Religious Freedom Review
Senator McKIM I, and on behalf of Senator Rice, move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) on 14 December 2017, Prime Minister Turnbull announced the terms of reference for the Religious Freedom Review, chaired by the Honourable Philip Ruddock,
(ii) despite the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet originally confirming that submissions to the inquiry would not be published, it later stated that decisions on releasing submissions would depend on whether or not submitters have given consent,
(iii) hearings which were not disclosed publicly have commenced with evidence taken in private, and
(iv) members of the LGBTIQ community in Australia have publicly raised concerns about the lack of transparency of these private hearings; and
(b) agrees that public confidence in the Religious Freedom Review is being compromised by secrecy and lack of transparency, and calls on Prime Minister Turnbull and Mr Ruddock to conduct a transparent review, and publicise dates and locations of hearings and open them to the public.
Senator McGRATH (Queensland—Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister): I seek leave to make a short statement.
The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.
Senator McGRATH: The Religious Freedom Review is conducting independent and widespread consultations and is considering more than 4,000 submissions from the public. Mr Ruddock and his fellow panellists are conducting themselves in an entirely appropriate and transparent fashion.
The PRESIDENT: The question is that motion No. 705 be agreed to.
The Senate divided. [16:19]
(The President—Senator Ryan)
Senator McDonald did not vote, to compensate for the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Kakoschke-Moore
Question agreed to.
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