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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 606


Ms O'DWYER (HigginsMinister for Revenue and Financial Services) (12:01): I congratulate Her Majesty the Queen on becoming the first British monarch to reach her Sapphire Jubilee. The Queen was just 26 years of age when she came to the throne. Along with her title, she inherited a huge weight of expectation: that she would be a leader worthy of her nation, that she would be a leader worthy of the Commonwealth, that she would be the bedrock of the Church of England as its supreme governor, and that she would be a source of strength and guidance for her nation in difficult times.

Her service and dedication were never in question. Even at the tender age of 14 years, the then princess delivered a serious message of comfort and reassurance to other children in Britain during World War II on the BBC's Children's Hour, saying:

We are trying to do all we can to help our gallant sailors, soldiers and airmen, and we are trying, too, to bear our own share of the danger and sadness of war.

We know, everyone of us, that in the end all will be well …

Throughout her reign, the Queen has fulfilled her duties with humility, grace and dignity, and despite my republican roots I stand with the staunchest of monarchists to honour the Queen in her Sapphire Jubilee year as she celebrates 65 years on the throne. Queen Elizabeth has been our head of state and a steady presence during turbulent times in our history—times of crisis as well as times of national celebration. Her reign has outlasted 13 Australian Prime Ministers and 20 opposition leaders. The Queen's example of service and duty to her nation and subjects has inspired millions.

In an ongoing legacy motivated by British traditions, every Australia Day we honour those in our society who have contributed to our nation beyond expectations. Under the British system, these awards were originally presented by the monarch. In my electorate of Higgins, we are fortunate to have many inspirations. From business, the arts, sport, philanthropy and community service, Higgins is home to some of the most respected community leaders in Australia who each, in their own way, have made our great country even stronger. This year's Australia Day recipients were Mark Cooper AO, Noel Alpins AM, Sandford Clarke AM, Leon Serry AM, Jennifer Williams AM, Peter Zablud AM, Philomena Docherty OAM, Jennifer Happell OAM, Isobel Morgan OAM, John Shalit OAM, Allan Zavod OAM and John Retchford.

Today I honour these people, but I also, most especially, honour the Queen for her example of unrelenting service, dedication and duty. It cannot have been easy for the Queen, during the last 65 years, to balance her public duties with her life as a private citizen: as the wife of Prince Phillip, the Duke Edinburgh; as mother to four children, Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward; as grandmother to eight grandchildren, William, Harry, Peter, Zara, Beatrice, Eugenie, Louise, and James; and as a great-grandmother to two great-grandchildren, George and Charlotte. Living a life in public is a sacrifice that she has made for all of us. We honour her for it and we congratulate her again on her sapphire jubilee.