Queen Elizabeth II memorial, Canberra: Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese pay tribute at service

Just like old times! Scott and Jenny Morrison rub shoulders with the Who’s Who of Australian politics including Anthony Albanese and partner Jodie at a moving memorial for the Queen

  • A national memorial service for Queen Elizabeth II has been held at Parliament House in Canberra
  • In attendance was Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Leader of the Opposition Peter Dutton
  • Former Prime Ministers Scott Morrison, Paul Keating and John Howard were among the 700 guests
  • Australians have a one-off public holiday to mourn the death of the monarch who died on October 8

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Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny have joined Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his girlfriend Jodie Haydon at a moving memorial service to honour the late Queen Elizabeth II

Mr Albanese and Governor-General David Hurley signed a condolence book ahead of the pause for reflection at the start of a national memorial service at Parliament House.

Their procession into the Great Hall was led by Indigenous performers Wiradjuri Echoes with Aunty Violet Sheridan, a Ngunnawal Elder, delivering the Welcome to Country.

Political leaders past and present, judges, military chiefs and other dignitaries are among 700 guests at the service who participated in a minute’s silence to pay tribute to the long-reigning monarch. 

Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny were among the 700 guests at the service in the Great Hall at Parliament House

Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny were among the 700 guests at the service in the Great Hall at Parliament House

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was seen walking into the service beside former Prime Minister Paul Keating, who served as leader from 1991 to 1996

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was seen walking into the service beside former Prime Minister Paul Keating, who served as leader from 1991 to 1996 

Governor-General David Hurley delivers a speech during the national memorial service

Governor-General David Hurley delivers a speech during the national memorial service

Mr Hurley, Mr Albanese and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton spoke during the televised service, which will also feature a Bible reading, prayers, music and a floral tribute.

Mr Albanese paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth’s 16 tours to Australia and said the monarch had ’embraced the breadth of our continent, the depth of our people’s hearts, the warmth of our humour’. 

‘For so many, for so long, the Queen was a rare and reassuring constant in a world of change,’ he said. 

‘In an age of performative celebrity, the Queen embodied quiet dignity.

‘In an era of fads and fashionable causes, the Queen did not seek to chase the times, instead she held to qualities and virtues that are timeless; love of family, loyalty to country, service to community, kindness to those in need and respect for everyone she met.’

Mr Albanese concluded his speech by offering that ‘perhaps the greatest tribute we can offer her family and her memory is not a marble statue or a metal plaque’, but rather, ‘a renewed embrace of service to community’. 

A 1954 painting of the Queen by eight-time Archibald Prize winner Sir William Dargie is the centre-piece of the service

 A 1954 painting of the Queen by eight-time Archibald Prize winner Sir William Dargie is the centre-piece of the service

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard and his wife Janette arrive at the service in Canberra on Thursday

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard and his wife Janette arrive at the service in Canberra on Thursday

Australia’s Governor-General said Queen Elizabeth II had provided a ‘common touch point that could overcome divisions and draw people together’.

‘In an era where trust in institutions is declining, Queen Elizabeth evolved, adapted, and changed within her role as monarch but, ultimately, remains true to the commitment she made all those years ago – ‘Throughout all my life, and with all my heart, I will strive to be worthy of your trust’,’ he said. 

Mr Hurley flew to London to attend the Queen’s funeral last week and told guests he was still coming to terms with the gravitas of the service, as well as the outpouring of grief he witnessed. 

Inside the Great Hall, among the sea of black suits, dresses, hats and veils, could be seen the bright orange of SES volunteers, red of Scout uniforms and blues and greens of school uniforms.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was seen walking into the service beside former Prime Minister Paul Keating, who served as leader from 1991 to 1996.

Earlier this month, Mr Keating described the monarch as an ‘exemplar of public leadership’. ‘Her exceptionally long, dedicated reign is unlikely to be repeated; not only in Britain, but in the world generally,’ he said. 

The Queen died on September 8 aged 96, having reigned as Australia's head of state for 70 years

The Queen died on September 8 aged 96, having reigned as Australia’s head of state for 70 years

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and partner Jodie Haydon speak to an Indigenous dancer as they arrive at the service

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and partner Jodie Haydon speak to an Indigenous dancer as they arrive at the service

The Queen died on September 8 aged 96, having reigned as Australia’s head of state for 70 years.

Twenty years ago she declared during a visit to Australia her ‘admiration, affection and regard for the people of Australia will remain, as it has been …constant, sure and true’.

Up to six Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II jets from No.77 Squadron will fly past parliament at midday.

The Queen visited the country 16 times during her reign and was the patron of more than 20 Australian charities and associations.

She consulted with 16 prime ministers and 16 governors-general served in her name.

All eight state and territory leaders are present, as arestate governors, justices of the High Court and religious leaders.

Cabinet minister Tanya Plibersek said it was an important day to mark 70 years of service.

Former prime ministers Paul Keating, John Howard and Scott Morrison (pictured) are attending the memorial service

Former prime ministers Paul Keating, John Howard and Scott Morrison (pictured) are attending the memorial service

Both houses of parliament will sit on Friday to speak on a condolence motion for the Queen and pay tribute to King Charles III

Both houses of parliament will sit on Friday to speak on a condolence motion for the Queen and pay tribute to King Charles III

‘This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to mark the passing of a very special woman,’ she said.

Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney, who is taking part in the service, said she believed it would be received ‘very respectfully’ by Indigenous people.

‘There is a huge respect for sorry business – it is part of Aboriginal culture and the reverence to the Queen in my view falls into that category,’ she told ABC radio.

However, she said there was a ‘complex relationship’ between Indigenous people and the monarchy.

‘You cannot divorce the issues of colonisation from the role of Britain going back through the ages.’

Mr Albanese concluded his speech by offering that 'perhaps the greatest tribute we can offer her family and her memory is not a marble statue or a metal plaque', but rather, 'a renewed embrace of service to community'

Mr Albanese concluded his speech by offering that ‘perhaps the greatest tribute we can offer her family and her memory is not a marble statue or a metal plaque’, but rather, ‘a renewed embrace of service to community’

Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney (centre) said she believed it would be received 'very respectfully' by Indigenous people. She is pictured with Labor MPs Marion Scrymgour (left) and Malarndirri Mccarthy (right)

Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney (centre) said she believed it would be received ‘very respectfully’ by Indigenous people. She is pictured with Labor MPs Marion Scrymgour (left) and Malarndirri Mccarthy (right)

Opposition frontbencher Karen Andrews, who is also attending the service, said it would be a ‘fitting tribute’.

A 1954 painting of the Queen by eight-time Archibald Prize winner Sir William Dargie is the centrepiece of the service.

The painting is surrounded by Australia’s floral emblem, the golden wattle, and some of her favourite flowers, sweet peas and dahlias.

Former Australian Idol contestant Anthony Callea is performing at the service.

Both houses of parliament will sit on Friday to speak on a condolence motion for the Queen and pay tribute to King Charles III.

Anthony Albanese’s moving speech at Queen’s memorial:

Your Excellency, distinguished guests, parliamentary colleagues, fellow Australians.

We gather today – around our nation – to offer Australia’s thanks for an extraordinary life dedicated to service, faith, country and Commonwealth.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-serving monarch in the history of a centuries-old institution. Her reign spanned more than half the life of our modern Federation.

And we proudly honour her memory today on a continent home to the world’s oldest continuous culture – paying respect to traditional owners and elders past, present and emerging.

This national day of mourning salutes a sovereign who served our whole country – and sought to know it too.

Our vibrant cities. Our beautiful country towns. Farmlands and forests. Rugged coasts and red centre. Mighty stadiums and local sporting grounds, grand galleries and humble halls. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese spoke at the national memorial service for Queen Elizabeth II in Canberra on Thursday

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese spoke at the national memorial service for Queen Elizabeth II in Canberra on Thursday

Through 16 tours across seven decades, Queen Elizabeth visited and connected with every part of Australia. Millions of fleeting interactions, still fondly recalled.

So many Australians have shared their memories – of a kind word, a gesture of respect, or a thoughtful act of grace in an always-busy day.

With Prince Philip at her side, The Queen embraced the scale of this vast nation: the breadth of our continent, the depth of our people’s hearts, the warmth of our humour.

We can see something of this understanding in the organisations Her Majesty served as patron:

From the RSL, a social focal point for so many towns and suburbs, to the Royal Flying Doctors Service, an essential lifeline for people in the outback, whose fortitude The Queen spoke of with such admiration.

It is fitting that today’s commemorations in our national capital will be mirrored in communities across our country, as Australians express their own affection and respect – and celebrate The Queen’s part in their stories.

Here in Canberra, we are reminded of The Queen’s presence in the life of our nation – and the world of change she witnessed.

In this very room, in 1988, Queen Elizabeth officially declared this building open. Down the hill is the Old Parliament House the Queen’s father opened in 1927.

The House of Representatives in which Prime Minister Menzies fought back tears as he informed the chamber of the death of George VI and the accession of a 25 year old Princess Elizabeth.

The old Senate where the young Queen on her first tour addressed the Australian parliament summoned in her name – one of only a handful of women in the room. The Lake – now home to Queen Elizabeth II Island – was dry for that first visit.

The Australian War Memorial had been open only 13 years, the veterans of the Great War that had inspired its construction were still in their 50s and 60s.

The mint was busily imprinting pounds, shillings and pence with the young sovereign’s profile. Television was two years away. Britain was our biggest trading partner and our number one source of migration.

That Australia, of 1954, where 7 million people – 70% of the population – turned out to welcome the first sovereign to visit these shores was, in virtually every respect, a different nation in a different world.

Think of the transformation that has re-defined our country since. Through it all – in the good times and in days of trial and hardship – the Queen stood with us.

Always among the first to extend her sympathies to people and communities afflicted by tragedy or disaster. Always taking pride in Australia’s progress, which The Queen observed with the thoughtful perspective of decades in public life.

In Adelaide, in 2002, she reflected: ‘In all things – including our advance to Reconciliation – the Queen always wanted the best for our country’. 

She greeted every evolution in our relationship with Britain with good grace and an abiding faith in the judgement of the Australian people.

And so, amidst the noise and turbulence of the decades, the Queen endured – and so did Australia’s affection for her, our sense of connection to her.

Indeed, I believe those two truths run together: our affection held strong, because she did. For so many, for so long, the Queen was a rare and reassuring constant in a world of change. 

In an age of performative celebrity, the Queen embodied quiet dignity.

In an era of fads and fashionable causes, the Queen did not seek to chase the times – instead she held to qualities and virtues that are timeless:

Love of family, loyalty to country, service to community, kindness to those in need, respect for everyone she met. In this, she represented more than the monarchy.

She stood for things we loved and admired most about our own parents and grandparents. Their decency, their wisdom, their patience, their work ethic, their instinct for service above self.

And – as the traditions and formalities of the past two weeks come to a close – I think something all of us can do to meaningfully honour the life of Queen Elizabeth in an ongoing way is take inspiration from her example.

Friends, monuments to the Queen dot our landscape, the name of Elizabeth lives in nearly every town.

Perhaps the greatest tribute we can offer her family and her memory is not a marble statue or a metal plaque. It is a renewed embrace of service to community. A truer understanding of our duty to others. 

A stronger commitment to respect for all. This would be a most fitting memorial, to a magnificent life.

May Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second rest in eternal peace.

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