Madam DEPUTY PRESIDENT - His Royal Highness the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was born on 10 June 1921 on the Greek Island of Corfu. He passed away on 9 April 2021 at Windsor Castle aged 99, just two months shy of his 100th birthday.
Prince Philip joined the Royal Navy when he was 17 and went on to serve in the Second World War. Prince Philip married the then Princess Elizabeth in 1947 and is the longest serving Royal Consort in British history.
Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip had four children. Anne, Charles, Andrew and Edward. They have 8 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
Her Majesty The Queen described Prince Philip as others have said as her strength and stay during her long and at times challenging reign. I am sure she will miss him terribly.
Prince Philip's dutiful support of his wife His Majesty Queen Elizabeth and his engagement in public visits around the Commonwealth and ceremonial occasions endeared him to so many around the world and continued into his later years. He only retired in 2017, aged 96.
Prince Philip earned the deserved admiration of generations throughout his lifetime. A lifetime of selfless public service. Perhaps, while not always welcomed by some with his trademark honesty that resonated most. He also acknowledged again with his forthright and frank style that he always did what he thought was best, acknowledging there will always be some that do not like what he said or did.
His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was a man of his time and generation and I am sure it was not easy for him to be in a position of subservience to his wife. However, Prince Philip was unswerving in his support of Her Majesty The Queen throughout their long marriage of 73 years and fulfilled his role of Consort with humility always putting the needs of his wife first and remaining two steps behind.
His frankness and as considered by some somewhat inappropriate comments at times has worn any criticism of that with humility and good humour and he has also given satirists and cartoonists a good amount of material.
Prince Philip actively supported youth and the opportunities for self-improvement. As was mentioned by the members he launched the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, a youth award program inspiring teenagers to challenge themselves physically and mentally and build their confidence through non-academic activities. The award was introduced to Australia in 1959 and has since developed and grown internationally now reaching young people in more than 130 countries with over 8 million young people having participated world-wide at the last count. This includes over 775 000 young Australians who have participated in and benefited from the opportunities created by the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. I know for those that who have done this amazing experience it can be truly life changing.
Prince Philip - some may suggest a man well ahead of his time - led a life of strong advocacy for scientific and technical innovation and for wildlife protection and conservation. He was the patron or president of more than 750 organisations as other members have mentioned including the Royal National Institute for Deaf People for 55 years.
Sixty years ago, in 1961, the Duke of Edinburgh helped found the World Wild Fund for Nature and two years later in 1963, on a visit to Australia he floated the idea of a local branch of the World Wildlife Fund. In fact, it was from this suggestion by Prince Philip that led to the foundation of the Australian Conservation Foundation in 1965. Prince Philip was the foundation's president. The World Wildlife Fund for Nature's president from 1971 to 1976 and was very passionate about environmental issues, including in Australia. He spoke to a number of issues from endangered species to the protection of the Great Barrier Reef. True to form, Prince Philip also acted in typical blunt style to urge the federal government in 1973 to act on protecting Kakadu by declaring a special reserve.
In a letter to former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam about environmental issues, he described that issue as probably the hottest of the potatoes. He wrote that in a letter. He was a friend to Australia and passionate about protecting Australia's unique beauty and wildlife, but more than that he had a genuine interest and compassion for the people of Tasmania and for this we can be forever grateful.
Prince Philip, as has been noted made over 200 tours to Australia. He was the Royal representative who opened the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. From his first visit to Australia as a young sailor aboard the battleship HMS Ramillies to his final tour in 2011 Prince Philip had an informality that endeared him to Australia and to Australians.
In December 1945, he spoke of his love for our country, the people and the food, reflecting then that on his visit to Australia, he enjoyed the week in Tasmania best. This visit was during World War II, when on a period of leave from the navy, Prince Philip stayed at Connorville. Members may know Connorville as a property near Cressy. More recently, I personally have slept in the same room that was the duke's room. It was interesting to hear about their visit and see some of the memorabilia that they hold at Connorville.
In 1954, the visit coincided with 150th anniversary of Collins' settlement at Sullivan's Cove. During this visit, her Majesty Queen Elizabeth opened the Fifth Session of the Thirtieth Parliament of Tasmania, with Prince Philip in attendance. He wore his naval uniform and there were 200 guests in this Chamber. Her Majesty the Queen, sat in this chair that I am sitting in now. There are photos of this auspicious occasion in the Parliamentary Library if anyone wishes to view them. This was obviously, pre-COVID-19: 200 people would be pretty squishy in this Chamber.
Mr Valentine - What was the date on that, please?
Madam DEPUTY PRESIDENT - That was in 1954. After flying in from Cambridge to Wynyard, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip toured Burnie, Penguin, Ulverstone, Devonport, Deloraine, Westbury, Longford and Cressy, before staying overnight at Connorville in the specially prepared royal suite. And that is still there in Connorville. Connorville is the only private residence the royal couple stayed at during their tour of Australia. So, Tasmania is pretty special to the royal couple.
In 1963, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Tasmania as part of their Royal tour and attended the 125th Royal Hobart Regatta. Showing a deep attitude of compassion, Prince Philip toured the bushfire ravaged areas of Tasmania on his 1967 visit, as was mentioned.
It was reported that one of the many things Prince Philip had in common with Australians was the love of beer. I am not sure if he was happy to have it served chilled though. You know how the English like their beer, allegedly anyway. It was fitting that during this visit, he visited the Longley Hotel to enjoy a beer with the locals.
He met some of those who were badly affected in the township of Snug south of Hobart, where 11 people had tragically lost their lives in those fires. On that occasion he also visited Taroona, Kingston and Margate. Prince Philip was mobbed every time he stepped out of his car during his car of fire-affected areas of southern Tasmania, notwithstanding the tragedy and devastation those communities had endured. His informality and natural disposition towards the people of Tasmania placed him well as a comforter in their time of need, as he did in many other circumstances across the Commonwealth of Nations. He cared deeply for Australia, its natural beauty, wildlife, welfare and its people. And Australians cared deeply for and respected Prince Philip.
Prince Philip will be missed by all who knew him, I am sure, and I met him and respected him from afar, but none more so than her Majesty and their family. Today we acknowledge his love for Australia, the sacrifices he made, and the good that he did in the service of our nation and the free peoples across the world.
We place on record our sincere gratitude for the service of Prince Philip, that he gave to the Commonwealth and extend our sincerest condolences to Her Majesty the Queen, and Prince Philip's family in their time of grief. We hope that the many happy memories they have of their husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather will sustain them in years ahead.
I move the motion.
Motion agreed to.Go Back