Labor leader queries PM's religious speech

Scott Morrison's address has raised questions about the intersection of his religion and politics.
Scott Morrison's address has raised questions about the intersection of his religion and politics.

Scott Morrison's faith has again been cast into the national spotlight after 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.

Mr Morrison said he did not consider the Bible to be a policy handbook, but also spoke of his pastor telling him: "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 up front about his faith and his speech was about his personal beliefs rather than policy.

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."

Australian Associated Press