Legislative Council: Wednesday, June 28, 2023



Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. N.J. Centofanti:

That this council—

1. Congratulates Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla on their coronations; and

2. Affirms our steadfast allegiance to the throne and trusts that His Majesty's reign will be filled with great happiness for His Majesty and the Queen and be an era of peace, unity and prosperity across the Commonwealth of Nations.

(Continued from 17 May 2023.)

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD (12:38): I rise to support this motion. On Saturday 6 May 2023, many of us here, along with some 400 million other viewers worldwide, witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime event when King Charles III and Queen Camilla were coronated. It was indeed the first coronation we have seen in almost 70 years, following the extraordinary reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. For over six decades as monarch, Queen Elizabeth demonstrated a rare sense of duty and decorum that won the admiration and respect of countless leaders and citizens across the globe. It was truly a remarkable reign.

She was a steadfast symbol of stability and consistency throughout tumultuous times, exemplifying an unparalleled commitment of service to her people and to the commonwealth. Her work ethic and devotion to the Crown were undoubtedly instilled in her son Charles, as evidenced by his philanthropic and charitable endeavours as the Prince of Wales and now as King, providing the continuity that many desire and appreciate in an evolving and oftentimes unpredictable world.

I echo the sentiments of my colleague and mover of this motion, the Hon. Ms Centofanti, in that the British monarchy has inherently shaped the history and identity of Australia, and the coronation of King Charles and his wife, Queen Camilla, is a significant event that should be celebrated in this place accordingly.

Our parliament is of course in many ways His Majesty's parliament in a formal sense, and it is only fitting that we should commemorate the ascension of our new King to the throne and exhibit support for the monarchy's continuing role in our society. It would have been a shame in fact, and I think regrettable, indeed quite unusual, for such a momentous occasion to go unacknowledged in this chamber.

While the debate surrounding whether Australia should become a republic is ongoing, I note with interest that an increasing number of Australians believe that our nation should remain a constitutional monarchy. A poll conducted late last year revealed that some 60 per cent of those polled are in favour of maintaining the status quo, which reflected a 5 per cent increase from 10 years prior. The survey was undertaken entirely after the then Prince of Wales took the oath to become King Charles III following his mother's passing, which I think is quite a telling outcome and indicates that support for this institution goes well beyond the popularity of the late Queen.

Although the powers of the monarch in Australia are largely limited and somewhat symbolic, the current system ensures that our head of state remains impartial and non-political, serving as a stabilising force in times of political change. It was a momentous event that few of us will forget, and I take the opportunity to say God save the King.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (12:41): I rise to also support this motion that has been put forward by our colleague and leader in the Legislative Council, the Hon. Nicola Centofanti MLC. I echo the words of the previous speaker, the Hon. Dennis Hood, in saying that this is indeed a genuinely historic occasion that we will all remember: the coronation of the new King and Queen of the United Kingdom, His Majesty King Charles III and Her Majesty Queen Camilla, on 6 May 2023.

As a member of parliament who represents a constitutional monarchy and the people of South Australia, I extend my warmest congratulations to King Charles and Queen Camilla on their ascension to the throne. This is indeed a momentous time marking the beginning of a new chapter in the United Kingdom's history. It symbolises the strength and continuity of the monarchy, an institution which has stood the test of time.

His Majesty King Charles III assumes the responsibilities of kingship with a lifetime of public service and a deep commitment to his nation and to the commonwealth. Throughout his years as the Prince of Wales, he has shown unwavering dedication to numerous causes, including environmental conservation, architecture and education. His passion and expertise in these areas gives confidence that his reign will be characterised by duty and a steadfast commitment to the wellbeing of the United Kingdom and its people.

Beside him stands Queen Camilla, a woman of grace, compassion and remarkable strength. Her tireless efforts in supporting charitable organisations and promoting literacy and health initiatives have earned her admiration and respect. Her dedication to philanthropy and her genuine care for the welfare of the people will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact and inspire us all.

It is important to recognise the strong bonds between Australia, and South Australia as a state, and the United Kingdom. Our histories are intertwined and we share the values of democracy, justice and compassion, and the Westminster system of government. Today, as we congratulate our new monarchs, let us affirm our commitment to the enduring partnership between our nations and our values.

May the reign of King Charles III and Queen Camilla be marked by wisdom, compassion and progress. As representatives of the people, we pledge our unwavering support in their endeavours to lead the United Kingdom and the commonwealth into a bright and prosperous future.

The Hon. L.A. HENDERSON (12:44): I rise today to speak in support of this motion. The coronation of His Majesty King Charles III and Queen Camilla took place at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6 May 2023. The crowning of the King and Queen is an ancient ceremony, which is rich in religious significance, history and pageantry. It was the first coronation in nearly 70 years and it lived up to expectations. The date for the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla was announced by Buckingham Palace in October 2022, a month after the passing of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

I would like to take a moment to remember her late Majesty. Her late Majesty became Queen at the age of 25. It is difficult to imagine the weight that would have been felt on becoming Queen at such a young age, inheriting such responsibility for the United Kingdom and other commonwealth realms. But as one reflects on the legacy that her late Majesty has left, one can only admire her service and dedication.

On her 21st birthday on 21 April 1947, Princess Elizabeth was with her parents and younger sister on a tour of South Africa. In a speech broadcast on the radio from Cape Town, the Princess dedicated her life to the service of the commonwealth. In this speech she said, 'I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great Imperial family to which we all belong.'

At the time, she had a young family consisting of a three year old and a one year old. Her dedication as Queen was immediately apparent. In 1953, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband embarked on a seven-month around the world tour, visiting 13 countries, covering over more than 64,000 kilometres by land, sea and air. Throughout her reign she would be seen as working to modernise yet safeguard the monarchy, making many commonwealth tours and royal visits around the globe and also attending countless public engagements and ceremonial duties. She also worked with charities and had several patronages.

The love that Queen Elizabeth II had for Australia is undeniable. When Queen Elizabeth II sailed into Sydney at Farm Cove on 3 February 1954, she became the first reigning monarch to ever visit Australia. Over the next seven decades, Queen Elizabeth II would go on to visit Australia 15 more times—the last at the age of 85, which indicates her love for the Australian people. This love is shared by King Charles III, who has visited our country 16 times.

The main elements of a coronation service can be traced back to King Edgar's crowning at Bath Abbey in the year 973. The first coronation to take place at Westminster Abbey was that of William the Conqueror in 1066. At this time there was no immediate or automatic right of succession, and therefore a coronation was the essential rite of passage to the throne. Over time, a combination of common law and statute governed the succession upon the death of the previous monarch.

On 1 May 2023, Buckingham Palace announced that more than 2,200 people would attend the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla, including members of the royal family, international representatives from 203 countries, including approximately 100 heads of state, as well as community and charity champions. A coronation order of service, comprised of both traditional and new elements, was authorised by the Archbishop of Canterbury and produced in close consultation with the King and, concerning the constitutional elements of the service, the government of the United Kingdom. The Archbishop of Canterbury conducted the service and King Charles III followed in his mother's footsteps by televising his coronation, as she was the first to do.

To me, the coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla served as a reminder of the significance of Australia's constitutional monarchy. Having a monarch who has been waiting for nearly 70 years to serve as Australia's head of state illustrates that a constitutional monarchy is a system that is effective in providing stability and continuity in our nation's leadership. In a presidential system, a new leader can choose to change policies and priorities and is not neutral. A constitutional monarch is none of these.

When I watched the coronation, it was clear to me that I was witnessing history. It is an honour to serve in His Majesty's Loyal Opposition. I wish to extend Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla my sincere congratulations and best wishes and my hopes for the welfare and prosperity of the peoples of the United Kingdom and the commonwealth. I wholeheartedly support this motion. God save the King.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. T.T. Ngo.