Anthony Albanese has said it would be appropriate for King Charles to continue his advocacy on the challenge of climate change.
“That’s a matter for him, of course,” Albanese said on Sunday. But “in my view that would be appropriate”.
“I think dealing with the challenge of climate change shouldn’t be seen as a political issue – it should be seen as an issue that is about humanity and about our very quality of life and survival as a world,” he told the ABC.
“This is a big threat and King Charles has identified that for a long period of time. I think engagement in issues is very different from engagement in party political matters.”
Albanese’s comment came as he declared a public holiday in Australia on Thursday September 22, which will be a “national day of mourning” and the day a national memorial service will be held for the late Queen.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton, quizzed on whether King Charles should drop his public advocacy on issues such as climate change, expected him to become less outspoken. “As King, he is there now as an impartial person.”
“He will have very strong views on this issue and many others, I’m sure, but I think the point he made in his speech yesterday was that he now doesn’t express those views on a day-to-day basis,” Dutton said on the ABC.
He said Prince William, now Prince of Wales, was “very strong in relation to this issue and many others. He’s a patron of many organisations as well, and as the Prince of Wales he will have a greater ability to speak out on, and to support causes that are important to him.”
In his Friday (Saturday morning AEST) address to Britain and the Commonwealth King Charles said: “It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I care so deeply. But I know this important work will go on in the trusted hands of others.”
The King flagged he expected William to fill a similar role to the one he had filled. “With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the centre ground where vital help can be given.”
On Sunday Governor-General David Hurley, in a ceremony at parliament house, formally proclaimed King Charles king of Australia.
This week’s sitting of federal parliament has been cancelled, and politics essentially put on hold. But Albanese indicated the days missed would be made up later. Maintaining the cancellation was appropriate, he said: “It would be difficult to envisage parliament sitting and going through the sort of adversarial activity that occurs in our parliament, under our Westminster system”.
Albanese and Hurley leave on Thursday to attend the Queen’s funeral on Monday September 19.
Australian Medical Association president Steve Robson was critical of the Albanese announcement of a public holiday, tweeting it would mean cancellation of operations and lots of patient consultations “at a time when access is difficult”.