Australian official sparks fury with ‘appalling’ comment on Queen’s DEATH during Jubilee

Joanna Lumley gets emotional talking about Queen Elizabeth

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David Hurley said Queen Elizabeth II had a lot of “emotional support” from Australians, but he believed that could change under a new monarch’s reign. He added: “I think at the moment people centre on the Queen, and then when she goes, when she passes, then the succession comes in, there’s a new discussion in Australia.”

Mr Hurley’s comments sparked a backlash Down Under led by 2GB talk radio host Ben Fordham.

He told listeners: “We shouldn’t be talking about the Queen passing away when she’s well and truly alive.”

Mr Fordham continued: “It’s her big celebration. Seventy years on the throne. Imagine going to someone’s anniversary or birthday party and saying, ‘Now listen, when she’s gone…’ Well no, we don’t talk about that now.

“You’re over there representing Australia and it hasn’t gone down well I can tell you.”

He went on to quote callers who labelled the comments “disgraceful” and “insensitive”.

He added: “We just shouldn’t be talking about the Queen passing away when she’s well and truly alive.”

His remarks come after Australia appointed its first minister tasked with overseeing a transition to a republic.

Matt Thistlethwaite was sworn in by the newly elected Labour government as assistant minister for the republic on the eve of the Jubilee.

Mr Thistlethwaite said the occasion gave Australians food for thought about the country’s future.

He added: “As the Queen comes to the twilight of her reign, we can appropriately – and we should – pay respect to her for the wonderful job that she’s done.

“But Australians are now beginning to start to think about what comes next for our country.

“And I think it’s time that we start the serious conversation once again about what comes next for Australia after Queen Elizabeth’s reign ends.

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“Australia is an independent nation. We have our own unique identity and culture. Each and every Australian, no matter their background, birthplace, gender or religion should be able to aspire to be our nation’s head of state.

“My role is very much one of education in the initial stages: explaining to people that we do have a foreign monarch as our head of state, we have a proxy representative in the Governor-General, but that we can have an Australian as our head of state.”

But Mr Fordham slammed his comments, saying: “No, this is a time of celebration. Focus on the good things. Focus on the party. Focus on the achievement and the record.

“This is a very important celebration and we are part of that celebration. The timing is appalling. What was he thinking?”

Australia’s new government has informally pledged to hold a referendum on a republic in its next term if it wins a second election.

New prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has prioritised a referendum for constitutional recognition of the country’s indigenous peoples.

The Australian Republic Movement welcomed the creation of Mr Thistlethwaite’s new position, but the Australian Monarchist League criticised the move and complained about the country’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

In a post on Twitter, the group said it showed a “a clear lack of respect for the Australian people”.

Amid a lack of community-hosted Jubilee events, the group accused the new government of banning the public from the official events.

Beacon lighting and Jubilee ceremonies were invitation-only events, although members of the public were invited to view a flypast and 21 gun salute.

The group said: “That the Australian people have been excluded at the last minute from celebrating their sovereign’s Platinum Jubilee at the heart of these national events is shameful.”

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