Michael Kirby Blasts Coalition for Ruddock Religious Freedom Report Delay

Former Judge said secularism in Australia is under threat

Michael Kirby, a former judge in an Australian High Court, has attacked the incumbent coalition government in Australia for its failure to release the Ruddock Review, a report detailing religious freedom. In a radio interview, he expressed the fear that secularism is under threat down under and Australians are correct about being suspicious about government motives when the administration has not elaborated on its plans concerning religious freedom. Justice Kirby terms such behavior as “unusual” as the review authored by Phillip Ruddock, the former liberal minister, was handed to the administration in May but still waits to be published.

The report was given in May to the Turnbull Government. The contents, Kirby said, were not sufficient to convince the government to do anything. He said secular Australians are worried the present Australian Government plots to do something bad. He continued to say that the fear of Australians on this issue is a valid one as billions of dollars were given to religious organizations and faith communities in the government's $4.6 billion independent and Catholic educational institutions package. He pointed out yet another troubling affair: the Turnbull Government's funding for chaplaincy scheme. The former Judge said the chaplaincy scheme will invade the realm of public schools.

Justice Kirby, an Anglican himself, described secularism as one of the best gifts Britain has given to the constitution of Australia. The principle of secularism, he pointed out, is that society must respect all religions or no religion at all. The former Judge said the same problem is being seen in the United States of America, but the North American country has all the constitutional protections for such scenarios. Australia is at a greater danger as the country has no such balancing laws.

When asked about what the contents of the Ruddock Review would be, Kirby surmised that it will state the manifold dangers when it comes to increasing protections for any religious freedom. He has noted multiple submissions have requested the religious protections to be canceled. A number of LGBTQI organizations have asked the repeal of religious exemptions to the discrimination law.

According to Kirby, sexual diversity is part nature and part science. If these are taught in schools, it will simply educate children on what they know already, because several of LGBTQI people already live among them.

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