Religious Freedom: Unity and Diversity | City Bible Forum

Religious Freedom: Unity and Diversity

Symposium with Q&A
24 Oct 2018, 6.30pm-8.30pm

Shireen Morris of the Cape York Institute, when writing about Australia Day, argued for the need to "better include all Australians", to "bring together our Indigenous heritage, our British inheritance and our multicultural character". But for many Australians this kind of national unity seems only more elusive given our social diversity.

The recent marriage plebiscite has prompted debate on religious freedom, currently referenced in our Constitution and in various clauses to Acts of Federal Parliament; but has the time come for a Commonwealth ‘Religious Freedom Act’? Is such an Act necessary to guide us on "how competing rights and freedoms are to be balanced when they appear to come into conflict" (Keith Thompson)?

The Religious Freedom Review chaired by the Hon. Philip Ruddock delivered its report to the former Prime Minister, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP on May 18, 2018. Anticipating the release of this report, the panel, co-convened by the City Bible Forum, St Mark's National Theological Centre and the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, will bring together a group of experts representing various religious convictions and none. We will explore issues relating to religious liberty, including belief; education; teaching and preaching; and medicine and social services.

The following participants are confirmed: Assoc. Prof. Keith Thompson (University of Notre Dame Law School, Sydney), Prof. Pauline Ridge (ANU College of Law), Prof. Asmi Wood (National Centre for Indigenous Studies, ANU), Dr. Chris Hartney (Department of Studies in Religion, University of Sydney) and Prof. Stephen Pickard (Director, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture). The panel discussion will be moderated by Assoc. Prof. Andrew Cameron (School of Theology, Charles Sturt University). See more information about the panelists here.

Unfortunately, due to recent developments, including the selective leaking of the Religious Freedom Review report to sectors of the media, the Hon. Philip Ruddock is not able to open an event on this topic until the review's report is made public. Regardless, we are grateful to Mr Ruddock for his initial support.

We want to discuss the ability of all Australians to live according to their religious convictions in both their professional lives and the wider public square, and to contribute to the common good.

Our hope with this moderated panel is that it will move the discussion of religious liberty matters forward and consider how religious freedom can contribute to the common good for all Australians, but also one where our speakers can seriously discuss the challenges faced here. We want to have a panel that presents different perspectives and not just those of one faith tradition and one which is respectful but rigorous.

Come and join in the discussion! Light refreshments will be served. Tickets are limited.


Wednesday 24 Oct, 6.30pm-8.30pm


The Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, 15 Blackall Street, Barton


$12 Regular

$6 Your guest

$6 Concession