POLL: Redland City Council support prayers after Brisbane City Council petition calls for pre-meeting prayer to be removed

FAITH: A petition has called for Brisbane City councils pre-meeting prayer to be removed and the existing welcome to country given more prominence. Photo: Pixabay
FAITH: A petition has called for Brisbane City councils pre-meeting prayer to be removed and the existing welcome to country given more prominence. Photo: Pixabay

REDLAND City councillors have thrown their support behind having a Christian prayer before every general meeting, with some even calling for more devotional time in the council chambers.

It comes to light as an e-petition signed by more than 500 people has called for the Brisbane City Council to stop Christian prayers before meetings, instead prioritising the welcome to country.

The petition - submitted by Bardon resident Courtney Coombs - has garnered 580 signatures and claims reciting a prayer before council meetings does not show respect to the traditional custodians of the land or foster inclusion and participation of the community.

Redland City mayor Karen Williams said council general meetings included an acknowledgement of country and a devotional segment arranged through the Minister's Fellowship which represented a variety of faiths.

"Councillors can choose if they want to stay for it, but as chair I remain in the meeting for both and I support both the devotional segment and acknowledgement of country," she said

Cr Lance Hewlett fully supported the devotional segment and prayer at the beginning of meetings and said he would not support its discontinuation.

Cr Tracey Huges said she had strongly advocated that the five minute prayer and reflection time continue.

"I have also raised the issue that council special meetings do not start with prayer and I am particularly disappointed that the special budget meeting, the most important meeting of the year does not start with prayer and I have asked for that to be reviewed for next year," she said.

Wendy Boglary said: "Australia is a Christian country and a respectful country, I believe there is room for hope and respect therefore both to be included."

Cr Peter Mitchell said he was equally proud to have the Quandamooka people recognised formally at every general meeting as well as the positive devotional segment.

"Both of these items contribute to the unity, tolerance and harmony in chambers and the broader community and so they complement each other rather than being in any conflict," he said.

Rowanne McKenzie said she chose to stay in for devotional segment and support the inclusion of it along with the acknowledgment of country.

Former councillor Murray Elliott opted to stay out of the council chambers until the pre-meeting prayer was over.

Take part in our poll below - Do you think pre-meeting prayers should be removed from Redland City Council meetings?