Albanese to attend Queen's funeral and meet King Charles, parliament cancelled

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Mick Tsikas/AAP
Mick Tsikas/AAP

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Governor-General David Hurley will fly to London for events marking the passing of Queen Elizabeth, culminating in her funeral at Westminster Abbey.

Next week’s sitting of federal parliament has been cancelled, with no word yet on whether it will be rescheduled ahead of the budget session that begins in late October.

On Friday Albanese signed a condolence book at parliament house.

Ministers and assistant ministers have been invited to a meeting of the executive council at government house on Sunday.

There the prime minister recommends to the governor-general that he issues the proclamation relating to the accession of King Charles. Hurley will then read the proclamation at parliament house.

In London Albanese will attend the Lying in State at Westminster Hall, and will have a brief audience with King Charles.

After his return to Australia there will be a national memorial service.

The governor-general officially informed the prime minister of the Queen’s death in the early hours of Friday morning, and issued a short public announcement.

Albanese said that over her seven-decade reign, the Queen was “a rare and reassuring constant amidst rapid change.

"Through the noise and turbulence of the years, she embodied and exhibited a timeless decency and an enduring calm,” he said.

“Her life of faithful service will be remembered for centuries to come.

"In particular, we recall the sympathy and personal kindness she extended to Australians afflicted by tragedy and disaster — from floods and bushfires to wars and a pandemic.

"Her words and presence were a source of comfort, hope and solace for millions of Australians.

"Today marks the end of an era, the close of the second Elizabethan age.”

In radio interviews Albanese deflected questioning on whether the Queen’s death brought Australia closer to a republic. “Today’s not a day to talk about that.”

Labor has said the republic issue is one for a second term.

But Greens leader Adam Bandt posted on Twitter that Australia must move forward. “We need Treaty with First Nations people, and we need to become a Republic.”

Opposition leader Peter Dutton said: “A comforting warmth has left the world. One of humanity’s brightest lights has gone out. May our memories of our dear Queen inspire the very best in us, just as she drew inspiration from her subjects.”

Former prime ministers paid tribute.

Malcolm Turnbull said the Queen was a very contemporary monarch. He recalled when he had talks with her in 2017 she was “full of curiosity” and “on top of things”. King Charles was “a really good man”, who wanted to do good things, Turnbull said.

John Howard said the fact that two days before she died the Queen had performed the constitutional duty of accepting Boris Johnson’s resignation and, on his recommendation, commissioning Liz Truss was a metaphor for her commitment to service, duty and doing the right thing constitutionally.

Scott Morrison said the Queen had a “regal humility”. He said she had a particular empathy with people in rural and regional Australia. “In our last discussion we talked about the mice plague in NSW.”

Julia Gillard described her as “a remarkable role model with an incredible dedication to service”.

Paul Keating said: “In the 20th century, the self became privatised, while the public realm, the realm of the public good, was broadly neglected. Queen Elizabeth II understood this and instinctively attached herself to the public good against what she recognised as a tidal wave of private interest and private reward. And she did this for a lifetime. Never deviating.”

Tony Abbott said: “We have lost an exemplar of duty, honour and faithfulness”.

Kevin Rudd recounted how he had told the Queen his mother had thought her the “bee’s knees”,

“And the Queen said, why was that? And I said, because my mum always said, you made a damn fine mechanic during the war. And secondly, you and your sister stuck it out in Buckingham Palace when the place was being bombed.” The Queen had enjoyed the story, Rudd said.

Officials said King Charles will appear on Australian coinage next year. It is not yet known when the $5 note, that features the Queen, will change.

In Australia, as in the United Kingdom, there has long been a very detailed timetable of arrangements to follow the Queen’s death.

This article is republished from The Conversation is the world's leading publisher of research-based news and analysis. A unique collaboration between academics and journalists. It was written by: Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra.

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Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.