WAGGA City Council could break from tradition after a controversial proposal was put forward to ditch the prayer that opens its meetings.
The council opens its bi-monthly meetings with a prayer, asking God to help councillors govern with "justice, integrity and respect for equality", to uphold "rights and liberties" and to be "guided by wisdom."
The proposal is one of several proposed changes contained in the council's draft Code of Meeting Practice document, which is on public exhibition.
The national anthem, a non-denominational prayer, civic statement or opening declaration, an oath or affirmation and a reflection were also suggested as alternatives to the prayer.
Wagga councillor Dan Hayes said the council should review its practices to ensure it reflects the diverse community it represents.
Cr Hayes went through 13 years of Catholic education, but said it was "not the faith he subscribes to".
"The state government have clauses about what a council meeting must have and things that can be changed. The prayer was only introduced in the mid-1990s, so it hasn't been done for a hundred years," he said.
"The council should look at something more representative of the community."
It seems mean-spirited in a retrograde respect - we don't believe it, so let's delete it.Tom Casanova
West Wagga Catholic Parish priest Tom Casanova, however, believes removing prayer from the council's meeting procedure will achieve the opposite result.
"It seems mean-spirited in a retrograde respect - we don't believe it, so let's delete it," he said.
"Removing prayer isn't a reflection of the diverse community, it is actually diminishing it. There is a big number of people in this community from a praying background."
Father Casanova said prayer is a long tradition across all tiers of government.
Rather than "deleting history," he said additional procedures could be added to represent the city's cultural and religious diversities.
Wagga is a culturally diverse community and that should be reflected by our local government.Belinda Crain
Wagga's Multicultural Council chief executive Belinda Crain said the council should change the opening prayer to a "more inclusive" statement. Her preference was an affirmation.
"Wagga is a culturally diverse community and that should be reflected by our local government," she said.
"The feedback I have received from the community has been they would like an inclusive statement that reflects the diversity of Wagga, given the population has increased due to migration."
The council's Code of Meeting Practice is on public exhibition until May 27, but the community could make submissions until June 10.
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