Radio Interview - 5AA Breakfast with David Penberthy and Will Goodings

09 Sep 2022
Prime Minister
Passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

WILL GOODINGS, HOST: The Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, joins us on 5AA Breakfast. Prime Minister, good morning to you.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Good morning on what is a very sad day. But you're right as well to say that it's an opportunity to reflect and to celebrate what is an extraordinary life.

DAVID PENBERTHY, HOST: It certainly was an extraordinary life, Prime Minister, and a huge sense of sorrow today, but equally, I mean, hard to capture the magnitude of her rule, isn't it? To think about the seven decades, how much has happened, how much the world has changed since then, but also the stability that Her Majesty brought to the Commonwealth?

PRIME MINISTER: That's right, she was a constant in our lives. She is the only monarch and head of state that you and Will and I have known. And that is remarkable given that we're living in an era with the fastest change in human history. And that constant devotion that the Queen exhibited to her duty, to serve the Commonwealth and her nation, her duty to family as well and her faith, was quite remarkable. It was a constant in an era of change.

GOODINGS: Few people get to be known as leaders, and fewer still are great leaders. What from your perspective, as the leader of Australia, do you see as what made her such a wonderful leader of the Commonwealth?

PRIME MINISTER: I think the fact that she could meet with world leaders, and of course, she was an advisor to every British Prime Minister since Winston Churchill. She served sixteen Prime Ministers in Australia, sixteen Governors-General have been in place during her reign. But she was also really comfortable with mixing with the general public. She was there when we needed her to be there at times of crisis. But also there at times of celebration. She was of course a regular visitor to Australia. She first came in 1954, and I think it was about eight months after she became the Queen. And it's quite extraordinary, the figures which show that in a population of 10 million at that time, 7 million Australians went out - didn't look at it on Facebook, or social media - they physically went to see her and that great saying, of course, we just saw her passing by. It just says something about the affection that she had from Australians at a time when she was of course the first monarch and the only monarch to have visited Australia.

PENBERTHY: So PM, we know that flags have been lowered to half mast, we spoke with our Governor before, Frances Adamson, just down the road here at Government House, about how the gates will be open there today so that people can pay their respects. At the sort of federal level, what type of commemorations are in line now that the Queen is no longer with us?

PRIME MINISTER: Yeah, the protocols are all being put in place. Of course, there's been considerable planning for this to occur and we'll be making those announcements over the next 48 hours, but a condolence book is available at Yarralumla, Government House from 8am this morning, Canberra time. There are of course a range of other protocols including gun salutes will occur over the next 24 hours, and we'll continue to make arrangements for what is a ten day period of mourning. The Governor-General and myself will travel to the United Kingdom for the commemorations and for the services that will take place, representing Australia and there are other protocols have been discussed and are yet to be confirmed about other Australian citizens being invited to those commemorations. But those announcements will be made over the next 48 hours.

GOODINGS: Can we just, some more clarity Prime Minister on what will happen with Parliament in Australia. I understand it will be suspended and not returned before 15 days, will it be just over a fortnight before it returns or is that not determined yet either?

PRIME MINISTER: We'll make those announcements, but there are protocols in place for the suspension of Parliament. And certainly that will occur, our Parliament was due to sit next week. And then there was a break up until the budget sittings in October. So certainly, the Parliament won't be sitting next week. And we'll have discussions about perhaps the options that we have of returning for a commemoration of Her Majesty and her contribution to Australia and the Commonwealth.

PENBERTHY: Well Prime Minister, we thank you for making time to speak with us in Adelaide on 5AA on what is a sad day, but as you rightly said at the start also one where with an air of happiness and pride, we should reflect on a life well lived and a life devoted to public duty.

PRIME MINISTER: That's right, I finish and leave with you the words of Her Majesty, reflecting on her tragic loss, which was 'grief is the price we pay for love.' And I think that is really worthy words of Her Majesty.

GOODINGS: Absolutely, well worth remembering this moment. Prime Minister, thank you so much for your time this morning. That's the Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese.