Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II as a “wise and enduring presence” in Australian national life.
Declaring the monarch’s death a “morning of sadness” for the country, Albanese addressed the nation on Friday to express the country’s condolences to the people of the United Kingdom and the Royal Family.
“With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, a historic reign and a long life of duty, family, faith and service came to an end,” Albanese said.
“It is a day of deep sadness and grief for the Royal Family who have lost a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
“Australian hearts go out to the people of the United Kingdom who mourn today, knowing they will feel they have lost part of what holds their nation together.
“This is a time of mourning for the British people, across the Commonwealth and indeed around the world.”
Albanese also spoke of the Queen’s connection to Australia, as the only reigning monarch to ever visit Australia, having visited 16 times during her reign, to all states and territories.
He said the Queen’s first visit – in February 1954, just eight months after her coronation, was Australia’s biggest ever event and “a defining moment in our nation’s history”.
Seven million Australians – or 70% of the population at the time – visited the young queen.
“From her first trip here, it was clear that Her Majesty had a special place in our hearts, and we in hers,” Albanese said.
“Her Majesty celebrated our good times and stood by our side through trials and trials. Happy and glorious, but also steadfast.
“In particular, we recall the sympathy and personal kindness she has shown to Australians affected by tragedy and disaster – from floods and bushfires to wars and a pandemic.
“His words and presence have been a source of comfort, hope and solace to millions of Australians.”
“Queen Elizabeth II has been a wise and encouraging guide, always wanting the best for our nation and greeting every change with understanding, good grace and an unwavering faith in the judgment of the Australian people.”
He also hailed Queen Elizabeth’s “devotion to duty and service” as the hallmark of her reign, describing her as “a rare and reassuring constant in the midst of rapid change”.
“Through the noise and turbulence of the years, she embodied and displayed a timeless decency and an enduring calm,” he said.
“This period of mourning will pass, but the deep respect and warm regard that Australians have always shown him will never fade.
“May she rest in eternal peace. »
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton released a statement marking the Queen’s passing, saying ‘one of humanity’s brightest lights has gone out’.
“Never in modern history has there been a more dignified monarch, a more devoted leader or a more decent human than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” he said.
“An extraordinary life that touched so many has sadly come to an end.”
Albanese and Governor General David Hurley will travel to London in the coming days, where they will meet the new King Charles.
The Australian flag in Parliament was lowered to half-mast on Friday morning and sittings of the Federal Parliament due to take place next week will now be cancelled.
Parliament will also host a sunset gun salute on Friday evening, with one round for each year of the Queen’s life at 10-second intervals.
Hurley, Albanese, Dutton and other federal politicians will lay wreaths in Parliament on Saturday. On Sunday, Hurley will read a proclamation in Parliament, where there will again be a 21-gun salute.