About the update
On 27 February 2023, Councillors agreed to propose a change to Rule 18A in the City of Boroondara’s Governance Rules, to remove reference to the Council prayer.
Previously, Rule 18A gave the Mayor, as Chair of a Council meeting, the option to start a Council meeting with the Council prayer and an Acknowledgement of Country.
In line with the Local Government Act 2020, we engaged with the community about changing the Governance Rules.
What we heard from the community
From 30 May to 20 June 2023, the community shared their comments using our online form, as well as via email and phone.
We received 352 submissions on the proposal to change Rule 18A.
We found out that:
- 86% of people want to remove the Council prayer from Rule 18A
- 13% of people want to keep the prayer in Rule 18A
- 1.5% of people did not provide an opinion.
We also had 19% of people who suggested alternatives to the Council prayer:
- 41 people suggested a secular affirmation or moment of silence
- 12 people suggested a multi-faith rotation of observances
- 6 people suggested a voluntary gathering before the meeting to say a prayer.
Council officers looked at what other councils do and what we heard from the community. We presented Councillors with 3 options to consider when changing Rule 18A:
- Remove the Council Prayer from Rule 18A. No replacement as an alternative.
- Replace the Council Prayer in Rule 18A with a statement of commitment.
- Change Rule 18A to include a rotating multi-faith religious observance and a non-religious statement of commitment.
At the Council meeting on Monday 23 October 2023, Councillors voted to amend Rule 18A of the Governance Rules to option 1 remove all reference to the Council prayer and not replace with an alternative.
You can learn more about the meeting and access the meeting video recording at Council Meeting – 23 October 2023.