie OAM, president of the Epping RSL sub-branch:
The veterans of the Epping RSL sub-branch of the Returned and Service League of Australia, mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth 2, the commander in Chief of our Defence Forces. Since her first military service in 1945, Her Majesty has had a long and proud association with the defence forces in which she has held many honorary appointments.
We join with Australia, the Commonwealth of Nations and with the millions across the world who are currently participating in history, witnessing the end of an era of Queen Elizabeth the second; An era embracing post-war reconstruction and the many changes and challenges to our society over those seven decades.
We remember and reflect upon the life of her unselfish service to all above self, her compassion to all and ever the peacemaker.
Lest we forget.
The Queen is dead. Long live the King.
This message is from the president of the Rotary Club of Epping, Mr Bruce Jacob:
The Queen lived by a leadership model that has been proven to be very successful.
She believed that some aspects of leadership are universal and involve encouraging people and organisations to combine their efforts, talents, insights, enthusiasm and inspiration to work together.
The Queen was truly a person who believed in people serving the needs of their local community.
Bennelong is a very diverse and very harmonious community.
Epping Rotary and the broader Rotary and service community, extend their condolences to the Queen, her family, the Commonwealth and beyond.
May she Rest in Peace.
Lastly, this message of condolence is from Carl Pozatto, CEO of the Ryde Eastward Leagues Club:
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the second's coronation occurred on June the 2nd, 1953. Ten years later in mid-1963, Ryde-Eastwood Leagues was formed.
Whereas, at first, the orbits of a Leagues club and a ruling monarch might seem worlds apart, the parallels between why both entities exist are plain for all to see. The queen demonstrated an unstinting passion for charities, donating far and wide across multiple countries and communities. Ryde-Eastwood Leagues, in its own right, donates and prides itself in passionately supporting its own community.
The queen was a leader who led by example. She became a symbol of inspiration for many, both within the United Kingdom and here in Australia, as our head of state. In much the same vein, we always look to lead in the same way by example to our communities.
There are three simple yet all-encompassing words that embody the queen, and which the club continues to embrace: longevity, service, and community. We along with the wider area of Bennelong reflect on the great contribution and dedication the Queen gave in her time and use this as inspiration for who we are and want to be.
My Queen! My Queen! Honourable members, the Queen is dead. Long live the King!
Today I stand on behalf of the people of Wright to offer my respect to a family and to those nations that are grieving her passing. I want to associate myself with the comments made today by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and with the reverent contributions that they made. In those contributions, it was said that grief is the price we pay for love. It was a great love we had for our Queen; thus, a great grief.
In 2011, it was her farewell tour. The Queen had travelled to Australia on 16 occasions, and I was fortunate to be present in the Great Hall to bear witness to the ceremony that was conducted here. As a new member, having been sworn in at the dispatch box in this chamber only 12 months beforehand and having given a service of allegiance to Queen and country, to then be in her presence was overwhelming. She was 85, and her husband, Philip, was then 90. She visited Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth, and the year following that she celebrated her 60th year on the throne.
As part of this speech I also want to acknowledge King Charles III and, in understanding the task that is now in front of him, reflect on the King's lineage—King Charles I and King Charles II. Regretfully, in 1625, King Charles I lost his head to Oliver Cromwell, who was a member of the parliament at that time, ironically. The King, in his wisdom, decided to dissolve the parliament. There was a revolt of the people, a civil war ensued, and the King lost his head. King Charles II was restored after Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell ruled for a relatively short amount of time. For those who seek the republican journey, I encourage you to study history as to how long that potentially can last. Only a couple of years later, the restoration of Charles II came, and he reigned for 25 years. King Charles III has had a lifetime of preparation for the role that he undertakes today. I support a monarchy limited by constitution. King, know I am your servant.
Upon reflection, there are two other qualities I admire in the Queen. This morning I sat and I thought, 'What are the two remarkable qualities that I can attribute to those in my electorate?' The words that come to mind when reflecting on the Queen's contribution are, first, her poise and, second, her steadfastness. When I think of those in my electorate who also carry the tag 'poise', I think of none other than Beth Hern OAM, who volunteers as the secretary of our show society and who rolls up day after day, year after year as a volunteer, knowing that our community is a better place for her contributions. She is graceful and she is elegant. When I think of steadfastness, a quality of the Queen, I think of a distinguished leader in my electorate—none other than the Mayor of the Lockyer Valley Regional Council, Councillor Tanya Milligan, who was first elected in 2000 and has been elected for 22 years consecutively. Resolute, dutiful and firm, she has led through many disasters, mostly floods and droughts, within the electorate of Wright.
On behalf of the people of Wright and a grieving nation, I pay my respects to a remarkable person who led an exemplary life of service. We close the chapter now on the second Elizabethan age. Vale, my Queen.
I have a few brief words on behalf of the people of Whitlam—words of condolence, words of congratulation. On behalf of the people of Whitlam, to the family of King Charles: we offer our heartfelt condolences for the loss of your Queen, your mother, your grandmother, your great-grandmother, your auntie. And we offer our congratulations to King Charles for his ascension to the throne.
It is true to say, as many before me have remarked and as has been remarked within my electorate at the many ceremonies that I've attended, that there's been an outpouring of emotion for the passing of a monarch who has reigned for 70 years. I'm reliably informed that this term of office has only been exceeded by King Louis XIV of France, and that's probably where the comparisons should end.
The Queen visited the Illawarra and Wollongong on many occasions during her 70 years on the throne—once in February of 1954. I'm reliably informed it was a cold, wet, windy day, but thousands of people lined the aptly named Crown Street in Wollongong to watch Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh come past. They met with the then mayor, Mr JJ Kelly. Thousands and thousands of people from the South Coast and the Southern Highlands gathered there to catch a glimpse and to pay their respects. Amongst them, 500 ex-servicemen from three separate wars were there in attendance, and it was remarked that the Duke himself spent quite some time talking to the veterans. Thirteen thousand schoolkids had the day off school to attend the Wollongong Showground to catch a glimpse of the Queen as she passed by.
Again, in 1970, the Queen visited Port Kembla, Wollongong and Albion Park as part of a whirlwind tour and then headed off to a second steel town, Newcastle, as a part of her visit. They must have picked up a bit about the making of steel and the importance of steel to the Illawarra economy of the time, because on her 16th and final visit, when the Queen and the Duke were here in attendance at Parliament House, I had a conversation with the Duke, and I was surprised with his forensic knowledge of steelmaking, particularly the blast furnace method of steelmaking, and its contribution to the Illawarra and, indeed, to the country.
I had my daughter with me. My daughter graduated from high school last year. She was tottering around in kindergarten at the time, and it is true to say that she has greater memories of Gurrumul, who entertained us in the Great Hall at the time, than she has of glimpsing the Queen, but that's a memory that will be resting in her memory forever.
It is true that all institutions change after time, none less than the monarchy, and, though the royal family is often regarded as a pillar of stability, the monarchy has changed radically, including over the years of Queen Elizabeth's reign. This was forced upon it by social change that surrounded it. It's also a mark of the Queen's abilities that this change was accomplished within the monarchy and with her role in British life intact. It has been remarked upon many times in contributions by members before me today that it is unlikely that we'll see the likes of her again—her commitment to service, her commitment to the institution of the monarchy, her commitment to public service—and for that we pay her credit. We thank her for her service. She will, as has been said many times, be remembered fondly for many generations to come.
I rise on behalf of the people of Wide Bay to convey our respects to our faithful monarch for the past 70 years, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Much changed during her remarkable reign, but her commitment to service did not. In Wide Bay, the outpouring of grief that our long-serving monarch had died was matched only by the excitement of her coronation back in 1953, when the front page of our local paper declared 'Our radiant Queen'. In the lead-up to the Queen's coronation at Westminster Abbey, our region prepared for coronation celebrations, with the 1953 Gympie Show named the Gympie Coronation Show, featuring buck jumping, bullock riding, wild steer races and a pound cake competition. The Gympie Town Hall was decorated. Shop windows had coronation displays. It included a street procession which the local paper described as the biggest procession in the history of the city. Nearly the entire population of the town, 8,000 at that time, came out to pledge their loyalty to the Queen en masse.
The world and Wide Bay have radically changed over the seven decades with her as monarch. She was Queen when Tin Can Bay went from the kerosene lamp to an electric street light in 1959, when Maryborough sold its first television, when we went from the telegram to the text message. She was Queen when we opened the Rainbow Beach Road, which the council dubbed the longest length of bitumen in one road, in 1966 at a cost of $235,000, opening up Rainbow Beach. And she was Queen when construction of section D of the Gympie bypass started at a cost of $1 billion. She was Queen when the Scottish Drive-in on Noosa Road, Gympie, opened in 1968, when people would bring blankets and eskies and watch blockbusters, including Jaws, Grease and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, projected on a 45-foot-long screen at $2 a ticket. She was Queen when the drive-in folded in 1990 and when Gympie got its first twin cinema. She served when Gympie had the world's biggest butter factories and was Queen when it churned its last batch of butter when it closed in 1978.
She was Queen as Wide Bay was assaulted by cyclones, floods and tornadoes such as the 1985 tornado, which destroyed the old Kin Kin butter factory. She was monarch for most of the highest floods in Maryborough's recorded history, including the second-highest surge, in 1955, peaking at 11 metres and 24 centimetres, above the 10.8 metre 1974 and 10.7 metres in 2013. She was sovereign when a cyclone hit Noosa in 1954 and the Hastings Street foreshore property owners built the first protective wall at Noosa beach to stop erosion and sea water from washing into the gardens. She reigned in 1999 when the floods in Gympie hit 21.9 metres and was monarch in 2022 when they peaked at 22.9 metres. She was also there for the floods of 1955 and 1992. She was Queen when, in 1958, Pomona railway porter Bruce Samuels climbed Mount Cooroora, running to settle a pub bet—a feat now annually commemorated in the highly successful King of the Mountain festival.
Technology advanced, government services changed and traditions began in the 70 years of Wide Bay with Queen Elizabeth II at the helm. Throughout her reign, she was a constant in our lives, and, while much has changed around us, we always had the security that came with knowing she was there. Rest in peace, Your Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and God Save the King.
On behalf of the people of Robertson, I wish to extend our condolences to King Charles III and to the royal family on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a queen who dedicated her life to the service of the community and of the Commonwealth and never wavered from responsibility. We pay tribute to a remarkable life and we pay tribute to a historic reign. Queen Elizabeth II was, without a doubt, a constant and reassuring figure during her reign from 1953 to 2022. Queen Elizabeth II is the only monarch that I have ever known in my lifetime, and I will always admire her stoic dedication to service as leader of the Commonwealth, of which Australia is a proud member.
Queen Elizabeth II was coronated in June 1953 after the passing of her father. After she became Queen, her reign included numerous visits to Australia, and it is clear through these many visits that she had a fond appreciation of Australia—of the land and of its people. Queen Elizabeth II's first visit to Australia as Queen, and as the only reigning monarch to have ever done so, was following her coronation in 1954. The official royal tour covered large swathes of the nation, and it is said that three-quarters of the Australian population came out to witness and meet with Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. Of particular note was Her Majesty's visit to the Central Coast. During the journey from Sydney to Newcastle, the royal train would slow down at Gosford station and at Wyong station so that Her Majesty could greet the crowd and the people of the Central Coast could bear witness to their monarch, to their head of state. The Queen and Duke spent six months touring the Commonwealth nations, and this was a huge success, demonstrating the dedication she would continue to example throughout her reign as monarch.
On a more personal level, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, during the times of rising infection, during the times of rising admissions to hospital and intensive care, and during the time prior to the rollout of vaccinations, the Queen broadcasted a message. That message was titled 'We will meet again'. For those on the front line providing medical care, those transporting our goods and those stocking our shelves, this was a message of inspiration and a message of motivation and encouragement in what was one of the darkest times outside of conflict in our nation's history. As Her Majesty's recognition of those who were grieving, those who were experiencing incredible financial difficulties and those who had had enormous change in their lives, the message was a testament to the steadfast commitment she had for the people of the Commonwealth.
In total, the Queen came to Australia 16 times over her reign, and our nation was always a priority. The Queen kept abreast of developing situations in Australia and shared with us in times of celebration as well as commiserated with us during the more challenging periods. This was highlighted during times of national crisis, like the recent bushfires in 2019 and 2020 and during floods that impacted large areas of our country.
Queen Elizabeth II was Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a queen who had a strong sense of duty and a determination to dedicate her life to the people. For many citizens in Australia and around the world, the Queen represented a constant presence in a rapidly changing world. Here in Australia it has been a time of mixed emotions for many, and this is understandable. However, the outpouring of emotion shown since her passing demonstrates what an extraordinary leader she was. In my electorate, people have come from all over the region to sign the condolence book, republicans and monarchists alike, sharing their unique story and their memories of Her Majesty.
I thank the Queen for her service to our constitutional monarchy here in Australia and her guidance over her reign. Thank you for your service, Queen Elizabeth II. May you now rest in peace.
Many words have been used to describe Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in recent days—steadfast, constant, reassuring, dignified, devoted, dutiful, loyal, reliable and quietly fun. Her commitment to the service of the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth has been lauded again and again not just by people from Commonwealth countries but by people all around the globe. In this rapidly changing, often alarming world, it was reassuring to have the Queen as a reliable steward, a constant in the background of our lives. She could be counted on for 70 unwavering years.
At 96 years old, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-ruling monarch in British history—a time that stretches through the administration of 16 Australian and 15 British prime ministers. Known for her humour and wit, her first words to the Rt Hon. Sir Tony Blair were, 'My first Prime Minister was Churchill, and that was before you were born.' Churchill was born in 1874. Queen Elizabeth II was a link to our past and an anchor in our present. It is rare today to see someone stand so resolutely in their duty, and she did so through the apex of enormous change.
We first saw the leadership qualities of the Queen in World War II as a young princess, when the Messerschmitt's bombs rained down on Buckingham Palace and the surrounds. She was evacuated to Windsor Castle, like millions of other children retreating to the country, away from the Blitz.
To comfort the children of Britain and their parents, a 13-year-old princess gave her first public address:
Thousands of you in this country have had to leave your homes and be separated from your fathers and mothers … I feel so much for you as we know from experience what it means to be away from those we love most of all.
Her example as a teenager in that war further included training up as mechanic in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. She was there shoring up the morale of Britain and inspiring many to serve the Commonwealth when it was so gravely in danger from the tyranny that marched across Europe.
Post war, when the Iron Curtain guillotined our world and nuclear war threatened our survival, she was there. She received Mikhail Gorbachev at Windsor just seven months before the Berlin Wall fell. Historian Robert Hardman considered that one lunch had achieved a more powerful diplomatic impact than so many of the 110 sumptuous state visits before or since.
In the late seventies and eighties, a change swept through much of the world. Asia industrialised, and the empire waned in many corners of continents as countries turned into republics. The Queen was there, recognising and accepting the people's will.
The Queen's words of comfort and guidance bookended her life. During the early COVID pandemic she again gave words of hope and comfort, as she had at so many other times in her life. She assured us we could and would prevail in those frightening times. Indeed, she reminded us that not only could we survive; we could benefit from the hiatus in normal life. Such was her stoicism.
In her last days, with nuclear war threatening and recessions threatening and ongoing scandals thrusting a change of prime minister upon her country, she was there, as always, as a steady hand, although that hand was frail and bruised. Just two days before her death, obviously frail and in discomfort, she performed her duty to swear in the new Prime Minister, as always with a smile on her face and a light in her eye. To me, this moment is an undeniable emblem of her stoicism and depth of character. It is a moment of deep inspiration, because it was built on an unfailing lifetime of selflessness and duty.
I would also like to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II's role as a powerful female leader who commanded deep respect around the world. She stood as an inspiration for women for decades, an example of the strength of female leaders, with her leadership style of gentleness and strength, grace and stoicism, and unwavering commitment to her ideals. The Queen was deeply sentimental about Australia. In her royal tour of Australia in 2000, she expressed, 'Whatever the future may bring, my lasting respect and affection— (Time expired)
Today, on behalf of the people of Cunningham, I join in extending our deepest condolences to His Majesty the King and the royal family on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty's influence on the world, our nation and my community in Cunningham is undeniable. This has been reflected in the outpouring of support from the people in my region expressing their condolences. There is deep recognition and respect for the Queen and her life of immense service to the people of the Commonwealth.
Queen Elizabeth is remembered for her strong sense of duty. In the year following her coronation, as we've heard today, the Queen embarked on a tour of the Commonwealth, including Australia. It is estimated that three-quarters of Australians turned out to see the Queen on her 1954 visit to Australia. The visit was so vast that then Prime Minister Robert Menzies proposed in parliament that future visits be 'less formal' due to the work involved in organising it. But the visit was a momentous occasion for Australia and for my region in the Illawarra.
My electorate of Cunningham received two royal visits from Her Majesty. The first was on 11 February 1954. The Queen arrived in Wollongong, and the streets were filled with supporters. Estimates put the onlookers at 80,000. The Illawarra Mercury also reported that keen locals had offered 20 pounds, or $700 in today's money, for a seat at the window on the second storey of the Wollongong Hotel, all for a better view of the procession. Sixteen trains transported more than 9,000 children to Wollongong CBD for the event, and 4.5 kilometres of wiring connected 58 speakers along the route so that everybody could hear. Fifteen-year-old Wollongong High School captain Margaret Buttel had been chosen to welcome the Queen and the Duke. In Her Majesty's address on the day, Queen Elizabeth noted the role that Wollongong was playing in the growth of Australia's industrial strength—a role that I am happy we will continue to play, now and into the future.
Five hundred ex-servicemen from three wars formed a guard of honour on Church Street for Her Majesty as she made her way to the Returned Soldiers Memorial Hall, where the Queen was to preside at the official luncheon. Veterans from sub-branches, including Albion Park, Austimer, Bowral, Coledale, Corrimal, Dapto, Gerringong, Helensburgh, Kiama, Moss Vale, Nowra, Port Kembla and Woonona were also in attendance. As the Duke tried to talk to some of the veterans, he had to lean in close to hear them over the roar of the crowd. Following this visit, a film was produced and shown in local theatres. The film has since been shared by the University of Wollongong Library and recently has been on the Lost Wollongong & Yesterday's Stories Facebook page. It is a brilliant piece of history, providing valuable insight to a historic day for our region.
It was during Her Majesty's second visit, in 1970, that she granted the title of Lord Mayor to the city and the name City of Wollongong was adopted. On Friday 10 April 1970, Royal Yacht Britannia docked at Port Kembla, and the Queen and Duke, accompanied by Princess Anne, departed for the town hall. Thousands lined the streets as the Queen travelled to the Wollongong Teachers College to meet faculty members and students from local schools, before eventually departing from Albion Park airport to fly to Newcastle. Many other constituents have shared the sense of excitement that overtook the community as the entire region gathered around these historic visits.
I'm honoured to speak today on this condolence motion and to express some of the sentiment that has emerged from my seat of Cunningham. Queen Elizabeth inspired countless people's love, admiration, respect and devotion. We thank her for a life lived in service to our people. After a long and full life of service, may she now rest in peace.
I rise today on behalf of the people of O'Connor to pay our respects and offer our condolences on the passing of the Queen, Elizabeth II, after 70 years of rule, and to convey the overwhelming feelings of gratitude and respect that have been expressed by my constituents over the last two weeks. It's fitting today that we recognise and honour a life defined by extraordinary and selfless service, grace, dignity, and exemplary leadership of a Commonwealth of 54 nations.
Queen Elizabeth's reign of 70 years began on the passing of her father in 1952 and is the longest of any British monarch. The Queen visited Australia 16 times, overseeing the coming and going of our prime ministers 16 times. In fact, when the Queen visited Australia in 1954, it was the first time a reigning monarch had visited our shores. On that visit, the Queen and Prince Philip spent 58 days Down Under and visited 57 towns and cities, including the beautiful and historic south-coast city of Albany. The Queen visited Albany again in March 1977 as part of the celebrations of 150 years of European settlement in Western Australia, and I'm hoping that King Charles will be able to visit in 2026 for the bicentenary. In 1954, the Queen also visited Western Australia's economic powerhouse, the city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, and returned for a second visit in 1988. There are many older residents of both Albany and Kalgoorlie-Boulder who, in recent days, have recalled their vivid and fond memories of those visits.
In the course of those 16 visits, the Queen officiated at the opening of some of our most famous and iconic buildings and institutions, such as the Sydney Opera House in 1973 and this Parliament House in 1988. The Queen has been a constant, reassuring presence in the lives of the people of O'Connor, and, as I travel the vast electorate, the portrait of the Queen is always present in our town halls, our CWAs, our ag societies, our Girl Guide and Scout halls, to name just a few.
The incredible scenes of public grief and mourning that we've witnessed over the last two weeks are testament to the extraordinary affection that people of all nationalities held for Queen Elizabeth. The royal funeral, broadcast to billions of people around the world, was a sombre reminder that the monarchy is as much about the 1,900-year-old institution as it is about the individual. At this sad time, we must remember that there is a family at the head of that institution who is grieving the loss of a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. I extend my condolences to King Charles III and the extended royal family.
In conclusion, on behalf of the people of O'Connor, I thank Queen Elizabeth II for a lifetime of dedication, service and devotion to her people. May her soul rest in peace.
Only one serving British monarch has ever visited Australia. Only one British monarch has ever had her head appear on Australia's decimal currency. Eighty-seven per cent of Australians have only ever known one monarch in our lifetimes. If the first Elizabethan age represented the English Renaissance, the second Elizabethan age is marked by its extraordinary longevity. As the Prime Minister pointed out this morning, it spanned 16 Australian PMs, starting with Menzies; it spanned 16 GGs, starting with McKell; and it included 16 visits to Australia, the first lasting two months.
Queen Elizabeth didn't live here, but, during her 70-year reign, she met more Australians and travelled to more parts of Australia than most of us do. She made a broadcast over the Royal Flying Doctors' network from Broken Hill, opened the Opera House and Parliament House, consoled Australians who'd suffered loss, and sent thousands of congratulatory messages to centenarians and to couples celebrating their diamond anniversaries.
My home town of Canberra witnessed some of the most remarkable moments in Queen Elizabeth's visits to Australia. I've you've ever taken a tour of parliament, you may have heard the guide tell you that, by being here in the House of Representatives, you're in the one place the monarch can never enter. That convention has existed since 1642 when King Charles I, accompanied by armed guards, entered the English House of Commons and attempted to arrest some of its members. His actions led to the English Civil War and the beheading of Charles I in 1649. Since then, no monarch has ever entered the House of Commons and, so the tour guides might tell you, the Australian House of Representatives.
But it's not true. On 14 February 1954, a 27-year-old Queen Elizabeth paid an unofficial visit to Old Parliament House. The Speaker, Archie Cameron, asked if she'd like to see the House of Representatives, suggesting it would be okay because it was a Sunday and because 'it's a long time since Charles I'. Queen Elizabeth said yes. The doors were unlocked, and she spent seven minutes in the House, making her the first British monarch to enter the people's house for three centuries. Traditions can change.
Reading the accounts of that 1954 visit is a reminder of a faraway age. For the State Ball, members of parliament were told that they could only bring their partners if they were married. Guests were served pheasants, boar's head and Scottish salmon. Many practised their curtsies. The Canberra Times proudly reported that 40,000 people saw the royal couple when they arrived, which isn't bad for a city of 28,000 people. Queen Elizabeth saw Canberra evolve. When she visited in 1977, she remarked:
We first came here … 23 years ago, long before there was a lake and when the capital was described as "seven suburbs in search of a city". That city has now been found and it is one of charm and character; it has become worthy of the nation.
On her 1988 visit, Queen Elizabeth visited Canberra's Thoroughbred Park, joining Bob Hawke in the grandstand that is now named in her honour. They shared a love of the sport, and the day was immortalised in one of those iconic 'Hawkie' photos. Like Hawke, many Australians related to her enjoyment of horse races, as well as her many other well-known passions: marmalade sandwiches, corgis, faith, family and the commitment to charity.
The death of Queen Elizabeth is a reminder that, as Noel Pearson has pointed out, Australian national identity involves the confluence of three powerful rivers. Indigenous Australians have occupied this land for at least 65,000 years, a period that predates the human settlement of Europe. The second source of identity comes from the British institutions that underpin our legal system and market economy and bind us together through colonialism, shared sacrifice in war and a common culture. The third river is multiculturalism: our integration of a higher share of migrants than any other advanced nation.
Like many of my fellow citizens, I'd like to see an Australian head of state, but that transition will only happen with a proper recognition of history and the role the monarchy has played in it. To be a more complete Commonwealth, we must acknowledge our past as we work together to build a stronger future. In that history, no monarch has been more significant than Queen Elizabeth II. May she rest in peace.
To those who engage in generalities, it may be of significance that almost two-thirds of the families in my electorate are first- or second-generation migrants. Some may fairly ask, 'Why would the Crown matter to families who do not come from the United Kingdom?' This is the problem with generalities: they turn a blind eye to the virtue and value of tradition in any culture. Migrants come here with eyes and hearts wide open. They come here recognising the role tradition plays in binding us to those who have come before and those who will come after. There is, perhaps, no better example of this than Her Majesty's historic visit to the Republic of Ireland in 2011, the first by a reigning monarch in a century, and in the country of my birth. By any measure, it was perhaps one of the toughest audiences that she could have faced. Yet, after Her Majesty spoke at Dublin Castle, the newspaper Irish Independent recounted the reception as follows:
It was a moving speech delivered in her clear cut crystal voice and after the toast the room stood and applauded. Not just polite applause but sustained heartfelt appreciation of the bridge that the Queen herself had built … she had the look of a woman for whom the weight of history had just got a lot lighter.
I stand here, deeply moved by Her Majesty's passing, deeply grateful for a life of service and deeply proud of Her Majesty's devotion to the Crown's role in defending democracy. It may seem to be a paradox that an institution headed by a person there by birth can defend democracy. Maybe it is the mark of a first-rate democracy that these two ideas—a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy—work in tandem as they do. In Sir Robert Menzies's own memoir, Afternoon Light, he addresses the point with precision:
… the focal point is also an office, the Crown, now occupied by a woman, the Queen. Her actual powers are small … She never enters the political lists … The Queen is seen, in all the countries within her allegiance as the foundation of honour, the protector of the law, the centre of a Parliamentary system … a fixed point in the whirl of circumstance.
In every key speech to this institution—and we've heard them told in many the wonderful condolence motions—Her Majesty made this point abundantly clear. At the opening of this building, she said:
Commitment to parliamentary democracy lies at the heart of this nation's maturity, tolerance and humanity. This is surely one of the characteristics that has attracted so many people to come to Australia …
The gift and genius of Her Majesty's reign was the lightness of her touch. That restraint is no easy thing. To be absolutely impartial is, arguably, not human. We see it in our newspapers today, with many advocates claiming that their cause is the exception for interference by a monarch. In her restraint, the Queen deferred to the people through their representatives here. In doing so, the Queen gave Australia room to grow and mature as a nation. For that, and on behalf of the people of Menzies, I say thank you.
To our new King: when Sir Robert Menzies died after a heart attack in 1978, you flew from Britain to attend the state funeral in Melbourne as the Queen's representative. I was proud to see our representatives from this place fly to your side in your time of grief. We know you will make a fine King. More than that—we know you will defend democracy and you will make your mother proud. I thank the House.
I rise today to speak on the condolence motion for the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In the last two weeks, it seems much of the world has stopped to mourn the passing of Her Majesty. The depth of love, respect and admiration for the Queen has been felt not just in the Commonwealth but also across the globe. Her Majesty was an inspiration and guiding light to many.
Her Majesty made several visits to regional Western Australia, sharing her sense of dignity, grace and strength and, occasionally, sense of humour. Today it is my privilege to recount memories shared by some of my Durack constituents. One clear recounted memory was of the Queen's visit to Geraldton in 1988. My constituent and much-loved local Barb Thompson was lined up with her husband and baby son. They had all rushed down from the service station they owned, still in their work clothes, and were very excited at the prospect of seeing the Queen. As the Queen passed by, Barb's husband smiled at the Queen and said, 'G'day Your Majesty.' To their surprise, the Queen turned around and came back to speak to them. Her Majesty admired their eight-month-old son, stating:
He is a dear little boy. I have a few grandsons myself.
She then tickled the little one's toes for a moment. Those photos taken at this encounter were published in newspapers right across the country—a very proud moment for Geraldton. Barb recalls the Queen's warm, friendly and genuine manner, as well as her sparkling blue eyes and the beautiful brooch she wore that sparkled in the Gero sun.
An additional memory from another constituent, who was a year 8 girl from a farming family, remembers a very strong female leader and a woman who held herself with poise and power. She loved her fabulous yellow outfit and recalls thinking, 'Why blend in when you can stand out?'
The Queen was no stranger to Durack, having made numerous visits to my vast electorate during her royal tours. Next March will mark 60 years since the Queen stepped onto the Old Town Jetty in Roebuck Bay in Broome. This was a very exciting sight for Broome, considering most locals were used to seeing pearling boats at the jetty as opposed to royal yachts. Sporting her signature pearl necklace, the Queen spent her time in Broome chatting with locals and admiring the local pearling harvest. It must have been a very proud moment for the Broome pearlers that day, knowing how much the Queen loved and appreciated pearls, something that the Queen and I have in common.
Since her passing, many have had the time to reflect on the sense of stability that Her Majesty gave us. She was a constant, reliable fixture in our lives—for most of us, all our lives. The passing of the Queen is a loss of familiarity. It is a little like losing your favourite auntie or someone very dear to you, an important person in your life.
As a woman who likes to dress in bright, beautiful colours, I was very inspired by Her Majesty's incredible, immaculate dress sense, and I don't think enough has been said about this. Her Majesty set an impeccable example in every way, and her attention to detail with her appearance gave us just a bit of an insight into how she managed her duties as our sovereign.
Personally, I'm not surprised at the outpouring of love and respect for our Queen from all corners of the globe. But I'd long thought that it is a real shame that all the good things that people say about someone upon their passing—it would be good if they could say those things when that individual was alive. I only hope that our majesty, our sovereign, our Queen knows just how much she was—is—loved, admired and respected.
On behalf of the people who call Durack home, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the royal family, particularly to King Charles III. It is clear how much the King loved his mother. She was Queen to us, but she was 'dear Mummy' to him. I wish our King a long life and to be given a chance to fulfil his duty with grace and devotion, just as his mother did before him. I recall with fondness the time I met King Charles on Lady Elliot Island in 2018. He was very respectful and kind and warm, and he was particularly interested in how long it had taken me to get to Lady Elliot Island from regional Western Australia. I assured him it was almost a whole day.
Like many other electorates, my offices in Broome and Geraldton have received several touching messages of sympathy, lovingly and thoughtfully written in our condolence books. One entry, by Mr Chris Whiting of Nabawa, comes to mind, an entry which I believe sums up the mood of the nation. Chris wrote the following:
RIP ma'am. I served for 14 years. Best boss I ever had.
It is with great humility that I rise today as Braddon's representative in this place to mourn the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, to acknowledge Her Majesty's unwavering devotion to our nation and to commemorate a lifetime of service to her people. The electorate of Braddon has many hallmarks, and amongst them is loyalty: loyalty to each other, loyalty to their communities, loyalty to their nation and to their Queen. Her Majesty has been an ever-present constant in our lives. Now, sadly, that constant has gone.
The impact of the loss is great and it has been marked by an unprecedented outpouring of grief across the North West, the West Coast and King Island in the state of Tasmania. It has been a time of personal reflection for many. Hundreds have contacted my office to sign the condolence book and to reflect on the impact of the Queen's passing and the impact that it had on their lives.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was the Queen of our lifetime. It was just a year after her coronation, in February 1954, when Queen Elizabeth became the first reigning monarch to visit the beautiful island state of Tasmania. Fittingly, it was the year of Tasmania's sesquicentenary. And regional Tasmania wasn't forgotten either. On Tuesday 24 February 1954, Her Majesty, accompanied by her beloved husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, flew from Hobart to the Wynyard aerodrome on the north-west coast. There was a royal procession through the small rural towns of Wynyard, Burnie, Penguin, Ulverstone, Devonport and Latrobe. There were official engagements in Burnie and Devonport, and thousands lined the streets to catch just a glimpse of their Queen. When reflecting on her time in Tasmania, the Queen said: 'My stay in Tasmania has, of necessity, been all too short, but we shall carry away happy memories of the charm of your island state and the steadfast kindness of its people.' True to her word, Her Majesty would return to Tasmania a further six times. On 26 April 1988, Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh again returned to the north-west coast of Tasmania. It was to be an historic day for the township of Burnie. At a reception at the Burnie Civic Centre, Her Majesty officially handed Mayor Rex Collins the scroll that proclaimed Burnie a city. Again, the streets were lined with wellwishers, excited to catch a glimpse of their Queen.
Tasmania has a proud military history. For 70 years our commander in chief of the Defence Force has been Queen Elizabeth II. The Victoria Cross is Australia's highest military honour, named after the Queen's great-grandmother, and it is the pre-eminent award for supreme acts of bravery in wartime. Tasmania has the proud honour of having more Victoria Cross recipients per capita than any state or territory in the nation. For 70 years, members of the Australian Defence Force have sworn an oath under Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As a young—much younger—18-year-old, I, too, am eternally proud to have sworn that same oath. For me, and for many others of the Defence Force, tradition and history are the fundamental pillars on which the defence of our nation is built. To loyally serve the people of Australia, and its Queen, is what members of the ADF literally devote their lives to. And there has been no finer role model—no finer role model—when it comes to service and dedication than that of Queen Elizabeth II during her 70-year reign.
After a lifetime of service, Your Majesty, may you forever rest in peace with your beloved husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip. On behalf of the electorate of Braddon and of the state of Tasmania: vale, Queen Elizabeth II.
It's an honour to rise today as a representative of the people of Indi to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, to her life spent in service to the Commonwealth and to the way she fulfilled her duty with dignity, honour and good humour. We come together to express our gratitude for her unwavering service, her grace and her devotion. This service, across many decades, spanned extraordinary global change, and, throughout it all, Queen Elizabeth was steadfast in her leadership—a constant presence in a sea of change who quietly, incrementally, accepted that changing world.
While we saw the public side, we know she was also a beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Our thoughts are with King Charles III and with her family at this time.
Queen Elizabeth II was the most famous woman in the world. But death comes to all of us, and her passing brings us back to our shared humanity as we reflect on our own experiences of grief and mortality. For her own generation, there was a sense of a parallel life, of similar experiences shared—including, as a young woman, taking shelter from the Blitz and being an active duty member of the British Armed Forces. The Queen, while staunch in tradition, showed that she could adapt to the times—illustrated when she presented the Beatles with MBEs, despite some significant backlash—and this continued through the decades, with this year's Platinum Jubilee and a video of the Queen clinking her teacup along to the beat of the classic Queen song, 'We Will Rock You'.
Over her 70 years of service, Her Majesty made 16 visits to Australia, and in Indi we are proud to have our own little connection of when Her Majesty's tour in 1954 brought her to Goorambat and Benalla. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip stayed the night on the royal train at the tiny, tiny town of Goorambat on 4 March 1954, before attending a series of events in Benalla the next day. The train station had been decorated with greenery, bunting and flags, an archway was erected on the track by the Goorambat CWA members, and many, many people came to wave to the royal couple. The next day in Benalla people had travelled from far and wide to see the Queen and Prince. The Benalla Ensign reported that she'd captured the hearts of the 40,000 people who had thronged to town to welcome her. That was about five times the population of Benalla at that time. One person who was there was Coral Hall, who wrote, on the website Great Australian Story, of her school trip to see the Queen that day in Benalla. Coral wrote:
Queen Elizabeth 11 was coming to Australia, and coming to Benalla! It was hard to believe.
… … …
Suddenly a cheer rose up as the large black royal Rolls Royce turned onto the cycling track. "Here she comes", cried out our teacher. We all began to wave our Australian flags, and as the royal car was completely open, we could get a quick view of our Queen. I think it took 12 seconds to pass. I did not get time to look at Prince Philip. My short glimpse revealed a very pretty young lady wearing a small hat and waving a white-gloved hand.
… I wondered to myself; her hat was lovely but where was her crown? I was only twelve and a half, from a rural farm and I thought all queens wore crowns.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip also visited Albury in 1988, when tens of thousands of people turned out to greet the royals. The Border Mail reported that the Queen was gifted flowers from Laos migrants and a coat hanger from a woman from Yackandandah.
In my electorate of Indi, many messages of condolence from local people have been shared with my office. Almost every message left for the Queen by the people of Indi spoke of her service and her devotion to others. They said that she was an inspiration. One message simply said, 'I'm going to miss your smile.'
And we will miss Her Majesty in many ways, but, in doing that, we can reflect on a life well lived, on devoted service, on duty fulfilled with compassion and love and on the value of public service, by a woman who understood that transition and change is inevitable and good and to be embraced. Australia is a vastly different nation today to the one that the young Queen visited all those years ago, and she knew that. As the chapter is closed on the second Elizabethan era, we are now rightfully and respectfully challenged, I believe, to acknowledge and reconcile with our complete history—to truly hear the voices of our First Nations Australians and write the next chapter of our Australian nation.
Vale, Queen Elizabeth II. Rest in peace. You have served us honourably.
Question agreed to.