Submissions to Ruddock religious freedom inquiry will not be published

The federal government inquiry into religious freedom has come under fire once again, with news that submissions will be kept secret from the Australian public.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office today revealed to the Sydney Morning Herald that the panel would not publish the submissions – which are ordinarily freely available to the public.

“Submissions to the Expert Panel will not be published online,” a representative of the Prime Minister’s office said.

“However, where individuals provide consent, submission extracts may be included in public materials.”

The review, which was set up following the ‘Yes’ result of the postal survey last year, has already been criticised for its appointment of notable conservative and former Liberal MP Philip Ruddock, and for the potential roll back of anti-discrimination laws.

LGBTI advocacy group just.equal yesterday launched a petition to call for the government to ensure the review would not see the deterioration of anti-discrimination laws.

“The current religious freedom movement has nothing to do with genuine freedom and everything to do with punching holes in Australian laws that protect LGBTIQ people and other minorities from discrimination and disadvantage,” just.equal’s Ivan Hinton-Teoh said of the petition.

“The threat is too great to be left to lawyers and academics to argue over which is why we are giving everyday Australians the opportunity to have their voices heard through our petition.”

Today Hinton-Teoh added that the government’s latest move will remove any credibility from the review.

“It is the height of hypocrisy for an inquiry into freedom of religion, conscience and speech to keep its submissions under wraps.”

“The review into religious freedom could place women, people from religious minorities, interracial couples and LGBTI Australians at risk of discrimination in their day-to-day lives.”

“It is astonishing that the Turnbull government would make submissions secret when this review could entirely re-shape Australian anti-discrimination law.”

“It begs the question, what has the Government got to hide?”

Labor’s equality spokesperson Terri Butler has also called for the government to release the submissions to the Ruddock review.

“People have a right to expect transparency of their government,” Butler said.

“This is a high-profile inquiry and the government has nothing to fear from a debate about religious freedom, because I suspect most Australians support strengthening religious freedom in the event that’s found to be necessary.”

Submissions to the inquiry are due no later than January 31. The panel, which also includes Catholic Priest Frank Brennan, Australian Human Rights Commission president Rosalind Croucher and former judge Annabelle Bennett, will present their report to the government by the end of March.

OIP Staff

Support OUTinPerth

Thanks for reading OUTinPerth. We can only create LGBTIQA+ focused media with your help.

If you can help support our work, please consider assisting us through a one-off contribution to our GoFundMe campaign, or a regular contribution through our Patreon appeal.

Become a Supporter→     Make a contribution→ 


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,