"The subject of my adjournment speech is 'Australia is a Christian nation.' As members know, in the last census over 65 per cent of people claimed to be Christian when we total all Christian denominationsâ€"Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, Greek Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox et cetera, [and] Not all people answer that voluntary question about religion."
"Our nation is Christian because our laws are based on the moral code of the Bibleâ€"the Ten Commandments. Our Australian flag bears crosses of the three saints Patrick, George and Andrew. The Australian Constitution defines us as a Christian nation when it states in its preamble: Whereas the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and under the Constitution hereby established."
"The key words are "humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God". Almighty God is the God of the Christian Bible. From the beginning our Federal and State parliaments always have commenced with a Christian prayer, following the tradition of the British Parliament way back in the 1600s when the first Parliament began with a Christian prayerâ€"a quite long prayer that now has been shortened to the one that we use today. Our first Federal Parliament opened on 9 May 1901 with Christian prayers led by the Governor-General and the singing of Psalm 100. The following statements by the Founding Fathers indicate that they believed they were establishing a Christian nation. Alfred Deakin, who was Prime Minister in 1903-04, prayed:
"God preserve these people and grant its leaders unselfish fidelity and courage to face all trials for the sake of brotherhood. Thy blessing has rested upon us here yesterday and we pray that it may be the means of creating and posturing throughout all Australia a Christlike citizenship."
"Sir Henry Parkes, the Father of Federation who was born in 1815 and who died in 1896, said:
"As we are a British peopleâ€"pre-eminently a Christian people as our laws, our whole jurisprudence, our Constitution are based upon and interwoven with our Christian belief, and as we are immensely in the majority, we have a fair claim to be spoke of at all times with respect and deference."
In 1898 Sir John Downer stated:
"This Commonwealth of Australia from its first stage will be a Christian Commonwealth.
There was no doubt that Australia was a Christian nation. The Australian people have not voted in a referendum to change that. Confusion has arisen because section 116 of the Commonwealth Constitution states:
'The Commonwealth of Australia shall not make any law establishing any religion.'"
"People became confused because they thought that referred to the Christian, Muslim or Buddhist religions. In those days "any religion" referred solely to Christian denominations and was Catholic, Baptist, Greek Orthodox, or Church of England, et cetera."
"The fear was that the Church of England in Australia would try to establish a State church as is the rule in the United Kingdom. That is why that particular provision was included in the Constitution. It was in no way included to be negative towards the promotion of the Christian faith in Australia or change the nature of Australia. It is a pity that section 116 has been misunderstood by so many academics."
"It is important for them to stop quoting section 116 and trying to claim that we are a secular nation. It should be noted that Australia's first Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton, made a strong stand that Australia was a Christian nation. It is important to open the Parliament in prayer each morning and to continue these traditions. This nation should be proud of its Christian traditions which have become stronger through the flood of immigrants who have brought with them their Christian faith from countries such as Korea, Greece, China, Italy and the Middle East. We thank God for the contribution that they make to our nation."