Thanks to correspondent Peter for alerting me to this news item from the AAP via the ABC, about the Greens - supported by House Speaker, the Islamic Council and assorted hangers-on - are trying to get the practice of reciting the Lord's Prayer to start Parliament each day - abandoned.
Very apposite to the Feast of Christ the King celebrated yesterday in the traditional rite:
"The Federal Government and Opposition have both given the thumbs down to calls to change or abandon the Lord's Prayer recited at the beginning of each day of federal Parliament.
But the Greens want the prayer replaced with a period of reflection and a conscience vote in both houses on the issue.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Harry Jenkins, has called for a public debate about whether the daily prayer should be rewritten or replaced. He said the prayer was the most controversial aspect of parliamentary procedure and had been raised with him by MPs and members of the public.
His call has been met with protests from the Australian Christian Lobby and expressions of support for the prayer from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull.
A spokeswoman for Mr Rudd said the Prime minister viewed the prayer as an important tradition that should not be broken. "The Lord's Prayer is a long-standing tradition of the Australian Parliament and the Prime Minister believes it should continue," she said.
Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull and Nationals leader Warren Truss issued a joint statement, saying the removal of the prayer would be unacceptable. The pair said media reports today were the first time the matter had been raised with the Coalition.
"The Lord's Prayer has a very important place in the conduct of the parliamentary program, and ahead of the day's debate and deliberations it provides a non-partisan reaffirmation of our commitment to the common good for the people of Australia," Mr Turnbull and Mr Truss said in the statement.
Greens leader Bob Brown said a period of reflection would be better than the "old fashioned" rote recitation of the prayer.
He wants a conscience vote in both houses on the issue.
"I am repeatedly dismayed that we have people going through prayers by rote about being good to each other then immediately getting into the business of attacking each other in the Senate," Senator Brown said.
"I think it would be better if we had a period of reflection in which people could think about such things as 'will what we are doing today be welcomed by our grandchildren?'
"The matter should be debated and there should be a free vote on it."
Senator Brown said he would discuss moving a joint motion with independent MP, Rob Oakeshott, whom earlier this month used his maiden speech to call for a daily acknowledgement of the Aboriginal owners of the land.
Australian Christian Lobby managing director Jim Wallace said Christianity had had a profound impact on shaping our laws, culture and democracy.
"It's appropriate that we open parliaments with the Lord's Prayer for its cultural and historic relevance," he said.
Australian Federation Of Islamic Councils president Ikebal Patel said the prayer should be non-denominational and include a recognition of the Indigenous owners of the land.
"Any prayer before a session of the Parliament is good but what I would encourage is some words to acknowledge the land we are on, the Indigenous spirituality.
"Acknowledging the many other religions that Australia encompasses certainly, I think, would be a more inclusive prayer," he said.
Immigration Minister Chris Evans said the Indigenous owners of the land were acknowledged at the opening of Parliament for the year and would be recognised at other official occasions at Parliament House."
Nice to have it set out so clearly who is working on the side of the forces of evil...