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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 597

Ms MADELEINE KING (Brand) (11:23): I rise to speak today on the occasion of the sapphire jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of Australia and the Queen of Canada, New Zealand, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tuvalu, Barbados, Grenada, the Solomon Islands, Saint Lucia, The Bahamas, and the United Kingdom. I acknowledge the meaning and significance the monarch of the Commonwealth of Nations; her royal family and the monarchy as an institution has had for Britons and for many citizens of the Commonwealth over many years, but particularly in the very dark days of World War II.

Many of the immigrants to this country who live in my electorate of Brand in Western Australia have originated from Great Britain and other Commonwealth nations, and many of those immigrants remain supporters and firm fans of the monarchy and of the Queen and her family. Queen Elizabeth II is a significant figure in the lives of many, and many people around the globe—many people beyond the 17 countries in her realm—find inspiration in her steadfast loyalty and dedication, and in the dignified manner in which she has carried out her duty during the 65 years of her reign over the Commonwealth of Nations.

I rise to speak today principally on behalf of many of my constituents who themselves would like to thank Queen Elizabeth for her long and dedicated service to their home nations and also to this nation.

In my own experience I know that my father, while he lived, adored the Queen and all that she stands for. My father, John Harvie Morris, was one of the thousands of her subjects who stood outside Buckingham Palace on 2 June 1953 hoping to see her on the Buckingham Palace balcony after her coronation earlier in the day at Westminster Abbey. As a sailor in the war, the royal family and his is first home, England, meant a great deal to him. Although his chose Australia for his home and his future, and lived many more years in Shoalwater, Western Australia, than in Devon, England, his loyalty to the Queen and the country of England remained. At our family home—or it might be at my brother's place; I am not quite sure—there is a dress sword of the Royal Marines that Queen Elizabeth's father, King George VI, presented to my grandfather in 1944 as he was awarded a military Order of the British Empire.

My brother John recently had the sword restored, and I can tell you it is quite a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. It is the tradition of the regal that entrances. The extravagant yet elegant royal cipher of the King is engraved on the basket hilt and the crest of the Royal Marines floats halfway down the blade of the sword, halfway to its sharp tip. The sword has never hurt anyone, but it signifies that the original owner, my grandfather, would have died and killed for the King whose name sits upon its handle, for the Royal Marines whose crest runs along its blade and for the country both institutions stood for.

Of course, that is what the people of the Commonwealth were called upon to do, and they did. Service women and men from around the world died, killed, survived, served and sacrificed for King, for country and for the Commonwealth, and they would continue to do so for his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, in many theatres of war. It is no wonder the ties to the monarchy are so strong and so many. Queen Elizabeth II is the current and longstanding embodiment of these ties and a tradition that seems so strange when one writes about it and talks about it out loud.

I support many traditions this nation has inherited from the Queen's home of the United Kingdom: the rule of law, our magnificent common law and the judicial system, and aspects of the Westminster system of government that we see in play every day in our workplace here. Like many, I do not like cricket—no, I love it!

Today, I gladly pay my respects and offer my congratulations to Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her Sapphire Jubilee, and I pay tribute to her many years of service and dedication, which she had to give by virtue of being the firstborn child of King George VI. The life of the Queen and the royal family has, no doubt, been a life of privilege but equally a life of service and dedication.

For my own part, I hope the day comes sooner rather than later when an Australian can be the head of state of Australia, and will be the head of state only of Australia and not of 16 other nations. Australia will be a republic. That day is inevitable, and I look forward to that day very much indeed.

The Queen herself, when she visited Australia in 2011 for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Perth, said:

Ever since I first came here in 1954, I have watched Australia grow and develop at an extraordinary rate. This country has made dramatic progress economically, in social, scientific and industrial endeavours and, above all, in self-confidence.

Inevitably, that self-confidence should lead us to being a republic, to having faith in ourselves and to allowing an Australian to be our head of state. Becoming a republic is a critical step for Australia and its self-identification in this region, in Asia. The monarchy has played its part in the development of this nation, and I thank the institution and all of those who have served it for helping Australia in its development. But now I think we have got this.

Personally, and to conclude, on behalf of my constituents and on behalf of myself, I would like to say thank you to Queen Elizabeth II for her many years of dedicated service to our nation, to the nations of the Commonwealth and to her own nation of the United Kingdom. I wish the Queen and her family a very happy and peaceful future.