Legislative Council Hansard - Tuesday 13 September 2022
Legislative Council Hansard
Tuesday 13 September 2022

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

The PRESIDENT (Hon. N Elasmar) took the chair at 11.37 am and read the prayer.


Acknowledgement of country

The PRESIDENT (11:37): On behalf of the Victorian state Parliament I acknowledge the Aboriginal peoples, the traditional custodians of this land which has served as a significant meeting place of the First People of Victoria. I acknowledge and pay respect to the elders of the Aboriginal nations in Victoria past, present and emerging and welcome any elders and members of the Aboriginal communities who may visit or participate in the events or proceedings of the Parliament.

Photography in chamber

The PRESIDENT (11:38): I wish to advise that an official photographer has been arranged to take some photos from the galleries of the swearing in of members today.

Death of Queen Elizabeth II and accession of King Charles III

The PRESIDENT (11:38): I have a message from the Governor:

The Governor informs the Legislative Council that she has learned with the deepest regret that our late most Gracious Sovereign Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth passed away at Balmoral Castle, United Kingdom on the 8th day of September, 2022.

The Governor further informs the Legislative Council that on the 11th day of September, 2022, His Majesty King Charles the Third was duly and lawfully proclaimed King of Australia and His other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.

The Governor therefore desires that pursuant to section 23 of the Constitution Act 1975, honourable members will, before they proceed to sit and vote in the Council, severally take and subscribe the Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance set forth in the Second Schedule to the said Act to His Majesty King Charles the Third, before a Commissioner duly authorised by the Governor to attend in the Legislative Council this day to administer the same.

The President left the chair.

Death of Queen Elizabeth II and accession of King Charles III

Oath or affirmation of allegiance to King Charles III

The Commissioner, the Honourable Justice Karin Emerton, Acting Chief Justice of Victoria and President of the Court of Appeal, entered the chamber and was conducted to the chair by the Usher of the Black Rod.

The Commissioner: I have to announce that I have received from the Governor a commission to administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance to members. The Clerk will read the commission.

The Clerk:

Acting under section 23 of the Constitution Act 1975 I authorise you, in the Parliament Houses, Melbourne, to administer the prescribed Oath or Affirmation of allegiance to any Member of the Legislative Council or Legislative Assembly on the 13th day of September 2022.

GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of Victoria on this 12th day of September 2022.

The following members then took and subscribed the oath or affirmation of allegiance to His Majesty King Charles III:

Mr Atkinson, Dr Bach, Mr Barton, Ms Bath, Mr Bourman, Ms Burnett-Wake, Ms Crozier, Dr Cumming, Mr Davis, Mr Elasmar, Mr Erdogan, Mr Finn, Mr Gepp, Mr Grimley, Mr Hayes, Dr Kieu, Mr Leane, Mr Limbrick, Ms Lovell, Ms Maxwell, Mrs McArthur, Mr McIntosh, Mr Meddick, Mr Melhem, Mr Ondarchie, Ms Pulford, Mr Quilty, Dr Ratnam, Mr Rich-Phillips, Ms Shing, Mr Somyurek, Ms Stitt, Ms Symes, Mr Tarlamis, Ms Taylor, Ms Terpstra, Ms Tierney, Ms Vaghela and Ms Watt.

The Commissioner withdrew and the President again took the chair.

The PRESIDENT (11:55): I have received from the Governor a commission to administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance to members. I ask the Clerk to read the commission.

The Clerk:

Acting under section 23 of the Constitution Act 1975 I authorise you, from time to time, in the Parliament Houses, Melbourne, to administer the prescribed Oath or Affirmation of allegiance to any Member of the Legislative Council who has not already taken and subscribed the same since the demise of the Crown.

GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of Victoria on this 12th day of September 2022.

Address to His Majesty the King

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Ms SYMES (Northern Victoria—Leader of the Government, Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services) (11:57): I move, by leave:


(1) the following resolution be agreed to by this house:

His Majesty King Charles III:

We, the Legislative Council of Victoria, in Parliament assembled, express our deep sympathy with Your Majesty and members of the Royal Family in your sorrow at the death of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We acknowledge and pay tribute to Her Majesty’s lifetime of dedicated service and honour the commitment she made to the people of the Commonwealth.

(2) the following address to the Governor be agreed to by this house:


We, the Members of the Legislative Council of Victoria, in Parliament assembled, respectfully request that you communicate the accompanying resolution to His Majesty King Charles III.

On behalf of the Victorian government, I would like to convey my deepest condolences on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and extend my sincere sympathies to His Majesty King Charles III and all of the royal family.

Queen Elizabeth lived an extraordinary life by any measure. She visited Australia 16 times, including Victoria on 11 occasions. She was the first reigning monarch to visit Australia, in 1954. There are reports that 70 per cent of the nation came out to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty as she visited 57 towns in 56 days, something that many of us no doubt will be trying to replicate in the coming weeks. She was the patron for the 1956 Olympics and even attended the equestrian event; however, it was in Stockholm given the quarantine arrangements at the time. She continued to visit our country over the decades and most recently attended the opening of the Royal Children’s Hospital in 2011.

The success of her reign over the past seven decades is marked by stability, grace and dignity. She was a single figure of devotion in her duty to serve and in her love for her country and her people. On her 21st birthday she pledged to devote her life, whether it be short or long, to the service of her people. Few could have known just how powerful that commitment and devotion would be, and Her Majesty embodied this commitment to serve throughout her life. Upon her father’s death in 1952, she acceded the throne at the age of just 25 and served with honour and distinction until her very last days. As sovereign, she saw 15 UK prime ministers serve, going all the way back to Winston Churchill in postwar UK.

Every Australian has their own views about and connection to the United Kingdom. For some, there is deep affinity and affection to the history and familial ties. For others, including many of our First Nations people, the emotions and legacy are much more varied. The beautiful thing about this country is that each and every single view is equally powerful and legitimate. Our pluralistic society that has flourished under Queen Elizabeth’s reign makes us even stronger for it. It is extraordinary that one person can dutifully serve for this long and remain a constant in a world that looks nothing like the era of Churchill and Menzies. Marking the 70th anniversary of her accession Queen Elizabeth noted:

It is a day that, even after 70 years, I still remember as much for the death of my father, King George VI, as for the start of my reign.

It was 70 years ago that the Victorian Parliament last sat to convey their sorrow at the passing of the monarch and expressed their deep sympathy to Her Majesty the Queen and the royal family. Today we are a world away from that time and those men who occupied the seats that we now take in this place, and yet we echo the same words and sentiment in our appreciation of the service of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

We are certainly grateful for your steady hand and the example you set of a life devoted to public service. You were a beacon of stability in a world of flux and a leader that we may never see the likes of ever again, certainly not in our lifetimes. Thank you for your enduring service and commitment.

Mr DAVIS (Southern Metropolitan—Leader of the Opposition) (12:01): I am very proud to associate myself and the opposition—the loyal opposition, I might say—with this motion. The Liberals and Nationals have strong views about these matters and particularly about Queen Elizabeth II and her remarkable contribution to Australia, to Victoria in particular, to the Commonwealth more generally and to indeed the position of the Commonwealth within the world. She was a person of great character, great commitment and great service. I think that we all look back on her service, on her life, her 70 years on the throne, which is an enormous length of time—I think perhaps the second-longest recorded reign; I think perhaps Louis XIV’s might be the only one that was longer—as an extraordinary achievement: the change that she saw, the different leaders that she was associated with, the wisdom and the counsel that she provided to those leaders both here in Victoria but also nationally and indeed elsewhere in the Commonwealth of Nations.

Her impact here, though, in Victoria was very significant, and the links to Victoria are strong and long. The link via her family to the colony of Victoria is an important link. The separation of this state in 1851 from New South Wales is a direct lineal link for Victoria, and the presence of family members at the time of Federation and at other points all the way through this state’s history of European—British—settlement is actually a very significant link. I welcome that link to the past, particularly to our historic Westminster tradition, the laws of our land and our ways as people of British background in terms of our legal and constitutional structure of doing things—our peaceable way, the focus on democracy and the very significant position that Victoria occupies within that.

It was indeed in 1954, as the Leader of the Government pointed out, that she opened the Victorian Parliament, and I think that that link is also important. The leader pointed out as well the huge impact that that visit in 1954 had, with 57 towns visited over a very short period. Many that I have spoken to that were around at that time—and obviously I was not born at that point, and most in this chamber were not—point to that huge impact and the positive link and the positive feeling that people had about Queen Elizabeth II. As the leader has also pointed out and has been pointed out so widely, her character, her commitment, her service and her steadiness I think are things that people across the world and across this state respect greatly.

It is important to think of some of the institutions that she touched. Many of our health services and other institutions have that royal link, most famously the Royal Children’s Hospital, which was opened by her in 1963, and the new hospital—I was certainly health minister at this time and was very proud to be associated with the Queen opening the new Royal Children’s Hospital—in 2011. There were the links with individuals, and I was particularly struck by the link with Dame Elizabeth Murdoch and the service that has been provided by all of those fundraising activities around the Royal Children’s, which had the clear support of Queen Elizabeth II. I say we should be very proud of those links. I think that we should be very proud that we have been part of the contribution that she has made to this state and to our community.

I should also point out the centenary of Federation. Those who were here at that time will remember the contributions she made at the exhibition buildings and elsewhere and the other occasions when she was in this state making a very significant contribution.

I think that it is a sad day now that she has gone, and we obviously will not see the likes of Queen Elizabeth II for many years hence. Obviously we have a new sovereign in King Charles III, but today is about reflecting on the contribution of Queen Elizabeth II, her character, her integrity and the enormous warmth and affection that so many felt for her. The stability that she provided through that reign is perhaps one of the great examples of the strength of our constitutional monarchy and constitutional system: the links, the strength, the stability and the important neutrality of our head of state and the system that we have. I say that Queen Elizabeth II was one of the most remarkable people that any of us will ever see, and we should be very proud to have been associated.

Mr FINN (Western Metropolitan) (12:07): I think if there was any doubt about the love that so many had for Her Majesty, it was dispelled in the streets of Scotland this morning. A country that has long been known for its republican sentiment showed that it really did love Her Majesty the Queen. The streets of Edinburgh were filled to capacity to greet the hearse carrying the Queen to St Giles Cathedral. Yesterday as the Queen’s body was carried from Balmoral, in every village and every town that it travelled through, the streets were filled, and I am told that in some of those towns every single individual who lives there was on the streets to farewell their Queen. That is not exactly a surprise to anyone, because she was someone very, very special.

Of course what we have seen in Scotland over the past 12 hours or so will be nothing compared to what we will see in London over the next week. I am told that queues are already forming to pay tribute to Her Majesty, and some people are expected to wait up to 30 hours to pay their respects. Again, it is extraordinary but not surprising. I think it is safe to say that if the opportunity had arisen, we would have had the same response here in Australia, because Australians also loved Her Majesty. I had a very deep feeling of sadness last Friday morning when I reached over and read on my phone that the Queen had passed, and that sadness has not left me at all. In fact as I stood here today swearing allegiance to King Charles III I felt that sadness really welling up—that she is really gone, that our Queen is no more.

We knew at some stage that this was coming—but not yet. I knew that it was coming but I did not want it to come yet. I remember her mother lived to 103. I was hoping she might outdo that. Sadly that was not to be, and that sadness was probably summed up perfectly by a rather tearful woman on the television last night on the streets of Scotland who was asked about Her Majesty; through those tears she said, ‘She was a part of my family’. Yes, she was. I felt exactly the same way. She had been there my entire life. You know, she became Queen nine years before I was born. I remember at primary school saluting the flag and singing God Save the Queen—‘God save our gracious Queen’. I think it is a great pity that we do not still do that, to tell you the truth, but things change and not always for the better—not always for the better, and that is a great pity.

Our Queen was a woman of huge dedication and huge commitment. Even last week we saw her—and you cannot help but think that she had set herself for this—see off Boris Johnson as Prime Minister and welcome Liz Truss. It was the next day in fact that she left us. I think even then she felt that it was her duty to do that. She had done her duty; she then felt free to go to her eternal reward and to once again be with the love of her life, Prince Philip.

That dedication and commitment was nothing new, of course, from Her Majesty. You have got to realise, here was a woman who had enormous responsibility, probably the most enormous responsibility of anyone in the world. It was put on her most unexpectedly at just 25 years of age—25. King Charles has had a lifetime to prepare himself for this and I am sure he will do a good job, but Her Majesty was in Africa at the time her husband came to her and said, ‘You are the Queen. Your father has died’. Not only did she have to cope with the grief of losing her father—and those who have lost their fathers will know just how debilitating that can be—but she then had to step up immediately to be the Queen. She did that magnificently—absolutely magnificently.

Today I would like to express my gratitude for a number of things. Firstly, to the good Lord for loaning her to us for so long. I would like to express my gratitude for Her Majesty’s strength, her inspiration and her example of true leadership at a time when true leadership is desperately needed. I would like to express my thanks for her contribution to peace, particularly in Ireland. Coming from Irish Catholic stock myself, a few years ago somebody of my ilk would not be here saying these things today, but I am in Australia, I am not in Ireland. Her Majesty did marvellous, marvellous things for Australia, but her contribution to peace in Ireland is certainly worth mentioning.

The unity that she was the symbol of throughout the Commonwealth and I think possibly throughout the world is something that we should all be very, very grateful for. The King has said that he will follow in her footsteps. I think that is a very good move, if I might say so myself. Whilst I have not always agreed with some of the views expressed by Prince Charles, as he was, I think that King Charles has put in a faultless performance since he took over on Friday. As I said a moment ago, I think he will be a very, very good king indeed.

I will long remember the contribution and the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She was—and it is really hard to say ‘was’ in terms of Her Majesty—a shining star in our world today. She was somebody exceedingly special and somebody who just knew what to do. Even though some members of her family may have done a few things over the years which would have taken her attention away from the job at hand, she knew what her role was, she knew what her task was and she did it to perfection.

I express my sympathy to the King and to the royal family on behalf of people in Melbourne’s west, many of whom are also mourning; on behalf of my party, the DLP; and on behalf of my own family. We are deeply distressed by the passing of Her Majesty, but we know that she is in a better place and that she is being rewarded now for the tremendous work that she did over 70 years. We give thanks to God for her life. May she rest in peace.

Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education, Minister for Agriculture) (12:17:047:): This afternoon this house is united in mourning as we acknowledge the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. For 70 years she committed herself to public service to Great Britain and the Commonwealth. She was a constant for generations and countless communities across the globe. For many in our communities there was a deep feeling of knowing her, and one of her major achievements through her remarkable reign was that sense of knowing her.

She extended her reach beyond the role of constitutional monarch. She was passionate about the importance of the Commonwealth, and we all know that she had a great affection for Australia. As the Leader of the Government said, she did visit Australia 16 times during her reign, and those occasions are deeply etched in our memories. Throughout the world she was regarded for her wisdom and enduring calm as she reigned through many tumultuous times in our history.

Much has been said about the Queen’s commitment to service. It was 24/7 and for over 70 years—constant briefs, meetings, correspondence and the ever-important schedules upon schedules. This, teamed with a full family life, told much about the Queen’s abilities, stoicism and of course her care. Her enduring qualities of integrity and respect and her love of her country and the Commonwealth will resonate for generations. The impact that she has had on our lives is immeasurable, and I do extend my sincerest condolences to King Charles III and each and every member of the royal family.

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) (12:19:089:): It is indeed a privilege to be able to rise and speak to this condolence motion today for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In this very chamber in 1954 at the opening of Parliament, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth sat a few metres away from where I stand today. It was one of her 11 visits to Victoria and one of the many duties she undertook during those visits. She said just a few years prior to that:

I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service …

She said those words as a 21-year-old princess. Indeed Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II did dedicate and devote her whole life to service. Throughout the decades of service she provided, she never deviated. The pictures just last week beamed around the world of Her late Majesty congratulating the new British Prime Minister, Ms Truss—which Mr Finn spoke of—just days before she died are a reminder to us all of her dedication to service. She was an extraordinary woman who led an extraordinary life and who gave so much.

That recognition is on display at present with the tens of thousands of people lined up across Scotland and England to pay their respects. But it is not only in Great Britain; it is happening here in Australia and right around the world. The flowers, the messages and the words of so many who have spoken about the Queen have been heartfelt and heartwarming. Her death shows how she reached into people’s lives and the extent of the respect and admiration she had from so many, largely because the Queen reigned over us with grace and a steadfast commitment to duty. She devoted her life to serving the people of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, and she provided a symbol of stability. In a world that has changed so much throughout the decades she has been our Queen.

It is difficult to imagine what it was like when the Queen came to the throne. At just 25 she became Queen to hundreds of millions of people. Her late Majesty also came to the throne at a time when public life was dominated by men. The images of the Accession Council in 1952 and of the various officials at the time demonstrate how remarkable it was for a young woman to take centre stage—and take centre stage she has for 70 years, with great grace and dignity.

As has been mentioned she had a commitment to the community here in Victoria, but the extent of her philanthropy is well known. She has been associated with over 600 charities, which demonstrates what she was able to do to support so many who provide and work for those very worthy causes. She is linked to so many institutions here in Victoria, and it is well recognised what those institutions do for the community of Victoria.

We will all have our own memories of the Queen. One that I love is as a young schoolgirl running up in Portland to see the arrival of the Queen, waving the Australian flag and being able to catch a glimpse as she drove past. It was a fleeting glimpse, but nonetheless at the time it was indeed a very big deal for a girl growing up in country Victoria to have been able to see the Queen. The Queen’s visits to Victoria, as so many have spoken about here, have included visiting towns and riding on trams. She has done street walks, opened hospitals and been involved in overseeing so many official duties and ceremonies at Government House, which is in my electorate of Southern Metropolitan Region.

So much has already been said about the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II, and it is a legacy that will live on for generations. I hope current and future generations can understand, learn from and emulate her example of dedication to service in public life. It was done with grace and dignity and a determination to be a unifying figure. I want to extend my gratitude for that service and for what she has done for so many communities over the time that she was Queen. I extend my deepest condolences to His Majesty, King Charles III, and the entire royal family at this very difficult time.

Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (12:23): The Queen has left a remarkable legacy. She devoted her life to others and to her country. She performed her duty with wisdom, kindness and a steadying hand. I am the son of a British serviceman who was a stout monarchist. In our household the royal family, and in particular the Queen, was a constant presence. I am old enough to remember singing God Save the Queen at Monday’s assembly at primary school. Since that time she has remained graceful and dignified and an exceptional leader in this modern Elizabethan period, embodying many values that we could all seek to adopt. I have heard many condolences in the past few days, but it was the words of the French President, Emmanuel Macron, that resonated with me especially. He said to the British people:

To you, she was your Queen.

To us, she was The Queen.

And she was. She will be remembered for a lifetime of dedicated service. May Her Majesty rest in peace, and I say God save the King.

Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Resources) (12:25): There has been so much to reflect on in these past days since Queen Elizabeth II died, and I have been thinking about this in three distinct but interrelated ways—the person, the professional and the manner in which any one person can come to represent monarch and monarchy.

The person: a mother, a friend, an employer of many, a grandmother, a great-grandmother and a companion of corgis and horses. My deepest condolences I wish to extend to Queen Elizabeth’s family and her friends on the death of their loved one. Watching the images that are being broadcast across the globe of her family, I cannot help but feel some sadness that their grief must also be so public. This was always going to be their lot in life, but for King Charles III and his heir, the Prince of Wales, their siblings, partners and families, finding a moment of private grief, reflection and remembrance will be difficult, and that, for them, is not without a toll.

Elizabeth the Queen: beginning as a young woman of 25 and ending at 96 years, a woman who made a promise and never wavered from it. To my colleagues in this place: can you even imagine going a day without uttering an opinion on the matters of the day, let alone seven decades? She was a source of constancy in a world experiencing upheaval after upheaval. She was a woman head of state at a time when there were few. She worked alongside 15 prime ministers in Britain alone. She inspired and comforted countless people through her interactions with them and served a realm consisting of 15 countries across three continents, home to 151 million people. I want to pay tribute to the extraordinary feat that was her reign and the way in which she undertook her role.

The death of Queen Elizabeth cannot, I think for many of us, be separated from either the reality or the symbols of monarch and monarchy. These sit alongside a system of democratic government that is stable and enduring. We have all had powerful reminders of the importance of institutions and traditions. Indeed members in this place have only just a few moments ago taken the oath or affirmation, swearing allegiance to our new King, in spite of distance, the passage of time and significant societal change, and in doing so we were all playing our small part in what is undeniably a significant moment in history. One thing that has, I think, surprised me a little this week is that some of the basic features of Australia’s own systems of government are quite poorly understood or even misunderstood. It is a discussion for another day, but perhaps we can take the end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign as a timely reminder that democracy is strongest when its institutions are upheld and respected, and for that to happen they need to be well understood.

It is also not possible to separate the death of Queen Elizabeth from our own perceptions of the British Empire, and I want to acknowledge that this creates for many people feelings that are difficult to reconcile. In an era where debate occurs in increasingly binary terms it is possible, I think, to be both discomfited by a history but also admiring of a remarkable woman. In saying this, I do want to acknowledge that we are on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation and that for Australia’s First Nations people the impacts of colonisation remain incredibly challenging. As a state and a nation we are working to make peace with that history. As I am sure many of you have in recent days, I have read with interest of the Queen’s ongoing interest in the history and culture of First Nations people across her realm.

Now, I have never met the Queen, but I have spoken to a few people in recent days who have and their descriptions of her have been really lovely to hear. To a person it seems that Her Royal Highness was warm, engaging, witty and charming. I like to imagine that she was great fun. The heartbreak of so many people at the news of her death is perhaps testament to this. Her work ethic is legend, her composure unique, her modernity impressive. At the solemn service of choral Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral on Sunday night Archbishop Philip Freier in his sermon had a suggestion. No matter what people’s experiences or feelings about this significant historical occasion and this remarkable woman are, he suggested that we all think of one quality that we admired in Queen Elizabeth and just try to be a little bit more like that. I think this is a fine suggestion, perhaps for all of us. I will be doing this, and I would encourage others to do so as well.

Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (12:30): I rise, honoured to support the motion in this house, the Legislative Council, in recognition of His Majesty King Charles III and pay my respects to a life very well lived by our late Queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It was a life altered beyond repair when her uncle, King Edward VII, abdicated in 1936. She never would have seen this coming in her early days. Her father, King George VI, became King. One of the things that I have seen recently, looking at the television over the last few days, is young Princess Elizabeth in the service of the British army, during the dark days of World War II, with a uniform on. I feel that that gives an inkling of what she experienced through that time, that community service that she felt would have then been part of the landscape of her future duties and her resolve to commit to those duties.

We have heard her make—and I do not think it gets lost in the retelling—at the very tender age of 21 that remarkable commitment:

I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service …

If we think back to our 21st birthdays and what we were doing at the time, would we have been able to carry on with that resolve, that level of duty and commitment and that strength? I think not, but you never know. That was a huge level of commitment for her. I think maybe she was anticipating and considering the challenge, and I am sure she put her trust in the future and also in her faith. Grace, dignity and forbearance come to mind. Her marriage to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1947, spanned seven decades, a firm partnership in the truest sense of the word.

Her accession to the throne at the age of 25 began a hectic schedule. One of those visits was certainly to Australia—57 towns and cities in as many days, ceremonies, dinners, tours, handshakes and events. On 3 March in 1954 Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip arrived by plane in Sale at the RAAF base. They travelled on the royal train—a thing of the past now in Australia—from Sale to Traralgon and toured the Yallourn power station before moving on to Warragul, showing the importance of and acknowledging the power industry in central Gippsland. Traralgon resident Suzanne Pinchen spoke to me this morning. She was three at that time. ‘Initially’, she said, ‘all I could see was colourful skirts and noise and joy until Mum lifted me up in the air’. She saw our Queen alight from the carriage at Traralgon station. I said, ‘What was it like?’. She said, ‘There was just a wonderful atmosphere of joy and happiness’. I note that the papers from that time speak about children from other schools in Gippsland towns coming to witness the spectacle. I think that was an early indication of the standard and the workload that Her Majesty set and embraced throughout her entire reign.

President, an indulgence: at the time, somewhere in the 1980s when the Queen and Prince Philip came back to Australia again, the then member for Gippsland South, Tom Wallace, invited my mother and father to a garden party at Government House. Meree was dressed in Perri Cutten; I can imagine big puffy sleeves and blue florals, because it was the 1980s. She met Prince Philip and she said he was charming, engaging and completely at ease. It was a real delight that she has held. This was the ability of both Prince Philip and our late Queen to really connect and communicate with the general public. Yes, she also met with dignitaries, kings, generals, lawmakers, presidents, commissioners, prime ministers, members of the Commonwealth and leaders of other nations, but I think her ability to connect and resonate with, if I can say in quotation marks, ‘everyday people’ was one of her greatest strengths.

Her 15th Prime Minister was sworn in only a matter of days before her leaving this earth. I can imagine that she would have wanted the last pages of her last chapter as a constitutional monarch to be in the service of her country and her community. Her Majesty was exemplary and a stable constant in our lives and in our world: dedicated, dutiful, reassuring, compassionate, knowledgeable and with a profound interest in worldwide events. She was a woman ahead of her time. She was a global icon, and we will not see the like of her again with her wise counsel. I note from listening to people and watching the television her humour. One of the things I delighted in at her platinum jubilee was the skit with Paddington Bear. It just tickled my fancy and I think the world’s also, that connection with the very British Paddington and the delight she could still hold at an elderly age.

Yesterday the Victorian Governor, Her Excellency Linda Dessau, spoke in very heartwarming remembrance of her at the proclamation of King Charles III, which I was really pleased to attend. Many people thought that she would go on or wanted her to go on forever. It is not so. Ninety-six is a wonderful age, and I think we should celebrate and celebrate long. Thank you, Your Majesty. My thoughts and prayers are certainly with the royal family at this time. We reflect on an extraordinary life, and I extend my condolences to King Charles III and all of the royal family. The late Queen was a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and a relative and friend to many.

I quote one of my favourite poets, Kahlil Gibran, who wrote on service: ‘I slept and dreamed that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life is all service. I served and saw that service was joy’. I do hope throughout her life the late monarch found joy in service. On behalf of The Nationals I say vale, our Queen.

Mr LIMBRICK (South Eastern Metropolitan) (12:37): Firstly, on behalf of my party I would like to express my sincere condolences to His Majesty King Charles III on the passing of his mother and to all of the royal family at what must be a difficult time for them.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was the only head of state that I, like most Australians, had ever known. When I was a child, like many people my age, we sang God Save the Queen at Monday morning assembly. We had a portrait of the Queen in our classroom. But I did not really understand much about her role in the system of government. It was only since I became elected that I developed a deep appreciation for the role of the monarch in a constitutional democracy and the stability that she has provided. I think that, because we have spent our lives with this one head of state, I found myself, as I have spoken with many other people about, far more affected by this than I would have imagined. As many have said, she did provide stability throughout her reign as Queen.

We have often spoken in this place of surveys and the like on mistrust of people in government. I doubt anyone was referring to the monarch when they spoke about that. In fact I feel like hers was probably the most trusted level of government, and she earned that trust through what she did throughout her life. Many people have questioned of me why someone who cares about liberty like I do would have such respect for Her Majesty, but she sacrificed her own liberty for most of her life in order to serve those millions of people throughout the Commonwealth. She could have chosen to abdicate if she had wanted to get some of her freedom back, but she did not. She kept her pledge and served until the day that she passed away.

I think it is a testament to our democratic system that it has worked so well for so long. Although everyone in this place this morning swore allegiance to His Majesty and to serve the King, I cannot help but feel that in many ways the Queen throughout her life served all of us. May she rest in peace.

Mr LEANE (Eastern Metropolitan—Minister for Commonwealth Games Legacy, Minister for Veterans) (12:40): I am very pleased to be able to join this particular motion. In particular I want to briefly add that many veterans and ex defence force personnel in the Victorian community are very sad at the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. I have been speaking to a number of them, and speaking before the passing of the Queen, they have always taken their oath to the country, the constitution and the Queen as the head of state very seriously, and many, many of them have served with great honour under that banner. I have actually spoken to a number of veterans in recent days. I hate it when you put a blanket over any cohort of people. Not all veterans are monarchists—some are not at all—but they have always had this faith in and deep respect for the Queen, particularly under the oath they took to her as the head of state. Obviously we all go to RSLs. There is proudly a portrait of the Queen in every RSL, and they are proud to have served under her. I want to put on the record today that a number of them are very, very sad and feeling the loss of the Queen greatly.

One other issue I wanted to touch on is the Queen serving for 70 years as a woman. I wonder if 70 years ago the Queen would have thought that in one of her parliaments—such as this one—there would be a day when the Leader of the Government is a woman, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is a woman, the Deputy President is a woman, the Deputy Clerk is a woman and five out of the six ministers in this chamber are women. I am quite pleased they let one bloke hang around. I think it would have been an amazing time for her. If we think of the decades and decades, no-one would have been exposed to the volume and the amount of mansplaining over those decades as the Queen. I think she would have taken all advice with great appreciation, but she proved herself to be a person of her own convictions, and what she believed in, she delivered.

We all are very privileged to be in any form of public service, and we all could see that the Queen took that privilege as seriously as, and for a longer time than, probably anyone will into the future. I just want to pay my respects, particularly for the veterans community, for the amazing job that she did for such a long time.

Dr BACH (Eastern Metropolitan) (12:44): I only lived through a little more than half of the reign of Queen Elizabeth the great, and those four decades have been marked by much change, as we have heard, and calamity. They have been marked by shifting sands, and yet we have had one constant, one rock: Queen Elizabeth II. I swore my oath a little earlier today on this Bible, which is my mother’s Bible, and it says in this Bible—indeed in all bibles in the New Testament—in the book of Matthew at chapter 7 that the foolish man will build his house upon sand and the wise man builds his house upon the rock.

When I was a young boy living in London, in fact, we lived in the shadow of a possible nuclear war, and yet the Queen reigned with much dignity and grace at Buckingham Palace. Then after the fall of the Berlin Wall following the end of the Cold War there was a period of much hope. The Queen continued to reign very much as before. The new millennium brought the threat of terror and the scourge of terror, not just to the United States in New York and Washington but to London, to Madrid and to Bali. The Queen continued to reign as an immensely reassuring presence from Buckingham Palace. We had the global financial crisis, then the Arab Spring, which turned to an awful winter of war and despair. The Queen continued to reign, serving all of us. More recently we have had the period of the COVID pandemic, and yet the Queen continued to reign as our rock. I believe it was in her very first radio address, as a young girl during the period of the Second World War, that the Queen said this, not only to children in Great Britain but right around the Empire, as it was at the time:

My sister is by my side and we are both going to say goodnight to you. Come on, Margaret. Goodnight, children. Goodnight, and good luck to you all.

At that time of course the government of Great Britain reassured its people that they should keep calm and carry on. Well, the Queen embodied that spirit of the blitz her whole life. More recently, just two years ago at the height of the pandemic, she spoke to us as a very old lady, again from Buckingham Palace, and she said in much the same way as she had said when she was just a 14-year-old girl:

We should take comfort that … better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.

So it seems to me that throughout the very long period of her reign the Queen was continually extracting and refining ore from her great mine of common sense but also drawing on her abiding Christian faith in a way that certainly spoke to others who have a religious faith but was also inclusive and uplifting for others.

The Queen touched many people right across my electorate in Melbourne’s Eastern Metropolitan Region, which she visited on a number of occasions. She opened hospitals—indeed she opened an institute of environmental research back in 1970 in Heidelberg. She drove down Churchill Street in Mont Albert, where an avenue of honour was subsequently planted in order to honour World War I heroes.

All of us have stories that have made the Queen over many years feel a very real part of our families. I wanted to swear my oath on my mother’s Bible today for a number of reasons. One was because my mother was born in the year of the Queen’s coronation and her godmother was not able to attend her baptism, even though she would have liked to, because she had a better offer. She was in London for the coronation of the Queen, and she brought back a replica. I am sure it was not expensive, but nonetheless she brought back a replica, a miniature of the anointing spoon that was used at the Queen’s coronation, and you might imagine that my mother has cherished that ever since. So for me and indeed for all of us it is a thing of great sadness that after so many years on the throne the Queen is dead. God save the King.

Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (12:49): I rise to speak on the condolence motion for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party. If you had to sum up the Queen in a few words, I am certain ‘leader’, ‘majestic’ and ‘dutiful’ would be among them. She led a dedicated and selfless life in her 96 years, and she has been a constant in the lives of many of us in this place and indeed through the whole community. We have all been preparing for this moment since the Queen’s health has been declining and her age increasing, but nonetheless it is still a very sad time for many.

For 70 incredible years the Queen led the Commonwealth through varying degrees of political unrest, 15 prime ministers in her home country, and she visited our great nation 16 times—and she was the only monarch to do so. Many of you may know that our party leader, Derryn Hinch, is not a monarchist; he would prefer to see Australia become a republic. Yet despite this our party expresses such sadness for this loss because of the constant strength that she has provided to so many for so long. This, in addition to her commitment to public life, is second to none. Right up until her death she was still executing her public duties. She met the new British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, just two days before her death.

I was born in the Queen’s namesake town of Elizabeth in South Australia many moons ago, and I do recall her visit in 1977—such an incredible presence and aura. The crowds she drew were beyond comparison, and her interactions with people during that time gave so many people lifelong memories.

All of us in this place have something to learn from Queen Elizabeth. On her coronation day she 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.

In times like we have now, every single one of us can lift our standards to that of the public’s expectations. We need to strive to be worthy of the community’s trust as politicians but more so as public servants. In 2010 the Queen told the United Nations:

… some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.

I would like to think that we could learn quite a bit from the Queen’s statement. When we work together, despite our battle of ideas and beliefs in this place, we can achieve so much. We are leaders and we should lead by encouraging unity and collaboration.

We wish Her Majesty’s family our strength and solidarity in their mourning as they have lost not just a queen but a mum, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, a family member and friend. We know the Queen is now resting with her strength and stay, her true love, Prince Philip. She will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, Your Majesty.

Ms SHING (Eastern Victoria—Minister for Water, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Equality) (12:52): I rise today to add my voice to the condolence motion following the passing of Her Majesty, and in doing so I want to reflect upon the fact that we may not always at the completion of someone’s life remember exactly what they have done, when they have done it or how they have done it, but we will invariably remember how they made us feel. Around the world Her Majesty enlivened feelings of loyalty, respect, admiration and, in many cases, a desire for change.

She never shied away from the reality—the pragmatic world in which she lived that was changing around her with every year that passed. But what she was known for was her intellect, her wise humour, her good counsel, her exemplary commitment to integrity and also for the things that made her human and made her personable and relatable—in that sense, a person who loved animals; who loved her corgis and her horses over the years and who in fact invented a breed known as the dorgi, the combination of a dachshund and a corgi; who lived as a mother, as a wife, as a leader, as a patron and indeed as a representative in her person and in the symbolism of the institution that she represented, giving her entire life in service and in contribution, I could imagine at significant cost to herself. She represents a range of traditions, of symbolism, of history and of honour that may not always be reflected in the world as it changes around us now, but indeed which occupies a significant place in history and which will in turn endure her to us in the way in which she made us feel. Our path through history will continue to shape the directions in which we head from here.

I acknowledge the sadness and the grief which accompanies news of her passing to her family, to all who loved her and looked up to her, to those whose lives are in fact forever changed by her passing, and I extend my condolences and my respect to those who are in grief right now. I also acknowledge the world in which Her Majesty acknowledged that things were happening and changing around her, including the future of Australia and the way in which we might regard a monarchy from here. She was forever practical about this, acknowledging that this is a decision for Australia alone. She also acknowledged with great respect the oldest continuous culture on earth. She was very clear about its role in and significance to Australia when she visited here on many occasions over many, many years.

I extend my condolences and my deepest sympathies to all who are grieving her loss, and indeed I note that the world is a different and a richer place for the contributions that she made in so many elements of her life. Indeed she strived at all points in time to be not just a leader and not just the representative of an institution, of traditions and of honours which have stood for hundreds of years, but also her own person to the best extent possible in the carriage and the undertaking of her service. Vale.

Ms BURNETT-WAKE (Eastern Victoria) (12:55): I rise to speak on the condolence motion and extend my deepest condolences to His Majesty King Charles III following the sad passing of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. The sad passing of the Queen has sent shockwaves through the nation and right around the world. Australians are understandably in a period of grief and mourning as we remember the remarkable reign of the only monarch most of us have ever known. She leaves a remarkable legacy as a woman who acceded the throne at the age of just 25 and lived a life of service and grace. Her death brings an end to a seven-decade reign. Australians must now adjust to a number of significant changes, none so foreign as a world without Queen Elizabeth as their monarch. As our world rapidly changed, she was our one constant. She held her head high during times of conflict and provided a source of comfort to generations of Commonwealth families. She had the hearts and respect of people all around the world, and in return she devoted her whole life to serving us as Queen.

At just 18 the then princess insisted on joining the army, and it may surprise some that she trained as a truck driver and mechanic during those years. She remains the only female member of the royal family to have served in the army. Her passion for motoring never died, as she was often pictured smiling behind the wheel of a car well into her 90s. She was a woman who was known for her love of corgis and the countryside. On one particular visit to Australia the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh stopped in the country towns of Sale, Traralgon, Yallourn and Warragul. More than 50 000 people filled the Warragul showgrounds to get a glimpse of the monarch. In 1954 Queen Elizabeth was only newly crowned, and the trip Down Under was a cause for much celebration. She was the first reigning monarch to visit Australia, and the young royal couple attracted thousands of fascinated onlookers throughout their trip. They passed through Lilydale and the Yarra Ranges on the train to Warburton during the same year. I have no doubt that many of my Yarra Ranges constituents would have memories of the Queen being in the valley, as memories of the Queen never seem to fade.

She was an unwavering leader, despite the highs and lows that occurred throughout her 96-year life. During her coronation day speech in 1953 she said:

Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.

She kept that promise and became the one constant in an ever-changing world. She was a symbol of hope, and her steady, calm approach to the role gave the Commonwealth exactly what it needed as it emerged from a chaotic period during World War II. As members of this Parliament we have much to thank the Commonwealth and the monarchy for. This place is built on rules and tradition that recognise the importance and significance of the Crown to our Commonwealth nation. Queen Elizabeth was more than just a monarch and our Australian head of state. She led our Commonwealth with grace, and she showed friendship and empathy to those lucky enough to meet her. I extend my sincere condolences to His Majesty King Charles III, the royal family, those who knew the Queen, those who met the Queen and those who loved the Queen from afar. Vale, Queen Elizabeth. May she rest in peace.

Mr QUILTY (Northern Victoria) (12:59): I will be brief. I rise today to express a deep sympathy to all of those who loved or respected our former monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I speak not only for myself but for the people of Northern Victoria. For most of us the Queen was a part of our lives for all of our lives—perhaps a small part for many, but always there. The Crown is an institution of governance in our constitutional monarchy stretching back through hundreds of years of tradition, and it continues. But there is also a person who must embody the institution. Our Queen dedicated her life to that service, and she served us long and faithfully. Many of us feel a real sense of loss at her passing, perhaps unexpectedly for some, so let me speak for all Northern Victorians when I express a real sadness. A light has gone out. May she rest in peace.

Dr KIEU (South Eastern Metropolitan) (13:00:300:): On Friday very early in the morning I was woken up with the news, and I was so deeply saddened to hear of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, as well as extremely grateful to Her Majesty for all that she accomplished during her extraordinary life and for the legacy she left behind. Queen Elizabeth was the longest serving monarch of Britain and one of its greatest due to her unwavering devotion to duty, courageous integrity and decency in addition to her accomplishments. Being the head of the British monarchy and of the Commonwealth of Nations for 70 years was an unprecedented position that came with numerous challenges. However, she took on the world’s most important role with kindness, fairness and grace. The state of Victoria has been proud to light up in purple from the night of her passing until the night of Her Majesty’s funeral as a token of Victoria’s deep respect and gratitude for the much-loved Queen. She left many marks in many different places and in many fields, and personally I am always honoured and proud to have been the holder of a prestigious fellowship named after her, the Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship, an honour she left in academia. On behalf of my constituents and myself I extend my sincerest condolences and deepest sympathies to the royal family. Come what may for Australia’s future, it is a deep and great loss for the Commonwealth. May she rest in peace.

Mr RICH-PHILLIPS (South Eastern Metropolitan) (13:02:442:): I rise to honour the service and the sacrifice of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and to extend my condolences to His Majesty King Charles III and the royal family. To serve as head of state to 15 countries and head of the Commonwealth for over 70 years is truly remarkable, and it was done with unstinting dignity and commitment. In a world where the average head of state or head of government might hold office for five years Her Majesty was the world’s most experienced leader for well over half a century. The global outpouring of grief highlights the unifying person that Her Majesty was in this country, in the Commonwealth and around the world.

To be in the same room as the Queen was to experience the magic of the monarchy—a magic, an energy, an excitement and a respect that no partisan and elected Prime Minister, Premier or President can ever match. Her Majesty’s reign represented continuity and stability—continuity and stability in our constitutional arrangements; continuity and stability in our democracy. Her Majesty’s commitment to the ideal of constitutional monarchy was complete. At the age of 96 and just two days before her death Her Majesty was continuing her constitutional duty in commissioning a new Prime Minister. As Boris Johnson reflected, Her Majesty’s greatest legacy was providing the stability and certainty that ensured the seamless transfer of constitutional power to a new monarch, as we have seen in the last two days.

I particularly want to reflect on the sacrifice that Her Majesty made in carrying out her duty. In a speech to Westminster yesterday His Majesty the King referred to ‘the office to which I have been called’. Her Majesty was not born to be sovereign. As the niece of a King, she could have expected to live a relatively normal life. Instead at age 10 it suddenly became her destiny to be called to the throne. For those of us in this place public life is a choice; for Her Majesty it was an unexpected destiny over which she had no choice. From acceding the throne at 25, her life was never going to be her own—every day programmed months in advance, year after year after year, for 70 years. Ministers can attest to the scourge of ministerial briefs. Her Majesty lived a life where red boxes, ministerial briefs if you like, arrived every single day and were destined to arrive every single day for the rest of her life. To be briefed on every major decision, approve every order in council and assent to every bill is no doubt a great privilege but also an unending burden.

To be the most recognised person in the world is to sacrifice any possibility of a normal life, with no possibility of doing the things we take for granted: simply walking down the street, going to a restaurant or walking through a park, not only in your home town, state or country but in virtually any place on earth and not only for a few years while in office but for Her Majesty’s entire life. Her Majesty pledged herself to service at the age of 21 and honoured that pledge unfailingly for more than 75 years. Her Majesty lived one life, but that one life touched millions of lives around the world. We can be grateful for the life of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. May she now rest in peace.

Dr CUMMING (Western Metropolitan) (13:06): On behalf of the many community members I represent here in Victoria and as the convener of the Independence Party here in Victoria, Australia, I wish to express my sincere condolences to the royal family, who have lost a mother, a beloved grandmother and a special great-grandmother. My Vietnamese community believe there is a special place in heaven for great-grandmothers. You can be a republican but still respect the monarchy. The Queen built the Commonwealth but respected each country that moved towards its independence. The Queen’s voice was always calm, slow, steady, soft and gentle. As Australians we speak English with a very distinctive Australian accent, but her British tone, the Queen’s English, I have always admired.

We are all born selfish. It is a survival skill. We are taught to share, we are taught to be kind and we learn compassion. The Queen was so kind and compassionate. You do not get to choose your parents or where you are born. Here in Australia your life can be determined by your postcode and the amenities around you. The education you receive is at a school that your parents can afford. The Queen made the best of the life she was born into. Our Queen shared her wisdom with us. The Queen changed with age and the times and always showed a concern for people who were less fortunate than her. Politicians send people to war, and only the brave should put on a uniform to serve others. Our Queen put on a uniform. When you put on a uniform, it comes with the responsibility to protect others, and I thank her for her service.

I watched last night her coffin travel through Edinburgh. Cumming means ‘courage’, and we were actually the last to be given a tartan, a kilt and a clan. I know my very large Cumming family in Edinburgh, Scotland, lined the streets, wearing traditional kilts and bagpipes playing. It was amazing to watch. It was amazing to see the streets lined, all unlocked from COVID. There were tears, there were hugs, there were flowers, there were kisses and there was love. It was truly moving and heartfelt. I felt my family connection here in Australia. The Queen was graceful, elegant and dignified. She had a wicked sense of humour which made us see her as human. The Queen fought for liberty. I wish to thank her for her strength and stability as a remarkable woman.

One of the saddest images that I have seen was from last year, when she was alone at 95 in a large empty church burying her beloved husband, Philip, a man that she had to fight to marry because of his Greek-German-Dutch background—but love conquers all. She must have missed her prince and been broken-hearted, but we do take comfort in knowing that she died peacefully with people that loved her by her side. My deepest condolences to all that loved her. May our Queen rest in peace, and may God bless her.

Ms TAYLOR (Southern Metropolitan) (13:11): First of all, I express my condolences to the friends and family and all those in the community who are feeling great sadness over the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I commend her on a life of incredible service to community, which has no doubt been a common refrain here today for good reason, and in particular her diligent and considered approach in all her communications and public duties. In particular I think something that was impressive was the incredible research that she undertook ahead of every interaction to ensure that they were all very meaningful and productive, as opposed to superficial or otherwise, with all those that she encountered along her very long and esteemed career.

I too want to focus on aspects of her character today, but this is not in any way to diminish the complexity of emotions that many may be feeling on all sides of the nexus between Australia and the monarchy. I thought I might best reflect on her character through an anecdote that was shared with me on the weekend by Peter Bellion, president of the Port Melbourne Life Saving Club. He is also a retired Victorian police officer. He reflected on the fact that when he was working as a police officer he went on an official visit to the UK; he had 30 years of service to reducing road trauma. Anyway, we will get to the punchline. Through a whole series of unexpected twists and turns word got around as to his service, and he ended up standing in front of her car—he did not know this was what was happening—and the window came down and she congratulated him there and then for his incredible service to the community over those 30 years. You can imagine the surprise, because he did not go there seeking this out. She went to those lengths to ensure that his service was commended, and he ended up extremely emotional. Even as he reflected on it over the weekend you could see that it is still incredibly meaningful to him. The purpose of my sharing that is just to point to great strengths in her character and to show the kind of care and consideration that she gave with regard to her interactions and reflections on the good deeds of others. With that, vale, Queen Elizabeth II.

Mrs McARTHUR (Western Victoria) (13:14): I am honoured and proud to rise in support of this condolence motion and extend my personal deepest sympathy and the sympathies of my Western Victoria constituents to King Charles III and the entire royal family. Australians woke up last Friday, 9 September 2022, to a different world. It was a world without their Queen, Her Majesty Elizabeth II.

For 70 years Elizabeth had been the monarch, our Queen, our constant, our true north. We have been shocked by her passing, despite her 96 years of age, for Her Majesty was timeless in her wise counsel, poise, conduct, standards and the unrelenting belief she held in those things that are much bigger than all of us—in God, in respect, in freedom.

‘Wisdom, Justice, Compassion and Integrity’ are the words inscribed in the mace of the Scottish Parliament—presented by the Queen when she opened that building of governance—and words that are indeed the embodiment of the Queen herself.

She had no equal or peer other than the God she served, and it was to him and to the Commonwealth that she committed her every day. At her coronation on 2 June 1953 Her Majesty said:

The things which I have here before promised, I will perform and keep. So help me God.

God no doubt heard her. Her faith was surely part of what enabled her extraordinary life of service to others. But Her Majesty spoke more words on her coronation day 70 years ago. The words broadcast to her nation and around the world find themselves today as contemporary and relevant as any. The words place her as a modern woman in a modern world, a true leader, a leader well alert to the differences of time, place and people. She may have been bejewelled when she spoke, but she was not blind to history or the future. She said:

Parliamentary institutions, with their free speech and respect for the rights of minorities, and the inspiration of a broad tolerance in thought and expression—all this we conceive to be a precious part of our way of life and outlook.

These are words spoken 70 years ago, yet these quiet words about tolerance, respect and the potency of free speech are more potent than any others shouted today. It is sad then that some in recent days have chosen not to give 60 seconds to the woman who championed the very things they say they want.

Her success was achieved not with noise but with halcyon and humble reserve. She understood the value and measure of every word she pronounced. She often said more in silence—the spoken word second to a dignified peace. She said plenty with her smile, a twinkle in her eye and humour. That familiar smile was there even two days ago—two days before her passing—when she saw in her 15th British Prime Minister, a woman also, no less.

As a young political aspirant, I was honoured to meet the Queen, but more recently my husband, Stewart, and I had the privilege of staying on the Balmoral estate. We were advised by our Scottish host to look out for the corgis as we wandered the magnificent grounds. We also visited Crathie Kirk, the local church where the Queen appreciated so many Sunday services. In these simple things she showed her greatness. When the world went mad in places and when we let ourselves down as nations and as people, the Queen would always be there, exuding calm and peace and love for all—true to each day and ready for the next.

She was and shall remain an institution, a part of the structure of the lives of so many of us—of millions not just in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations but around the world. We looked to her, and we still do as we watch the people of the United Kingdom walk to their front gates, across their fields and down the streets of their villages and cities to pay their final respects to the woman who gave to them her life.

As a world we have watched the decline of many of our social structures—the church, the family, our standards of and in government and our faith in political leaders and public discourse. We have become a lesser people with the decline of these institutions. We have unleashed a gnarly unease. Many have looked to false gods in their absence. It is wonderful, then, that millions will bow their heads to Her Majesty in these coming days. In doing this, in lining the streets, in waiting for hours, people are also honouring the institution of the monarchy. It is with heads bowed and in big numbers that they show us that these institutions of governance and faith and family are indeed pivotal to our social structure. As the leader of one of those building blocks, the Queen has provided the warp and weft of our lives. She has given society a reason to look up, to raise our eyes beyond ourselves. If I, if we, in this place can contribute a modicum of the decades of service delivered by this woman, this wife, this mother, this grandmother and great-grandmother, we will hopefully collectively make a difference to our world.

In the same coronation speech to her nation that night, as a 25-year-old, she recognised the almighty duty ahead of her, and she said:

… I have in my parents and grandparents an example which I can follow with certainty and with confidence.

Our new King, King Charles III, could not on earth have received a greater tutor than Her Majesty. She was his greatest teacher and, in truth, ours too. We now turn to King Charles, who mourns with us the loss of Elizabeth, his mum, his mentor, His Majesty. On his head will be placed the crown that will mark his reign in symbol and actuality. It will mark the ongoing nature of a peaceful reign and the seamless evolution of change in our leadership, without blood lost. Her Majesty Elizabeth II was not just a good woman, she was a remarkable woman, an exemplar of courage and grit, of quiet yet powerful leadership, of wisdom and selfless service. We will never have another like her. It may be decades and more before we again have a Queen. But she was our Queen, a Queen for the times, a Queen who by example provided the simple rules for a peaceful future, based on respect and free speech, and one of tolerance in thought and expression. Could we have asked for more? She could not have given more, and for that we cannot thank her enough. May she rest in peace, and may God save the King.

Mr HAYES (Southern Metropolitan) (13:23): It was sad to wake up on Friday to the news of the death of our Queen. It was an amazing life, a life of duty and service to us all. The Queen has always been there as a model of stability and sanity in a rapidly changing world. Long may she be an inspiration to us all. I offer my condolences to her family and to her people here and throughout the world.

Ms LOVELL (Northern Victoria) (13:23): I wish to express my deep sadness at the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and extend my sincerest condolences to His Majesty King Charles III, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex and the extended royal family. Queen Elizabeth II has been a constant and prominent presence throughout my entire life, and until last Friday morning, when we woke to the very sad news of her passing, most of us in this Parliament had known no other monarch or head of state.

A remarkable woman who was held in the highest esteem by all Australians, Queen Elizabeth actually began her life of service well before she was to become Queen. I remember my mother and aunts talking fondly of how the young Princess Elizabeth had shown tremendous leadership during World War II. Visions of the young Princess in war-torn London helping where she could and driving army jeeps, as well as her radio broadcasts, were an inspiration to children and young people around the world and earned her enormous respect and a place in the heart of all of her loyal subjects. This early commitment also laid the groundwork for her lifetime of service, and no-one was surprised nor doubted her when she made the commitment on her 21st birthday. Queen Elizabeth acceded to the throne in 1953 in what was very much a man’s world. For young women growing up in the 1950s, 60s, 70s and beyond, the Queen was a role model—a woman in a powerful leadership role, a woman of substance who filled them with hope.

Queen Elizabeth visited Australia on 16 occasions and Victorians were fortunate that 11 of those visits included our state. Her first tour of Australia in 1954 was extensive and included visits to 57 towns in 58 days, which must have been exhausting. During that visit, the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, travelled on the royal train. Her visit to Victoria included several stops in my electorate on 3 and 4 March 1954, when she visited Benalla and Shepparton, then travelled through Mooroopna to go on and visit Tatura, Echuca, Rochester, Bendigo and Castlemaine. To this day, the Queen’s visit to these towns is still talked about and celebrated as a significant occasion.

The Queen’s visit to Shepparton was to be the catalyst for a significant change for our Indigenous community. In 1939 many Indigenous people had walked off the Cummeragunja mission and settled on the flats between Shepparton and Mooroopna, where the Queen’s motorcade was to pass by on its way to Tatura. This provided a problem, as no-one wanted the Queen to see these people living in such poor conditions. So the Queen’s visit led to the Aboriginal housing being established at Rumbalara, an outcome that I am sure she would be most proud of. Fortunately we have come a long way since 1954, but there is still more work to be done to close the gap for our Indigenous community in Greater Shepparton. It was during this visit in 1954 that the Queen actually opened the second sitting of the 39th Victorian Parliament on 25 February 1954.

My personal memories of the Queen visiting Victoria start in 1970 when, as a young child, my parents took me to line the route of the motorcade. It was early evening, and the Queen, Prince Philip, the then Prince Charles and Princess Anne passed by in two cars. They must have been heading to a formal dinner, as the Queen and Princess Anne were dressed in the most beautiful dresses and jewellery. However, I have to admit that it was not so much the Queen or Prince Philip that I was interested in seeing that day; I was more excited at seeing a real-life princess and Prince Charming.

As a member of this Parliament, I was fortunate to participate in several events during the Queen’s visits to Victoria in 2006 and 2011. In 2006 I was delighted to take my father, a former British citizen, to a luncheon with the Queen at the Royal Exhibition Building. This was held in the last year of my father’s life, and he was fairly sick at the time, but nothing was going to stop him attending. It is an occasion that I will always cherish the memory of with my darling daddy. In 2011 I was fortunate to attend the opening of the new Royal Children’s Hospital by Queen Elizabeth and also a reception held in her honour at Government House. These are events that I will never forget.

All Victorians and people throughout the world mourn the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen was always the epitome of grace and duty, and I thank her for her extraordinary seven decades of service and leadership. Vale, Queen Elizabeth II. Long live the King.

Mr BOURMAN (Eastern Victoria) (13:29): I wish to associate the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party with the condolence motion. I wish to extend my and my party’s condolences to the royal family. We have all spoken of the long lifetime of service and dignity of the Queen that clearly transcends the differences throughout most of the world. This service is quite an accomplishment—more than 70 years in the driver’s seat of the monarchy. I feel that the Queen’s service as a truck driver and mechanic whilst a princess during World War II defines her best service—be it in the armed services or as a Queen—a service to her people. Another of the greatest generation has passed. Vale, Queen Elizabeth II. Long live the King.

Mr ATKINSON (Eastern Metropolitan) (13:29): Much has been said in this condolence motion, and I am very pleased to associate myself and indeed my family with this motion today in extending a degree of empathy to King Charles III and his family and those people who have been so much a part of the Queen’s life. Indeed that extends to many people who have worked in her employ in so many different aspects of the monarchy’s reach across not just the United Kingdom but indeed the Commonwealth. It interests me that, apart from all of the words that have been spoken today—and I think there have been some outstanding comments made as well as reflections on different aspects of the Queen’s service over those seven decades—in historical terms the monarchy was about power: the power of the monarchy. Not so today. Today the monarchy is about empowering people, and the Queen has had a lot to do with that significant shift over seven decades, where she has shown great courage, compassion, encouragement and inspiration to so many people, where she has sought to empower citizens within her realm.

We have had some reflections today about women taking leadership roles in so many fields of human endeavour today and the Queen having been a role model for them. Do you know, often when schoolchildren have come into this place I have said to them that I often have a nightmare. My nightmare is that somebody comes down from outer space, taps me on the shoulder and says, ‘Take me to your leader’, and I think to myself, ‘Who could I possibly take them to?’, because so many of our leaders have not shown some of the just very basic attributes that you would want from a leader. Indeed if those people had ever arrived from outer space, I could well have taken them to Queen Elizabeth II because she exemplified what leadership is all about. She in fact was a person who was able to show great wisdom and who was calm when there was so much conflict, so much noise and so much calamity all about.

Whilst she was obviously the British monarch from the long traditions of British history, she did truly understand and have empathy with the people of all of the nations that make up the Commonwealth. At times like the bushfire events here in Australia and some of the major floods and some of the other calamities right around the world—including in parts of her dominion such as India, Canada and some of the African nations—the Queen was always there with words of encouragement, words of support, words of inspiration.

I guess whilst growing up it was perhaps a little curious, the Queen’s Christmas message was one of those things that so many people listened to, tuned into and took encouragement and empowerment from, because she showed a connection with the most humble of her constituents, of her people, as much as she was revered by all of them, by so many Australians—even those who perhaps are not supporters of the monarchy as such. But certainly in a rapidly changing world—a world that actually changed in those seven decades more quickly, more significantly than in the rest of the history of humanity—the Queen indeed was a constant. The Queen indeed steered us through some very difficult times as much as she did some very joyous times.

King Charles III faces some significant challenges going forward. The rate of change will no doubt continue. Some of the issues before us internationally as much as for us in Australia and around the Commonwealth and his own country are going to certainly test his courage, his compassion, his wisdom and his strength, just as the Queen was tested over so many years. Today we have all taken an oath or made an affirmation to be the very best that we can be as members of Parliament, and we certainly convey our support for King Charles III in the work that he does and trust that he will have the same attributes that were so much a part of his mother’s legacy to this global community. I share his grief at this time and that of the rest of the family and those people who have been closest to the Queen, as I said, including her staff and those people that have acted on her behalf in appointments around the world, including our own Governor here in Victoria and the Governor-General in Canberra. Vale, Queen Elizabeth II, and thank you so much for a life of wonderful service, inspiration and empowerment.

Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan)

Incorporated pursuant to order of Council of 7 September 2021:

I rise to pay my respects and recognise the significant contribution made by Queen Elizabeth II in seven decades as head of state of Australia and this state, Victoria.

I, like most Australians, have known no other head of state.

Queen Elizabeth was a patron of more than 600 organisations and served them commendably.

She had dignity and grace in office and great strength of character, which meant for many Australians that being a republican and an Elizabethan were not mutually exclusive things.

Queen Elizabeth respected the self-determination of the Australian people, backing the right of Australians to become a fully independent nation during the referendum on an Australian republic, saying at that time she ‘always made it clear that the future of the monarchy in Australia is an issue for the Australian people and them alone to decide, by democratic and constitutional means’.

I am saddened by the news of Queen Elizabeth’s passing and express my gratitude for her service to the Commonwealth.

The PRESIDENT (13:37): I rise to pay tribute to our gracious light and sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This moment is one of great sadness. It is also a time to express our immense gratitude for the devotion Her Majesty showed to the people of the Commonwealth, including the people of Victoria, throughout her reign. Soon after she became Queen, thousands of Victorians bore witness to the youthful monarch, who opened the second session of our 39th Parliament here in this chamber. Respect was shown to our new sovereign, and then it endured throughout her reign because she honoured her commitment to lifelong service to us. Continuity of her reign provided stability and security because she was a constant guardian of our Westminster system. With dignity and dedication she showed us time and again the honour that public service can bring. In a rapidly changing world Her Majesty was an enduring symbol of principle and purpose.

Since her passing last Thursday we have heard many heartfelt tributes from those who were closest to her and those who were inspired by her. On behalf of the Victorian Parliament the Speaker and I issued a message of mourning and condolence. Coming through in all the tributes across the world is the immense appreciation that people feel for Her Majesty’s sense of duty, which never wavered.

Her Majesty will be greatly missed by many people here in our state and across the Commonwealth. Most of all she will be missed by the royal family, for whom she was a guiding light. I offer my sincere condolences to King Charles III and to all the royal family. Let us be thankful for Her Majesty’s achievements, in particular her lifelong efforts to encourage and strengthen our Commonwealth family.

Motion agreed to in silence, members showing unanimous agreement by standing in their places.

Business of the house


Ms SYMES (Northern Victoria—Leader of the Government, Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services) (13:42): I move:

That the Council, at its rising, adjourn until Tuesday, 20 September 2022, at 9.30 am.

Dr CUMMING (Western Metropolitan) (13:42): I move:

That all words and expressions after ‘adjourn’ be omitted and replaced with the words ‘until Tuesday, 27 September 2022.’.

I just wish to speak briefly to my amendment to the government’s motion. Following the death of Her Majesty the Queen it is His Majesty the King’s wish that a period of royal mourning be observed from now until seven days after the Queen’s funeral. Seeing that we have a national day of mourning on 22 September I would hope that this government would respect the King’s wishes, seeing that we have just today sworn an oath to almighty God and affirmed our allegiance to the King. If it is not at the end of September, I would hope that this government would also respect that it could possibly be the first week of October.

Amendment negatived; motion agreed to.

The PRESIDENT: As a further mark of respect to the memory of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II the house will be suspended for the remainder of the sitting week and is therefore adjourned until Tuesday, 20 September 2022, at 9.30 am.

The house stands adjourned.

House adjourned 1.46 pm until Tuesday, 20 September, at 9.30 am.