[caption id="attachment_33017" align="alignright" width="361"]From left: Attorney-General Robert Clark, Education Minister Martin Dixon and Andrew Ronalds MP at the briefing From left: Attorney-General Robert Clark, Education Minister Martin Dixon and Andrew Ronalds MP at the briefing[/caption]

Earlier this week, ACL’s managing director Lyle Shelton and Victorian director Dan Flynn were invited to attend a government briefing for Christian leaders across Victoria to discuss the issues of faith and freedom in the state.

The event was aimed at clarifying the Coalition government’s position on freedom of expression and religion, which has come under question by some Victorians in the past few weeks.

Victoria’s Attorney-General Robert Clark, Education Minister Martin Dixon and Liberal MP for the Eastern Region Andrew Ronalds took questions from a group of around 70 Christian leaders about issues pertaining to religious freedom and expression, particularly in regards to religious education in public schools.

Mr Ronalds opened the briefing by discussing the importance of religious freedom, and that every parent has the right to choose whether their child participates in the Special Religious Instruction (SRI) program.

Mr Dixon spoke of his commitment to freedom of religion, his support for the SRI program and for allowing students the freedom to engage in lunchtime religious activities. He also supported the continuation of the school chaplaincy program in Victoria.

The Attorney-General addressed the state’s Equal Opportunity Act, which currently allows for religious organisations, particularly Christians schools, to appoint staff of their faith and ethos.

The government ministers then took questions from the audience on issues of concern to Christians.

ACL recently launched a campaign to reverse a ban on prayer groups and lunchtime Bible studies outlined in the SRI program policy.

[caption id="attachment_33019" align="alignright" width="333"]Attorney-General Robert Clark addresses Christian leaders Attorney-General Robert Clark addresses Christian leaders[/caption]

Thousands of emails were received by Victorian members of parliament urging the government overturn the ban.

Late last month, Mr Dixon announced that he had directed his department to withdraw the elements of the policy that were the subject of the complaint.

You can read more about the details of the issue here.