Ms O`DWYER (Higgins) (16:13): Anniversaries are a time to reflect and a time to celebrate. This occasion is no different. The Queen`s Diamond Jubilee is a joyous event in which we as Australians can look back with respect and admiration for all that the Queen has achieved, and continues to achieve, during her reign.
The young princess was touring Africa when she came to the throne on 6 February 1952. Her father, King George VI, had passed away unexpectedly in his sleep. The Queen was just 26 years of age. Along with her title she inherited a huge weight of expectation- that she would be a leader worthy of her nation and that she would be a leader worthy of the Commonwealth; that should also be the bedrock of the Church of England as its Supreme Governor; that she would be a source of strength and guidance for her nation in difficult times.
Her serious and dedication were never in question. Even at the tender age of 14 years, the then princess delivered a serious message of comfort and reassurance to other children in Britain during World War II on the BBC`s Children`s Hour, saying:
We are trying to do all that we can to help our gallant soldiers, sailors and airmen, and we are trying, too, to bear our share of the danger and sadness of war. We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well.
Throughout her reign, the Queen has fulfilled her duties with humility, grace and dignity. Despite my republican roots, I stand with the staunchest of monarchists to honour the Queen in her diamond jubilee year, a particularly special honour, as it is only the second time that a British monarch has celebrated 60 years on the throne. It was another woman, Queen Victoria, who also achieved this remarkable feat and after whom the great state that I live in his named.
Queen Elizabeth has been our head of state and a steady presence during turbulent times in our history, times of crisis as well as times of national celebration. Her reign has outlasted 11 Australian Prime Ministers and 17 opposition leaders. The Queen`s example of service and duty to her nation and subjects has inspired millions. In an ongoing legacy motivated by British traditions, every Australia Day we honour those in our society who have contributed to our nation beyond expectations. Under the British system, these awards were originally presented by the monarch. In my electorate of Higgins, we are fortunate to have many inspirations. From business, the arts, sport, philanthropy and community service, Higgins is home to some of the most respected community leaders in Australia, who each in their own way have made our great country even stronger.
This year`s Australia Day recipients were:
Prof Kwong Lee-Dow AC
Mr Stephen Newton AC
Sir Rod Eddington AO
Mr Andrew Darbyshire AM
Mr Bryan Keon-Cohen AM
Prof Sandra Legg AM
Mr David Wittner AM
Mr Barry Comben OAM
Mrs Josette Gostin OAM
Mr Peter Hansen OAM
Mrs Loula Kostos OAM
Mr Brian Randall OAM
Dr Ian Robertson OAM
I also honour these people, but most especially the Queen for her example of unrelenting service, dedication and duty.
It cannot have been easy for the Queen during the last 60 years to balance her public duties with her life as a private citizen as the wife of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh; as a mother to four children, Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward; and as a grandmother to eight grandchildren, William, Harry, Peter, Zara, Beatrice, Eugenie, Louise and James. Living a life in public is a sacrifice that she has made and we honour her for it. Today, we congratulate the Queen on her diamond jubilee and wish her all the best for the future.