Below is the condolence speech I gave on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
That the following address to the King be adopted—
To His Most Excellent Majesty King Charles III:
We the members of the House of Assembly of South Australia in parliament assembled take this earliest opportunity of expressing our deep sympathy in the great sorrow which Your Majesty and members of the royal family have sustained through the death of our Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, who was loved for the grace, devotion and steadfast resolve displayed over her reign of 70 years.
We acknowledge and pay tribute to Her Majesty's lifetime of dedicated service and our gratitude at the commitment she made to the people of South Australia and the commonwealth.
We also offer our sincere congratulations on Your Majesty's accession to the throne and to express the hope that Your Majesty may enjoy a long and prosperous reign.
Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (12:50): In recent days we have had the news that the Queen is dead, long live the King. With this speech today I want to reflect on the exemplary service of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for 70 years and beyond.
Born on 21 April 1926, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary would have never imagined herself to one day be proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom and other commonwealth realms. Following her uncle Edward's abdication of the throne in 1936, and her father King George VI's untimely death, that day did come for Elizabeth on 6 February 1952 when she was only 25 years old.
After her father became King, Princess Elizabeth was now first in line to the throne. In preparation for when her time would come, she began to study constitutional history and law, receiving lessons from her father and the Vice Provost of Eton College. The Archbishop of Canterbury also assisted in educating the Princess in religion.
A woman of many talents, Princess Elizabeth also learnt French, studied art and music, learned to ride horses and was a strong swimmer. She joined the Girl Guides and later became a Sea Ranger. We all know the Queen had an immense love of horses, and in 1943 she competed at the first Royal Windsor Horse Show, winning the Pony and Dogcart class.
Princess Elizabeth was just 13 when World War II broke out in September 1939 and, along with many other children, she and her sister, Princess Margaret, were evacuated from London. The two were sent to Windsor Castle and, just over a year later, five high explosive bombs were dropped on Buckingham Palace, damaging parts of the building and injuring several workmen. King George VI was advised to evacuate the city to avoid the attacks, but rather than flee the King and Queen remained at the palace in solidarity with the rest of the Londoners who were living through the Blitz.
Ever since the war broke out, Princess Elizabeth was determined to be involved and 'do her bit'. In 1940, Princess Elizabeth gave her first address as part of the BBC's Children's Hour. Her address was directed at the thousands of children who had been separated from their families in an effort to boost morale.
Food was scarce during the war as the importation of produce was threatened by enemy ships and submarines. To combat this problem, the British Ministry of Agriculture launched the Dig for Victory campaign, encouraging people to grow their own food in gardens and allotments. This campaign resulted in the creation of 3½ million allotments over the duration of the war, and it was one that Princess Elizabeth gladly took part in, even being photographed tending her allotments at Windsor Castle.
When she turned 18 in 1944, Princess Elizabeth insisted on joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), which was the women's branch of the British Army, much to her father's displeasure. She enrolled in a driving and vehicle maintenance course where she was taught mechanics theory, map reading, and how to service, maintain and drive heavy Army vehicles at the ATS No. 1 Mechanical Transport Training Centre. She would work for seven hours a day during her training, and after five months of training as a mechanic and military truck driver the Princess was promoted to the rank of honorary Junior Commander, the equivalent of Captain.
The war ended before Princess Elizabeth was able to put any of her new skills to practical use; however, she still graduated as a fully qualified driver, completing a solo journey from Surrey to London in a heavy vehicle as her final test. Even in her 80s and 90s, the Queen was often seen behind the wheel and was known to diagnose and repair faulty engines, just as she had done during her wartime service.
Military service was something that ran in the family. The Queen's husband, Prince Philip, served in the Royal Navy, as did her son Prince Andrew, while the new King Charles served in both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy. Her grandson Prince William served for more than seven years as a search-and-rescue pilot. Prince Harry served in the British Army for 10 years and completed two tours of Afghanistan.
Throughout her life, the Queen witnessed many major world events. As per the constitution, she had to remain firmly outside the realm of politics; however, this rule was famously broken when Queen Elizabeth expressed her concerns about the Falklands War. She said, 'The conflict in the Falkland Islands was thrust on us by naked aggression, and we are naturally proud of the way our fighting men are serving their country.'
The Queen always maintained a close relationship with the armed forces, regularly making visits to service establishments and ships and holding numerous military appointments and honorary ranks with organisations across the UK and the commonwealth. In Australia, she was Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force Reserve and Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps, Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps, Royal Australian Engineers and Royal Australian Infantry Corps. She was the Captain General of the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery and the patron of the Returned and Services League of Australia.
The Queen was responsible for awarding various military honours and, in 2009, introduced a medal named after herself: the Elizabeth Cross. It is given to the next of kin of armed forces personnel who have died in military operations or as a result of terrorism since 1948, as a way of formally recognising their loss. As of August 2018, 2,750 Elizabeth Cross medals had been awarded since its inception in 2009. I am sure there have been more since then, but this is the most up-to-date figure I could find.
The Queen was a seasoned traveller, having visited over 100 countries in her lifetime and logging 285 official tours. It was important for her to visit British allies and the 54 commonwealth countries she was the head of. Her first visit to Australia was on 3 February 1954, at the age of 27. She would go on to develop a great affection for Australia and its people, which saw her return to our country a further 15 times during her reign. In 2011, Queen Elizabeth visited Australia for the last time, in what was named her 'farewell tour'. South Australia was lucky enough to welcome Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh on seven occasions: in 1954, 1963, 1977, 1981, 1986, 1992 and 2002.
As we have seen with the vast coverage of her death in these past weeks, and earlier this year with her platinum jubilee celebrations, Queen Elizabeth II was truly loved right across the world. We saw that love echoed last night with the broadcast of her funeral. She was the longest reigning British monarch in history, and never again will we witness such a long and exemplary reign. I wish King Charles III all the best. Vale, Queen Elizabeth. May God save the King.