Updated: Oct 23, 2022
Australia is becoming less religious, with over 40% of the population claiming no religious affiliation. Australian federal parliament (as well as state legislatures and hundreds of local governments) continues to begin official meetings with a Christian-only prayer ceremony. The Australian parliament starts its day, expecting everyone to stand for reciting the Lord’s prayer.
Rationalist Society of Australia president, Meredith Doig, launched a petition on change.org calling for the federal parliament to acknowledge the incredible diversity of the community and replace its Christian prayer rituals with more inclusive practices. She says, “With the census showing that at least half of us were born overseas or have a parent born overseas, these practices are hardly inclusive. Non-religious people and those following faiths other than Christianity may well feel uncomfortable in what should be our country’s most welcoming and secular institutions of democracy.”
In 2018, the Australian Senate held an inquiry into whether to continue prayers as part of the Senate’s proceedings. Ultimately, they concluded there was no “momentum for change”. Meredith Doig believes that “Together, we can build that momentum for change. Nothing will change unless we make it happen!”