A speech by The Queen at Parliament House in Canberra, 2011
Australia has flourished and achieved excellence on the world stage.
Prime Minister, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Prince Philip and I are delighted to be back in Australia. I find it difficult to believe that it is already five years since our last visit. Ever since I first came here in 1954, I have watched Australia grow and develop at an extraordinary rate. This country has made dramatic progress economically, in social, scientific and industrial endeavours and, above all, in self-confidence.
The Great Hall lies at the heart of Australia’s enduring democratic institutions. It is easy enough to talk about democracy, but it must never be forgotten that it represents a compact between the Australian people to accept the wishes of the majority, while always remaining conscious, and sympathetic, to those whose voices are not always heard. It is this political freedom that leads to free expression, which encourages new development in areas as varied as the arts, sport and commercial enterprise. With this foundation, Australia has flourished and achieved excellence on the world stage. The award of the Nobel Prize in Physics to Professor Brian Schmidt earlier this month is but one example. And, in the face of a global financial crisis, Australia’s robust economic record, underpinned by the strength of its institutions, has been widely acknowledged.
In an unstable world, Australians consider themselves fortunate, however they continue to make a significant contribution to world peace-keeping. This does not come without a price, and we are all conscious of the sacrifices made by the Australian armed services in international operations. Their valour has been well recognised, in particular with the awarding of the Victoria Cross to two servicemen for outstanding bravery in Afghanistan. I also share the grief felt by those families, friends and colleagues of the 29 service personnel who have been killed during this conflict.
It has been a difficult year for this country in many ways, despite the successes.
The world witnessed the anguish of Australians as they lived through a summer of natural disasters. We saw towns battered by a cyclone; homes, businesses and families destroyed by devastating floods, and across the Tasman, in New Zealand, we saw a city utterly ruined by an earthquake. I know Australian rescue and medical teams did not hesitate to lend support to their neighbours in response to this horrific event. We were all impressed by the courage and resolution shown by those affected, in the face of crippling desolation. Prince William also saw first hand the fortitude of people during this testing time.
Next week we will be in Perth for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference. It will be an important occasion for governments to discuss the challenges they face and find new ways to bring about positive change.
I am sure they will draw strength and inspiration from their time here in this prosperous, energetic, and dynamic nation of Australia.
The Queen's message to the Governors and people of New South Wales and Queensland
The Queen's Message to the Athletes
The baton relay represents a calling together of people from every part of the Commonwealth.
The Queen's message following bush fires in South Australia and Victoria
The Queen's message following the bushfires across New South Wales
A speech by The Queen at The Big Aussie BBQ in Perth, 2011
You have endeared yourselves to the international Commonwealth community, showing them a State of professional excellence, generosity and goodwill.
A speech by The Queen at the Rain Bank Storm Harvesting Centre, Brisbane, 2011
I have seen the fortitude, ingenuity, and determination of the people of Brisbane to overcome the setbacks of last January.
A speech by The Queen at the Presentation of Colours, Royal Military College of Australia
The presentation of Colours is a special opportunity to recognise the past achievements, to give thanks for commitment and loyalty today, and to express confidence in the...
A speech by The Queen at the Sydney Opera House
It is my duty to seek to remain true to the interests of Australia and all Australians as we enter the twenty-first century.
Royal events and messages following the Australian bushfires
Australian Prime Minister's Commonwealth Games luncheon, 15 March 2006
Australia has an enviable record at the Commonwealth Games.
A speech by The Queen at the XVIII Commonwealth Games, Australia, 2006
Tonight we celebrate the value of sport as a means of bringing together people from seventy-one nations and territories.
Dinner at Parliament House in Canberra, 14 March 2006
Australia in the course of my lifetime has firmly established itself amongst the most respected nations of the world.
Opening of the new colonnade of Sydney Opera House, 13 March 2006
It was universally agreed that the Opera House was something more than a performing arts centre, more than a great work of architecture.
Opening of the new Australian War Memorial, London, 11 November 2003
Twice within the span of a single generation, Australia and Britain stood side by side in two of the bloodiest wars in human history.
Opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government, Australia, 2 March 2002
It is our very diversity which makes the Commonwealth strong.
Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane, Australia, 3 March 2002
We have both been struck by both the diversity as well as the dynamism of Australia, and the vigour and humour of Australians everywhere.
Adelaide Festival Hall, Australia, 27 February 2002
Whatever may lie ahead, I declare again here tonight that my admiration, affection and regard for the people of Australia will remain, as it has been over these past fifty...
A speech by The Queen to mark Australia's bicentenary
More than ten thousand men and women can take great pride in the parts they have played in the creation of this symbol of Australian unity and democracy.