The Federal Parliament of Australia, due to return next week, will be suspended for at least 15 days after the death of Queen Elizabeth, which angered Australians.
Anthony Albanese confirmed the postponement on Friday morning, acknowledging that parliamentarians will get a hefty break from parliament in the coming weeks.
“Our parliament was supposed to meet next week and then there was a break until the budget meeting in October,” the prime minister told radio station FIVEaa in Adelaide.
“So, of course, Parliament will not be in session next week and we will discuss maybe the options we have or return to honor Her Majesty and her contribution to Australia and the Commonwealth.”
But some Australians are skeptical of a long break, especially since the UK parliament will only join for 10 days.
“What? How can we afford it? Why do they need 15 days off, fully paid? No employee in the country will ever get this,” one person commented on Twitter.
“Ordinary Australians get two days of bereavement leave when a true loved one dies,” wrote another.
“Get back to work! The country is facing multiple crises.”
But Mr Albanese defended the removal, saying it was “out of respect” for the queen.
“These protocols have been in place for some time,” Mr. Albanese told ABC radio.
He assured that the normal work of the government will continue, and meetings have already been held with the Prime Minister’s office to make sure that the relevant protocols are followed.
“This is a moment in our history. Of course, in my entire life I have known only one monarch, which is quite unusual, ”he added.
Events will be held over the next two weeks to commemorate the death of Britain’s longest-lived monarch, with Mr Albanese and Australian Governor General David Hurley implementing a plan that has been in the making for years.
For the next 10 days – between the Queen’s death and her funeral – Commonwealth countries will observe 10 days of mourning and remembrance.
There will be no official period of mourning in Australia, but Anthony Albanese is expected to declare a national day of remembrance, which is likely to be a public holiday among other events.
The websites of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet of Ministers and the Governor General have switched to the obituary format, containing information about events planned throughout the country, as well as an opportunity for Australians to pay tribute.
Over the next two weeks, condolence books will be posted at Parliament House, Government House, and on the websites of the Prime Minister and the Governor General.
There will be a gun salute Friday night at dusk with one shot for each year of the Queen’s life with a 10-second interval between shots.
Official parliamentary condolences will be expressed on the day of the first meeting.
Buckingham Palace gave notice of the death of Her Majesty the Queen at 3:30 am EST on Friday after reports that the 96-year-old monarch was suffering from poor health.
Anthony Albanese made a nationwide announcement this morning confirming that he will travel to London in the coming days to attend the funeral and meet with King Charles III.
“Queen Elizabeth II is the only reigning monarch most of us have known and the only one who has ever visited Australia,” he said.
“Her Majesty was a rare and reassuring constant in the midst of rapid change. Through the noise and turbulence of years, she embodies and demonstrates eternal decency and enduring calm.”
Governor General David Hurley said he was deeply saddened by the news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
“I join all Australians in mourning the passing of Her Majesty the Queen and remembering her tireless service throughout her life. She was truly a wonderful person,” he said.
“When I think about my memories – she was my queen all my life – I think of the dignity of Her Majesty and her compassion. Her dedication and tireless diligence. And her dedication and unwavering devotion to the people she served. Us.
“Her death will sadden all Australians and will be felt throughout the world.”
Former Australian Prime Ministers also expressed their condolences and sadness at the news.
“We can only hope that the world will see her again for who she is, but none of us will ever see that,” said Tony Abbott.
“It is so typical of this wonderful woman that she did her duty until her last day on this earth.”
Malcolm Turnbull, who led the campaign to make Australia a republic in 1999 and wrote the book The Fight for a Republic, said Australia today is “united in grief”.
“Her long life of service has been an inspiration to the world and (she) has been calm and gracious through seven decades of upheaval and change,” said Mr. Turnbull.
Kevin Rudd reflected on his time with the Queen and said the news will deeply affect Australians, whether they are monarchists or Republicans.
“I have had the opportunity to meet the Queen several times over the years and it was clear from those conversations that her attachment to Australia was as deep as it was enduring,” he said.
“She will be remembered not only for the longevity of her reign, but also for her resilience, sense of duty and devotion to her family.”
Originally published as Australians outraged that federal MPs were given a two-week break after the Queen’s death