Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has confirmed that Australians will periodically receive public holidays in honor of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
This day will be officially known as the National Day of Mourning for Her Majesty the Queen and will take place on 22 September. The date will coincide with the national memorial, which will be held in Canberra.
Speaking to ABC, Mr. Albanese confirmed that he spoke with state and territory leaders who agreed to move the holiday because public holidays are set by state law, not the federal government.
“It will be a one-time public holiday. This should allow people to pay their respects to the passing of Queen Elizabeth,” the prime minister told ABC.
“Yesterday I spoke with all the prime ministers and chief ministers and this morning I am writing to them officially, they have already received their letters. They all agreed that it was appropriate for it to be the only national public holiday.”
By a quirk of the times, the Victorians, who already have a day off for the AFL Grand Final on Friday, will be big winners thanks to four days off.
What is the symbolism of the day?
According to protocol, the day will take place after Mr Albanese attends the Queen’s State Funeral and returns from London.
Similarly, people in the UK were also given a public holiday on 19 September to coincide with her state funeral.
The Prime Minister will also be joined by his partner Jody Haydon, Governor General David Hurley and his wife Linda, as well as Acting High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and former Ambassador to Germany Lynette Wood and her partner.
The ceremony has been confirmed for September 19th and will take place at Westminster Abbey at 11:00 am (20:00 Monday AEST). Although the abbey can hold around 2,000 people, members of the royal family, heads of state and other important people are expected to attend the event.
At the end of the service, the Queen’s coffin will be moved from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch in Hyde Park and then to Windsor.
A solemn service will then take place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where the Queen will be buried next to her late husband, Prince Philip.
How will Australia celebrate the Queen’s death?
In addition to the National Day of Mourning, Australia will host an additional memorial service on September 22. As of Sunday, some 13,700 people came out to sign the Australian online condolence book, Mr Albanese said.
Although details of the memorial service have not been released, a moment of silence will be held in honor of her death.
Following the Queen’s death, a 14-day suspension of Parliament has been introduced and Mr Albanese and Governor General David Hurley will fly to London on Thursday to attend the Queen’s funeral and meet with King Charles III. The flags were also flown at half mast as a sign of mourning.
Prince Charles to be named Australia’s new sovereign
In lieu of the queen’s death, her son, King Charles III, was formally appointed as the new monarch of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms.
Although he has been proclaimed king and the accession council will take place on Saturday, a similar ceremony will take place outside Parliament House in Sydney at 12:30 pm on Sunday.
The event will take place in lieu of a special 11:00 a.m. Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by Governor General David Hurley.
Public transport will also be free until Sunday midnight for people wishing to witness the event.
Speaking to ABC, Mr Albanese said he hopes King Charles will continue to be “active and outspoken” on issues like climate change, which he believes goes beyond politics.
“I think addressing climate change should not be a political issue,” he said.
“And I think being involved in problem solving is different from being involved in party political issues.”