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Friday, 14 June 1901
Page: 1140

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) - I shall support the motion, but I think it would be as well if honorable senators were to indicate to the Standing Orders Committee what form the prayer should take. I trust that- it will be confined to the Lord's Prayer.

Senator Dobson - We must have a special suitable form.

Senator PEARCE - I trust that it will be confined to the Lord's Prayer, and only on that ground do I support the proposal, because while agreeing with a lot that has been said by Senator McGregor, I believe that the principles and precepts contained in that prayer, even if uttered by atheists, are worthy of the concurrence of honorable senators, and would do no harm, but may possibly inculcate into their minds thoughts which will have a beneficial effect on the legislation they are passing.

Senator Dobson - We can have the Lord's Prayer and a special prayer.

Senator PEARCE - I object to manmade prayer. I object to any prayer being put into the mouths of honorable senators. I consider that we can all agree with the precepts laid down in the Lord's Prayer. Senator Walker used an expression which I take exception to. He said that one reason which prompted him to move this motion was that he thought it would act as a check to the want of reverence in the youth of Australia.

Senator McGregor - - That is a slander.

Senator PEARCE - I think it would have been far better if the honorable senator had moved the motion without making that reflection on the youth of Australia. I do not think it can be said that the young people of Australia are any less reverent than the young people of any other portion of the British dominions. Possibly the abuse which has been made of religion is the cause of a good deal of the want of reverence in Australian youth. It is the uses to which religion has been put which have caused a good deal of this want of reverence, and I certainly disagree that this provision is needed in order to inculcate a feeling of reverence in the Australian youth. What is -needed, I think, is a better use of the religious forms and observances that they have in other places.

Senator -.Lt. -Col. NEILD(New South Wales). - As one of the speakers at the great public meeting held in Sydney a few years ago to request that the Convention would be pleased to insert words in the Constitution Bill recognising the existence of the Almighty, I feel that I ought not to give an absolutely silent vote on this subject. I therefore simply rise to say that the motion, has my entire concurrence.

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