Why it Matters
- Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right which engages with the broader rights of freedom of speech and freedom of association, as well as the right of parents to “to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.”
- Freedom of religion is under attack by radical secularists – who want to eliminate any role for religion in public life.
- In the last Parliament there were attacks on freedom of religion by the Andrews Labor government (on the freedom of religious schools to hire staff who share the beliefs and values of the school), the Greens (on the freedom of religious schools to require students to respect the beliefs and values of the school) and Fiona Patten (on treating the advancement of religion as a charitable purpose).
- Currently Liberals – both Federal and State – are proposing narrowing the freedom of religion for independent schools
- The irreplaceable contribution of religion to education, health and welfare services and the broader community life in Victoria should be respected and valued by all Victorians regardless of their personal beliefs. I will continue to speak in support of this at every opportunity.
- Oppose any proposal to erode the provisions in existing Victorian law which protect the freedom of religion.
- Amend laws which currently unfairly restrict freedom of religion, including so-called religious vilification.
What I’ve Done
- Met frequently with representatives of churches and other religious bodies, religious schools and religious health and welfare services to understand their valuable contributions to the common good in Victoria and the issues and threats they are facing in continuing their irreplaceable work.
- Spoke against and provided the determining vote to defeat the Andrews Labor Government’s Labor’s Equal Opportunity Amendment (Religious Exceptions) Bill 2016.
- Spoke against the Greens’ Equal Opportunity Amendment (Equality for Students) Bill 2016.
- Opposed a motion by Fiona Patten to remove “the advancement of religion” from being a charitable purpose.