Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Page: 415

Mr SIMPKINS (Cowan) (12:47): I welcome the opportunity to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee: the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne. I, like a few on my side, am of the view that Australia should be a republic; however, unlike the member for Dawson, I do not really favour the direct election of a president. We have recently had the Queen and Prince Philip visit us in Western Australia and other parts of Australia. It was very clear during the visit that the Queen and the Duke and the Royal Family are held in high regard. I attended a couple of events over in Perth. There was a reception in the grounds of Government House for Her Majesty the Queen, and this was attended by a lot of people, including many school leaders from the electorate of Cowan. I remember looking around at that time and seeing how enthusiastic people were.

I do not see their interest in the monarchy as a great loyalty to the mother country or anything like that; instead, I think the interest that people have shown has to do with the respect they have for the lady and the way in which she carries herself. It is not every day that royal weddings such as that of Prince William and Catherine Middleton happen. The wedding was a highlight for a lot of people in Australia—the ratings on TV clearly demonstrated that—but there have been harder times for the Queen and the royal family, and she has carried herself through them with distinction. I think a lot of Australians appreciate that, and, whilst many of us are not absolutely wedded to the constitutional monarchy as opposed to a republic, I think there is interest in the monarchy because of the respect that Australians have for the Queen. Following the opening ceremony of CHOGM in Perth, I remember leaving that venue and seeing all the pomp and ceremony of that event and then walking up through the streets of the CBD of Perth, getting up to St Georges Terrace and just being astounded by the thousands of people who were lining the streets. It was a classic look, really. There were children on fathers' shoulders, mothers trying to hold their babies or toddlers up to get a bit of a view—families all over the place. They were five or six deep, particularly around where I was on St Georges Terrace. Looking to the left or to the west, and to the east down St Georges Terrace, it was the same all the way along. And it was not just a day out for people; I think there was a genuine respect and warmth for the lady and the manner in which she conducts herself.

While in many ways the position of Queen, the head of the royal family of the United Kingdom and, as it stands, of Australia, is a ceremonial position but, again, when you look through the sort of work that they do—the charity work and the representational work—it is hard not to be respectful of the work done by the royal family and, in particular, as I said before, Her Majesty the Queen.

As we look back on 60 years of the Queen's reign, and when you consider what a long life her mother lived, you would imagine that the Queen will certainly exceed the reign of Queen Victoria and become the longest serving monarch in British history. Whilst she reigns, I think Australians will certainly have that ongoing regard and respect for her. I think that in the future we will see a republic in this country, but I think that there will always be a special place in the hearts of Australians for the Queen, and that is due to the way she has conducted herself and the way that she has been a great leader in a lot of regards. And I think that Australians will always have that special place in their hearts for Queen Elizabeth II and that that will always be remembered when we transition through to another form of head of state. But on this occasion I pay my respects to Queen Elizabeth II and wish her all the best for the future.