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Thursday, 30 November 1905

Senator HENDERSON (Western Australia) - I heartily indorse the opening remarks of Senator Playford, that the proposal to erect a national memorial to the late Queen Victoria is one which will appeal to the entire sympathy of not only every honorable senator, but all the subjects of the British Empire. I am a subject of the Empire who responds at once to the principle which underlies the motion. The long reign and the nobility of life displayed by Her late Majesty certainly endeared her name, not only to the subjects of the British Crown, but, I may say, to the civilized world. We are able to contrast the British Court in the days of several monarchs, such as the Georges, with the Court as it was conducted under Her late Majesty; and we observe at once a perfect transformation. The purity of the fife of Queen Victoria undoubtedly impressed itself on the hearts and minds of all her people to such a degree as to incline us - wereit not for the consideration which properly is paid to posterity - to regard any material memorial as unnecessary. While, as I say, I heartily indorse the principle which underlies the motion, I must express regret that a proposal of the kind should be made within this Commonwealth. I advance that opinion, not because I am not genuinely and fully in accord with all that has been said of the life, character, work, and usefulness of Her late Majesty, but because I recognise that her memory has been so indelibly fixed in a thousand and one ways as to obviate any need for Australia to assist in the creation of any English memorial. My idea is that a more worthy object for us would be the perpetuation of her memory by the adoption of some plan like that suggested in the amendment. There is scarcely one of our large cities, if any, in which there is not some statue of the late Queen ; but there is no memorial of any magnitude to mark our appreciation of her many virtues. If we contribute , £25,000 towards the £1,000,000, which is to be spent in England, we shall still have done absolutely nothing in Australia towards the end we desire to attain. We shall, of course, have contributed to the erection of a fine piece of statuary in England, but that fact will soon be forgotten. Under the circumstances, I am very much inclined to vote for the amendment. It would be a grand and a noble work for Australians to raise an edifice for the purpose outlined by Senator Stewart - to erect a national hospital, dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria.

Senator Sir William Zeal - The sum of £25,000 would not go very far towards providing such a hospital.

Senator HENDERSON - I am not now speaking merely of an expenditure of £25,000. In my opinion, that sum is the merest figment, unworthy as a memorial to the noble woman who did so much to create the pride we now feel in the English Throne. Our contribution to an Imperial work of the kind will be completely lost sight of; and in a few generations it will be absolutely unknown that Australia shared in this expression of sympathy and admiration. On the other hand, if we adopted the amendment, I believe there is enough patriotism, and enough love and honour for the woman who has gone, in Australia, to create by voluntary effort' a fitting memorial in our own land. If we, as a Federal Parliament, desire to keep green the memory of the late Queen, we cannot do better than adopt the amendment, , and provide an institution wherein the poor and the needy may be succoured; at any rate, I am sure that a work of the kind would have been smiled upon and applauded by the late Queen. Therefore, with a sincere desire to perpetuate the name and fame of Victoria throughout Australia, I shall support the amendment.

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