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of appeals to God or to the saints in their various different forms, to which the rest of the members would respond, “Pray for us”. It would continue in that way. Litanies are a quite long form of prayer, and finally some members decided that they had passed that tradition and needed something briefer and more general.

I think that is what has happened here. Some members have said, “Is this tradition really entirely appropriate to our society? We are no longer a society taking our traditions from Westminster, where there is a church religion, the head of that church being the Queen of England”. Australia is now entirely different. We have a much more diverse culture than England. In my experience of travelling, I think we have one of the most successful multicultural societies in the world, the reason being our tolerance in giving people room to move. Just as it would be inappropriate to say that people ought not be able to pray, surely it would be intolerant to say that people ought not be able to reflect.

Mr Humphries referred to Mr Berry and me attending a church for a particular religious ceremony, or an Anzac Day ceremony or something along those lines. We choose to go there with that in mind. We recognise people's rights and, yes, we are tolerant. We have a right, as elected members, to be in this Assembly. We have a right to be here right through any of the proceedings. We would also ask members to recognise our right to be here while holding a different view from them; to recognise our right to seek to represent the people of the ACT in the way that we think is most appropriate for their true welfare. This is not a way of excluding; this is a way of including. That is why I was delighted that Mr Berry modified his motion somewhat and got rid of that oversight, so that the Speaker would invite people to pray or to reflect. I think the original intention was that the word “reflect” covers that. However, I concede that this is an improvement that recognises the spiritual diversity of our community. I do not think anybody should be offended by this. I think that is demonstrated clearly by the regional chairman of the Lutheran Church. This is not an offensive move. It is something that you should be proud of in terms of your own Christian traditions of tolerance and understanding.

MS HORODNY (11.52): This issue is not about non-Christians being offended but rather about allowing all members the right to contemplate in silence their own spirituality. This means that those who want to reflect on this Christian prayer can still do so, but silently. This allows others to reflect on their spiritual beliefs. I personally have very strong spiritual beliefs, but they are not represented in the Christian faith. I would welcome the opportunity for silence so that I can be spiritual in my own way. I say again that I am not offended by the prayer, but I would like to be respected for my own spiritual beliefs and needs. We would not be getting rid of the prayer; rather, going from reading it out aloud to having each individual saying the prayer to themselves if they wish. Perhaps the prayer as it stands now could be printed on the blue paper so that those who want to reflect on it could have the words in front of them.

MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services) (11.53): I have listened very intently to what everybody has said. I have not heard yet the argument that there is an overbearing, door-busting attitude in the community out there to get rid of the prayer. Nobody has come up to me and said, “Please get rid of the prayer”. The same number of people sort of busted the door down and said, “Please get rid of circuses”. Not one person has done so. The most angst-type arguments we have - - -

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