Religious Vilification, Anti-Discrimination Laws and Religious Minorities in Australia: The Freedom to Be Different

Australian Law Journal, Vol. 81, No. 12, pp. 954-966, 2007

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/59

18 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2008

Abstract

Australian laws concerning religious vilification and the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of religious belief pose a danger to the future of multiculturalism. They have a chilling effect on legitimate expressions of religious freedom because of the impact that 'folklaw' and risk-averse management have on people's behaviour. They may also create conflict by establishing a new forum for disputes that courts can never resolve. Communities who share values based on faith need the freedom to argue their understanding of truth and to discriminate between right and wrong as they see it. A new approach to multiculturalism is proposed that balances the different interests involved and which may benefit other minorities as well.

Keywords: human rights, law and religion, religious freedom, anti-discrimination, religious vilification, multiculturalism

JEL Classification: J70, K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Parkinson, Patrick, Religious Vilification, Anti-Discrimination Laws and Religious Minorities in Australia: The Freedom to Be Different. Australian Law Journal, Vol. 81, No. 12, pp. 954-966, 2007, Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/59, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1144962

Patrick Parkinson (Contact Author)

University of Queensland ( email )

Forgan Smith Building
The University of Queensland
St Lucia, Queensland 4072
Australia

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