Malcolm Turnbull, the recently-elected leader of Australia’s Liberals, has objected to the suggestion that the Lord’s Prayer – currently used to begin parliamentary proceedings – be replaced or "rewritten".
Mr Turnbull issued this statement:
"Opening the Australian Parliament each day with the Lord’s Prayer is an important reminder of our shared humanity and a reference to the words of our Constitution when ‘humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God’ we established the Commonwealth of Australia over 100 years ago.
Media reports today that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is seeking to remove the Lord’s Prayer from the daily programme is the first time this matter has been raised with the Opposition.
The Lord’s Prayer has a very important place in the conduct of the parliamentary programme, 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.
Removal of the Lord’s Prayer by the Speaker or the Government is completely unacceptable and will not be supported by the Coalition."
Prayers start the parliamentary day in many legislatures, including Canada and the UK.