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Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Page: 10

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:44): I rise to enthusiastically echo the most gracious words of the Prime Minister on this important occasion and I join her in my own respectful tribute to our Queen on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee. This is truly a great milestone. Only once before in the 1,000-year history of our monarchy has a queen reigned for more than 60 years. Her first Australian Prime Minister was Sir Robert Menzies. Her first British Prime Minister was Sir Winston Churchill. She is a living link to that age of heroes, a sign of continuity and stability in our national life.

Much has changed in 60 years. Much has stayed the same. We were a great country then and we are an even greater country now. Then, we were still part of an empire. Today, we are part of a dynamic but ever-changing Commonwealth. What has not changed is the Queen's unstinting devotion to those noble ideals of duty and service. What also has not changed is the respect and affection of Australians for the Queen, as demonstrated yet again during the latest royal tour, just last year. This is the paradox of the monarchy: the less actual power the Queen wields the more prestige she has; the fewer the decisions the monarch makes the deeper people's affection becomes.

Much was said earlier today about Sir Zelman Cowen. It is important to remember his comments about the monarchy back in 1966, when he wrote movingly of its role in our system as something 'above and outside politics'. The Crown that was once the embodiment of executive government has become a symbol of all that is best in public service.

I welcome the measures that have just been announced by the Prime Minister. I think they are a most fitting way of marking this important milestone. I particularly welcome the Prime Minister's announcement of a visit later this year to our country by Prince Charles, our future King. May I say, with feeling, something that perhaps is not said often enough in this most modern and contemporary of parliaments: may God save the Queen and may God bless this great country.

The SPEAKER: To signify their support for the address I invite honourable members to rise in their places.

Honourable members having stood in their places—

Debate adjourned.