Senate debates

Friday, 23 September 2022

Death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth Ii and Accession of His Majesty King Charles Iii


9:38 am

Photo of Jess WalshJess Walsh (Victoria, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise on this motion to offer my sincere condolences to all those mourning today. In 1970, Queen Elizabeth II visited Victoria. There's a great photo of her meeting with Aussie Rules players from the Fitzroy Football Club at the MCG. This was the first ever Sunday match, put on by the league to honour the royal family.

In the photo, the Queen is smiling warmly and widely. The players sport magnificent coiffed hair and sideburns, as was the fashion of the day, with not a single mullet or tattoo sleeve in sight. There are a few lads in the line-up offering some cheeky grins as they greet Her Majesty. It looks to have been a great day. Victorians turned out in extraordinary numbers. Many thousands welcomed the opportunity to see the Queen back then, just as they are now embracing the opportunity to pay their respects at this time.

This country has seen a lot of change since that day in 1970. Throughout the decades since, the Queen's dedication to public service never wavered. Today, I recognise her life of extraordinary service, I recognise her as a model of discipline and duty and I recognise the grace with which she performed that duty, a grace often punctuated with doses of wit and good humour as well. I offer my sincere condolences to all those mourning her loss—those in Victoria who remember her 11 visits to our state, those who may have been amongst the estimated one million people who lined the streets of Melbourne in 1954 just to catch a glimpse, those mourning across the country and those across the seas as well.

Much has changed in our nation since that photo at the 'G in 1970, and the passing of the Queen has made us think again about who we are as a nation. I acknowledge again today the Ngunnawal people on whose land this parliament sits and the generous hand of reconciliation extended at yesterday's memorial service by Ngunnawal elder, Aunty Violet Sheridan. I recognise the long march of First Nations people towards recognition and respect for community, culture and country.

This is a time to reflect on an extraordinary life lived in public service and an opportunity to reflect on the solid and strong foundations upon which we can build our nation's future together, walking side by side—solid foundations of respect for a first people, strong foundations of pride in the multicultural nation we've become. This future is in all of our hands. It is ours to make and to make well. I offer again my sincere condolences to all those mourning today.


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