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This is not about the individual member's spirituality. This is about providing an avenue for those of us in the community who might wish to represent the community in this place in the future; those in the community who see their role in a quite different way from the way which is reflected in the current prayer. I think it is a more inviting attitude to have such a standing order as this than to dwell for too long on a prayer from the past, in many ways. Some people around the country may well criticise us, saying that we are adopting a position which will lead us into some sort of disaster; but I think that is a bit of a nonsense. We really are trying to ensure that the community respects this place because of its pluralistic attitude; its recognition of the pluralist society; its recognition that all people are welcome, regardless of their spirituality.

I found it quite shocking to hear interjections such as, “You can make your own choice. If you do not want to put up with this prayer, do not come here”. That was the attitude. That is the sort of intolerance that we need to cast aside. You cannot have an attitude like that and call yourself a true representative of the people. It is impossible. It is impossible to rationalise the two, in my view, and I think many in the community would say the same thing. You cannot possibly have an attitude that would cast aside a great number of people from this place by saying, “Do not come here if you are not prepared to cop the prayer”. I do not accept that, and I intend to continue to argue the case.

This matter was considered by the committee in good faith. It was considered that the motion should be proposed after a month. It was not supported by all of the committee members, but it was a majority decision. There were dissenting views; there is no doubt about that. For my part, I think it opens the way to present one small instance of a fresh approach coming from this Assembly. It is not groundbreaking. It does not cast aside the prayer, as some have suggested. It is quite mischievous for them to say that.

Mr De Domenico: It does. It is no longer going to be read. It is finished.

MR BERRY: It does not cast aside the prayer. It does not cast aside your right to pray in any way that you like, and for anybody to promote that view is quite mischievous.

MR MOORE (12.19): Madam Deputy Speaker, I seek leave to move an amendment to Mr Berry's motion. It is really a quite mechanical thing.

Leave granted.

MR MOORE: This does not go to the fundamental part of the debate. At the moment standing order 30 says:

Upon the Speaker taking the Chair at the commencement of each sitting, and a quorum of Members being present, the following Prayer shall be read:

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