Australia is a multicultural and multi-faith society. In recognition of this, there is a multitude of laws which protect Australians against discrimination based on religion. These laws, across jurisdictions, allow Australians to practice the religion of their choice. The 2018 Religious Freedom Review, chaired by former attorney-general Philip Ruddock did not find religious freedom in “imminent peril” but acknowledged the need for constant vigilance to maintain these freedoms.

Despite this, the current federal government has recently released a draft religious discrimination bill which makes it unlawful to discriminate against Australians on the basis of their religion. This draft bill has been developed in the context of the 2017 marriage equality debate and the more recent controversy over rugby player Israel Folau’s social media posts which lead to his contract being terminated.

At the October Newcastle Institute event, Father Rod Bower, from the Anglican Church, Gosford will be discussing whether more protection for religious freedom is needed. The Venerable Rod Bower is an Anglican priest, and Archdeacon for Justice Ministries and Chaplaincy in the Diocese of Newcastle. He is an ambassador for the Refugee Council of Australia and serves on the board of the Samaritans Foundation.

You can see a copy of then video stream of the event below.


Father Bower is a passionate advocate for a number of social justice and human rights issues, including marriage equality. He believes that our treatment of Asylum Seekers, the lack of action on climate change and the failure to adequately recognize First Nations people damages our communal soul. He is committed to building social and cultural capital and contributing to the evolution of an Australia where there is respect, peace and harmony. He will discuss the issues around religious freedom and challenge the need for strengthening these laws.

Open to the Public – All welcome – Members have complimentary access – We request a $10 donation from other attendees to assist with our costs.


Wednesday October 9th
Souths Leagues Club
Llewellyn st

What? Religious Freedom: Do we need more protection?

2 thoughts on “What? Religious Freedom: Do we need more protection?

  • October 6, 2019 at 12:47 am

    Religious Freedom, for myself, as an Ordained Buddhist Nun, of the New Kadampa Tradition, is lacking from certain quarters in Australia. In the last census, l could not write my ‘religion’ is Buddhist. When a Religion is only recognised as a ‘way of living’ then something is lost. Buddhism is both. I do believe in a Higher Power or Mind, l do believe in ‘soul’. As many do. I have been vilified, been insulted to my face. In Australia. In fact discriminated against. I do not understand the ‘mind’ fear’ of Christians. Not all, some groups do not understand even the basic teachings of Buddism, therefore view buddhists as an enemy of Christ. Jesus loves all people. My practise is to try and do the same.

  • October 6, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    As a Buddhist how can you believe in a “soul”? The Buddha taught anatman, hence no soul.

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