It’s official: Australians are getting a one-off public holiday to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
Britain’s longest-serving monarch passed away on Thursday, September 8 at 6:30pm UK time, at the age of 96. On Friday, September 9, PM Anthony Albanese confirmed he’ll be travelling to London within the next few days to attend her funeral and to meet King Charles III.
Albanese will be joined by his partner, as well as Governor-General David Hurley and his wife Linda Hurley. Ten to 12 notable Australians will also accompany them. They’re expected to include Indigenous Australians, representatives from charitable, religious, sporting, and community organisations.
“Queen Elizabeth II is the only reigning monarch most of us have known, and the only one to ever visit Australia,” the Prime Minister said on Friday.
“Her Majesty was a rare and reassuring constant amidst rapid change. Through the noise and turbulence of the years, she embodies and exhibited a timeless decency and enduring calm.”
Will We Get a Public Holiday for the Queen’s Death?
Heck yes, we are. Albanese has told the ABC that September 22 would be a public holiday this year. “It will be a one-off national public holiday to allow people to pay their respects for the passing of Queen Elizabeth,” he stated.
Albanese also explained that our Parliament won’t be sitting this coming week, noting, “It would be difficult to envisage the sort of adversarial activity that occurs in our parliament … so I think it was appropriate, and protocols require the automatic cancellation.” However, he also said that our federal politicians will make up the off day sometime down the line.
What’s more, we’re not the only nation that will be getting a day off because of Queen Elizabeth’s death. The UK is having a bank holiday, which is the same thing as a public one, on September 19. Their government wrote in a statement, “We would expect that many workers will be able to take the day off on the bank holiday. We also expect employers to respond sensitively to requests from workers who wish to take the day of the funeral off work.”
Do We Still Get a Public Holiday for the Queen’s Birthday?
While Queen Elizabeth II’s actual birthday is April 21, the Queen’s Birthday is celebrated on differing days by many Commonwealth countries. In Australia, the day always falls on the second Monday in June, though Queensland and Western Australia celebrate on different days.
Meanwhile, New Zealand celebrates on the first Monday in June, while Canada’s Queen Birthday is the last Monday before May 25.
So, will Australians and other Commonwealth countries continue to celebrate on the day? It’s unclear at this stage, given the day isn’t actually the exact day of Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday. Yet it seems unlikely it’ll change days, nor change its name to the King’s Birthday now that Charles is the ruling monarch.
What is likely, though, is that certain Commonwealth nations, Australia included, may now look to leave the monarchy and establish republics instead. The proposal to shift Australia to a republic has long been talked about, most recently, with the Green’s federal leader, Adam Bandt calling for such a referendum.
“Australia must move forward,” declared Bandt on Twitter. “We need Treaty with First Nations people, and we need to become a Republic.”