Reason Leader and Member for Northern Metropolitan, Fiona Patten, has today welcomed the decision by Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings, to refer the matter of replacing the daily recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in Parliament to the Procedures Committee of the Upper House for review.
Ms Patten said this was a major step forward for those who wished to see further separation of church and state in our Parliament, and also recognised the153 religions in Victoria.
“It’s high time we found an alternative, such as moving the Acknowledgement of Country to the opening of Parliament every day,” she said.
“Victoria is built on diversity and multiculturalism – from the 38 Indigenous clans of Victoria, to the peoples displaced by world wars and global conflicts. All who call Victoria home.
“This is a secular society and most religious people I speak to are surprised to find out that this is how we start every day here. Removing the Lord’s Prayer is a nod to how diverse the Victorian Parliament is.”
While Ms Patten welcomed the decision for the Procedures Committee to review this, she also called on Attorney General Jill Hennessy to stop dragging her feet on the issue of her Spent Convictions legislation, introduced this Parliament.
“I know that the government, and the community at large, is in favour of Spent Convictions Bill to move Victoria in line with every other state in the nation, so what are they waiting for?” Ms Patten said.
“Spent Convictions laws will encourage offenders to rehabilitate themselves and act as a deterrent from reoffending. It is inherently linked to employment, which improves health, reduces criminality and reduces the burden on the state—something that we should be encouraging, not inhibiting. This is a crime prevention measure, so why the feet dragging Attorney General?”
Meanwhile, Ms Patten will also put to the Parliament a motion to ask the Government to reaffirm its opposition to the death penalty, after Justice Party Leader Derryn Hinch called for the death penalty to be reinstated for terrorists and sex offenders, during the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks.
“Senator Hinch’s Justice Party now have two representatives in the Upper House and while we’ve worked together on a range of issues, they need to stand up and let us know if they follow what their party namesake leader says, or were they going their own way,” said Ms Patten.
“The Government should tell them in no uncertain terms that we will never be looking at this issue again.”
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