Page 561 - Week 02 - Thursday, 14 February 2013

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MADAM SPEAKER: Now that it is here, Mr Corbell, you would like it to proceed as the item exists on the notice paper.

Before we go to the item, I would like to make a brief statement. When this matter came to my attention on Tuesday I asked the Clerk for some advice on a number of issues, which he provided to me yesterday. When I read that advice, I asked him for some supplementary advice, which he provided to me this morning. I now circulate that advice for members, which indicates that there are some issues that members should be aware of when debating this issue, for the implications it would have for the Legislative Assembly.

Legislative Assembly—independence from religious faith

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (10.15): I move:

That the following continuing resolution be adopted:

Independence of the Assembly from religious faith

That this Assembly:

(1) has an obligation to represent the interests, views and values of all citizens of the Australian Capital Territory;

(2) is an institution separate from adherence or affiliation to any religious faith;

(3) recognises the right of members to profess their own personal religious faith or philosophical perspective and to organise activities which reflect or honour their religious belief or philosophical perspective separate from the institution of the legislature; and

(4) shall not in any way endorse or be affiliated with any ceremony that involves adherence or affiliation with any religious faith.

This resolution has effect from the date of its agreement by the Legislative Assembly and continues in force unless amended or repealed by this or a subsequent Assembly.

It is with some regret that I am moving this proposed resolution here in the Assembly today. But it is incumbent on me, and I think incumbent on my colleagues, to put this proposition to the Assembly because of the decisions you have taken, Madam Speaker, in relation to the convening of a so-called Assembly church service to mark the commencement of the parliamentary year. It is the strong view of myself and my colleagues that it is important to maintain a clear and strict separation between the institution of the Assembly and the profession of any religious faith or philosophical perspective. More commonly this debate, as members would know, is regarded as the separation of church and state.

I want to make it clear what this proposed resolution is not about. It is not about saying that members cannot profess their own religious faith publicly in this place or in the broader community. It is not about saying that members cannot organise a

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