In a final official event, MPs in both houses of federal parliament have paid tribute to the queen and shared their thoughts on her death, with many acknowledging the difficult nature of the past two weeks for First Nations people.
- Parliament adjourned for a special sitting to hear offers of condolence to the Queen
- Many MPs spoke of her devotion to service and her many official visits to Australia
- Others recognized the connection between the Queen and colonialism for First Nations people
Parliament was called back to a special sitting day so MPs across both houses could deliver their condolence messages.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese spoke first in the House of Representatives, followed by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and Nationals leader David Littleproud.
Much of what was said has already been scrutinized by the various leaders and MPs in the two weeks since the Queen’s death. However, today will provide an opportunity for any MP who wishes to cement their reflection on Parliament’s record.
Sir. Albanese again touched on the historical legacy the Queen left behind and her devotion to her service to the Commonwealth, as well as the revolutionary changes she oversaw during her reign.
“Seventy years as sovereign is a towering record, but what will always stand highest in our hearts and our memories is the commitment and spirit of service and duty that the Queen brought to her role so unwaveringly,” he said.
“The Queen served with dignity, fidelity, humor and a grace that was tireless and she took nothing for granted.”
Sir. Among other things, Dutton touched on her dedication to both the people of the kingdom and her family, even during periods of controversy.
“The Queen saw the family as the focal point of her and our existence, the core of a thriving society,” he said.
“Yes, of course her own life was not without family controversies and tragedies. The Annus horribilis in 1992, the death of Princess Diana in 1997 and the losses of her mother and sister in 2002.
“But for a queen admired for her near-transcendence, these events would only reinforce how human she was.”
Sir. Littleproud spoke of the Queen’s place in the hearts and minds of regional Australians and the many trips she made to regional and country towns during her official visits.
“Yet almost all of those moments were a dream come true,” he said.
“These were real storybook moments, it didn’t matter if you were a little kid in Coffs Harbor or a middle-aged guy in Mackay, this was an opportunity to catch a glimpse or even meet the Queen.”
Acknowledging the response of First Nations people
Among the comments in the wake of the Queen’s death have been the links between the Crown, colonization and displacement, and ongoing trauma inflicted on First Nations people.
MPs in both houses touched on this conflict during their condolence motions today.
Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney noted the mourning period had seen many struggle with mixed feelings about the Queen’s death.
“For many Indigenous Australians, the legacy of the monarchy is fraught – a complex, difficult and painful reminder of the impact of colonisation,” she said.
“This week many have struggled with the swirling emotions … but there are just as many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have great respect for the Queen, especially as a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.”
Greens senator and Yamatji-Noongar woman Dorinda Cox said she wanted to acknowledge the “nuanced and complex emotions” felt by people across the country.
“Among these are the feelings of anger, distress, hurt and frustration of First Nations people, which unfortunately do not end today,” he said.
“We are a mature nation capable of conversations that both commemorate the life of a public figure and at the same time call out the problematic legacy of the British Empire.”
Greens leader Adam Bandt echoed this stance in the House of Commons, saying it was time to discuss the role of the monarchy in Australia’s future.
Independent Senator David Pocock paid his respects to the Queen but said he also wanted to acknowledge the feelings of First Nations people “and the history that these events have forced us to revisit”.
MPs in both houses will use today to share their condolences before Parliament resumes next week. It was postponed in response to the Queen’s death.