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Tuesday, 10 June 1902

Sir JOHN QUICK (Bendigo) - Strictly speaking, I do not think this vote can be said to be contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, although it may be in opposition to the spirit of that Act. This is merely a vote of money for a special purpose. It does not propose to permanently appropriate that money, or to imPOse any system of religion upon the Commonwealth, but merely to defray the expenses in connexion with a certain religious ceremony. But whilst I do not agree that the item is unconstitutionally upon the Estimates, I intend to vote against .it. . I shall do so because, by granting this money, we should be establishing a very bad precedent. I fear, also, that we should create a religious sore in this community, inasmuch as the vote amounts. to a discriminating one. It is a vote which is to be applied to a religious ceremony for a group of religious bodies, to the exclusion of other religious bodies. If it were a vote in which the whole of the religious bodies in the Commonwealth - Jew and Gentile, Catholic and Protestant - shared alike, one could not object to it as discriminating ; but, as it stands, it is openly intended for the Protestant denominations, and as a Protestant I object to any such discriminating vote. I trust that there will be no division upon the item, and that the Ministry will see the wisdom of withdrawing it and thereby avoiding unnecessary discussion and unpleasantness.

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