Albanian prime minister commits to British relationship



Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will reaffirm Australia’s strong relationship with the UK when he meets King Charles III ahead of the Queen’s funeral.

Mr Albanese will land in London on Friday evening before having an audience with the new head of state on Saturday.

“We will no doubt also be talking about the relationship with Australia – he (the King) has a strong relationship,” Mr Albanese told 6PR radio before leaving Sydney.

“He completed his secondary education in Victoria and has had many visits to Australia here.

“We are both very strong democracies … we have very similar traditions and it will be important to strengthen the relationship in the future.”

The Prime Minister will lead an Australian delegation to attend a number of official events ahead of the Queen’s state funeral, which will be broadcast live Monday at 8pm AEST.

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The tour group includes a small group of “everyday Australians”.

A separate plane carries officials from islands in the Pacific.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton said the outpouring of emotions for the Queen was clear and it was great that the Australian delegation was able to represent the country.

Thousands of people have joined a mile-long line that stretches across London to pay their respects as Queen Elizabeth II lies in state in Westminster Hall.

Australian traveler Tiffany Wertheimer queued for more than seven hours to say goodbye to the late monarch.

“I got to the back of the line, which was a really weird feeling, of course a lot more people joined immediately, but for that split second I was at the back of a huge queue that runs through central London,” she told 2GB radio.

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“I’ve had a few moments where I wanted to quit.”

The debate over the future of the monarchy in Australia continued despite Mr Albanese’s insistence that it was not the right time to address the issue.

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard said it was normal for Australians to think about broader meaning after the symbolic end of an era with the Queen’s death.

“I’ve always thought that when Queen Elizabeth’s reign came to an end people would think, but people will do so in a very measured and unhurried way,” she told TBEN radio.

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Ms Gillard, a self-proclaimed lifelong Republican, said Australians could expect a discussion about constitutional change in the coming years, but agreed that now was not the time.

In London, the Prime Minister will meet British Prime Minister Liz Truss and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau.

Albanian is expected to watch the rigged queen at Westminster Hall and sign the official condolence book.

Following the return of Mr Albanian, a day of mourning will be held in Australia on 22 September, with a public holiday to mark the occasion.

Parliament will also meet on September 23 to give the floor to the prime minister, opposition leader, MPs and senators on a condolence motion.



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