Son John Bjelke-Petersen carries Lady Flo's casket out of the funeral.
Son John Bjelke-Petersen carries Lady Flo's casket out of the funeral. Tobi Loftus

LIVE COVERAGE: Prime Minister honours Lady Flo after service

UPDATE, 4PM: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull paid tribute to Lady Flo at a short door-stop following her funeral.

"Lady Flo had a long life well lived," Mr Turnbull said after the service.  

"It was a life of love and service to the community, service to the Lord and to Queensland.  

"It's always a sad time when we lose someone we love, but this was a time to celebrate a long life well lived."  

One Nation senator Pauline Hanson said she had a lot of respect for Lady Flo.

"She is a woman that stood her ground on issues," she said.

"I'm sorry to see the passing of Flo."

When Ms Hanson visited Kingaroy in June 2017 she spent some time with Lady Flo.

"I personally wanted to thank her for what Joh and her family did for me," she said.

"When I first entered politics, we won 11 seats in the Queensland Parliament.

"Joh welcomed those 11 members in 1998. He took time out to come to Parliament House to welcome me and other One Nation members. He was gracious, kind and generous of his time." 

Former Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, who grew up in Kingaroy, said Lady Flo contributed "magnificently" to the community. 

"Florence has been a great mentor of mine, a trusted friend, and a parliamentary colleague," Mr Truss said.

"She was undoubtedly Kingaroy's most loved citizen."

The Bjelke-Petersen family have now moved to Bethany for a private burial service. 

Politicians from all political persuasions gathered on the steps of the Kingaroy Town Hall following Lady Flo's funeral service to bid their farewells.
Politicians from all political persuasions gathered on the steps of the Kingaroy Town Hall following Lady Flo's funeral service to bid their farewells. Tobi Loftus

UPDATE, 2.25PM: Lady Flo's funeral has now finished.

She was honoured with a round of applause as her casket was driven away.

Family, close friends and special guests including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk have gathered at a private wake.

UPDATE, 2.10PM: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has taken to the stage at the funeral to read a prayer.

"We thank you for Florence, for the gift of life and your grace to her, for her faithfulness to you and her service to others," Mr Turnbull said.

"Above all we thank you that you have brought Florence through the valley of the shadow of death and have taken her from us to yourself."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks at Lady Flo's funeral.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks at Lady Flo's funeral.

UPDATE, 1.45PM: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has told the crowd at Lady Flo's state funeral she would like to name a State Government asset after Queensland's first lady.

"I will be seeking the permission of the Bjelke-Petersen family to dedicate part of the new 66-bed Kingaroy Hospital that my Government is delivering, in her honour," the premier said.

"The community hospital, owned by the council, is already proudly named for her."

Ms Palaszczuk said as a Senator Lady Flo brought her passion for family, faith and cooking those famous pumpkin scones to the fore.

"Today - as a community and as a State - we say "thank-you" for the life and contribution of Lady Flo and we pay our respects," she said.

"Her contribution to this region and to our state has helped and encouraged many more Queenslanders than Lady Flo herself could have ever known.

"Today is a day for us to remember Lady Flo in totality - her life, her contribution, her mark on our state. We celebrate her legacy.

"Vale Lady Flo."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks at Lady Flo's funeral.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks at Lady Flo's funeral.

UPDATE, 1.40PM: Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has taken to the stage to speak about Lady Flo.

"She believed in loyalty. For me she was a sounding board. It was a great honour to know Lady Flo," he said.

Hear his full speech below.

UPDATE, 1.25PM: Lady Flo's four children have delivered a moving eulogy for their late mother. 

The four children took to the stage together where they each read from the script.  

Daughter Helen Folker described her mum as a strong go-getter.  

"As we were growing up, journalists would occasionally ask us what it was like to grow up with such a strong personality leading the household," Mrs Folker said.  

"Usually they were referring to Joh. They didn't appreciate that it was Flo who was the firm, strong leader at home."  

Son John Bjelke-Petersen said despite having Sir Joh as a husband, when serving in the Senate Lady Flo was a political force in her own right.  

"She bravely crossed the floor against the government she was a part of if she believed the legislation of the day was not in Queensland's best interests and later would recount how much trouble this had landed her in," Mr Bjelke-Petersen said.  

"Flo understood and demonstrated that politics was ultimately about people and values.  

"When Flo retired from politics, she continued to be active in the local community. She continued to play the organ for church and also for the senior citizens at Orana and Cannowindra. In fact, she was still playing the organ as recently as three weeks before her passing."  

Daughter Meg Noack said her mum always displayed leadership.  

"Throughout her life, Flo proved herself to be a cheerful, caring and tireless worker, freely giving of herself to those around," Mrs Noack said.  

"She was a true woman of strength, centred around her faith, her family, and her community.   

"Her leadership and care, proven so often in her public life, was brought to bear when it mattered most in her own home, and we will all forever be grateful."  

Mrs Noack said her mum would always remain in the family's hearts.  

"To us all she will ever remain our Lady Flo, Granny and great-granny and sister, a woman who left an indelible mark on Queensland and her family and demonstrated a lifelong commitment to serving others," Mrs Noack said.  

The full eulogy is published on the South Burnett Times website.

Lady Flo's children John Bjelke-Petersen, Meg Noakes, Helen Folker and Ruth Cummins deliver a eulogy at her state funeral.
Lady Flo's children John Bjelke-Petersen, Meg Noakes, Helen Folker and Ruth Cummins deliver a eulogy at her state funeral.

UPDATE, 1.15PM: Guests have been seated for Lady Flo's funeral and the service has started.

Among the personal touches in the room is a Cherry Ripe bar placed on the casket.

According to Reverend Mark Doecke, it was placed there because Lady Flo's children believed she would "die by chocolate".

UPDATE, 12.55PM: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has arrived.

Other high profile guests including Deputy Primer Minister Barnaby Joyce, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk have also arrived. The service is about to start.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrives for Lady Flo's state funeral.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrives for Lady Flo's state funeral.

UPDATE, 12.35PM: Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud, said he would not be in politics if it weren't for the Bjelke-Petersens.

Hear his full conversation with journalist Tobi Loftus ahead of Lady Flo's state funeral.

UPDATE, 12.20PM: Lady Flo's family have started to arrive for her state funeral.

Her younger sister, Margaret Gilmour, arrived accompanied by Lady Flo's daughters, Meg Noakes and Helen Folker.

Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen's daughters, Helen Folker and Meg Noakes with her younger sister, Margaret Gilmour before her state funeral.
Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen's daughters, Helen Folker and Meg Noakes with her younger sister, Margaret Gilmour before her state funeral.

UPDATE, 12PM: Senator for Queensland, James McGrath, said Lady Flo's state funeral was an opportunity to show his respect.

"It means to pay respect to a woman who personified decency and service," he said.

"It's a mistake to see Lady Flo just as the wife of Sir Joh. She was a politician in her own right, she had her own views and she's someone who was a strong voice for rural and regional Queensland."

Senator McGrath said senators should look to Lady Flo for inspiration.

"What would Lady Flo want to do? Stop whining, get on and just do it. That's what all of us as senators should do, especially for rural and regional Queensland," he said.

Family arriving at Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen's state funeral
Family arriving at Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen's state funeral

UPDATE, 11.30AM: Opposition Leader and Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington has remembered Lady Flo as an inspirational and influential member of the South Burnett community.

Speaking ahead of her state funeral, Mrs Frecklington said Lady Flo would be remembered fondly.

"Lady Flo was very much a loved member of our community. She had a lovely, long life and she was relatively well right up until her passing. She'll be remembered very fondly," Mrs Frecklington said.

She said Lady Flo was a personal source of inspiration.

"Lady Flo was always very open and honest in her advice to me. Her advice was always, as a local member of parliament you need to put your community first. That's what I do each and every day," Mrs Frecklington said.

Hear Mrs Frecklington speaking about Lady Flo below.

UPDATE, 10.30AM: An anonymous reader has submitted this lovely poem about Lady Flo ahead of her funeral. 

OUR FLO
Anon


Farewell to a famous graduate of Brisbane Girls Grammar School
Where wisdom is applauded and politeness is the rule.
A lass named Florence Gilmour has a Government career
And takes the tram from New Farm for the City is quite near.
Florence pledges love to a parliamentarian from the Land
And in May of 1952 proudly wears his wedding band.

What a happy team they are, Florence and her beau
In the electorate of Barambah they become "Our Joh and Flo".
Raising kids and politics gives Flo a very busy life
Joh leads the State in sixty-eight and Flo is the Premier's wife.
"My dear," asks Joh, "What should I do so everyone relaxes?"
Flo says: "Make the whole world smile by abolishing death taxes."

Beyond Queensland from coast to coast their well-earned fame extends
Australia's best and brightest among their countless friends.
"We need you in the Parliament!" The Senate is the go!"
Victorians came streaming north so they can vote for Flo.
We measure Queensland coal exports in multi-mega-tonnes.
Those miners boost their energy with Flo's famous pumpkin scones.

Twelve years ago we lost Sir Joh, your mate through thick and thin
Your loved ones know that once again you're holding hands with him.
You've changed the course of history, you've done God's will on earth
We thank you for the Queenslanders to whom you've given birth.
When times are hard or rain won't fall or if we're feeling low
We'll restore our cheery smiles with a vision of Lady Flo.

UPDATE, 9.45AM: The Queensland Ambulance Service has issued a warning ahead of Lady Flo's funeral today.

"Hot weather is expected at Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen's State funeral in Kingaroy today," a QAS spokesperson said.

"For those attending, keep fluids up."

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, it will be partly cloudy in Kingaroy today with a top of 29 degrees.

8.30AM: GOOD morning and welcome to News Regional's coverage of Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen's state funeral.

It is set to be a big day for Kingaroy, with thousands of people expected to descend on the Town Hall to bid their farewell to a woman they considered their first lady.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to attend, as is Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. All three will give readings.

The eulogy will be delivered by Lady Flo's children, John Bjelke-Petersen, Helen Folker, Meg Noack and Ruth Cummins.

Security is tight around Kingaroy for the funeral, with several roads blocked off with concrete barricades.

For members of the public wishing to attend the funeral, parking is available at the Kingaroy Showgrounds, off Youngman St, with shuttle buses moving people into the CBD for the funeral.

The funeral will begin at 1pm.

South Burnett Regional Council Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff said she hadn't seen the council undertake anything like this during her time in the organisation.

"It's something that is very unique and very special for our region," she said.

"We're very honoured to have had the opportunity to host a state funeral for such an outstanding member for our community."

In Canberra, flags at Parliament House will be flown at half-mast today as a mark of mourning and respect for Lady Flo.

Pauline Hanson arrives at Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen's state funeral.
Pauline Hanson arrives at Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen's state funeral.

 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk arrives for Lady Flo's state funeral.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk arrives for Lady Flo's state funeral.
Barnaby Joyce and Bridget McKenzie arrive at Lady Flo's state funeral.
Barnaby Joyce and Bridget McKenzie arrive at Lady Flo's state funeral.
Pauline Hanson arrives at Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen's state funeral.
Pauline Hanson arrives at Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen's state funeral.
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