Gender & Sexuality
Freedoms & Public Christianity
Sexualisation of Society
Poverty and Justice
Help to transform Australia with God’s truth
Pages tagged "religious freedom"
NSW Director Letter to Supporters - February 2013
· February 11, 2013 11:00 AM
The New South Wales Director David Hutt’s letter to supporters in the state is now available online.
Thank you for your continued support. It is crucial as we prepare for the 2013 federal election.
This year Australians will elect a government. As Christians we want to see candidates and leaders elected who will foster a more compassionate, just and moral society.
to continue reading.
MR: Redefinition of marriage in UK creates vulnerabilities for churches
· February 07, 2013 11:00 AM
Thursday, February 7th, 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today said it expected it would only be a matter of time before protection of religious freedoms in the UK would diminish following the recent legislation redefining marriage passing in the House of Commons.
ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace said that although the UK bill allows religious organisations to say ‘no’ to conducting same-sex marriages, a challenge to this in the European Court of Human Rights has already been flagged, even before the bill has been voted on in the House of Lords.
“Legal expert opinion suggests that the court could rule that if same-sex marriage is normalised in law, any church would be obliged to marry same-sex couples,” Mr Wallace said.
“The passing of this legislation redefining marriage in the UK is yet another demonstration of governments failing to protect freedom of religion and conscience for churches,” he said, “in fact it goes further and creates a vulnerability that activists are indicating they will pursue.”
“No Australian political leader can suggest that protections could be provided to the church in the light of the clear intention of activists in the UK to pursue any loophole in their pursuit of the church,” he said.
He said the Australian Parliament made the right decision in rejecting same-sex marriage last year.
“Our parliamentarians should not be bullied into creating another debate on marriage when it was so decisively defeated late last year,” Mr Wallace said.
“MPs know it doesn’t rate in their electorates. The UK provides another example that redefining marriage is not the end of the gay activists’ agenda,” he said.
MR: Threats to religious freedoms still remain in anti-discrimination bill
· January 31, 2013 11:00 AM
Thursday, 31st January 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby welcomes the decision from the Attorney-General Nicola Roxon to remove conduct that offends from the draft anti-discrimination bill but warns concerns still remain about religious freedom.
Ms Roxon announced that her department will be given the option to remove section 19(2)(b) of the draft bill, a section which would prohibit conduct that “offends, insults or intimidates”.
But ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said more needs to be changed in order to provide adequate protection for freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
“The removal of the ‘offends or insults’ section, while a positive step, does not completely remove the threats to freedom of religion this bill poses - particularly in Section 23, 32 and 33,” Mr Wallace said.
“Currently the exemptions are too narrow in their protection of religious freedom.
“Just as any political party can choose employees who share the aims of the party - churches, Christians schools and other faith-based organisations must be confident they can choose staff who will uphold the ethos of the organisation.
“They should be able to retain their right to employ staff who are committed to upholding the tenets and beliefs of the organisation – no matter what their role.
“Also Section 3 of the Act needs to be amended to acknowledge freedom of religion as a fundamental right, as it is in international human rights law with the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),” he said.
Mr Wallace added that even with the removal of section 19(2)(b) the bill still represents an extension of anti-discrimination law.
“The bill expands the number of attributes protected under current anti-discrimination law from four – race, sex, disability and age – to 18,” he said.
“Whilst religion is included as a protected attribute, it’s only protected in work and work-related areas whereas most of the other attributes are protected in ‘any area of public life’.
“This places religion at a lower priority for protection in government policy when it should be afforded at least the same protection as other attributes.
“The aim for non-discrimination must be balanced against the right to freedom of religion.”
Dan Flynn on the Political Spot
· January 29, 2013 11:00 AM
Dan Flynn is the Victorian Director of the Australian Christian Lobby. He recently went along to the Senate Committee hearings into the federal government's new Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination bill and spoke to the ACL's Katherine Spackman about the hearing.
Employee wins right to wear cross at work
· January 16, 2013 11:00 AM
A British Airways employee, who was asked to remove her cross necklace at work, has won a discrimination case at the European Court of Human Rights against the company.
This demonstrates a great win for those who uphold religious freedom.
Read the ABC story
Videos of speeches at ACL National Conference now available online
· December 19, 2012 11:00 AM
ACL's 2012 National Conference took place in Canberra from 5 - 6 October, and explored the issue of
Religious Freedom in a Secular Democracy.
Speakers included Shadow Families Minister Kevin Andrews, former attorney-general Robert McClelland, political editor of
newspaper Dennis Shanahan and Vice-Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University Professor Greg Craven.
Speeches from a few of the conference speakers are now available to watch online. You can visit the
ACL Vimeo site
to access these. Alternatively, click on the videos below.
Shadow Families Minister Kevin Andrews spoke about his new book,
Maybe I Do,
and declared that the marriage debate was settled in Parliament well into the future.
Hon Kevin Andrews MP - ACL National Conference 2012
Australian Christian Lobby
Professor Greg Craven, Vice-Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University, gave an historical and cultural understanding of the challenge of freedom of religion in a secular democracy.
Professor Greg Craven - ACL National Conference 2012
Australian Christian Lobby
The Hon Robert McClelland, Federal Member for Barton (NSW) and the former Attorney-General of Australia, spoke about the federal government's review of anti-discrimination law.
Hon Robert McClelland MP
Australian Christian Lobby
ACL's Managing Director Jim Wallace spoke about the persecution of Christians around the world and the important need for the Church to become active voices for religious freedom in our society.
Jim Wallace AM - ACL National Conference 2012
Australian Christian Lobby
Chelsea Pietsch on the Political Spot
· December 17, 2012 11:00 AM
Chelsea Pietsch is from Freedom for Faith, a new body representing various Christian Churches and faith-based organisation in relationship to religious freedom. She spoke to the ACL's Katherine Spackman about Freedom for Faith's concerns about the proposed
Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill
which could see a loss of 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.
Sign in with Facebook
Sign in with Twitter
Sign in with Email
Optional email code
Get instant access to news about political issues facing christians