Queen Elizabeth II Ninetieth Birthday

Mr DAVID ELLIOTT (Baulkham Hills—Minister for Corrections, Minister for Emergency Services, and Minister for Veterans Affairs) [6.28 p.m.]: I acknowledge the Parliamentary Secretary’s remarks concerning our wonderful health Minister. I worked for the former health Minister Peter Collins and acknowledge his effectiveness.

Dr Geoff Lee: Jillian Skinner is better.

Mr DAVID ELLIOTT: We will debate that at a later date. This year will mark the ninetieth birthday of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. This gives me an opportunity to note the service and devotion she offered the entire Commonwealth in the week we celebrate Commonwealth Day. On her twenty-first birthday Princess Elizabeth delivered a speech which has been often quoted. She solemnly stated:

      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.

That great imperial family is no longer imperial but is certainly a family. This week we commemorated Commonwealth Day and with it the accomplishment of a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states, home to 2.2 billion citizens, of whom over 60 per cent are under the age of 30. The Commonwealth includes some of the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries, but we are all family. Since that twenty-first birthday speech, the Queen has worked every day to her ninetieth year to maintain that diverse family of shared values, languages and politics. She delivered her speech from Cape Town and observed:

      I am 6,000 miles from the country where I was born … I am certainly not 6,000 miles from home.

She noted:

      …the great privilege belonging to our place in the world-wide commonwealth—that there are homes ready to welcome us in every continent of the earth. Before I am much older I hope I shall come to know many of them.

She has certainly realised that desire. On behalf of the people of Baulkham Hills I congratulate the Queen on her ninetieth birthday and her youthful devotion to the Commonwealth. The young princess addressed the youth of the British family of nations in 1947 and bravely suggested:

      If we all go forward together with an unwavering faith, a high courage, and a quiet heart, we shall be able to make of this ancient Commonwealth, which we all love so dearly, an even grander thing—more free, more prosperous, more happy and a more powerful influence for good in the world—than it has been in the greatest days of our forefathers.

There is no doubt that the Queen’s generation took up this challenge and made the most of the opportunity granted by the sacrifice of their mothers and fathers. I have no doubt that the modern youth of the Commonwealth are full of the same idealism and zeal for freedom, prosperity and good. I have spoken in this Chamber of the tremendous accomplishment of many young people in Baulkham Hills. Queen’s Scout Award recipients Isabela Gomez, Bailey Harris and Ben Kahana exemplify the sense of public duty perfectly represented by the Queen.

There are many young people in New South Wales who give us cause to celebrate. Next month I will accompany to the Western Front the young Anzac scholars of 2016, Eduardo Bianchino, Shehani De Silva, Petra Stojnic, Joshua Bednar, Lauren Sullivan and Liam Rickard. In their essays presented to this House they exhibited the same appreciation that the Queen had for our greatest generation and the opportunities they provided. In Her Majesty’s ninetieth year I thank her for the example that she has provided the youth of the Commonwealth through those solemn words delivered on her twenty-first birthday. God save the Queen.