Friday, June 28, 2013

'I pray that in subsequent governments we will see a return to civility'

Paul Neville, Peter Rose, Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast, Chaplain, parliament, civility
Among the large number of Valedictory Speeches given in the last days of Parliament this week, many have brought reflections of faith, acknowledgements of the people behind the scenes and hopes for a more civil Parliamentary life in future.

Paul Neville, National for Hinkler, began his final speech by saying, 'Madam Speaker, it would be fair to say that I have had an interesting and stimulating adult life. Very few things have been denied me by a loving God, who has given me just about everything I have ever asked for, though, as I said in my first speech, it was generally in his time frame not mine.'

After looking back over his long career in politics, his singled out a quiet but influential member of the parliamentary community:

'One person who is often forgotten is Peter Rose, our Chaplain, who quietly and unobtrusively goes about the role of counselling, comforting and leading,' Neville said.

'He assists in the national prayer breakfast and ceremonies for the opening of parliament and the start of each parliamentary year. Some of us in the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship gain strength from Peter's Tuesday morning prayers in the meditation room.'

And leaving a message for those who will continue in Canberra, Neville said:

'I am an unapologetic admirer of Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England, a saint and a patron of politicians. More, as portrayed by Robert Bolt, said: "When statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties they lead their country by a short route to chaos.

'Colleagues, how true is that today? We have seen it, as politicians, in the collapses through the GFC, in the horrors in the Balkans and in the aftermath of the Arab spring. We have seen the truth of these words in our own state and federal politics, especially over the last decade.

'I will not spell it out; you all know it. Little wonder so many say that they do not trust politicians. As I leave this parliament I pray that in subsequent governments we will see a return to civility in this place.

'Surely it is not beyond our capacity to make question time what it should be: quite simply, an eliciting of information rather than a forum for meaningless spin and invective. Like it or not, it is the vehicle by which the public judge us, because it is the forum of the parliament they get to see most often.

'Surely we can do as good a job as New Zealand, Canada, the UK and France. Despite the expectations of the new paradigms, it has been getting progressively worse from parliament to parliament.'

This story was sourced through an alert.


  1. John Forrest, Nationals for Mallee, also acknowledged Peter Rose (and Jesus) in his valedictory speech: 'To Peter Rose, the parliamentary chaplain, in addition to the member for Hinkler's remarks I offer my gratitude for what always seemed his timely visits to my office when I was confronted with some crisis back at home. I wonder how he actually did that, but it always seemed to coincide. For his efforts to support the activities of the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship, thank you, Peter, for helping me stick with the conviction that it is He who is the centre of the Christian expression of faith who is the best example and inspiration to follow in public life.'

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