Bishops welcome release of religious freedom review

Scott Morrrison on social media yesterday(Facebook/Scott Morrison)

Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli has welcomed the Morrison Government’s response to the religious freedom review, which he says will be a focal point for the debate about religious liberty in Australia. Source: ACBC.

Archbishop Comensoli, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference spokesman on religious freedom, was commenting on the long-awaited report of an expert panel chaired by Philip Ruddock, released by the Morrison Government yesterday.

“The release of the religious freedom review will help Australians have a more informed debate on how best to recognise religious freedom in Australian law,” Archbishop Comensoli said.

“Our preference is that the law recognise religious freedom in a positive way as a basic, internationally-protected human right – and one that deserves protection.

“The major political parties have expressed their support for freedom of religion to be adequately addressed in Australian law, and we look forward to them making good on their commitments.

“We will be examining the government’s response to the report to ensure it provides adequate protection for religious freedom.”

Archbishop Comensoli acknowledged leaked recommendations had been available for some time, “but we will need time to consider the full report, the recommendations and the government’s response in their proper context, to understand what is being proposed”.

"We look forward to engaging with each of the parties to discuss the report’s recommendations and come to an acceptable way forward,’ Archbishop Comensoli concluded.

The Morrison Government has pledged to create a Religious Discrimination Act and install a Freedom of Religion Commissioner, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

A Religious Discrimination Act, which was recommended in Mr Ruddock’s review, would replicate laws that currently protect people from discrimination on the grounds of their sex, race and other attributes.

Labor offered in-principle support for such an act but wants to see the details of the legislation.

Ruddock review panellist Fr Frank Brennan told Sky News that a religious freedom bill would protect conservative citizens of faith from being discriminated against by an “increasingly secular society”.

FULL STORY

Bishops welcome release of religious freedom review (ACBC)

Religion bill strikes the ‘right balance’ (Sky News Australia)

Both sides back religious discrimination laws but protection for gay students delayed (Sydney Morning Herald)

RELATED COVERAGE

Bringing race into the religious freedom debate could make for an ugly election (ABC News)

We’re getting laws to safeguard religious freedoms. Do we need them? (Triple J Hack)

In long-awaited response to Ruddock Review, Government pushes hard on religious freedom (The Conversation)

Scott Morrison pledges Religious Discrimination Act but delays protections for gay students (The Age);

Both sides back religious discrimination laws but protection for gay students delayed (The Age)

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