Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO – formerly a member of the Ruddock Religious Freedom Review – delivered the sixth annual Barry O’Keefe Memorial Lecture at the Australian Catholic University in North Sydney on Wednesday, 19 February 2020. This is an edited version of that lecture.
The Australian government is expected to release the Ruddock Religious Freedom Review and its response shortly. Already, some have called for the introduction of a religious discrimination act.
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 Panel received more than 16,000 submissions from individuals and organisations between 14 December 2017 and 14 February 2018. In recognition of the significant public interest in this important topic and following a request from the Expert Panel, on 20 March 2018, the Prime Minister announced an extension to the Panel’s reporting date until 18 May 2018.