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Australian politicians welcome Queen's upcoming visit

(Xinhua)

15:49, September 24, 2011

CANBERRA, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and politicians on Saturday said they welcome Queen Elizabeth II and her 90-year-old husband Prince Philip's upcoming visit to Australia in October.

Buckingham Palace on Saturday confirmed the Queen and Prince Philip will visit Canberra, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne of Australia in October.

The royal couple is scheduled to arrive in Canberra on Oct. 19 and will have a side-trip to Brisbane of Queensland on Oct. 24. On Oct. 26, they will have a quick stop in Melbourne of Victoria before traveling to Perth of Western Australia to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting. The pair will then head home on Oct. 29.

Gillard said she will welcome the Queen and Prince Philip back to Australia "with great honor."

"Visits by the Queen are etched into the collective memory of the Australian people," she told reporters in Canberra on Saturday. "Many Australians can recall her majesty's previous visits as landmarks in their own lives."

Earlier this year, Prince William, the Queen's grandson and the second in line to the throne, visited Queensland of Australia, which was hit by massive floods and then by Cyclone Yasi.

Queensland State Premier Anna Bligh said the visit was "great news" for the state, which is still recovering from a summer of disasters.

She said Prince William's visit has given Queenslanders a shot in the arm after the terrible disasters, and she is sure that people will feel the same when they see Queen Elizabeth in the state in late October.

She added that the royal visit would also be a boost for the tourism industry, by putting Queensland "back on the international stage, gives us some international spotlight, and it is a very clear message from her majesty that Queenslanders have not been been forgotten."

Victorian State Premier Ted Baillieu said he looks forward to welcoming the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to Melbourne, and Victorians are delighted that the royal pair have chosen to visit Melbourne.

The royal couple's last visit to Australia was in 2006 to attend the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. The upcoming October visit will be the Queen's 16th visit of Australia as monarch.

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