Australian politicians have paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II after returning to Parliament from a break they took to watch the monarch’s death.
An obscure and longstanding protocol in Australia bans Parliament from sitting for 15 days following the death of a British monarch.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had decided to follow protocol. Mr Albanese has previously said he wanted an Australian president to replace the British monarch as the nation’s head of state, although he avoided becoming entangled in the republic debate during the mourning period.
We think of King Charles feeling the weight of that grief as he takes on the weight of the crownAnton Albanese
Each chamber of Australia’s parliament – the Senate and House of Representatives – spent Friday passing condolences for the late monarch and King Charles III. to congratulate him on his accession to the throne.
Mr Albanese said it was difficult to comprehend that after her seven-decade reign, the Queen was just a memory.
“She was a rare and reassuring constant in the midst of rapid change,” said Mr. Albanese.
Queen Elizabeth visited Australia 16 times during her reign.
“She got to know us, appreciated us, hugged us and the feeling was very mutual,” Mr Albanese said.
The Prime Minister offered King Charles his condolences.
“We are thinking of King Charles feeling the weight of this grief as he takes on the weight of the crown,” Mr Albanese said. “As he begins his reign, we wish his majesty well.”
Opposition leader Peter Dutton said Australians have drawn on the wisdom of the Queen’s words and the comfort of her voice.
“She admired this Australian quality of honoring those who go about their essential business without fuss or media attention,” Mr Dutton said.
“But of course, wherever the Queen went, crowds choked the streets, cheering, clapping and waving their flags to show their adoration.”
Adam Bandt, leader of Australia’s small Green Party, offered his condolences but reiterated his support for Australia becoming a republic.
“The Queen’s death means we are getting a new head of state without having any say in the matter. It’s absolutely the right time to speak respectfully about whether this is right for us as a country,” he said.
“We can offer our condolences to those who are grieving for them while also speaking respectfully about what it means for us as a people.”
Green Party Senator Sarah Hanson-Young offered her condolences but also spoke about the need for reconciliation with Australia’s indigenous people.
“She has not removed children from their parents or personally attempted to remove and decimate one of the world’s oldest cultures,” Ms. Hanson-Young told the Senate.
“(But) she was the government representative in the institution that did that. Expect generations of oppression, trauma and suffering as a result of colonization.”
British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell was in Parliament to hear the tributes.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/australian-politicians-pay-tribute-to-queen-on-return-to-parliament-42011355.html Australian politicians pay tribute to Queen on return to parliament