#1079 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 31 May 2015
In a world in which terrorists are reaching out to our community, we cannot be complacent about our future as a strong, safe and cohesive society. It is time for a national conversation about the role of citizenship.
So says a federal government discussion paper on the meaning of citizenship. Former immigration minister Phillip Ruddock said Australia’s citizenship test reinforced the nation’s core values of “gender equity, English as the national language and respect for the rule of law.”
Mr Ruddock was critical of those who thought the law should be subservient to “religious obligations,” perhaps a veiled reference to sharia law, but his comments could be taken as criticising religious freedom in general, or specific claims to religious freedom, for example Christian institutions seeking to employ only Christians.
Religious freedom and the rule of law are both fundamental, though different, principles that together make for a strong and free society.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.