Australia has lost a ‘wise and encouraging leader’, PM Anthony Albanese says in tribute to Queen | The Queen

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II as a “wise and enduring presence” in Australia’s national life.

Declaring the monarch’s death a “morning of sadness” for the country, Albanese addressed the nation on Friday offering the country’s condolences to the people of the United Kingdom and the royal family.

“With the death of Queen Elizabeth II, a historic reign and a long life dedicated to duty, family, loyalty and service has come to an end,” Albanese said.

“It is a day of deep sadness and grief for the Royal Family at the loss of a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

“Australian hearts go out to the people of the United Kingdom who are grieving today, knowing they will feel they have lost part of what makes their nation whole.

“It is a time of mourning for people in Britain, across the Commonwealth and indeed around the world.”

Albanese also spoke of the Queen’s connection to Australia, as the only reigning monarch to ever visit Australia, having visited 16 times during her reign, to every state and territory.

He said the Queen’s first visit – in February 1954, just eight months after her coronation – was the biggest single event ever staged in Australia and “a defining moment in our nation’s history”.

Seven million Australians – or 70% of the population at the time – watched the young Queen.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip wave to the crowd during their Commonwealth visit to Australia in 1954.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip wave to the crowd during their visit to Australia in 1954. Photo: Fox Photos/Getty Images

“From her first trip here, it was clear that her majesty had a special place in our hearts and we in hers,” Albanese said.

“Her majesty celebrated our good times and stood with us through trials and tribulations. Joyous and glorious, but also steadfast.

“In particular, we remember the sympathy and personal kindness he extended to Australians affected by tragedy and disaster – from floods and bushfires to wars and a pandemic.

“Her words and presence have been a source of comfort, hope and solace for millions of Australians.”

“Queen Elizabeth II has been a wise and encouraging leader, always wanting the best for our nation and welcoming change with understanding, good grace and abiding faith in the judgment of the Australian people.”

He also praised Queen Elizabeth’s “devotion to duty and service” as the hallmarks of her reign, describing her as “a rare and reassuring constant in the midst of rapid change”.

“Through the noise and turmoil of the years, she embodied and displayed a timeless decency and an enduring calm,” he said.

“This period of mourning will pass, but the deep respect and warm regard that Australians have always had for her will never fade.

“May he rest in eternal peace.”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton issued a statement on the Queen’s death, saying “one of humanity’s brightest lights has gone out”.

“Never in modern history has there been a more dignified monarch, a more conscientious leader or a more dignified person than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” he said.

“An amazing life that touched so many has sadly come to an end.”

Albanese and governor-general David Hurley will travel to London in the coming days, where they will meet the new King Charles.

The Australian flag in Parliament was lowered to half-staff on Friday morning and federal parliament sittings due to take place next week will be cancelled.

Parliament will also host a gun salute at dusk on Friday night, with one round for each year of the Queen’s life at 10-second intervals.

Hurley, Albanese, Dutton and other federal politicians will lay wreaths in Parliament on Saturday. On Sunday, Hurley will read a proclamation in Parliament, where there will again be a 21-gun salute.

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