Australia

Scott Morrison says he was called to do God’s work. Anthony Albanese says God doesn’t play politics

Scott Morrison’s faith has again been cast into the national spotlight after video emerged of the prime minister delivered a speech to a national Christian conference.

Mr Morrison spoke of doing God’s work and revealed he sometimes used the Evangelical practice of “laying on of hands” while embracing people who had suffered from trauma or natural disaster.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said faith was a personal matter and he respected people’s spiritual beliefs.

“But it’s also important that we have separation here of church and state,” he told ABC radio.

In a Facebook post, Australian Christian Churches described it as a “powerful opening night” and said it was a “great honour to unite and pray over our nation and Prime Minister”.

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Mr Morrison said he did not consider the Bible to be a policy handbook, but also spoke of his pastor telling him on election night to “use what God has put in your hands, do what God has put in your heart.”

Mr Albanese said he had no intention of commenting on the prime minister’s personal faith.

“The idea that God is on any politician’s side is no more respectful than the idea that when someone’s sporting team wins it’s because of divine intervention,” he said.

The prime minister is upfront about his faith and his speech was about his personal beliefs rather than policy.

In the speech, Scott Morrison revealed he sometimes used the Evangelical practice of "laying on hands" while embracing people who had suffered from trauma.

In the speech, Scott Morrison revealed he sometimes used the Evangelical practice of “laying on hands” while embracing people who had suffered from trauma or natural disaster.

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Taxpayer-funded plane

But the address has raised fresh questions about the intersection between his religion and politics, particularly given his vote on same-sex marriage and pursuit of religious discrimination laws.

Mr Morrison travelled to the Gold Coast conference from Sydney using his taxpayer-funded aircraft.

His office has defended the trip.

“The prime minister was invited to address Tuesday night’s event the same as he attends many other stakeholder events, including for other religious groups such as the Copts, Maronites, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim,” a spokesman told AAP.

“The usual transport and security protocols were followed as they are for any event the prime minister attends.”

The video of Mr Morrison’s speech at the Australian Christian Churches conference on the Gold Coast last week was shared on Facebook by the Rationalist Society. 

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