The Nationals have vowed to vigorously oppose the latest push to remove the Lord’s Prayer from Parliament.
Upper House Reason Party MP Fiona Patten has signalled she will move a motion to remove the longstanding tradition of reading the prayer at the beginning of each Parliamentary sitting day when Parliament resumes next week.
It is expected she will be supported by Greens Party MPs who several years ago began boycotting the chamber during the reading of the prayer, until doing so meant they were also absent for the acknowledgment of country.
Member for Euroa and Deputy Nationals leader Steph Ryan labelled Ms Patten’s proposed motion a “self-indulgent frolic”.
“Ms Patten’s culture wars are out of step with everyday Victorians and are quite frankly, tiresome beyond belief,” Ms Ryan said.
“By proposing Parliament spend its time debating a motion to remove the Lord’s Prayer, Fiona Patten has shown how little she understands the immense difficulties facing Victorians.
“Our state is confronting challenges the like of which we have never seen before.
“Parliament needs to spend its time finding a path out of lockdown, not debating the removal of a tradition that has served us well since 1857.
“We have businesses going to the wall, young people are missing out on schooling and we are in the midst of a mental health crisis.
“It is a sorry reflection of Ms Patten that she is using her time to push for the removal of the Lord’s Prayer instead of addressing the real challenges facing our communities.”
Ms Ryan said the Lord’s Prayer provided MPs with a moment to stop and reflect before beginning each day.
“It is ridiculous of Ms Patten to suggest that the Lord’s Prayer excludes people of other faiths,” Ms Ryan said.
“Though the prayer has an obvious association with Christianity, its sentiments are universal.
“The prayer appreciates the gift of life, affirms the desire to do good and to be forgiving and expresses basic needs for food and for safety.
“The Nationals will oppose this latest overreach by Ms Patten 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 Ryan said.