Media Release – Religious Freedom Review Recommendations
Freedom for Faith welcomes the reported recommendations of the Expert Panel chaired by the former attorney-general Philip Ruddock reviewing religion freedom in Australia.
For a long time, by any global or historical measure, Australians have enjoyed remarkable freedoms. Evidence given to the Panel suggested that there were growing threats to this freedom. State laws are inconsistent and incoherent and don’t always match the international treaty commitments we are party to. Basic freedoms we have enjoyed are being increasingly challenged by a vocal minority. There has been rising opposition to freedom of speech, conscience and belief.
The 16000+ submissions to the inquiry demonstrate a depth of concern but also a lack of consensus about the nature of the problem before us. How are we to live together well with deep differences?
We welcome the recommendations of the Expert Panel and commend them to the Cabinet in their consideration. Sensible legal reform will enable all Australians to live together well.
We are disappointed that the recommendations do not establish religious freedom as a positive right to be protected in Australian law and instead maintain the existing pattern of exemptions and exceptions to anti-discrimination law. Many of the present conflicts over religious freedom arise because the exemptions are seen as grudging concessions to people of faith from otherwise applicable law. It remains our view that the better course is to have a clear commitment to religious freedom as a positive right.
Australians should not take for granted the freedoms we currently enjoy.
12th of October 2018
Freedom for Faith
Professor Patrick Parkinson may be available to speak to this release and the recommendations
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