Victorian Opposition will “fiercely oppose” attempt to remove Christian prayers

Si Gladman / 04 March 2024

The Victorian Opposition has vowed to “fiercely oppose” any attempt to remove daily Christian prayer rituals from the state parliament.

In a speech to parliament last month, Liberal Party MP and shadow cabinet member Evan Mulholland argued that the reading of Christian prayers, including the Lord’s Prayer, “is consistent with Victoria’s diverse community”.

“We believe that this tradition holds a special place in our democracy, reflecting the Judeo–Christian heritage and commitment to individual rights,” said Mr Mulholland, a Catholic and former staffer of the Institute of Public Affairs.

“It is these individual rights that underpin our state and have enabled it to become home to one of the most multicultural societies in the world.”

“Leaders in multicultural communities and multifaith communities that I’ve spoken to, especially in the seat of Greenvale, where 80 per cent of people profess a faith, know that we should continue with the Lord’s Prayer and would oppose any attempt to secularise the prayer.”


Census figures from 2021 actually showed that the City of Hume – home to Greenvale – recorded a total of 26 per cent of having no religion or not stating any faith. The figures also showed significant populations of non-Christian religious communities, including Islam (19 per cent), Hinduism (5 per cent) and Sikhism (4.5 per cent).

Even with a biased Census question that assumed all respondents had a religion, Victoria recorded 40 per cent of its citizens as having no religion at the 2021 Census, while about 6 per cent did not state any faith. ‘No religion’ is set to overtake Christianity at the next Census in 2026.

The Labor government has not yet provided details as to how it will deliver on its promise of replacing Christian prayers with a more inclusive opening practice.

In early February, the state’s Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes acknowledged in parliament that the government had “an unmet commitment” in regards to removing the daily prayers.

The Rationalist Society of Australia has revealed that one-third of elected representatives in the upper house are boycotting the act of Christian worship at the start of each day. A number of Labor representatives have also begun boycotting the ritual in the lower house.

In his speech to the Legislative Council, Mr Mulholland said boycotting the Lord’s Prayer showed intolerance.

“I do not oppose people that boycott the Lord’s Prayer, but it shows the intolerance of those who do boycott it that they would seek to force others to partake in some sort of secular replacement,” he said.

“Labor is the first to preach tolerance, but also the first to show how intolerant they really are.”

“Any attempt to secularise the prayer will be fiercely opposed by the Opposition.”

In late January, the RSA wrote to Premier Jacinta Allan and Ms Symes, urging them to deliver on the promise that the Labor government made more than 900 days ago.

The Rationalist Society of Australia is actively lobbying and advocating for prayer rituals to be replaced with more appropriate practices in councils and parliaments. See the latest updates here.

Si Gladman is Campaign & Communications Coordinator for the Rationalist Society of Australia. He also hosts ‘The Secular Agenda’ podcast

Image: Evan Mulholland (Facebook)

All the more reason.