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Labor and Liberals Vote Down Parliamentary Prayers Change

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Tags: Multicultural Affairs, Standing Orders

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens' Leader 

It was disappointing that both Labor and the Liberals voted down the Greens' attempt to modernise State Parliament's Standing Orders. Both parties backed in retaining the Lord's Prayer, and rejected our proposal to allow each member to pray or reflect privately, on their responsibility to the people of Tasmania at the start of each sitting day.

We are a State made up of people from more than 170 different cultural backgrounds.  We are a diverse, inclusive multi-faith society and the practices of our Parliament should respect and reflect that truth.  

In no way do we seek to be disrespectful to people of Christian faith, rather our aim is to be sure the Tasmanian Parliament respect all faiths - or no faith - in its daily practices.  

To some extent, the revised Standing Orders have done that by removing the ban on head covering in the Chamber, ensuring, for example, a Tasmanian of Muslim or Sikh faith can be true to their religious beliefs in they are elected to the Tasmanian Parliament.

Opposition Leader, Rebecca White, claimed she supported the Greens' inclusive changes.  Unfortunately, while her colleagues sided with the Liberals in cementing the status quo, Ms White was absent until the final vote.

The Greens stand by our proposed changes, which would see MPs reflect on their responsibility to the people of Tasmania, our first duty as elected representatives.

Parliaments should reflect their people.  In voting against the Greens' amendment and locking in the Lord's Prayer, both Labor and the Liberals have failed in their duty and responsibility to represent a multi-faith and modern Tasmania.