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Pages tagged "religious freedom"
2013 Conference: The Scope & Limits of Religious Freedom in Australia
· December 13, 2012 11:00 AM
The University of Sydney is holding a one-day conference in 2013 on
The Scope and Limits of Religious Freedom in Australia
The conference will explore the way in which issues of freedom of religion are now emerging as contested matters in western democracies, in particular the United States, Britain and Australia. Speakers will present ideas on these issues from a variety of perspectives.
Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson (pictured left) - Professor of Law at Washington & Lee University School of Law
Other speakers include:
Professor Nicholas Aroney - Faculty of Law, University of Queensland
Dr Ghena Krayem - Sydney Law School
Dr Ryan Messmore - President, Campion College Sydney
Professor Patrick Parkinson - Sydney Law School
Professor Gillian Triggs - President, Australian Human Rights Commission
Andrea Williams - Christian Concern, UK
Friday 15 March 2013
9.30am - 5:30pm
New Law Building F10, Eastern Ave, University of Sydney, Camperdown Campus
To find out how you can attend and for more information, download the conference flyer
Alternatively, visit the
Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 - Liberals move for a general exception for faith-based schools
· December 12, 2012 11:00 AM
about proposed Federal Anti-Discrimination legislation have echoed some of the concerns surrounding a bill before the Tasmanian Parliament to amend its Anti-Discrimination Act.
The two major area’s ACL has concerns with relate to:
1. Extending the “offence to offend” component of the current Act to encompass pretty much any characteristic e.g. age, political affiliation, sexual orientation etc. Currently such terminology is limited to 7 gender specific attributes linked to sexual harassment prohibition.
2. Changes to exemptions for faith-based schools that would threaten the ability of religious schools to maintain their ethos through selective enrolment. The suggested changes would allow schools to apply for an exception if the school was at capacity on a case-by-case basis. Such requirements, we believe, are onerous and not applicable to the majority of faith-based schools who are not fully enrolled.
ACL has been lobbying for the “offence to offend” component of the current Act to be unchanged and the school exemption clause to be a general one i.e. just as single-sex schools can positively discriminate in selecting students of one sex, schools which are set up to serve a particular faith community must be allowed to uphold the purpose and intent of their schools by selecting students of a particular faith, should they choose to do so.
In November the school exemption portion of the amendment bill was voted down (by the Liberals and Greens - for very different reasons) in the lower house while the “offence to offend” changes were passed. The Upper House will debate the bill early in 2013.
The Liberal Party has been very supportive of both of our positions on these proposed changes – particularly on the school exemption question. They agreed that the proposed exemption was not the best option for any of the faith-based or independent schools in Tasmania and would have actually been worse than the current situation for many of those schools (removing the current ability for all schools to apply for an exemption for a defined period).
The Liberals support a general exception for all faith-based schools (removing the need to apply for an exemption) – as currently exists in every other state and will move for the general exception to be made a part of this Bill when debate begins in the Upper House next year.
Freedom of Religion with Dr Ryan Messmore
· December 07, 2012 11:00 AM
The Centre for Public Christianity
recently interviewed president-elect of Campion College, Dr Ryan Messmore about private faith and public life. In this interview with CPX's Simon Smart, Dr Messmore argues that there is a place for religion in society.
James Standish on The Political Spot
· November 27, 2012 11:00 AM
James Standish is an expert on US politics and has served in high level positions with the US Government and the United Nations as an expert on religious freedom. He spoke with ACL’s Daniel Simon looking back at the recent US presidential election.
MR: ACL welcomes retention of protections for religious freedom anti-discrimination law shake-up
· November 20, 2012 11:00 AM
For release: Tuesday, November 20, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby has broadly welcomed the release of the exposure draft legislation to consolidate Commonwealth anti-discrimination laws.
Managing Director Jim Wallace said ACL was still to examine it in detail but was grateful the Government had honoured its commitment to retain protections for religious freedom.
Mr Wallace said ACL had some concern about the reversal of the onus of proof that it could create a vulnerability in terms of giving rise to vexatious complaints.
“This is something we will want to see properly investigated by the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee,” Mr Wallace said.
MR: Freedom of speech and freedom of religion threatened by Tasmanian anti-discrimination legislation
· November 14, 2012 11:00 AM
For release: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Freedom of speech and freedom of religion will be diminished in Tasmania if amendments to anti-discrimination legislation are passed by the Parliament, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
The Anti-Discrimination Amendment Bill 2012, which is being debated today, would threaten the ability of religious schools to maintain their ethos, ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said.
“In the same way political parties are able to positively discriminate in favour of people who share their ethos, religious schools should also have this right in order to preserve their distinctives,” Mr Brown said.
The proposed changes would deny schools the ability to select students according to the faith and values of students or their parents.
Schools could apply for an exception on a case-by-case basis but the requirements are onerous.
“The proposed changes to the Bill violate the rights of parents who want to educate their children a certain way, and the rights of those children who share their parents’ faith and values,” Mr Brown said.
“Article 18(4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) specifically protects the right of parents “to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions".
“Faith-based schools should have the right to determine their enrolments according to their mission and purpose. This is to ensure that the religious ethos and community culture of the school is maintained,” Mr Brown said.
“Instead of case-by-case exceptions, there should be a general exemption allowing schools to select students of the particular faith of the school.
“Just as single-sex schools will positively discriminate in selecting students of one sex, schools which are set up to serve a particular faith community must be allowed to uphold the purpose and intent of their schools by selecting students of a particular faith, should they choose to do so,” Mr Brown said.
The proposed legislation would also expand the prohibition of conduct which “offends, humiliates, intimidates, insults, or ridicules".
Mr Brown said such changes would threaten free speech and open dialogue and increase unnecessary litigation, concerns which are heightened by the experience with anti-vilification laws in Victoria.
“ACL certainly objects to behaviour that incites hatred or ridicules another but to open the prohibition of offence to things like religious or political belief or sexual orientation is a threat to freedom of speech. Who doesn’t get offended or insulted at times by others’ differences of opinion? This is part of living in a democracy,” Mr Brown said.
“Censoring free speech based on hurt feelings is to trivialise discrimination and is political correctness gone mad.”
Mark Brown on The Political Spot
· November 13, 2012 11:00 AM
Mark Brown is the Tasmanian Director of the Australian Christian Lobby. He spoke to Daniel Simon about proposed changes to Tasmania's anti-discrimination laws.
Elizabeth Kendal on The Political Spot
· November 13, 2012 11:00 AM
Elizabeth Kendal is a researcher at the Melbourne School of Theology and a religious liberty expert. She spoke with Daniel Simon about the civil war in Syria.
Tolerance, private education and The Greens
· November 12, 2012 11:00 AM
Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne made some interesting comments this week on the Greens' policies regarding private education.
He said that the Greens "maintained a bias against private education" and that "the idea of churches and charities educating children offends them. They want them educated by the state so they can control what they are taught."
To read The Australian's article on this issue, click
Also, The Spectator last month published an article by Rod Liddle, which examined the intolerance and hypocrisy shown by The Green Party in the UK.
He outlined the situation with Greens councillor Christina Summers, who was expelled by her party "because she could not bring herself, as a Christian, to support a motion demanding that the government change the marriage laws so that gay people could get married..."
to read Mr Liddle's article.
WA Director Letter to Supporters - November 2012
· November 09, 2012 11:00 AM
The Western Australia Director, Rhys Vallance, letter to supporters in the state is now available online.
“We are past the time of the wars within religion and now face a war on religion.” Greg Craven, Vice Chancellor, Australian Catholic University
to continue reading.
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