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Thursday, 22 April 1971

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Opposition) - J have had the opportunity to glance only at the report which has been tabled by Senator Marriott. It appears to contain some very sensible proposals - I say with respect - for breaking down some of the very old restrictions upon what citizens might do on a Sunday. I am rather astonished at the description of the report as a Report on Sunday Observance in the Australian Capital Territory. Those words are redolent of the old words 'observance of Sunday as a day of worship'. Our preaessors, in deciding upon the Constitution which governs us, have provided in section 116 of the Constitution:

The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

It is clear that it is the obligation of the Commonwealth Parliament and of other authorities to make the legislative provisions and to take the administrative measures necessary to ensure that those who wish to observe Sunday as a day of worship may do so and that they may have the proper facilities to do so; and that those who do not wish so to do are equally free to do what they wish. The Commonwealth, as bound by the Constitution, should not seek to establish in any way any religion or irreligion in this Territory or in any part of the Commonwealth. I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

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