Bible’s out, ‘affirmation’ is in for new PM

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Accompanied by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, Sydney Catholic Schools Director Tony Farley, left, National Catholic Education Commission chief Jacinta Collins, Cathedral College Principal Michael Kelleher  and federal Member for Sydney Tanya Plibersek, Anthony Albanese visits his old school on 9 May, the final Monday before the election. Photo: AAP, Lukas Coch
Accompanied by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, Sydney Catholic Schools Director Tony Farley, left, National Catholic Education Commission chief Jacinta Collins, Cathedral College Principal Michael Kelleher and federal Member for Sydney Tanya Plibersek, Anthony Albanese visits his old school on 9 May, the final Monday before the election. Photo: AAP, Lukas Coch

Anthony Albanese has raised eyebrows across several religious groups just seconds into taking office, selecting to be sworn in as Prime Minister by way of making a secular affirmation without reference to God, rather than taking an oath on the Bible.

Australia’s Prime Ministers have traditionally chosen to be sworn in using a bible.

Over the past three months, Mr Albanese’s winning strategy to claim government has been to extol the virtues of his ‘three faiths’, the Labor party, South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Catholic Church.

The mantra had become the cornerstone of his campaign stump speech as he concentrated on traversing the country connecting with people, not promoting policies.

A review into their shock 2019 election loss recommended that Labor reconnect with people of faith because one factor in Labor’s loss had been a perception on the part of voters that Labor was hostile to traditional religious faith and Christianity.

“Christ taught his disciples. It’s what Pope Francis teaches us today. It’s what motivates me. And I know it’s what motivates our leader, Anthony Albanese.”

The advice was heard and saw instances such as where Mr Albanese gave a reading at St Charbel Maronite Church in Punchbowl on Good Friday, and telling voters everywhere that his values and beliefs have been influenced by his Catholic upbringing.

The Prime Minister also selected his former school, St Mary’s Cathedral College to announce his education policy.

Meanwhile, Tanya Plibersek also was keen to play up the Labor leader’s Catholic credentials.

In March she gave a talk saying “Christ taught his disciples. It’s what Pope Francis teaches us today. It’s what motivates me. And I know it’s what motivates our leader, Anthony Albanese”.

The Catholic Weekly contacted the new Prime Minister’s office to ask about forgoing a bible in favour of his affirmation but had received no reply as the paper went to press this week.