THE HON ANDREW HASTIE MP - SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE - FEDERAL MEMBER FOR CANNING
Friday 23 September 2022
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
The Second Elizabethan Age has closed.
And we mark its closure with sad hearts, as we mourn the departure of its namesake, our Sovereign Lady, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
She defined the Age by her benevolent leadership of the Commonwealth, by the symmetry of her private and public virtues—virtues informed by a living and committed Christian faith—and by the grace and dignity that united her to millions of subjects.
In the long history of British Kings and Queens, she was a Queen who wore her crown lightly—she was perhaps the most open-handed monarch to take the throne in the last one-thousand years, as she presided over the dissolution of the British Empire, not the gathering of more territory to her crown.
She relinquished power and might, rather than seizing it.
Instead, she gave life and energy to the Commonwealth—what she called an ‘equal partnership of nations and races’ that was built on ‘friendship, loyalty and the desire for freedom and peace.’
Australia is a proud member of that Commonwealth, and we were glad to call her our Queen.
Our lives are often shaped by events beyond our control. For Her Majesty, she did not choose the crown; that duty fell on her by birth.
The crown came to her much earlier than she imagined, along with the painful grief as she mourned the early passing of her father—King George VI.
A lesser woman might have chafed at the imposition, so early in life.
But she gave herself to the institution and became the leader that we came to know—that ever present benevolence that was never far from our thoughts.
Her visage on our coins and five dollar notes. Her photo hanging on walls in Government buildings and Defence barracks across the country. The loyal toasts at countless dinners over the years.
In my family, she was present at our dinner table—my mother admonishing us for our lack of manners. She would often say: ‘Imagine if the Queen was here!’ And we’d sit up and eat in a more dignified manner.
And her presence was generational too. My children sat transfixed recently watching on YouTube the Queen and Paddington share a marmalade sandwich together.
She did touch our lives in many ways. Not as a celebrity, but as a woman who lived out her calling with Christian grace, humility and quiet strength.
She lived those virtues as our Queen—in her private role as guidance counsellor to Prime Ministers, in her public leadership of the Commonwealth.
In both ways, she touched the great and small alike with her example of service.
It is right that we should mourn her, Mr Speaker, for her life of duty and service, and because we may not see her like for another thousand years.
May she rest in eternal peace, in the comfort of her Lord and God.
And may God save the King, His Majesty Charles III.
We wish him peace, stability and wisdom in the leadership of our Commonwealth.