Freedom of Religion and Belief Report

The Freedom of Religion and Belief Report was launched on Monday 21 March 2011 by Graeme Innes AM, Disability and Race Discrimination Commissioner.

Download a copy of the report here.

 

Background to the Current Study

In July 2006 the Ministerial Council on Immigration and Multicultural Affairs endorsed the National Action Plan to Build Social Cohesion, Harmony and Security (NAP). Under the NAP, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) was funded to undertake a range of projects; one is this research report, Freedom of Religion and Belief in the 21st Century. The AHRC commissioned the Australian Multicultural Foundation in association with Monash University and RMIT University to prepare this report. It builds on two previous reports; the first is Article 18: Freedom of Religion and Belief produced in 1998 by the then Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.1 The second is the 2004 report Religion, Cultural Diversity and Safeguarding Australia, which was produced by the then Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs and the Australian Multicultural Foundation, in association with Monash University, RMIT University and the World Conference of Religions for Peace (now Religions for Peace Australia).

This research report has responded to the aims of the NAP in ‘fostering connections and understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims’.3 But, considering that other previous and current work has focused specifically on Muslim communities, this research has taken a broader approach. It researched and documents the general issues and concerns of religious and non-religious communities in Australia, principally based on direct consultation with the Australian people. Data from the face-to-face consultations and written submissions provided a valuable perspective on religion in general and religious groups in Australia. The task of the research team was to accurately capture the views and comments from the consultations and submissions and to ensure that people can recognise their words or their views reflected in this report. It is important to note that this report attempts to capture all the views and thoughts heard during the research process; however, there is no way to weight or measure how.