Pacific nations accept Queen funeral offer

·3-min read

Representatives from four Pacific nations have accepted an invitation from Australia for transport to the Queen's state funeral.

Officials from the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu and Samoa have accepted the offer to travel from Australia to London as part of commemorations for the late monarch.

It comes as national cabinet met to discuss plans for the national day of mourning on September 22.

The leaders released a statement noting the one-off public holiday would be a chance for all Australians to pay tribute to the Queen "outside of a work and study setting".

"It was clear from her first trip that she had a special place in the hearts of Australians," the statement said.

"The national day of mourning will provide time to grieve this collective loss and commemorate our late Queen's extraordinary life of service, devotion and loyalty."

Mr Albanese said all state and territory leaders would attend the national memorial service at Parliament House.

Meanwhile, a new public square in Sydney will bear the Queen's name.

Mr Albanese and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced the square at Hyde Park Barracks, located in a heritage precinct on Macquarie Street, would be named Queen Elizabeth II Place.

"This is a great global city and we need to make the most of it - this plan will do that, but it also is a plan now which commemorates the life of Queen Elizabeth II," Mr Albanese told reporters in Sydney.

Queensland's opposition has launched a petition to rename Brisbane's Cross River Rail project the Elizabeth Line in honour of the late Queen.

It was confirmed on Wednesday 40 Australian defence personnel would attend the funeral, with a number marching in the procession.

The Queen held a number of defence titles including colonel-in-chief of the Royal Australian Engineers, Royal Australian Infantry, Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps and Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps.

The prime minister will fly from Sydney to London on Thursday night to attend the Queen's state funeral on Monday.

Mr Albanese will meet with King Charles III and the prime ministers of other Commonwealth nations at Buckingham Palace. He will view the Queen lying in state at Westminster Hall and sign a condolence book at Lancaster House.

He will also meet with his new British counterpart, Liz Truss, and has flagged a possible meeting with US President Joe Biden and other close allies.

Mr Albanese will travel to the United Kingdom with the 10 "everyday Australians" who will represent the nation at the funeral.

They include racehorse trainer Chris Waller, wheelchair tennis star Dylan Alcott, Senior Australian of the Year Valmai Dempsey and Young Australian of the Year Trudy Lin.

Recipients of Australia's highest military honour, the Victoria Cross, including army veteran Ben Roberts-Smith, will also attend.

Mr Albanese said the decision to invite Victoria Cross recipients such as Mr Roberts-Smith was made by Buckingham Palace.

Governor-General David Hurley and his wife, who are also flying to London for the funeral, spoke with King Charles by phone on Wednesday evening and expressed the condolences of Australians at the passing of the Queen.

"He expressed the well-wishes of the Australian people to The King and His Majesty reflected on his admiration and affection for the people of Australia," a statement said.

The prime minister on Wednesday said he was not concerned about discussions on potentially replacing the monarch on the $5 note.

However, shadow attorney-general Julian Leeser said King Charles III should be on the currency.

"In the wake of Queen Elizabeth's passing King Charles is our new sovereign and he deserves the respect of the federal government," he said on Twitter.