As the Victorian Parliament returns for 2023, MPs will once again rise to the Lord’s Prayer regardless of their religious beliefs. But days appear numbered for the long-standing tradition. Source: SBS News.
The Andrews Government made an election promise to workshop a replacement for the Lord’s Prayer at the start of this term.
The commitment was brokered after crossbencher Fiona Patten pitched a motion in 2021 to replace the prayer in the upper house with a moment of silent reflection, a move backed by some religious figures.
Ms Patten, an atheist, lost her upper house seat but has initiated a petition to encourage people to write to Premier Daniel Andrews and Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes to honour their promise.
More than 20 local councillors last week sent a letter to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, Mr Andrews and other ministers calling for rules to prevent councils starting meetings with single-faith prayers.
Both houses of Victoria’s Parliament have opened each sitting day with the Lord’s Prayer since 1918 but it has been recited alongside an Acknowledgement of Country in recent years.
The ACT lower house replaced the Christian prayer with an invitation to pray or reflect in 1995.
The 2021 Census highlighted Australia is becoming more religiously diverse, with 10 per cent of Australians following a faith other than Christianity – up from 8.2 per cent in 2016.
Almost as many Australians have no religious affiliation (38.9 per cent) as those who identify as Christian (43.9 per cent), and the proportion of Victorians with no religious affiliation (39.3 per cent) is higher than the national average.
Mr Andrews said a parliamentary committee would likely be the avenue through which a replacement model is considered.
The Lord’s Prayer could be dumped from Victoria’s Parliament. Here’s why (AAP via SBS News)