28 June 2018Hot off the Press
The practice of opening Senate sessions with the Lord’s prayer may be replaced with the recitation of an “inclusive” statement.
Outgoing NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon successfully moved on Wednesday afternoon to have the matter examined by a parliamentary committee.
Senator Rhiannon has proposed that the prayer be substituted with: “Senators, let us, in silence, pray or reflect upon our responsibilities to all people of Australia, and to future generations.”
The change is supported by many progressive religious leaders, including Father Rod Bower of the Anglican Parish of Gosford, Reverend Margaret Mayman of Pitt Street Uniting Church, and Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins of the Temple Emanuel at Woollahra, and groups such as the Tibetan Buddhist Society of Canberra, the Lebanese Muslim Association at Lakemba, and the Quakers at Surry Hills.
The motion was supported by the Greens and Labor, with the support of Senators Stirling Griff and Rex Patrick (Centre Alliance), Derryn Hinch (Justice Party), David Leyonhjelm (Liberal Democratic Party) and Tim Storer (independent).
“The Greens are suggesting the proposed new opening statement be referred to the Senates Procedure Committee for a public inquiry that better reflects the secular nature of our country and our Parliament,” Senator Rhiannon said.
“A secular nation like Australia should be free from religious bias and not impose religious influence of citizens or parliamentarians. We should work for religious tolerance in the structures of government.”