Wednesday, 20th February 2013

The Australian Christian Lobby has backed the push by shadow Attorney-General George Brandis to ensure that basic human rights are better protected.

ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace agreed with concerns raised by Senator Brandis that the Australian Human Rights Commission is focused too much on anti-discrimination to the detriment of basic freedoms such as speech and religion.

“It is important basic human rights are not subordinated to other agendas. Where other right claims conflict with long-established human rights such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of the press, it should be a greater priority of the Australian Human Rights Commission to defend and advocate for these,” he said.

“Whilst non-discrimination and equality are important, it is also important that these do not subordinate human rights which make for a free society.

“It is absolutely essential for free speech and the freedom of religion that people are able to express and live their views about family, marriage and life in the public square without fear of being subject to an anti-discrimination claim because their views differ from others.

“ACL believes human rights are paramount to a well-functioning society and that Christian values contributed to some of the most significant progress in the development of human rights as evidenced through the anti-slavery and civil rights movements,” Mr Wallace said.

Mr Wallace urged the Government to also consider the direction of the AHRC and re-orientate its work to protecting basic human rights.