The Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison has paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II upon reaching her Platinum Jubilee during the first day of Parliament on Tuesday, 8 February 2022.
Queen Elizabeth II marked the 70th Anniversary of her Accession and the passing of her beloved father King George VI on Sunday, 6 February 2022.
Read the transcript of the Prime Minister’s Speech:
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I move that an Address of Congratulation be presented to Her Majesty The Queen, as follows:
Your Majesty. We, the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives, express to Your Majesty our warm congratulations at this time of celebration of the Platinum Jubilee of your accession to the Throne. We express our respect and regard for the dedication you have displayed in the service of the Commonwealth and your deep and abiding commitment to Australia and its people.
Mr Speaker, seventy years ago, the then Princess Elizabeth was on her way to Australia. Then, the world, as she knew it, changed forever. Her beloved father had died. And a young princess in her twenties, in the first years of her marriage with two young children, between, became Queen of Great Britain and Northern Island, and a Commonwealth of nations that spanned the globe.
The Queen has never celebrated this day, and understandably so. I’m sure she would have preferred to enjoy her father’s love and example for many more years before she was called upon to wear that heavy crown. A reminder that no matter who you, we are, events happen in life, events out of our control, that require more of us than we think sometimes we may be able.
And in that moment of profound and immense sadness, and with the tremendous grace and poise and dignity and strength, for which she has become known all around the world, and particularly here in Australia, Her Majesty commenced her duties as our Queen.
Her life is one of dedication, of duty and devotion, of service over self, of steadfast and unflinching adherence to the ideals and the responsibilities of constitutional Monarchy.
Years before that heartbreaking day of ascension, on her 21st birthday in a broadcast from South Africa, the future Queen declared: “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.”
Looking across the vista of three-quarters of a century, we can say that Her Majesty has in every way been faithful to that vow. Throughout her reign, Her Majesty has been a steadfast and unifying presence in the life of our world – and in the life of our nation – as Queen of Australia.
Even in our capital, we see her recurring presence. Here in Canberra, Her Majesty opened the High Court in 1980, the National Gallery in 1982, our Parliament House in 1988, and back in 1970 she opened the National Carillon. Aspen Island – where the Carillon stands – and will be [re]named in her honour in June.
Her Majesty heads a Commonwealth of 54 nations – almost a third of the world’s people. And is the Sovereign in the United Kingdom, Australia and 13 other nations.
Seventy years marks a reign of 25,568 days – as of last Sunday. And I hope we will see many thousands more. A remarkable achievement from a remarkable woman.
Her Majesty has been the reigning sovereign for 15 Australian Prime Ministers, 16 Governors-General, 14 British Prime Ministers, around 170 Commonwealth Prime Ministers, and also seven James Bonds – one of whom Her Majesty worked with very closely.
If there is an indelible moment from the 2012 London Olympics, it was the cheeky, slightly irreverent, and magnificent video of Her Majesty and [Daniel Craig], played, playing James Bond. The story goes, no one thought she would do it. And eventually, a nervous courtier asked. I could only imagine, having met Her Majesty. The Queen looked at the proposal and said she’d do it, but there was one condition – she wanted a speaking part. And with that, she took out the pen and wrote the words, “Good Evening, Mr Bond.”
In that, we see something of her quiet assurance and her good humour. Someone who[se] values are timeless and yet change with the times. A monarchy that has evolved from distance of, to involvement, and reserve to good humour.
The Crown is above politics, and she has upheld that throughout her reign. A unifying force that highlights good causes and brings people together. And in the moments of trial and testing times that she has known over her life, both personally and as Monarch and Sovereign, she speaks for us all and to us all.
“Grief is the price we pay for love,” the Queen wrote to the New Yorkers after September 11. During our Black Summer fires, which I had the privilege to sit with her and discuss as she shared her reflections on them, she reflected on the character of Australians. She observed publicly, “The stoic and resilient nature of the Australian people will rise to the challenge.” And we did, as she always knew we would. And in the midst of the darkness of the early days of the pandemic, she pledged that like at an earlier time, “We will meet again”. And surely we have.
In past Jubilees – Silver, Gold, Diamond – there has been unbridled joy. A celebration of a life of service, a reminder of the ties that bind, and an expression of affection for the history we share. There were flags, there’s bunting, visits, gun salutes, stamps and coins. An excuse as good as any to celebrate.
But this Jubilee is one that is more poignant. In the midst of these celebrations, we know that our Queen will stand alone, as she did during the service that farewelled her loved husband of some 73 years. And on that day we all saw her – we truly saw her: stoic and strong, yet human and frail and vulnerable. Dignity in the midst of suffering, even if it is her own.
In that moment, we realised that though we will through, though we will will her on forever, we know that even monarchs face the frailties of body and the sunsets that beckon us all. But still, at 95, Her Majesty continues to serve, and passionately so.
So this Jubilee is one of gratitude. A pause to reflect on what a good life truly means. To ponder the place of non-partisan service and selflessness in a modern, robust democracy. And to reflect on the values that sustain us as a free people.
Since the Queen’s first visit to Australia in 1954 – which was in its day a cultural phenomenon unlike any other in our history – the Queen has had a deep understanding and respect of Australia and Australians.
It was best reflected in her action and words during and following the 1999 referendum on the republic. As a Constitutional Monarch, she lived out her belief that monarchy must be above politics. And the Queen played no role in that campaign, pledging to respect and accept the result.
And after that debate had passed, she said, “I shall continue [to] faithfully serve as Queen of Australia under the Constitution to the very best of my ability, as I have tried to do for these past forty-eight years. It is my duty to seek to remain true to the interests of Australia and all Australians as we enter [into] the twenty-first century.”
And so she has done. Over these past seventy years, the Queen has shared our Australian journey. As she once said, “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.”
So, Your Majesty, on this Platinum Jubilee, a Jubilee like, unlike any other, we too remember the joys and the sorrows, the challenges and changes of which Her Majesty has been a part. We honour her service. We honour her duty and her devotion.
And on behalf of all Australians, I offer our warmest congratulations to Her Majesty The Queen on her Platinum Jubilee. God save The Queen.
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