By Oyintari Ben
Austrailia’s Parliament House has been the focal point of a national day of mourning for the late Queen Elizabeth II.
On Thursday, Australia observed a national day of mourning in honour of the late Queen Elizabeth II. At Parliament House, officials laid a wreath made of golden wattle, the country’s floral symbol.
The centrepiece of the celebration was the “Wattle Painting,” a painting by Australian artist William Dargie portraying the former monarch of Britain and Australia wearing a yellow dress embellished with golden wattle motifs on her first night in Australia in 1954.
The queen passed away on September 8 during the Southern Hemisphere spring, when wattle blooms, representing Australia’s national colours in its golden flowers and green foliage, which have come to represent togetherness.
King Charles III’s envoy in Australia, Governor-General David Hurley, and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese both attended the ceremony on Thursday, which the government proclaimed a national holiday. From the queen’s burial in London, both had returned on Wednesday.
During the occasion, there have been various protests that have highlighted the suffering that British colonization inflicted on Indigenous Australians. One of the few formerly British possessions, Australia, has never signed a treaty with its indigenous people.
Hurley used his statement to draw attention to the emotions of certain Indigenous Australians, who experience earlier deaths and higher rates of incarceration than any other group there.
Hurley stated, “I recognize that her passing has led to various responses for some in our community. I’m aware that our colonial history and the larger path toward reconciliation, which is a journey we as a nation must complete, have influenced the responses of many First Nations Australians.”
The Australian Government intends to amend the constitution through a referendum, which would establish a process for Indigenous people to advise Parliament on matters that affect their way of life.
There have been a variety of indigenous reactions to the queen’s passing. The Parliament House event got underway with singing and dancing by indigenous people.
Albanese remarked about how Australia has evolved since 70% of the people attended the queen’s 1954 performance. Albanese wants Australia to replace the British monarch with an Australian head of state.
Perhaps a marble statue or metal plaque is not the best homage we can give to her family and her memory, Albanese added. It is a reinvigorated commitment to community service.
The majority of Australians, according to two polls released since the queen’s passing, prefer a constitutional monarchy. Australian republic supporters contend that this is only a passing response to the extensive media attention of a beloved queen.
Political leaders past and present, judges, military chiefs and other dignitaries were among 700 guests at the service.
In 1988, the Queen formally proclaimed Parliament House open. In the area, her father inaugurated a makeshift Parliament House in 1927. When King George VI was still the Duke of York, his daughter travelled to Australia as the country’s first reigning monarch.