Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee

About this Item
SpeakersGallacher The Hon Michael; Gay The Hon Duncan; Fazio The Hon Amanda; Nile Reverend The Hon Fred; Phelps The Hon Dr Peter; Ficarra The Hon Marie
BusinessBusiness of the House

Page: 8039

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER (Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Hunter, and Vice-President of the Executive Council) [3.33 p.m.]: I move:
      That the following address to her Majesty the Queen be adopted:

      To Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.


      We, the members of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, in Parliament assembled, on our own behalf and on behalf of the people of New South Wales, offer our loyal and heartfelt congratulations on the completion of the sixtieth year of Your Majesty's beneficent reign.
As the Leader of the Government of the Legislative Council I congratulate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the sixtieth year of her reign. Irrespective of the debate and the views expressed about the role of the monarchy in modern Australia, Her Majesty's jubilee is an historic achievement. It is a great milestone in the history of the constitutional monarchies of the Commonwealth.

I take this opportunity to put on to the record my congratulations to the mounted unit of the New South Wales Police Force—the oldest mounted unit in the world. The mounted unit of the New South Wales Police Force has been asked to represent Australia at the Diamond Jubilee celebration at Windsor Castle. It will bring with it a touch of Australiana to the ceremony. It will be an outstanding event for those officers and a proud moment in their careers. It recognises that which we have come to expect of our mounted police units—

The Hon. Robert Borsak: Do they take their own horses?

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: No, they are given a selection of horses from the Royal Horse Guards. The mounted unit of the New South Wales Police Force will train with the Royal Horse Guards. It will be a magnificent experience for those officers and their families. We can all be proud of what our mounted unit has done for the people of New South Wales in over 100 years of active service. When we watch this event unfold on television later this year I ask members to keep an eye out for the New South Wales mounted police who will be participating in the ceremony.

The Hon. DUNCAN GAY (Minister for Roads and Ports) [3.34 p.m.]: As Deputy Leader of the Government and Leader of the National Party, I offer my congratulations to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on her Diamond Jubilee. When Her Majesty ascended to the throne after the tragic death of her father, King George VI, it must have been an awful time for her. King George took Britain through the Second World War. As the second born child in the family King George was not destined to be king but he took on that role when his elder brother stood aside—a tough role and one that many people believe contributed to his early demise.

At the time that Her Majesty assumed her monarchical role she was a young mother. On the occasion of her father's death she was travelling in Kenya and was scheduled to visit Australia following her trip to Kenya. Obviously her trip had to be cut short and she returned to England. To sit on the throne for 60 years is an extraordinary achievement. With the exception of Queen Victoria, Her Majesty is the longest serving monarch. Her Majesty has an amazing capacity for hard work and meets scores of people each week, which includes her weekly meeting with the British Prime Minister. During her time as our Head of State and the Queen of Australia, Her Majesty has observed 12 Australian Prime Ministers in office. Sir Robert Menzies was prompted to declare his undying affection for Her Majesty in this oft quoted line, "I did but see her passing by, and yet I love her till I die." That feeling, which was well put by Sir Robert at the time, has been echoed by many Australians who admired the way in which Her Majesty fulfilled that role for our country.

During her reign Her Majesty has witnessed 12 British Prime Ministers in office, 12 American Presidents and six Popes. British Prime Minister Tony Blair had not even been born when Queen Elizabeth II became Queen; he was born one month after her coronation. When Princess Elizabeth became Queen in 1952 she said she would devote her life to the service of her people and that is exactly what she has done. In the past 60 years the Queen has made 261 overseas visits to 129 countries, including 16 trips to Australia, where she remains as popular now as she has ever been. The Queen's life has not been without disappointment and tragedy. In 1979 her mentor and great family friend, Lord Louis Mountbatten, was assassinated by an Irish Republican Army bomb. In 1982 Britain was at war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. Her Majesty described the year 1992 as her "annus horribilis" when her much-loved Windsor Castle caught fire. The castle suffered severe damage and the fire destroyed some of the most historic parts of the building. We all remember those desolate scenes of Her Majesty walking through the water soaked ruins inspecting the damage and looking totally dejected.

The year 1997 proved to be another challenging year for this great monarch with the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The British public and the rest of the world mourned the loss of the "people's princess". The Queen came under enormous and relentless pressure and criticism over how the monarchy responded to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. In many ways the public did not understand that Her Majesty is a private person and that she responds in her own way. The year 2002 was another tragic year for Her Majesty. In February her sister, Princess Margaret, died and a month later the Queen Mother passed away. But it has not all been tragedy. Her Majesty finds joy in her family.

During her reign the Queen has conferred more than 387,000 honours and awards, sent more than 380,000 congratulatory telegrams, 37,000 Christmas cards—Her Majesty must start signing very early in the year—received more than three million pieces of correspondence and hosted more than a million people in garden parties. She has sat for 139 portraits, the most recent by Rolf Harris—some days are harder than others. The Queen has demonstrated her preparedness to work hard. This year there will be celebrations across the world, and particularly the Commonwealth, as we salute an extraordinary woman who has done an extraordinary job.

The Hon. AMANDA FAZIO [3.40 p.m.]: I speak in support of the motion moved by the Government. Accession Day, 6 February 2012, marked the sixtieth anniversary of accession to the throne of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II. For the benefit of members I would like to read the accession statement that she delivered and signed:
      I, ELIZABETH do solemnly and sincerely in the presence of God profess, testify, and declare that I am a faithful Protestant, and that I will, according to the true intent of the enactments which secure the Protestant succession to the Throne, uphold and maintain the said enactments to the best of my powers according to law.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II already has the status of being the longest serving monarch after Queen Victoria, her great-great-grandmother, who reigned for more than 63 years. The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II will be only the second such jubilee ever held, the last being in 1897. When she acceded to the throne as a young woman following the death of her father, King George VI, on 6 February 1952, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth were almost unrecognisable from today. Britain was still recovering from World War II and was gripped by rationing, and the country bore the scars of six years of war against the Nazis. Five years earlier, on her twenty-first birthday—April 21—she had vowed to serve the Commonwealth. She said:
      I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.

The Queen, now in her eighty-fifth year, has remained true to her pledge and dedicated herself to the nation and beyond. The historian and political biographer Ben Pimlott stated in his biography of her:
      "The Queen's strength," as one of her aides, a friend for half a century, remarks, "is that she doesn't change very much."

Over the decades Britain has undergone major transformations from technological advances like computers and supersonic flight to developments in society and the political landscape. During her reign the Queen has seen 11 Prime Ministers come and go, with David Cameron being the twelfth, while Barack Obama is the twelfth President of the United States to hold office over the same period. The Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977 was marked by an outpouring of public support, and her Golden Jubilee in 2002 was a momentous occasion and showed there was still a strong feeling of support for the Queen. Queen Elizabeth II has been tireless in her service to the countries over which she reigns, and to the Commonwealth. The Diamond Jubilee is likely to be a high water mark in the life of a woman who became Queen as a young woman and remained true to her ideals. The people of New South Wales and Australia wish her well on her Diamond Jubilee, and I also wish her well and a happy and healthy life.

Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [3.43 p.m.]: On behalf of the Christian Democratic Party, I am pleased to support the address to Her Majesty the Queen moved by the Government:
      To Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.

      May it please Your Majesty—

      We, the members of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, in Parliament assembled, on our own behalf and on behalf of the people of New South Wales, offer our loyal and heartfelt congratulations on the completion of the sixtieth year of Your Majesty's beneficent reign.

The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II is the international celebration throughout 2012 marking the sixtieth anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II to the thrones of seven countries upon the death of her father, King George VI, on 6 February 1952. Queen Victoria in 1897 is the only other monarch in the histories of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and a few other Commonwealth realms to have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee. Following the tradition of jubilees past, a Diamond Jubilee medal is being awarded in various countries, and holidays and events will be held through the Commonwealth.

Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State of Australia and 15 other Commonwealth realms. She is the eldest daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. She was born on 21 April 1926 and became Queen at the age of 25 years. She has reigned through six decades of enormous social change and development. The Queen is married to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and has four children and eight grandchildren. In the course of more than 60 years on the throne the Queen has developed a very special relationship with Australia through regular visits. She has travelled throughout the different States to meet people from all cultures, walks of life and regions in our country.

As a constitutional monarch, the Queen, by convention, is not involved in the day-to-day business of the Australian government, but she continues to play important ceremonial and symbolic roles, as do her vice-regal representatives in our nation. The Queen's relationship to Australia is unique. In all her duties she speaks and acts as Queen of Australia, and not as Queen of the United Kingdom. The Queen's royal style and title in Australia is Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth. I am very pleased to support the address to Her Majesty.
    Along with other members, I attended a special ecumenical service to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne, conducted in St James' Church, Sydney. The invited preacher on that occasion was Cardinal George Pell, and the Governor of New South Wales, Professor Marie Bashir, was the guest of honour. Paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Australia in the Australian House of Representatives in Canberra on 6 February 2012, Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, stated that the Queen is a revered figure in Australia. The Prime Minister also announced that on 4 June she would light a beacon atop Parliament House and that a street in the parliamentary triangle in Canberra would be renamed Queen Elizabeth Terrace.

    While sharing in the support for this motion, I urge the New South Wales Government to give more thought to its participation in events to mark the Diamond Jubilee. As we near the annual Queen's Birthday holiday on Monday 11 June 2012, I respectfully request the State Government—it may be doing so already—to consider special events, perhaps a citizen's parade, a Parliament House dinner, a special Diamond Jubilee medal, emblem and plaque, as has been planned by other members of the Commonwealth. I am very pleased to support the motion. I remind members of the words spoken by the Queen in her Christmas message to highlight what I believe are some very important features of our nation and indeed the whole of the Commonwealth. She said:
        The importance of family has, of course, come home to Prince Philip and me personally this year with the marriages of two of our grandchildren, each in their own a celebration of the God-given love that binds a family together.

        For many, this Christmas will not be easy. With our armed forces deployed around the world, thousands of service families face Christmas without their loved ones at home.

        The bereaved and lonely will find it especially hard. And, as we all know, the world is going through difficult times. All this will affect our celebration of this great Christian festival.
    She concluded:

        Finding hope in adversity is one of the themes of Christmas. Jesus was born into a world full of fear. The angels came to frightened shepherds with hope in their voices: "Fear not," they urged, "we bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord."

    The Queen then said:
        Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves—from our recklessness or our greed.

        God sent into the world a unique person—neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.

        Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God's love.
    The Queen then quotes from these words from the beautiful carol O Little Town of Bethlehem:
    O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
    Descend to us we pray.
    Cast out our sin
    And enter in.
    Be born in us today.

    She then concludes by saying:
        It is my prayer that on this Christmas day we might all find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord. I wish you all a very happy Christmas.
    I believe that the Queen has excelled in both her example and her words as the Queen of Australia.

    The Hon. Dr PETER PHELPS [3.50 p.m.]: Sir Henry Channon, known as Chips Channon, was a British Tory MP and noted diarist. To borrow Christopher Isherwood's phrase: He may be considered to be "a camera with the shutter open", unblinking on English high society from the 1920s to the 1950s. On 2 February 1952 Channon recorded the following in his diary:
        I watched the television, and saw the King, bare-headed, cross, almost mad-looking, waving farewell to the Edinburghs, who have flown to Kenya en route for Australia. He is reported to be going out duck shooting next week, suicidal.
    Channon was right, of course: within a week the then King was dead—a king who was, by rights, never meant to be king, just as the daughter of the Duke of York, Elizabeth, was never meant to be Queen. Indeed, the expectation was that Edward, the Prince of Wales, would become king and that the Duke of York and his family would remain members of the royal family but not in direct succession to the throne. Events conspired to intervene and both George VI and his daughter ended up on the throne. Today I join others in celebrating the 60 years of Elizabeth's reign.

    I am reminded of a republican conference I attended at the State Library of New South Wales back in the summer of 1992 at which one of the academics from the University of Technology, Sydney, made this point: What the republican cause, and especially the male members of the republican cause, fail to understand is the intensely personal nature of the monarchy—the familial and especially the female nature of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, and that as long as they fail to recognise this they will not understand female support for the monarchy. To a large degree that is true and I want to concentrate on that particular emphasis.

    In 1977 I was dragged along by my grandmother and my mother to the Silver Jubilee celebrations. I can well remember the very hot day in the square in front of the Town Hall in Sydney where I saw very large numbers of elderly ladies in hats and gloves awaiting the passage of the Queen. She did eventually come along and she whizzed past. I thought—even with my very limited height—that she seemed rather small but she did seem very queen-like although she was not wearing a crown. In 2006 I took my own children to Parliament House in Canberra to see the Queen when she was passing through the Marble Hall and my children's reaction was much the same as my reaction in 1977.

    We should remember that the Queen is not a superwoman. She was once a girl, a young lady very much in love, and still very much in love, with her now husband. Channon records various incidents when he met her. The first time he met her was at Ascot in 1937. He talks about the "tiny Princesses excited by their coronets and trains". Later, in 1943 at St Paul's Cathedral during a celebration for the victory in Africa Channon talks about the two princesses "dressed alike in blue, which made them seem like little girls". Later on, during the war, the Queen served in uniform as a member of the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service. She was, of all things, a lorry driver—a truckie. The Transport Workers Union should immediately place a portrait of her in the union's office in celebration of all truckies.

    The reason the future Queen was in Britain during the war is due to the nature of her family. Lord Hailsham suggested that the two princesses should be evacuated to Canada, but Elizabeth's mother, the future Queen Mother, declared, "The children won't go without me. I won't leave without the King. And the King will never leave." That pretty much sums up the entire ethos of the British royal family. It is worth noting that the Queen has maintained that standard of duty and public service throughout her entire life. Her life was touched by one man in particular—Philip of Greece. Channon records that when he signed the visitors' book he noticed "Philip" written constantly. Channon saw Princess Elizabeth at Coppins and he wrote, "I think she will marry him". He was right. But what did she have to give up? Channon describes another time at Coppins in 1948:
        The dance was really for the Edinburghs, who were enchanting. She was in black lace, with a large comb and mantilla, as an Infanta, and danced every dance until nearly 5 a.m. I am beginning to doubt the supposed pregnancy—
    about which he was wrong as Charles was born in November 1948—
        but Philip of Edinburgh ... was the success of the ball, and was wildly gay with his policeman's hat and hand-cuffs. He leapt about and jumped into the air as he greeted everybody. He went out of his way to be friendly to me, I thought, and we gossiped a bit. His charm is colossal, like all Mountbattens, and he and Princess Elizabeth seemed supremely happy and often danced together ... Towards 3 a.m. we danced the Hokey Cokey.
    The Queen we know today was once a young woman who was full of life and who basically had the role thrust upon her, and she has done a marvellous job in that role. Many members know that I am an historian by trade, and I would like to reflect on the time that Queen Elizabeth has been the reigning monarch. During her life she has known Baldwin, Chamberlain and David Lloyd-George. She knew Attlee and Churchill was her first Prime Minister. The time of Churchill dates back to the Sudan War and the Boer War and the Queen will remember conversations with Churchill. I am again reminded of another quote by Channon:
        Winston was yesterday given the Garter by the Queen at Windsor. What a romantic picture—the aged Prime Minister kneeling at the feet of the young Queen: like Lord Melbourne and Queen Victoria. What a scene, one day, for a painted window, or fresco.
    Think of all the things the Queen has seen. She has seen Eden and the Suez crisis; McMillan and the end of empire; Wilson and Heath—the winter of discontent in Britain; the Thatcher era, Blair and ultimately Cameron. What longevity. She has seen Menzies and Holt, McEwen and Gorton, McMahon and Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke, Keating, Howard, Rudd and Gillard. What a magnificent tenure; what a magnificent term; what a magnificent monarch. I am very happy to support this motion today.

    The Hon. MARIE FICARRA (Parliamentary Secretary) [3.58 p.m.]: It is with great pleasure that I support this motion in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of our Queen of Australia, Her Highness Elizabeth II, who has devoted her life to serving her citizens throughout the Commonwealth. As previous speakers have mentioned, she is the second-longest reigning monarch after her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years from 1837 to 1901.

    Duty to others has dominated Queen Elizabeth's life since she took the throne 60 years ago. It is significant that Queen Victoria is the only other monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee, which occurred in 1897. During Elizabeth's reign there have been 12 Australian Prime Ministers, 12 British Prime Ministers, 12 Presidents of the United States, six Archbishops of Canterbury and six Popes. Her ability to maintain stability and offer advice for the benefit of nations has contributed to a stable Western World and a respect for the Westminster system of democracy. Indeed, her grassroots participation and care for the rights of individuals will always be admired by members of the Commonwealth and many non-Commonwealth countries.

    During World War II Elizabeth was determined to serve alongside everyday people. Her father, King George VI, was hesitant to allow Elizabeth to enlist to help one of the women's wartime services. However, Elizabeth was insistent and in February 1945—just before her 19th birthday—she joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service as an honorary Second Subaltern. She trained as a driver and mechanic and drove a military truck, which would have been a fabulous image to see. It is no wonder she endeared herself to the citizens of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and to people worldwide. Elizabeth did this work for a sustained period of time.

    Pursuant to sessional orders business interrupted at 4.00 p.m. for questions.

    Item of business set down as an order of the day for a later hour.