Condolence Motion: Speech on the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

In Parliament I had the immense privilege to address the Condolence Motion for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second and the vital importance of our Australian system of constitutional monarcy to the future of Australia.

Speech on the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth The Second

In the Book of Kings the Bible tells a story of Zadok a priest and Nathan a prophet, who anointed Solomon King. For so much of history, monarchs have derived their power and authority from that idea, that of divine right, that, anointed by God that their rule is legitimate.

But this was always a structure of power with the deep flaw of placing all power in the hands of, and at the whim of, one, single, human, ruler.

Indeed even in a time where all powerful Kings reigned supreme, the Bible goes on to tell us that this could never work very well. Even Solomon, in all his renowned wisdom, erred, exceeded his power and was punished by God.

In fact all recorded human history tells us this story.  The difficult struggles of populations, ordinary people, individuals, citizens, to structure their society to protect against abuses of power by the ruler and by the state.  The central question being how to disperse power, to limit it, to neutralise it from being exercised by, or through, any one single person and their capricious whim.  

History teaches us it is the British who, from Magna Carta through to a brutal civil war, finally established the supremacy of the people, through Parliament. Who first devised, then refined and then, almost, perfected the notion of limited government through, constitutional, monarchy.

This legacy, of representative parliamentary democracy, governed by a Monarch limited by constitution and the rule of laws was brought to Australia by British settlers and strengthened by the founding fathers in our own Australian Constitution.

Constitutional Monarchy is rightly the inheritance of every single Australian.

And what a success it has been. Like the United Kingdom, Constitutional Monarchy has given Australia unprecedented freedom, political stability and the means of managing crisis that have seen other modern political systems break and their societies dissolve. In  just our short time in the history of the world we have paradoxically become one of the oldest continuous democratic societies in the World today.

By limiting the power of our Head of State, Our Queen or King, by strictly defining the use of and limitations of, power, we have answered well that central question of good political structure that has plagued so many and continues to confront so many societies today.

And in Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, we have the exemplar of the success of our model of government. A Queen who perfectly understood her role in our constitution and did her duty every single second, of every single minute, of every single day, of her 70 year reign. The second longest reign of a monarch in all human history.  A sovereign who held absolute power under our constitution for all of that time, but never wielded it or sought to wield it. Except under the strictly agreed terms set out in our constitution and defined between ruler and the ruled.

For Australia she so elegantly represented our nation and was loved by us and in return loved us greatly as a people.

The first and only reigning monarch to visit Australia, who went on to visit us 16 times, it is astonishing to think of the debt we owe our Queen.  

This amazing woman served as our sovereign, perfectly, for 70 years. Never once did she express an opinion outside of her role, nor breach her duty, nor give us cause for concern. In a modern world with tabloids, paparazzi, the loss of privacy this is a truly remarkable thing. Her sacrifice of her individuality, her entire life, to serve us is a perfect service that will forever dominate our nations destiny.

And so to those here who say we should use this moment to consider changing our system I say this. Our free, democratic, safe and successful society is no accident. Proper political structure matters and constitutional monarchy remains one of the best ever devised protections against abuses of power and we should not change it.

Meeting Her Majesty just once, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard, was the greatest privilege of my lifetime as it was for every Australian who had that chance. As was the chance to serve in Her Majesty’s Australian armed forces and as a Minister in Her Majesty’s Australian Government.

She was a Queen, as She believed, who was Anointed by God and whose reign has now been ended by God.

And so in thanking and farewelling this most remarkable woman we turn from the Book of Kings to the Gospel of Matthew to say: “Well Done: Good and Faithful Servant”, 

Elizabeth, the Second.

Queen of the United Kingdom;

Queen of Australia and its people, and;

The queen of our hearts.