King Charles visit to Australia in doubt

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA, NewsWire Photos. FEBRUARY 6, 2024: The Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese attends a Ecumenical service to commemorate the commencement of Parliament for 2024 in Canberra. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman
Anthony Albanese invited the King to visit Australia in October. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Anthony Albanese is hopeful King Charles will still be able to visit Australia later in the year following his shock cancer diagnosis.

The King was expected to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in October in Samoa and had been invited to visit Australia as part of his trip.

But the plans are now in doubt after Buckingham Palace revealed the monarch would undergo treatment for cancer, postponing his public duties.

King Charles has been diagnosed with cancer. Picture: Yoan Valat / AFP

The Prime Minister wrote to King Charles on Tuesday morning to “let him know Australians are thinking of him and his family”.

“Australians know that a cancer diagnosis is never easy, not for the person and not for their families,” he told the House.

“His Majesty has always reached out to us when our country has needed him. He has always shown kindness and empathy for those doing it tough.”

Mr Albanese said he was wishing the King well for a speedy recovery and that he looked forward to him being well enough to take up his invitation to visit Australia.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Buckingham Palace said a “separate issue of concern was noted” after the 75-year-old monarch underwent a prostate operation in January.

It was later revealed that the tests identified “a form of cancer”.

The palace did not disclose what form of cancer Charles has, but a palace official said it was not prostate cancer.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton also wished King Charles well in his recovery.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA, NewsWire Photos. FEBRUARY 6, 2024: Leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton, attends a Ecumenical service to commemorate the commencement of Parliament for 2024 in Canberra. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman
Peter Dutton urged Australians to get a check-up. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

“I’m sure all Australians would wish him well in his fight against the diagnosis of cancer,”the Opposition Leader said.

Mr Dutton said he hoped Australians would take the news as a reminder to go to the doctors and get a check up.

“I know the palace has been pushing this message but particularly for men who don’t go to the doctors regularly and people are busy with their lives running kids around to school and sport, busy with work. “Early diagnosis of many cancers will mean the ability to treat the cancer and for people to increase their chances of survival and something we should all take very seriously.”

The palace confirmed King Charles would postpone public-facing duties. Picture: Christophe Archambaul/AFP

Earlier, Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie said news of King Charles’ cancer diagnosis was “devastating”.

“I know, right across the country, everyone will be sending him and his family their best wishes as he proceeds through the treatment,” she told the Today show.

Independent MP Monique Ryan said the entire country was concerned for the King.

“I’m sure the whole country is concerned for him, wishes him the best and sends love and support to his family as well at what would be a really difficult time,” Dr Ryan said.

About 165,000 Australians were diagnosed with cancer in 2023, according to national health data.

Two in every five Australians will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.

The Australian Republic Movement issued a statement saying it would be an “incredibly challenging and private time for any family”

“I thank the King for raising public awareness and hope it encourages more people to get regular check-ups,” chief executive Isaac Jeffrey said.

“It is an insidious disease that directly or indirectly affects us all.”