Church Minister to recite the Lord’s Prayer in regional Victorian Parliament

September 4, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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Martin Pakula, the State Labor member for Victorian Western Metropolitan has criticised a government decision to invite a local Anglican minister to recite the Lord’s Prayer when Parliament meets in Bendigo later this week.

Martin Pakula

Pakula told J-Wire: “The president of the Parliament recites the prayer every day but it is quite another matter to invite an Anglican cleric to do so.” he told parliament: “The matter of whether or not there is a state-sponsored religion and the quesyion of the protestations of respect for other faiths that are consistently made by members of this house are at the heart of my contribution.”

Pakula was criticising the decision made to have the prayer read by The Very Reverend John Roundhill, the Anglican Dean of Bendigo.

The MP told Parliament: “Let me say as a Jewish member of this place that I am not especially religious, and I have never professed to be especially religious, but plenty of other people are of strong faith, and this Parliament is for all of them.

That should be the case whether they are members of the Jewish faith, the Islamic faith, the Hindu faith, the Buddhist faith or any of the denominations of the Christian faith. It is important that every Victorian view this Parliament as being their Parliament. One of the important elements in reassuring the community that this Parliament is everybody’s Parliament is that there is no state-sponsored faith. It is a very fundamental foundation stone of our democracy that there is no state-sponsored faith.

I say this in the context of the debates that we have had in this place and in the other place over recent months about the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, which has almost always been raised by government members, hardly ever by members of the opposition, and it has been raised in a very political context. During those debates we have heard many members of this place express their abhorrence of the BDS campaign, their respect for the Jewish people and their respect of the Jewish faith.

He completed his submission by saying according to Hansard: “Let me finish by saying this: there have been many professions of affection and respect for the Jewish community throughout this debate, both in the Parliament and outside the Parliament, by members of the government and members of the opposition, by other people and certainly by the Premier in many of his public statements. I am sure that the Jewish community is extremely grateful for all the warmth that has been demonstrated towards it by so many people. I think the very real danger that the Parliament creates by bringing an Anglican minister — or a cleric of any faith — into the Parliament to recite the Lord’s Prayer is that we send the message intentionally or otherwise to the Jewish community and many other communities that there is a state-sponsored faith, and it is not theirs.”

He added: “By asking a mnister to recite the prayer, Parliament is sending signals that Victoria is a faith-powered State. But it is going ahead and I voted for it as the minister had already been invited. I simply believe they didn’t give it much thought.”


Martin Pakula is the Shadow Attorney General and the Shadow Minister for Racing, Gaming and Scrutiny of Government.




18 Responses to “Church Minister to recite the Lord’s Prayer in regional Victorian Parliament”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Martin Pakula is absolutely right and he deserves the support of his Jewish community.
    The notion of Jude-Christian tradition is as farcical as is the fact that in all respects there is NO practical cohabitation of the two distinct religions. Ever since christianity has become state religion, in Byzantium, Jewish religion ( the Judaic ) had been intentionally and, most of the time brutally, excluded from accepted norms, thus the expression is a complete counterfeit.
    While the British Parliament has been functioning in a society defined by it as christian, the fundamentals of the Parliament are not religious in dogmatic terms, although the ethics contained in the laws by which it is governed are contained in the principal source of Western type social “contracts”, which is principally provided by the known scriptures to which, within the Perliamentary history ,amendments have been constantly made, NOT as directed by the church dogma and/or authority. Therefore to simply state that Judeo-Christian values are responsible for the functioning of the political system even in Australia does not reflect the tangible reality.
    That said, Martin Pakula rightly expresses the Jewish abhorence that a House that accepts Jews as members is, yet, IMPOSING on the Jewish member that he should accept a strictly christian manifestation that in effect proclams Jesus as supreme being, something a Jew should not be exposed to. By extention Martin Pakula appeals to any other members tht may have the same position. It must be also reminded that the practice of imposition of christian practices on Jews is one that the christian church ( or The Church ) has been favouring with gusto, as a gesture of EXCLUSION of The Jew from what christians would proclam as an exclusive christian society/place. This in itself is a cathegorically anti Semitic gesture, one that a minister of the christian church is bound by his faith to observe and practice. The alternative is, of course, for Martin Pakula to leave the place while a basic christian statement is being made, but that is precisely what ismeant by excluding the Jew from his rightful place !! This is the practical contradiction that Martin Pakula is so rightfully objecting to and Jews, as well as any people of….good faith, should commend and support.

    Just as well, the temptation of comparisson with Israel detracts from the immediacy of the present issue. It is simply IRRELEVANT what takes place in ANY other place. Australian does NOT function by comparisson but by intrinsically valid principles.

    • Raoul says:

      Please allow me to disagree. The founder of Christianity was a Jew, his desciples were mainly Jews, Christianity very much bases itself on Jewish scripture and tradition. The OT is still part of the Christian Bible. For centuries Christianity and Judaism has lived wall-by-wall. Don’t Jews and Christians recognise both the Ten Commandments and much more?

      The Christian hubris of claiming the ‘true messiah’ on one hand, and Jewish stoicism of not recognising said messiah certainly was and remains a recipe for friction. But despite this disagreement over the messiach, the joint Judaeo-Christian foundation is a historical fact. Likewise Buddhism grew out of Hinduism and is a separate entity today, but both still share the same roots and many values, traditions and ethics.

      What could be gained from denying the common roots? And if we take this thought a little further, whether Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist or Agnostic, the real problem we all face is the one religious ideology which assumes it is superior over everything else and feverishly demands submission to its tenants. Faced with this common problem, I think it pays to remember commonalities.

      • Otto Waldmann says:

        Please allow me to disagree.

        Being generous with strict cathegories can only lead to constructing fallacies.
        Utopian dispositions that ignore substantive differences, all cofirmed by actual tangible facts, history of conflict and mutual exclusion of X-nity and Judaism, are the kind of song-and-dance prommoted these days during the oft performances of “spiritual harmony”.
        This is a very complex subject and our dear Henry has a lot on his plate than shifing through the intricacies ofthological arguments.
        For now we should concentrate on the obligatory mission of the Church to apostolate ONLY its own doctrine to the exclusion of ANY other, ellegant politcal correctness notwithstanding.
        The purpose of our exchanges of views is precisely to freely and un-impressed or initimidated by the artiifices of political discourse, expose the known facts and well perceived intents behind the readily accepted carefully choreographed comedies of errors and deceit.
        Martin Pakula addresses all your misguided analogies and enthusiastic chants of imaginary cellestial pantomimes. The bloke had the Jewish dignity of telling the Church that its apostolic business can only be carried – by virtue of democratic rights – strictly within the walls of its own institution, message of “all embracing humanity of religion(s) ” included, yet another shamefully farcical notion, one that you and all those concerned should meditate upon, perhaps with the help of a Rabbi I would reccomend if my own efforts are, again, falling on deaf eyes.

      • Otto Waldmann says:


        the ambiguities you seem to enjoy playing with, reveal a satisfying kind of cynicism that ignores tangible realities, but sits comfortably, as cynicism often does, on the fence of refusal to engage in serious research and analysis for the sake of expedient satisfaction. Too much to take in one go !! Perhaps, but making fallacious statements of “commonality” and respective “common roots ” and, then just embracing the “cute” notion without going up the centrifugal branches, spells simply simplicity, at least a relaxed if not lazy state of mind.
        What is common about humans is their existential engine of diversity, the kind that creates contradictions, conflictual notions, some of which are mutually incompatible and some even incompatible with the very essence of human desired behaviour, see precisely the real phenomenon of anti Semitism, to stay within a certain circle of debate.,
        THE CHURCH has practiced anti Semitism with a vigour responsible for the most attrocious anti human acts and that in itself is so far removed from your “common roots” !!!

        We are talking here tachles, a lovely Yidish term that, sometimes, is forced to reveal not so a lovely reality. Face it and then come back to me, but, please try not to tell me again that “commonalities prove me wrong “……………………..

      • Otto Waldmann says:


        the ambiguities you are indulging yourself in in regards to the principal tenets of the two distinct religions – as aluded before !!! – avoid tangible realities.

        The “common roots” notion is one that, when excessively used, leads to fallacies of the first order. And, as it happens with these often attractive false notions, their cheif problem is that they are planted in some peoples’ minds so solidly precisely because they look nice, comfy, the kind of comfort that is , in fact, a fictitious three square meals a day, give your mind the sensation of being well fed. And how can one compete with that kind of inebriation !!!

    • Otto Waldmann says:

      I had to laugh !!!
      Perusing the OTHER viewpoints expressed here I realised that I was faced with TWELVE oipinions all completely different to mine. Do youse guys follow me…………………….!!??

      OBVIOUSLY NOT !!!!

      Take it easy, it’s all good !

      On the really serious side, it is sad and worrysome that so many articulate such completely NON-Jewish stances. It is as if, G-d forbid, very basic tennets of Judaism have not touched the awarness of such a concerning (sic) seemingly Jewish proportion.
      Life is a permanent heder and truancy can only have serious consequences…………

  2. Henry says:

    Mr Pakula is a selfish man. Please consider the feelings and will of the M A J O R I T Y. You’ve done the ALP proud.

  3. Shirlee says:

    I have no issues what so ever with anyone of the Christian faith reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

    This country was founded on Christian-Judaeo values and long may it remain.. Amen

  4. Lawrence says:

    Martin Pakula, when he states that ” plenty of other people are of strong faith, and this Parliament is for all of them “. is offering an opinion, without any reason being given for that opinion. Perhaps he is being what he calls politically correct. What he is doing is suggesting that the taxpayer should support a secular institution while it indulges the fancies of the people who profess belief without evidence
    I know that there are many taxpayers who do not believe in the imaginary friends of others for which there has never been any evidence. It is ridiculous for Mr. Pakula to suggest people without imaginary friends should pay for the activities thought necessary by people with imaginary friends, in an institution that should have no connection with religion.

  5. Sabra says:

    I disagree. The reading of the Lord’s Prayer by a Christian minister reinforces the Judeo-Christian principles upon which this country is based. In so doing, it strengthens the bond between Christians and Jews and sends a clear message to Muslims that Sharia Law has no place in this country.

    • danny says:

      Saying what many think and few dare say. Goodonyer.

      • Sabra says:

        thank you Danny! It’s good to know that my views are held by others .. and even though Pakula seems to think he’s fighting on behalf of Jews – I disagree with him – and I’m a Jew! I say strengthen the bonds between Jews & Christians and form a united front against creeping Sharia! It’s the only way to win! Thanks again for your support 🙂

  6. Ben says:

    The Liberasl 9Labour to a smaller extent) have always tried to smuggle religion into politics. No wonder they have the support of christian fundamentalists.

  7. Lynne Newington says:

    I can’t see what the issue is here.
    Now Bishop of Parramatta, Anthony Fisher was at some stage: Chaplain to the Victorian Parliament, adviser to politicians, (not always publicly), warning Catholic politicians “they shouldn’t expect rewards going against church doctrine”. .
    He was pleased there was a Catholic Governor General, Prime Minister and High Court Judge at one period of time, “not looking to have Catholics in charge of everything of course”
    Being a lawyer in his own right, he would’ve had more influence than a harmless local Anglican minister reciting the Lords Prayer in Bendigo.
    Don’t worry about it Martin.

  8. Shirlee says:

    I have no issues at all with who recites the Lord’s Prayer at the State Parliament or the fact it is recited daily.

    By the very fact it is recited daily, shows that we are a country with Christian roots and Judaeo-Christian beliefs.

  9. William says:

    Stop your bleating Mr Pakula.

    Australia’s legal and parliamentary traditions are based on British models and precedents, which in turn are based on Christian precepts and traditions. They are not based on Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, or other religious traditions.

    You’ll note that it’s the Lord’s Prayer (referring to the Lord Jesus Christ) that is ‘recited’, not any other faith’s prayers or invocations. Next you’ll be suggesting that prayers be abolished in our governmental institutions. Describing Victoria as a ‘faith-powered state’ is not necessarily a bad thing. Of course Israel is described as a Jewish and Democratic State in its Basic Laws, with an overwhelming emphasis on its jewishness in expressions of nationalism. Australia is somewhat more secular.

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