Joe Hildebrand blasts Senate President Sue Lines over move to get rid of Lord’s Prayer

Commentator blasts ‘overprivileged and oversensitive’ politicians as Anthony Albanese’s new Senate chief fights to get rid of the Lord’s Prayer from parliament

  • Commentators ridicule Senate president’s move to get rid of Lord’s prayer 
  • Senator Sue Lines wants to end practice of saying prayer at start of each day
  • Joe Hildebrand says it shows the ‘preoccupation’ of the upper middle class left
  • Senator Lines previously led inquiry which found the Lord’s Prayer should stay 

A Senate leader has drawn the fire of of commentator over her ‘idiotic’ and ‘silly’ moves to scrap the tradition of reciting the Lord’s Prayer in the parliamentary chamber.

New Senate president Sue Lines said that as an atheist she does not want to read the venerable prayer at the start of each sitting day – as has been done in the Australian parliament since 1901.

The argument to get rid of the prayer ‘represents the worst and most nauseating aspects of the upper-middle-class left’, commentator Joe Hildebrand told Seven’s Sunrise program.

Joe Hildebrand has labelled the Senate president's moves to ditch the reciting of the Lord's Prayer at the start of each sitting day as 'idiotic' and 'silly'

Joe Hildebrand has labelled the Senate president’s moves to ditch the reciting of the Lord’s Prayer at the start of each sitting day as ‘idiotic’ and ‘silly’

‘This is an example of the odiousness and ridiculousness and the preoccupation of people who are overprivileged and oversensitive with issues that do not in the slightest impact the lives of ordinary Australians,’ he said. 

Hildebrand pointed out that Senator Lines had already led a committee inquiry into the reciting of the Lord’s Prayer, which found it should stay.

‘But obviously for an atheist she has a bit of Crusader zeal about her,’ he remarked.

He said the ‘idiotic’ and ‘silly’ move by the ‘far left’ would raise resistance among conservatives to ‘fantastic’ proposals such as the Indigenous voice to parliament.

The proposed ‘voice’ would see a body of elected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who would advise MPs on legislation.

‘That is why I’m genuinely pissed off quite frankly that someone in parliament who has such a privileged position could even find the time or oxygen to complain about this,’ he said. 

Mr Hildebrand, here seen with Channel 10 presenter Sarah Harris (pictured left) argued that getting rid of the Lord's Prayer was a preoccupation of the upper middle class

Mr Hildebrand, here seen with Channel 10 presenter Sarah Harris (pictured left) argued that getting rid of the Lord’s Prayer was a preoccupation of the upper middle class 

Sunrise presenter Natalie Barr found the argument convincing.

‘You are so right, people will think they are coming after all their stuff and all our traditions,’ she said.

Fellow commentator Samantha Maiden also thought there was no need to scrap the prayer. 

‘I think it’s part of the Christian tradition of Parliament,’ she said.

‘You are not required to say the prayer if you don’t believe in it, you don’t have to turn up, I just think it’s part of history and I don’t have a problem with that remaining in situ.’ 

Senate president Sue Lines says that as an atheist she does not want to read out the Lord's Prayer before Senate business starts each day

Senate president Sue Lines says that as an atheist she does not want to read out the Lord’s Prayer before Senate business starts each day

Senator Lines said that the prayer was outdated and getting rid of it was ‘certainly on the agenda’. 

‘On the one hand we’ve had ¬≠almost every parliamentary leader applaud the diversity of the parliament and so if we are genuine about the diversity of the parliament we cannot continue to say a Christian prayer to open the day,’ Senator Lines told The Australian.

‘Personally, I would like to see the prayers gone. I’m an atheist. I don’t want to say the prayers. If others want to say the prayers they’re open to do that.

‘Personally I would like to see them gone but again it’s not something I can ¬≠decree. It’s a view of the Senate.’ 

The Labor senator will refer the matter to the Senate procedure committee, which considers the rules of how the chamber operates.

The Lord’s Prayer is also read out to open each sitting day of the House of Representatives.

The lower house speaker, Milton Dick, has made no indication he wants to change that ritual. 

Senator Pauline Hanson walks out of the chamber as the acknowledgement of country is read

Senator Pauline Hanson walks out of the chamber as the acknowledgement of country is read 

The Lord’s Prayer is followed by the president making an acknowledgement of country in the Senate, which sparked a walk-out by Senator Pauline Hanson on Tuesday. 

Senator Hanson interjected, yelling ‘no, I won’t and never will’, before storming out of the chamber in a huff as Senator Lines acknowledged the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people as traditional custodians of the Canberra area

The One Nation senator later said she could not accept the welcome to country or a proposal, which was passed that day, to raise the indigenous flag in the Senate chamber.

‘I’ve been feeling this way for a long time,’ she said.

‘I have called from the first day for equality for all Australians. I see this as divisive.’

She said if anyone needed acknowledgement it was ‘our people that have fought for this country. People who have sacrificed their lives’.

Senator Hanson added the Indigenous flag had ‘never been voted on’.

‘I will never pay respect to (the flag). I find this flag divisive,’ she said.

The welcome to country has been incorporated in Senate standing orders since 2010.

It is also said each day to open proceedings in the House of Representatives. 

Senate Lord’s Prayer and acknowledgement of country

The Lord’s Prayer comes from the Bible’s Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6 verses 9-13 where Jesus instructed followers how to pray.    

Under Senate standing orders the president when he or she takes the chair each day reads the following out: 

‘Almighty God, 

We humbly beseech Thee to vouchsafe Thy special blessing upon this Parliament, and that Thou wouldst be pleased to direct and prosper the work of Thy servants to the advancement of Thy glory, and to the true welfare of the people of Australia. 

Our Father, 

which art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. 

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread. 

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil: 

For thine is the kingdom, 

and the power, 

and the glory, 

for ever and ever. 

Amen.’ 

The president then makes an acknowledgement of country and reads out the following:

‘I acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples who are the traditional custodians of the Canberra area and pay respect to the elders, past and present, of all Australia’s Indigenous peoples.’ 

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