Canberra Times . . Page.. 708 ..
Mr Berry: If you want to, you can read it. You can mouth it yourself.
MR DE DOMENICO: No, no. The question, Mr Berry, was: Will the prayer, under your amendment, be read by the Speaker? The answer is no, Mr Berry. Mr Berry's motion would mean that the prayer would not be read by the Speaker.
Mr Moore: Your logic is pretty thin, Tony.
MR DE DOMENICO: No, it is not pretty thin. I have some more logic for you, Michael. Why is it that this parliament, and only this parliament, in the Commonwealth world of parliaments, apart from Sri Lanka or Ceylon, sees fit to do this? We have this blazoned and brilliant thought in our mind that we are going to change the course of history, for heaven's sake. What is wrong with remaining with the tradition that has been there, not just in our country, but in every other - - -
Mr Moore: Because we are more tolerant.
MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Moore says, “Because we are more tolerant”. What hogwash! What absolute bunkum! What gives you the right to say that we are more tolerant than anybody else, for heaven's sake? What logic is that? You can have a go at my logic. What absolute bunkum!
We are wasting one hour of Assembly time today to debate this issue that no-one else out there in the community wishes us to debate. That is the point I am making. There have been no letters in the Canberra Times and people are not crashing down doors and saying, “Hey, this is the most important thing we want you to do”. What this is all about is making headlines. It is going to make wonderful headlines. Mr Moore, Mr Berry and others will run out there and say, “Gee, aren't we tolerant. We are one of the only two parliaments in the Commonwealth world that are not going to have the prayer”. Madam Deputy Speaker, let us continue with the tradition. Let us continue with the tradition and also give an opportunity to those people who do not want to continue with the tradition to reflect in silence.
Mr Berry: Mr Humphries said that they could wait outside.
MR DE DOMENICO: They can wait outside if they want to, Mr Berry. If you are so strong about this, leave it the way it is for those of us who want the prayer read. You can wait outside while it is being read and reflect in silence.
Why are we changing an institution that has been there since Federation, for heaven's sake? Our Federal Parliament has a prayer read out. All State and Territory parliaments have prayers read out. Who again is going to be the laughing-stock of the country? The ACT Legislative Assembly. Why? Is it because the community are out there holding up placards saying, “Please, we want you to not read the prayer.”? Of course not. Someone thought it was a good idea to change the standing orders; it sounds good; it will mean that we are more tolerant; it will flex muscles and show how