Opinion with Senator Murray Watt
Like many others, I woke up last Friday to the sad news that Queen Elizabeth II.
Despite her long and remarkable life, it seems surreal. The Queen has been a constant in our lives for so long. Crowned in 1953 aged just 27, she is the only monarch many Australians have known and has presided over more than a dozen Australian Prime Ministers.
With television close by, social media and access to international news, we’ve seen more of the Queen and her family than any monarch before.
The loss will surely be felt by admirers around the world and her dedication to duty will be written for many years to come.
It was very inspiring to see thousands of Australians at Parliament House and events across the country over the weekend to both mourn and give thanks for Queen Elizabeth’s service.
On Sunday I had the privilege of attending the Executive Council meeting at the Governor General’s residence in Canberra to witness the proclamation of King Charles III. to become Australia’s new head of state. You could really feel the history of the moment.
Her Majesty regularly visited Queensland, visiting 16 times during her reign. While many trips included a stop in Brisbane, she also visited Longreach, Mount Isa, Mackay and of course Rockhampton.
The royal visit to the beef capital in 1954, while brief, is etched in the memories of many locals and is still talked about.
It was a rock star reception and good vibes after a big tide.
Visiting Rocky just nine months after the coronation was considered a defining moment in the history of the region and the occasion is still celebrated at City Hall, where the chairs used by the Queen and Prince Phillip are on display.
Her Majesty was the only reigning monarch to ever visit Australia and these trips remain special in the hearts of the many who met the Queen during these trips.
The Prime Minister and Governor-General will represent Australia at the Queen’s funeral in London on Monday and will formally meet the new King.
September 22 will be a national day of mourning, a day for all Australians to commemorate Britain’s longest-serving monarch of all time, our head of state for 70 years.
A national memorial service will be held at Parliament House in Canberra at 11am and will be broadcast live with a minute’s silence.
For those wishing to offer their condolences to the palace, an online condolence form is available on the websites of the Governor-General and the Prime Minister’s Department and Cabinet.