Federal Attorney-General George Brandis QC will open the inaugural Religious Freedom Roundtable on 5 November at the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Participants include members of the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Catholic, Anglican, Baha’i, Russian Orthodox and Buddhist faiths.
They will be joined by representatives of the Seventh Day Adventists, the Rationalist Society, the Humanist Society, the Atheist Foundation and the Church of Scientology.
Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson is hosting the Religious Freedom Roundtable to discuss how to best advance religious freedom in Australia.
“The protection of religious freedom is critical to a broad cross-section of communities, including those of belief, those without a belief, and those whose communities are affected by religious freedom,” Commissioner Wilson said.
“This roundtable has been convened following the Rights and Responsibilities consultations the Human Rights Commission conducted throughout 2014. These consultations examined the human rights challenges in 21st century Australia, and religious freedom emerged as a dominant theme.”
Commissioner Wilson said the roundtable will discuss issues such as the preservation of religious freedom and the use of taxpayer funds. Participants will also consider strategies to support religious inclusion and social cohesion.
“The challenge of respecting religious freedom in a pluralistic, multi-faith society is becoming more complex,” Commissioner Wilson said.
“The purpose of the Roundtable is to get beyond past approaches and find a way to ensure religious freedom of those with or without belief is respected in a truly pluralist society.
Commissioner Wilson will host two additional roundtables in February 2016 to canvass the views of non-faith organisations and the views of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities.
Media are welcome to attend the opening session of the Religious Freedom Roundtable, from 8.45am to 9.45am on Thursday 5 November 2015 at the Australian Human Rights Commission, Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, Sydney. Please register your interest with either of the media contacts listed below.
Media contact: Angela Dorizas on 0430 366 529 or Dominic O’Grady on 0419 258 597