Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has suspended Parliament as the country mourns the death of the “wise and enduring” Queen Elizabeth II.
In a televised statement on Sept. 9, the prime minister said it was a “day of sadness for the world, for the Commonwealth and all Australians.”
“This is a loss we feel deeply in Australia,” Albanese said. “Queen Elizabeth II was a wise and enduring presence in our national life.”
He said the Queen showed an abiding interest and deep affection for Australia, visiting the country 16 times throughout her 70-year reign. She was the only British monarch to visit Australia, where she took the time to visit every state and territory.
“As she said at the Sydney Opera House in the year 2000, ‘Since I stepped ashore here, I have felt part of this rugged, honest, creative land, and I have shared in the joys and sorrows, the challenges and the changes that have shaped this country’s history,'” the prime minister quoted.
He said that Australians, in particular, recall the sympathy and personal kindness that the Queen extended to the country during periods of tragedy and disaster.
“Her words and presence were a source of comfort, hope, and solace for millions of Australians,” he said.
“This time of mourning will pass, but the deep respect and warmth regarding which Australians have always held for Her Majesty will never fade.”
The prime minister’s comments come as he prepares to travel with Governor-General David Hurley to London to attend the funeral service and meet with Australia’s new head of state, King Charles III.
World Has Yet to See A More ‘Dutiful’ Leader
Meanwhile, as flags fly at half-mast around the country, opposition leader Peter Dutton said the world had yet to see a more “dutiful leader” than the Queen.
“The last page has been inked on an exceptional reign … a monarch who ruled with an absolutely huge heart and wisdom both innate and gained from almost a century of life and experience,” he said. “Her Majesty was gentle, kind, and much loved.”
In a statement, former prime minister and monarchist, Tony Abbott, said the Commonwealth had lost an “exemplar of duty, honour and faithfulness.”
“Although I served the Australian people as prime minister, I was always conscious of a duty to her as sovereign,” he said. “I thought the crown always lent a touch of dignity to our robust public life.
“It is so typical of this remarkable woman that she was discharging her duty till her last day on this earth.”
Meanwhile, former Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, chair of the Australian Monarchist League, said the Queen had taken seriously the vows she made at her coronation ceremony.
“On this day, we reflect on a life well lived, a life well served. And indeed, in the coronation ceremony, she devoted herself to being the servant Queen and … there is no doubt in anybody’s mind that that is exactly what she did.”