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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 601


Ms BANKS (Chisholm) (11:40): On the occasion of the Queen's sapphire jubilee, it gives me enormous pleasure—and I regard it as a great honour—to speak today about a person whom I and many people regard as one of the greatest women in modern history.

However, before I do this, I feel compelled to describe my views and feelings as follows. During the election campaign and in the context of my leaving the business world to join this new world of politics, a journalist asked me what the surprises had been, regarding the good things and the bad things. In reply, I said that the worst and most disappointing and surprising thing was the 'Mediscare' campaign of the Labor Party. Why? Because, in my view, that was more than advertising puffery. Rather, it showed a complete disregard—and, importantly, a lack of respect—for my constituents and for the Australian people. Respect underpins Liberal values and everything the Turnbull government stands for. Respect underpins the Turnbull government's policies and everything we do. In fact, respect is the reason why we are the most successful multicultural nation on this earth. Yesterday, the Labor Party showed a complete lack of respect in the House—and this was the greatest surprise for me; the most disappointing thing for me, to date. But this time, the Labor Party's disrespect was not only for our Prime Minister and the privileged position of being a member of the House of Representatives. They also showed a complete lack of respect for the Queen. As Prime Minister Turnbull made his speech expressing admiration, respect and gratitude to the Queen for her service, a number of those on the other side squealed with laughter and giggles, heckling the Prime Minister. It was disgraceful, abominable behaviour. It demonstrated nothing more than a clear lack of respect—and ignorance. Sitting across from them and observing their behaviour made me feel outraged. They reminded me of an out-of-control classroom of students, as is often depicted in the movies. The Leader of the Opposition was not a leader at all; in fact, his behaviour and body language was like watching a teacher who was standing in front of the out-of-control classroom waiting for them to quieten down. Perhaps he should have schooled the Labor-Party class before his speech in parliament, because even he recognised that the Queen should be admired for her dedication to public service. However, this point was completely lost on certain members on the other side of the chamber, particularly the Labor member for Griffith and the Labor member for Bendigo, who were squealing and laughing like the two naughty kids sitting in the out-of-control classroom.

The Queen's reign for over 65 years is an extraordinary milestone. The Queen is the longest-serving British monarch. Only five other kings and queens in British history have reigned for more than 50 years. Over those 65 years, the Queen has visited Australia 16 times and has become a patron of numerous Australian charities and organisations.

She has brought nothing but joy, grace and goodwill to thousands and thousands of Australians. No matter which side of the republican debate you are on, no matter what your age, you cannot help but admire and feel gratitude for the Queen.

I have the pleasure and privilege of knowing many young adults in my electorate, particularly thanks to the two universities and many fine senior schools. They, like the vast majority of Australians, have known no other head of state and consistently show deep admiration and respect for the Queen.

The Queen is revered and respected in this country, but members of the Labor Party in this House yesterday failed to demonstrate this. On behalf of the people of Chisholm and, indeed, every nation-state, I acknowledge with gratitude Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's years of duty and service and I thank her from the bottom of my heart for her extraordinary reign and extraordinary service to Britain, the Commonwealth and Australia.