A fundamental strength of our democracy is freedom of religion. Australian parliamentarians are free to use whichever holy text, or none at all, to be sworn into their positions. Our politicians have been given the option since Federation in 1901.
Our previous prime minister, Julia Gillard, made an affirmation of allegiance instead of swearing her oath of office on a holy text. Australian Jewish MPs Josh Frydenberg and Michael Danby were sworn in on their holy book, the Torah in 2010.
In July 2013 Labor MP, Ed Husic made history by being the first Australian Muslim to be appointed as a front bencher in Australian parliament, and he chose to be sworn into his parliamentary role by making an oath on a hard copy of the Quran.
The discourse surrounding Husic’s choice was based on ignorant remarks that suggested that “Australia is a Christian nation” and that Husic’s actions were “unconstitutional”. Those who mounted these arguments clearly lack a basic understanding of the rights afforded to all of us under Australia’s constitution.