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Thursday, 27 May 1993
Page: 1397

Senator TATE —by leave—I refer to the tradition of prayers being said at the commencement of each parliamentary day and ask whether the President is aware of some misgivings which have been expressed concerning the effect of certain international covenants on the legality of this custom. Is the President able to allay these concerns?

The PRESIDENT —In response to Senator Tate, I can only say that, on my initial reading of it, the United Nations declaration would not have that effect. As Senator Tate would know, quite apart from the effect of the declaration, proceedings in Parliament are not affected by a law of the Commonwealth unless the law explicitly says so. This could only be done if both Houses of Parliament legislated to do so.

Senator TATE —Mr President, I thank you for that response. I am sure it will comfort many people to know that the question of prayers is totally a matter to be settled within the four walls of this Parliament.