“It was déjà vu yesterday when Greens acting leader Richard Di Natale announced he will move to abolish parliamentary prayers,” FamilyVoice research officer Ros Phillips said today.
She pointed out that the Greens have been doing this ever since October 1997, when then Greens leader Bob Brown moved the same motion in the Senate. Lee Rhiannon did likewise in September 2003 in the NSW upper house. Both moves were soundly defeated.
“The Speaker and the President read out two short prayers at the beginning of each parliamentary day,” Ros Phillips said. “They are an expression of the Christian foundation of our nation. Our Westminster-style parliament and democracy stem from our Christian heritage. The design of parliament, with government and opposition members facing each other across the central aisle, copies the choir stalls in the Westminster chapel where our parliamentary system began.”
Ros Phillips said the Greens’ move indicates their hypocrisy. “They support the acknowledgement of Australia’s indigenous heritage which is also read out daily in the Senate,” she said. “But they want to deny this nation’s Christian heritage, which has given us the freedoms and prosperity we all enjoy.”
“No MP is required to be present during the prayers, or to join in praying them – but they are an important reminder that ultimately, we must all answer to a higher authority,” Ros Phillips said. “Almost all candidates who responded to our survey on family, faith and freedom issues before the 2013 federal election said they would strongly support, or had no plans to remove, parliamentary prayers. Only the Greens disagreed.”
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