Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Parliamentary religion and public accountability

By Brian Morris - posted Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Politics and religion are both in a state of flux - a bell tolls jarringly with a call for accountability from a disgruntled public. Hard on the heels on Treasurer Hockey's Age of Entitlement speech both sides of politics face closer scrutiny, controversially intensified by Bishop's chopper trip to Geelong and subsequent resignation.

Religion, too, is in turmoil with seemingly endless revelations of impropriety emerging from the Royal Commission into Child Sexual abuse. All is not well with a pious priesthood and public disquiet is evident.

While politics and religion may appear unrelated - certainly on these separate issues - it is the question of 'accountability' that binds them tightly together.


Historically, in fact, religion and politics have enjoyed a long symbiotic relationship since 380 CE, when Emperor Theodosius effectively made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire. But that's another story.

From a contemporary perspective, the current catalyst that blemishes any notion of a 'secular Australia' - the simple act of separating Church and State - is the protracted parliamentary fracas over marriage equality.

Both Labor and Liberal have floundered over this burning social topic that has so recently been resolved by Ireland and America - two of the most religious countries on Earth.

Tony Abbott dashed public hopes for a conscience vote on the issue with his controversial call for a coalition party room meeting - resulting in a two-thirds majority to defeat an open vote on the floor of parliament."

This divisive Liberal decision followed closely on Labor's embarrassing National Conference where the faithful backed Bill Shorten's call to defer making same-sex marriage a binding ALP policy.

So what is it that prevents our two main parliamentary parties from joining the more progressive countries of the world? What aspect of politics has gay marriage suddenly brought to light?


The answer, glaringly, is religion!

Religious MPs from both sides combine to repeatedly defeat marriage equality - together with a sweep of other progressive contemporary policies. Issues that, for many years, have had overwhelming public support.

The majority of Australians are now non-Christian, but what religious beliefs do our MPs hold? We simply don't know! Very few declare their faith in their parliamentary and electorate biographies. Why so much secrecy?

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

23 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Brian Morris is the director of Plain Reason.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Brian Morris

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Brian Morris
Article Tools
Comment 23 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy