House debates

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Constituency Statements

Petition: National School Chaplaincy; Petition: Marriage

9:36 am

Photo of Bruce ScottBruce Scott (Maranoa, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise this morning to present two very important petitions to this chamber. The first is a petition which calls on the Rudd government to extend the commitment to the National School Chaplaincy Program beyond next year. This Labor government has only committed to funding it at a reduced level until the end of 2011. The coalition has already promised that, should we be elected, we would continue funding the program beyond 2011 in its current form, which is a funding level of $165 million over three years. It has been an enormously popular program across the nation and it has certainly been embraced in my electorate of Maranoa. In fact, we had an overwhelming response to this petition with some 2,964 signatures. This is the second highest number of signatures received on a petition that I have presented on behalf of my constituents in Maranoa. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many church leaders and groups in my electorate—schools, individuals and families—who signed this petition and passed it around their communities. I call on this Labor government to take notice of this petition and I hope that they will heed the message from these almost 3,000 people and continue funding this very important and essential program in its current form.

The petition read as follows—

To the Honourable The Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives

This petition of certain citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the House the National School Chaplaincy Program, built on the excellent history of school chaplaincy in Australia, which was introduced by the former Coalition Government in 2007/08 with a commitment of $165 million for its first three years. It was endorsed by Prime Minister Rudd who said “they (Chaplains) actually are providing the glue which keeps school communities rolling”.

The program offers pastoral care and spiritual guidance to all. Chaplains necessarily have religious beliefs which underpin their work. These beliefs are representative of the school communities the chaplains work in and they do not hinder chaplains from working with those of other beliefs or none. It operates in 1915 schools and enjoys strong support among principals, schools and in the community generally.

The Rudd Government has extended funding for the program, at a reduced level, until the end of 2011, after which time there may be no more funding despite the program’s social benefits, sound administration and strong community support. Malcolm Turnbull has announced that if elected, the Coalition would continue funding the program in its current form, at its current level of $165 million over 3 years.

We therefore ask that the Rudd Government continue funding for the National School Chaplaincy Program in its current form.

from 2,964 citizens

Petition received.

The second petition I would like to present today calls for the definition of marriage to remain as a union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. It respectfully expresses its opposition to same-sex marriage and its opposition to the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill. This bill was negated in the Senate earlier this year; however, I thought it was still important to present this petition here today so that the 270 people who have signed it will recognise that their views have been expressed by their federal member and that their voice has been heard in their federal parliament. The Greens have vowed that they will reintroduce this legislation during the first sitting of the new parliament. I believe that this is a very important issue for many Australians, not just the petitioners in my electorate, and I trust that the Greens are listening to this.

The petition read as follows—

To the Honourable The Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives


To the honourable Speaker a d Members of the House of Representatives:

We, the undersigned citizens draw to the attention of the House of Representatives assembled, that the definition of marriage as “a union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life” is the foundation upon which our families are built and on which our society stands. To alter the definition of marriage to include same-sex “marriage”, as proposed by the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill, would be to change the very structure of society to the detriment of all, especially children.

We, the undersigned citizens therefore request that the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009, he opposed.

from 270 citizens

Petition received.