PFLAG Calls For Religious Freedom Review’s Findings To Be Released


Shelley Argent PFLAG

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) have called on the federal government to release the recommendations put forward by the religious freedom review headed by Philip Ruddock.

The review panel’s report was handed to the government on May 18 but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the federal government will take time to review its recommendations before releasing the report.

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PFLAG national spokesperson Shelley Argent said the group is most concerned about “religious privilege” encroaching on the rights of the LGBTIQ community.

“Religious beliefs are personal and should remain so, but religious freedom can’t impact on the rights of others,” Argent said.

“62% of Australians voted for marriage equality in a postal survey that was insulting to LGBTIQ people and their loved ones, but still religious groups and right-wing politicians did not relent.

“It’s time for Mr Turnbull to release the recommendations of the religious freedom review. What is the hold up?”

News Corp reported on May 18 that the review recommends strengthening federal anti-discrimination laws and giving religion the same protection federally as sexual orientation, race, age and disability.

LGBTIQ advocate Rodney Croome said at the time, “The recommendations of the Ruddock review will have a direct and possibly damaging impact on the LGBTI community, so it is vital the results are released immediately.

“The devil will be in the detail and we deserve to see that detail straight away.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he had asked Attorney-General Christian Porter to “take the lead” on looking into the reports’ findings.

“I look forward to considering the report in detail and will consult with members of the government before releasing it to the public and responding to its findings,” he said.

“We are all absolutely committed to ensuring that freedom of religion is protected in Australia, and that protection is reflected in our own Constitution.

“[The report] will be released shortly but the government’s obviously got to consider it first.”

The review was launched to review “whether Australian law adequately protects the human right to religious freedom” to placate conservatives following the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in December.

Joining Philip Ruddock on the panel was Jesuit priest Frank Brennan, Human Rights Commission president Rosalind Croucher, former judge Dr Annabelle Bennett and constitutional lawyer Nicholas Aroney.