In Parliament

Condolence Motion - The Queen



Tuesday, 13 September 2022.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (13:57):

To our new King and his family, it is with a heavy heart that this Parliament and we Members, the voices of our communities, mourn the passing of our great Sovereign and Head of State.

We feel the loss of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II personally and deeply, right around the world. On behalf of the people of Brighton, Brighton East, Elwood and Hampton, I wish to express my community’s profound condolences.

In the Shakespearean words King Charles III used to describe her reign only hours ago on the floor of Westminster Hall, the reign of his mother has been ‘a pattern to all princes living’.

Never before has the world witnessed a monarch so enduring, so steadfast, so resolute and so committed to duty, a Queen who was served by 15 British Prime Ministers, who welcomed over 110 Presidents and Prime Ministers to the United Kingdom and who had links with over 500 charities.

But as an Australian speaking on behalf of my community, I take the opportunity to recognise the Queen’s unparalleled relationship with our country and the Commonwealth.

The Queen’s relationship with Australia was unique, being the only reigning Monarch to visit our shores. As our great Prime Minister Robert Menzies said of the Queen in his immortal words, ‘I did but see her passing by. And yet I’ll love her till I die’. His words were spoken on behalf of his generation.

As we look back on her first visit and the words spoken by our then Prime Minister, we can see that the Queen’s bond with Australia was ignited then but remained enduring. It was a bond of affection that spanned the seven decades of her reign.

Her Majesty built and maintained her connection to our land across her 16 visits to our country, to Victoria 11 times.

I recall witnessing the Queen speaking fondly of how Australia had grown as a country and a people when she last visited in 2011. As she spoke in our Great Hall in Canberra she said, ‘Australia has flourished and achieved excellence on the world stage’. For those who saw her deliver those words, we knew that they were delivered with great fondness and, if I might be so bold as to say, a sense of pride.

Perhaps at its simplest, the explanation for the depth of mutual feeling between our Sovereign and this country was the Queen’s genuine fondness for our Commonwealth nation, a fondness that extended and endured across 70 years just as it has across the whole Commonwealth, where she visited every nation and realm as their sovereign.

Before being crowned monarch, she said:

… there is none of my father’s subjects from the oldest to the youngest whom I do not wish to greet.

Those were not simply words, but a lifelong commitment borne out in deed.

As Australians we returned her warmth and commitment to our nation when we used the democratic instrument available to us in 1999 to confirm our ongoing link to a Constitutional Monarchy, a link that I supported personally without hesitation and still do.

Shortly after the referendum the Queen spoke of her lifelong warmth for our country on the steps of the great Sydney Opera House, saying:

… since I first stepped ashore here in Sydney in February 1954 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 …

And further:

… my lasting respect and deep affection for Australia and Australians everywhere will remain as strong as ever. That is what I have come here to say …

Across seven decades we have been assured of that strength of affection—an affection that has always been reciprocated.

The world we live in now is unrecognisable from that of 70 years ago when Queen Elizabeth II took the throne, and yet over that time, despite a changing world, our Constitutional Monarchy has endured. It is a relationship forged into law but one now that is as deeply held together through affection as it is in constitutional formality. Ours is now a relationship that continues by want and by choice.

We mourn the passing of the great Queen Elizabeth II as both our Monarch and our friend, and we affirm ourselves to our new King, our Head of State, a King who has already proven over his lifetime an affinity with our country as deeply held as that of his mother.

May Queen Elizabeth II now rest in peace with her love, her strength and stay.