The Nationals have vowed to vigorously oppose the latest push to remove the Lord’s Prayer from State Parliament.
Upper House Reason Party MP Fiona Patten has signalled she will move a motion during next week’s sitting to remove the longstanding tradition of reading the prayer at the beginning of each Parliamentary sitting day.
It is expected Ms Patten will be supported by Greens Leader, Samantha Ratnam who both boycott the Upper House chamber during the reading of the daily prayer.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath has labelled Ms Patten’s proposed motion ‘self-indulgent’ and ‘frivolous’.
“Ms Patten’s culture wars are out of step with everyday Victorians and are divisive,” Ms Bath said.
“Wasting the parliament’s time debating a motion to remove the Lord’s Prayer, demonstrates just how little Fiona Patten and her Reason Party respects the difficulties facing so many Victorians.
“Our state, and in particular our regional communities are confronting significant challenges and this is an appalling use of time and resources.
“Parliament would be better spending its time finding a path out of lockdown and supporting communities and small business recover from the pandemic, rather than attacking a 164 year old tradition that has served us well.
“Ms Patten is more interested in creating controversial headlines to raise her profile, rather than working to support the many complex issues impacting every day Victorians.
“We have small businesses going to the wall, children missing out on schooling, tertiary education in Victoria has become a shamble, families are banned from visiting one and another’s homes and we are in the midst of a mental health crisis – yet Ms Patten thinks targeting tradition is the best use of parliament.
“It’s a sorry reflection of Ms Patten if she feels mounting an attack on the Lord’s Prayer is a priority instead of working to address the significant challenges facing our community.”
Ms Bath said the Lord’s Prayer provided MPs with a moment to stop and reflect before the beginning of parliament each day.
“It is ridiculous of Ms Patten to suggest that the Lord’s Prayer excludes people of other faiths,” Ms Bath said.
“Though the Lord’s Prayer has an obvious association with Christianity, its sentiments are universal and inclusive – it appreciates the gift of life, affirms the desire to do good, be forgiving and expresses basic needs for food and for safety.
“As The Nationals representative in the Upper House I will be opposing Ms Patten’s motion and I urge all Victorians when they vote next year to remember where the Reason Party’s priorities lay when Victorians most needed help,” Ms Bath said.