Page 2589 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 20 September 2022
In closing, on behalf of the ACT government, the Assembly and the Canberra community, I extend our deepest sympathies to the royal family and the people of the United Kingdom and the commonwealth. I commend this motion to the Assembly.
MS LEE (Kurrajong—Leader of the Opposition) (10.16): On behalf of the ACT Opposition, I pay my respects and express my sincerest condolences to King Charles III, the royal family, the people of the United Kingdom, and the commonwealth, on the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
The Queen had, and continues to hold, a very special place in the hearts and minds of many Canberrans. The crowds and mourners at Parliament House and Government House have shown that to be true this past week since the sad news of Her Majesty’s passing. People from all backgrounds, young and old, have been eager to leave messages of condolence and place flowers at Canberra landmarks. It really is touching and I am sure comforting to many that one woman could have such a widespread impact on people of all ages from various nations around the world—the wider commonwealth family.
The Queen visited Australia 16 times throughout her long and distinguished reign and on every occasion, except for two visits, a visit to our beloved capital was on the agenda. In fact, a young Princess Elizabeth was on her way to Australia when her father, King George VI, suddenly died in 1952. She was just 25.
When Canberra was on show to the rest of the country and the world, with new landmarks and historic openings of buildings and precincts of importance to our national story, Her Majesty was there. Queen Elizabeth first visited Australia in 1954 as the new Queen. In Canberra, she opened her first session of the Australian parliament and then went on to visit every capital city, except for Darwin, and over 70 country towns.
Many Australians knew very quickly there was something warm and special about the new queen, with thousands of locals lining the streets to welcome her and catch a glimpse of Her Majesty. In 1963, the Queen and Prince Philip led the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the naming of Canberra as the capital of Australia. It was of course during this visit that then Prime Minister Robert Menzies in his welcome speech asked Her Majesty to:
… remember, in this country of yours, that every man, woman and child who sees you … will remember it with joy, remember it in the words of the old seventeenth-century poet who wrote those famous words, “I did but see her passing by. And yet I love her till I die”.
It is a line, Madam Speaker, that has been repeated many times, especially over the past week, and still captures the deep admiration and love that many Australians feel for the Queen.
Her Majesty also opened sessions of parliament at Old Parliament House in 1974 and 1977. She visited the capital in 1980 to open the new High Court of Australia and