20th Parliament · 3rd Session
The House met at 2.30 p.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the Governor-General.
The Clerk read the proclamation.
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Archie Cameron) took the chair, and read prayers.
– I have to announce that I have received a notification from the Chief Electoral Officer for the Commonwealth in connexion with the writ which I issued on the 24th November, 1953, for the election of a member to serve for the electoral division of Gwydir, in the State of New South Wales, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Mr, Thomas John Treloar, and that, by the notification, it appears that Archibald Ian Allan has been elected in pursuance of the said writ.
Mr. Allan made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.
The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered the message that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second desired the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber forthwith.
Mr. Speaker and honorable members attended accordingly, and having returned,
Motion (by Mr. Menzies) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an actto amend the Acts Interpretation Act 1901-1950.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
Sitting suspended from 2.54 to 5 p.m.
– I have received from the Governor-General a message informing the House of Representatives that the proposed law intituled the Flags Bill 1953, which was reserved for Her Majesty’s pleasure, has been laid before Her Majesty and that, on the 14th February, Her Majesty was graciously pleased to assent to the said law.
-(Hon. Archie Cameron). - I have to report that the House this day attended Her Majesty the Queen in the Senate chamber, where Her Majesty was pleased to make a speech to both Houses of the Parliament, of which I have received a copy. As honorable members have copies of the Speech, I shall not formally read it to the House. It will be included in Hansard for record purposes.
The Speech read as follows: -
MEMBERS of the Senate and Members of the House of Representatives:
The first section of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia provides that the legislative power of the Commonwealth shall be vested in “a Federal Parliament, which shall consist of the Queen, a Senate, and a House of Representatives ‘”. ft is therefore a joy for mc, to-day, to address you not as a Queen from far away, hut as your Queen and a part of your Parliament. In a real sense, you are here as my colleagues, friends, and advisers.
When I add to this consideration the fact that I am tin? first ruling? Sovereign to visit Australia, it is clear that the events of todaymake a piece of history which fills me with deep pride and the most heartfelt pleasure, and which I am confident will serve to strengthen in your own hearts and minds a feeling of comradeship with the Crown and that sense of duty shared which wc must all have as we confront our common tasks. f am proud also, speaking as the granddaughter of King George V. and the daughter of King George VI., to recall two earlier events in the history, the short history, of the Commonwealth of Australia. The first was . the opening of the First Parliament of the new Commonwealth of Australia in 1001 by my grandfather, then the Duke of Cornwall and York. The second was the opening of this building in 1927 by my father, then the Duke of York. Thus the history of Australia as a nation has a special family significance for me. lt is, I think, fitting that I should, speaking to you to-day. recall to mind those clements of unity which combine in the fabric of the British Commonwealth. The great institutions of Parliamentary sovereignty, a democratically controlled Executive, the just and impartial administration of the law; these exist and flourish in each of the great realms which call me Queen. They have, in this century, survived great trials of war and economic hardship. And they have done so, I am proud to say, because of the great qualities of my peoples, qualities which have shown themselves through labours manfully performed, duties courageously done by men and women, sorrows sustained, and happiness earned.
In the result, as I acknowledge the wonderful welcome of my Australian people, I do so in a country whose growth and progress are manifest, a country of freedom, eloquent of that true democracy which dignifies and expresses the individual human being.
Already, in my journeys through the Commonwealth, I have been made even more vividly conscious of the true brotherhood of my peoples, even prouder of their services to civilization, and more richly confident of their future destiny.
I would like also to take this opportunity to say to my Australian people, through you ladies and gentlemen of the Australian Parliament, how grateful I was, and am, for their loyal support and encouragement on the occasion of my Coronation. My husband and T can never forget your affection on that great day, an affection which you have expressed with such marvellous warmth in your own land since our arrival.
Moved by these feelings, it is my resolve that, under God, I shall not only rule, but serve. This is not only the tradition of my family; it describes, I believe, the modern character of the British Crown.
In this uneasy world of conflicts open or hidden, my peoples in Australia and throughout the British Commonwealth want peace in its fullest and richest sense; that peace, based upon freedom and justice, which must some day be the unquestioned inheritance of nil mankind.
To play their part in the achievement and preservation of peace, my Australian Ministers will continue the closest co-operation with my Governments in the other Commonwealth nations. Only last month my Finance Ministers conferred in Sydney with the frankness and friendliness which always mark discussions between the Commonwealth countries. This was one of a long and continuing series of such conferences. Their immediate objective is to strengthen the British Commonwealth; but their ultimate benefit will flow to other nations and to the great world community of people everywhere.
Pursuant to the terms of the Constitution, a general election for the House of Representatives must be held at the end of this Session of Parliament. My Ministers will submit to Parliament the financial and other measures which must precede that election.
Mr. President, and Members of the Senate.
Mr. Speaker, and Members of the House of Representatives.
In the earnest hope that Divine Providence may guide your deliberations and further the welfare of the people of the Commonwealth of Australia, I now leave you to the discharge of your high and important duties.
Motion (by Mb. Menzies) agreed to -
That a Committee consisting of the Right
Honorable the Leader of the Opposition (Dr.
Evatt! and the Mover be appointed to prepare an Address-in-Reply to the Speech delivered by Her Majesty the Queen to both Houses of the Parliament, mid that the Committee do report, litis day.
Mr. Menzies, for the committee appointed to prepare an Address-in-Reply to the Speech of Her Majesty the Queen, presented the proposed Address, which was read by the Clerk.
5.3]. - I move -
That the following Address-in-Reply to the speech of Her Majesty the Queen be agreed lu: -
Most Gracious SOVEREIGN
We, Your Majesty’s loyal subjects, the Members of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to thank Your Majesty for l lie gracious speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament on this, your first visit to our country. The presence in Australia of Your Majesty and of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh has brought unbounded pleasure to the Australian people. We, their representatives in this House, invoke (iw.l I’s choicest blessing upon your life and reign and are grateful for this opportunity to reaffirm our loyalty and devotion to the Crown and Person of Your Majesty. t do not propose to make a long speech. This is the Queen’s day and I shall trespass on it as briefly as possible, but I think one or two things ought to be said. Of all those who have sat in the Parlia ment of the Australian nation, we who are here now have attained the most unique privilege. For the first time in our history our sovereign is with us in person. For the first time in our history our sovereign has come to her Australian Parliament.
In the Speech which she addressed to us this afternoon, Her Majesty reminded us That, under the very terms of our Constitution, she is a part of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, and I arn sure that, with this very happy reminder still in our ears, we all appreciate that our Parliament has now found its full and complete expression. The Queen, the Senate and the House of Representatives have met to-day, not only according to the printed word of our Constitution, but also in a rich, magnificent and human way.
The Address-in-Reply is, in normal practice, the signal for political debate. To-day, it is the signal for the greatest, most moving and enduring unanimity that this Parliament has ever seen. By our Address, we recognize our homage and the duty of our allegiance, but we desire to express much more than that - our love, our pride and our thankfulness to God that, whatever troubles may beset the world, and however man may be set against man in unhappy parts of the world, we of the great British family are privileged to live in unity under a young and lovely Queen, a great Queen to-day hut one who is bound to be greater and greater as the years move on.
She lias, [ believe, helped us to understand more perfectly that humility and pride can co-exist, and that under a Queen like her, subjecthood is no mark of inferiority but is in itself a title of honour. Whatever party wo belong to in this place and however violently we may differ a bout policy or administration, we are to-day, on this unforgettable occasion, all the Queen’s men. proud to be the members of her Parliament, and determined so to order our affairs and discharge our responsibilities that our Queen, of whom we are so proud, will always, in her turn, he proud of us.
Br. EVATT (Barton- Leader of the Opposition) 5.7”. - On behalf of Her Majesty’s Opposition, I second the motion. This is indeed a unique occasion. The Sovereign herself has opened the Parliament. It was thought at one time that that was constitutionally impossible, but this Parliament unanimously passed a special measure to enable it to be done :hh1 also to enable all other functions of the Governor-General to be performed by Her Majesty during the period of her Royal visit. But, that, important though it is, is merely the constitutional aspect. The supremely important aspect of today’s proceedings is not the Speech nor what it contains, but the fact that Her Majesty has made it. At last, the Queen has been with hp in the Parliament and has addressed us as Her Majesty the Queen of Australia.
Her direct participation in the constitutional processes of this National Parliament must recall, as indeed the Speech does, the close association of the Royal Family with Australia. That personal link is greatly valued by all the people of this country, especially by those who served in the great wars. Most, of us remember vividly the visit to Australia by the Queen’s parents during the early part of their married life. It is implicit in what the Queen herself has said and it is true to say that the memory of the Queen’s father, King George VI., is revered by the people of Australia. His name will go down in history as that of a Sovereign who, during the most critical period of the history of the British nation and perhaps of the world, inspired the British and allied peoples by his long sustained fortitude and courage and by his wise and effective contribution to leadership. As yet, too little is known of his calm and helpful counsel during some of the great emergencies that confronted the leaders of Great Britain and Australia during the last world war.
May I also pay tribute to the great national service rendered to Australia by the Queen’s mother. The value of what she did, even more, what she was, both during the King’s reign and since, will never be forgotten. She and King George were eagerly looking forward to visiting Australia again, until the King’s illness made that impossible. I express the hope that the Queen Mother will be able to re-visit us at no distant date. With these illustrious examples before her, Queen Elizabeth’s self-dedication in her Coronation broadcast expressed in felicitous terms the new conception of the democratic British monarchy, and of the special link that binds the Sovereign to her people. Her Majesty said - -
I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life, and with all my heart, I shall strive to be worthy of your trust. In this resolve I have my husband to support me. He shares all my ideals and all my affection for you.
The simplicity, nay, the ennobling grandeur, of this solemn declaration of royal trusteeship, in which we find a solemn declaration of the new function of the Crown, uplifted the hearts of all; not only those in Australia, Great Britain and throughout the British Commonwealth, but also those in lands remote - in countries extending far beyond the confines of the British Commonwealth. To-day, therefore, we do right to join together to pay tribute to our Sovereign. She has more than fulfilled the most ardent expectations of her people. With her young children so far away, the inevitable strain of the royal visit is increased, but that is why the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are finding special joy and comfort in the spontaneous welcome that they are receiving everywhere, especially from the children of Australia. That rapturous welcome would never be given to a stranger, however powerful or illustrious he or she may be. It goes to the Queen from the hearts of all and transcends all local differences and disputes. It shows again that there are things that unite the people, and that they are more important than the things that divide them.
The reign of the young Queen is still in its very early stages, but already men and women everywhere look forward to a new era of peace and justice throughout the world. The extension and application of scientific knowledge is now covering a field that is almost infinite in area. The question is whether these miraculous developments of science can be harnessed and directed to serve the welfare of human kind everywhere. The answer to the question depends mainly upon the resolve of the young men and women of this nation and others, and it is to this younger generation that Her Majesty and her husband belong. The prize that could be won by this young generation is no less than a new way of life where order, decency, kindness and compassion’ will be the guiding rule of all nations, and from which there will be banished tyranny, cruelty and the spectres of war and want. If that prize could be won there would be another, and a far greater, Elizabethan era.
Every member of this Parliament is privileged to acclaim Her Majesty’s presence here to-day. It is something we shall never forget. It is quite wrong, as the Prime Minister has properly stressed, to regard the visit to the Parliament of Her Majesty as being only ceremonial or formal. It is both, of course, but, in addition, it is also just as personal as the returning home of a loved member of a family. So our prayer to-day is for the happiness of Her Majesty and her husband. The prayer is simple and, I think, is best expressed in one of the verses of the National Anthem which I heard sung very beautifully in Sydney at one of the wonderful children’s demonstrations in honour of the Queen only a few days ago. I shall conclude my remarks by reading that verse. It is-
Thy choicest gifts in store,
On her bo pleased to pour,
Long may she reign.
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the Queen.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Presentation of Address-in-Reply.
-(Hon. Archie Cameron). - I have ascertained that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to receive the Address-in-Reply at Government House at ten minutes past five o’clock to-morrow afternoon. I shall be glad if the mover and the seconder, together with other honorable members as arranged, will accompany me to Government House.
– I move - [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 1).]
[Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 2.)]
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 15 February 1954, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1954/19540215_reps_20_hor3/>.