Dozens of Australian leaders have gathered in the nation’s capital to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II after her death on Friday.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, and Governor-General David Hurley met at Parliament House on Saturday morning to lay a wreath in tribute to the Queen.
The national leaders placed floral wreaths at the foot of a statue of the Queen, which her majesty unveiled on 9 May 1988 while visiting Australia to officially open New Parliament House.
The Governor-General was the first to lay a bright yellow wreath with wattle at the Queen’s Terrace, followed by the Prime Minister.
Then dozens of other members and senators laid their own floral arrangements at the foot of the Queen in a touching and silent show of respect.
The floral tributes mark the continuing Australian commemoration of the Queen after she died in her Scotland castle at age 96.
In a televised address to the nation on Friday, the Prime Minister acknowledged Queen Elizabeth II and Australia shared a special bond.
“Queen Elizabeth II is the only reigning monarch most of us have known, and the only one to ever visit Australia,” he said.
“Her Majesty was a rare and reassuring constant amidst rapid change. Through the noise and turbulence of the years, she embodied and exhibited a timeless decency and enduring calm.”
The Australian leader praised the Queen for her “wise and enduring presence” as a leader throughout her 70-year reign.
“This time of mourning will pass, but the deep respect and warm regard in which Australians have always held for Her Majesty will never fade.”
Saturday is the second day of commemoration after the death of the monarch at 3.30am Australian time.
In the period between the Queen’s death and funeral, Commonwealth countries will observe 10 days of mourning and remembrance.
On Friday, a 96-gun salute was held outside the Parliament House in tribute to the Queen’s long life.
Floral tributes and notes have been left at government buildings around the country as people grieve the loss of the only monarch many Australians have ever known.
Flags around the country are also being flown at half-mast in honour of the Queen’s contribution to the country.
Prime Minister Albanese will declare a day of national mourning for the National Memorial Service.
He is expected to travel to the United Kingdom in the coming days to pay his respects to the royal family and meet King Charles III.