Replace Parliament Prayers with Minute’s Silence: SA Voters

New research from public policy think tank The Australia Institute shows that two thirds of South Australian voters support the removal of Christian prayers from the opening of Parliamentary sittings.

The Australia Institute surveyed of a representative sample of 616 South Australians in September, asking about the opening prayers and the recent addition of an Acknowledgement of Country.

Key Findings:

  • Two in three South Australians (63%) support removing the Christian prayers and replacing it with a minute of silent reflection and prayer.
    • This includes 70% of Greens voters, 67% of Liberal voters and 58% of Labor voters.
  • Support for removing the Christian prayers is stronger among younger South Australians.
    • Two in three South Australians aged 18-29 (67%) and four in five South Australians aged 30-39 (80%) support the proposal.
    • Half of South Australians aged 60 and over (52%) support the proposal while one in three (32%) were opposed.
  • Two in three South Australians (67%) also support the Parliament’s recent addition of an Acknowledgement of Country to the opening prayers.
    • This includes 83% of Greens voters, 67% of Liberal voters and 63% of Labor voters.

“South Australians are very supportive of making changes to the way that Parliament marks the opening of each sitting day,” said Noah Schultz-Byard, SA Director at public policy think tank The Australia Institute.

“A majority of voters for all political parties support both the recent addition of an Acknowledgement of Country and the removal of the Christian prayers, replacing it with a minute of silent reflection.

“While younger voters are the most likely to support the removal of the Christian prayers, older South Australians are still more likely to support the reform than oppose it.

“Other states are investigating their options when looking at how they mark the opening of their Parliamentary sitting days and there is no reason South Australia cannot do the same. The Victorian Labor Party have vowed to review the practice if they win the upcoming state election and the ACT Parliament have done away with their Christian prayer altogether.

“Census data shows us that are now more South Australians with no religious beliefs than there are South Australians with Christian beliefs.

“Our research shows that updating the opening ceremony for the South Australian Parliament, by replacing the Christian prayers with a minute’s silent reflection, would be well supported across the community.”

The Australia Institute is an accredited member of the Australian Polling Council. The polling methodology, long disclosure statement and margin of error for polling questions are included in the appendix of the report

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