CANBERRA, Australia — Australian lawmakers paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on Friday, with some also intervening in the republican debate, after they returned to parliament after a break taken to observe the Queen’s death.
An obscure and longstanding protocol in Australia prohibits Parliament from sitting for 15 days after the death of a British monarch.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had decided to follow protocol. Albanese has previously said he wants an Australian president to replace the British monarch as head of state, although he has avoided getting entangled in the republican debate since the queen’s death.
Each chamber of Australia’s parliament – the Senate and the House – was passing Friday motions of condolence for the late monarch and congratulating King Charles III on his accession to the throne.
Albanese said it was hard to fathom the queen was just a memory after her seven-decade reign.
“She was a rare and reassuring constant in the midst of rapid change,” Albanese said.
Elizabeth visited Australia 16 times during her reign.
“She got to know us, like us, embrace us and the feeling was very mutual,” Albanese said.
The Prime Minister offered his condolences to King Charles III.
“We think of King Charles, who feels the weight of this grief as he takes on the weight of the crown,” Albanese said. “At the dawn of his reign, we wish his majesty good luck.”
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said Australians had benefited from the wisdom of the Queen’s words and the comfort of her voice.
“She admired that Australian trait of honoring those who go about their essential business without making a fuss or attracting media attention,” Dutton said. their worship.
Adam Bandt, leader of the small Australian Greens party, expressed his condolences but reiterated his support for Australia becoming a republic.
“The Queen’s passing means we have a new head of state with no say in the matter. This is absolutely an appropriate time to speak respectfully about whether this is right for us as a country,” he said.
“We can offer our condolences to those who mourn her personally, while respectfully speaking about what this means to us as a people.”
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young offered her condolences but also spoke of the need for reconciliation with Australia’s Indigenous peoples.
“She did not take children away from their parents or personally attempt to suppress and decimate one of the oldest cultures in the world,” Hanson-Young told the Senate. “(But) she was the government representative in the institution that did it. Generations of oppression, trauma and suffering resulting from colonization must be taken into account.
British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell was in parliament to hear the tributes.