On 22 November 2017, the Prime Minister, the 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 Chair of this Expert Panel is former Attorney General, the Hon Philip Ruddock.
On 22 November 2017, the Prime Minister, the 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 Prime Minister announced the Terms of Reference for the Review on 14 December 2017. In undertaking its Review, the Prime Minister has instructed the Panel to:
- 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 Prime Minister has asked the Expert Panel to report its findings by 31 March 2018.
A full copy of the Terms of Reference is available online.
The Panel is being supported by a Secretariat within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and is accepting initial submissions on the matters raised in its Terms of Reference until 14 February 2018.
If you would like to provide a submission, you can do so using our online submission form. You can make a submission in the form itself and/or upload a file.
The Panel strongly encourages the use of the online submission form, but submissions can also be made in hard copy or by email (Word, PDF or text files are preferred). These can be directed to:
The Expert Panel on Religious Freedom
C/O Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
PO Box 6500
Canberra ACT 2600
If you make your submission in hard copy or by email, please advise us whether you consent to your submission being published along with your name, or if your submission is confidential. The online submission form will prompt you to do this.
Outcome of first meeting of the Expert Panel
The Panel held its first meeting on 10 January 2018. You can read the full statement from the meeting in the Resources section of this webpage, below. Among other matters, the Expert Panel agreed to be as open as possible in its approach to submissions. In this regard, the Expert Panel agreed that all submissions received will be published online before 31 March 2018, provided the author of the submission consents to its publication and provided there is no other reason not to publish the submission (for example, if publication could raise legal issues).
Anyone who provided a submission on or before the 10 January 2018 will be contacted and asked whether they agree to their submission being published. Further information for individuals and organisations who provided a submission on or before 10 January 2018 is available.