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Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Page: 412


Mr EWEN JONES (Herbert) (12:35): I have a few words to say about the Queen in recognition of the Diamond Jubilee of her ascension to the throne. I think we have all seen the newsreels of London in the Second World War, when the two princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, refused to leave and drove trucks around the city to help with the evacuation and rebuilding of London. Therein lies the story of the person: it is service above self. If anyone epitomises service above self it is Queen Elizabeth II.

My grandmother was always a staunch royalist. Every Christmas we would all have to stand in front of the TV. We would be there in shorts with no shirt and bare feet and we would all have to stand to attention to listen to the Queen's message and stand up for God Save the Queen. Those of us who are old enough will remember that when we started school we had to stand on the parade ground and sing God Save the Queen before Advance Australia Fair, and that was another wonderful contact with the throne.

I was lucky enough to be in the crowd at Queen Elizabeth II Stadium during her Silver Jubilee year, at a special athletics meet on a very rainy Wednesday afternoon in Brisbane. She and Prince Philip drove around the track greeting all the students who had turned out. My good friend Nicki Marks did very well that day to get a third in the shot-put. The Queen was driven around, and it was one of those things you see where real class says that it was raining and she did not get wet. That just shows you what sort of person she is.

My grandmother was also lucky enough to meet her at one of the shows in England. My grandparents made their living as pig farmers on the Darling Downs. They were over there ostensibly to look at breeds of pigs. My grandmother was in the tent for an official reception for the Queen and they asked if there was anyone from overseas. My grandmother put up her hand, was brought forward and was introduced to the Queen. Grandma always said she could not just go straight back to the pigs; she had to go back via the flowers. She could not make that trip all in one go. To be in awe of someone like that is truly wonderful.

I was at St James Cathedral in Townsville on Sunday night, when Townsville celebrated the anniversary. We were very privileged to have there the Governor of Queensland, Penelope Wensley. She did the best impersonation of the Queen I have ever seen. In Townsville on Sunday night—this is true—it was 300 degrees and 1,000 per cent humidity! It was stinking hot, and yet Penelope Wensley was there wearing shoes, stockings and a lovely dress, and there was not a bead of sweat to be seen anywhere. The Queen would have been so proud of her representative.

That is what the Queen also has done, by and large, with the selection of governors. Although they are suggested by the governments of the day, we look for a particular type of person. We spoke this morning about Sir Zelman Cowen, and some of us were lucky enough to be at Government House on Monday afternoon with the Governor-General. The way that our governors and Governors-General portray themselves and the role they play in the community mirrors what the Queen has done for our country.

There is not time to talk about the republican movement or have a debate on the issue. I will simply say God save the Queen. She is a truly wonderful person. She has done this for 60 years and never appears tired. May she reign for a lot longer yet and may she have a truly wonderful year.