Protecting freedom/protecting privilege: church responses to anti-discrimination law reform in Australia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Lacking a national comprehensive human rights charter or bill, Australia’s legal balancing act between competing human rights protections is captured in discrete pieces of anti-discrimination law. In 2012, the Australian Government released a draft bill consolidating these laws. Most churches roundly condemned this bill. With very few exceptions, the churches have a strong record of opposing progressive reform of Australia’s anti-discrimination protections. This paper examines the submissions made by churches to the parliamentary inquiry into the bill. The analysis demonstrates that most churches regarded the bill as a serious threat to both religious freedom and freedom of speech. In privileging religious freedom in a hierarchy of rights to be protected, the argument for religious freedom became the means by which churches sought to both protect their institutional position and entrench their particular moral code in Australian law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-133
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Journal of Human Rights
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2018


  • human rights
  • religion
  • anti-discrimination law
  • religious freedom
  • Australia
  • church
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ)
  • Human rights


Dive into the research topics of 'Protecting freedom/protecting privilege: church responses to anti-discrimination law reform in Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this