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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (9 April) . . Page.. 790 ..

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I join with other members in expressing condolence to Her Majesty the Queen and other members of the royal family on the death of the Queen Mother, a truly remarkable individual and a steadfast rock who held the monarchy together for over a century.

Mr Speaker, members have touched on her wit, her charm, and that sparkle in her eye. Rather than going over what other members have said in relation to her life, I think it is worth while to dwell on her common touch, her wit, her quick one-liners and the joy she brought to people's lives.

I shall quote some classic comments she made, as reported in the Daily Telegraph of Saturday, 6 April. The royal wave, which has become something of an absolute institution, was perfected by Her Majesty the Queen Mother. She gave a very simple description of how it should be done by saying, "It's like unscrewing a lid of a large jar of sweets." Once, on hearing the national anthem being played on television, she said to someone watching with her, "Do turn it off. So embarrassing unless one is there. Like hearing the Lord's Prayer when playing canasta."

On another occasion, on being told that the kitchen staff, some of whom were gay, were arguing whilst preparing a meal, she said, "My compliments to the old queens down there, but this old queen is hungry and wants her dinner."

She was thrown in very much at the deep end with her late husband, King George VI, who did not expect and probably did not want to be king. They were a magnificent couple and he was bolstered just so much by her strength, her dedication and her support for him through incredibly trying times, starting with the abdication of Edward VIII. It is certainly true that she always had a number of problems with the Duchess of Windsor. Once, in defending the Duke of Windsor against the charge of being a playboy, she stated, "It was just unfortunate he fell in love with Mrs Simpson." After the episode with Edward VIII, King George VI settled in as King of Britain and the Empire, and the very dark days of World War II have been mentioned by previous speakers.

The Queen Mother was an absolute rock of strength there for both the King and the whole country and an inspiration to the world. Her most famous quote, which has been mentioned already, was the one she made in 1940, following the suggestion that she should move to Canada, when she stated, "The children won't leave without me, I won't leave without the King, and the King will never leave." I remember seeing as an 8 or 9-year-old pictures of the Queen Mother and the King visiting the blitzed areas of London and reading about the strength and support she gave to the families there and, indeed, to the whole free world at the time.

Coming back to some more classic quotes, after the war there was an assassination attempt on the Princess Royal in the Mall, in response to which the Queen Mother said, "That man didn't know what he was taking on." She was a Scotswoman, first and foremost, something lots of people perhaps forget. When an Afrikaner told her that he could never forgive the British for the Boer War, she stated, "I understand. We feel very much the same in Scotland."

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