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On 22 November 2017, and after the same-sex marriage survey returned a majority 'Yes' vote to redefine marriage in Australia, the Prime Minister, Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, announced the appointment of an Expert Panel to examine whether Australian law adequately protects the human right to freedom of religion.

The review's objective:

The Panel shall examine and report on whether Australian law (Commonwealth, State and Territory) adequately protects the human right to freedom of religion.

The Panel were instructed with the following Terms of Reference:

  • consider the intersections between the enjoyment of the freedom of religion and other human rights
  • have regard to any previous or ongoing reviews or inquiries that it considers relevant
  • consult as widely as it considers necessary

The Expert Panel comprises:

  • the Hon Philip Ruddock (Chair)
  • Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM
  • the Hon Dr Annabelle Bennett AO SC
  • Father Frank Brennan SJ AO
  • Professor Nicholas Aroney

The Expert Panel are to report its findings by 31 March 2018.

The Panel is being supported by a Secretariat within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The Australian Christian Lobby and the Human Rights Law Alliance provided a joint submission to the panel which is available below.

Submission to the Expert Panel on Religious Freedom

The Religious Freedom Review is no longer accepted submissions as the time for public submission closed on 14 February 2018.