Evidence of Absence in the Ruddock Report

Article


Patrick, Jeremy. 2019. "Evidence of Absence in the Ruddock Report." Australian Law Journal. 93 (9), pp. 747-751.
Article Title

Evidence of Absence in the Ruddock Report

ERA Journal ID33861
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorPatrick, Jeremy
Journal TitleAustralian Law Journal
Journal Citation93 (9), pp. 747-751
Number of Pages5
Year2019
PublisherLawbook Co.
Place of PublicationAustralia
ISSN0004-9611
Web Address (URL)https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3387500
Abstract

The recommendations made in the Ruddock Report are rather modest when compared to previous reviews of the state of religious freedom in Australia. The Ruddock Panel rejected widespread calls for a general federal human rights act or a specific law protecting religious freedom. What explains the Panel’s reluctance? This paper argues that the cause was the Panel’s extremely narrow definition of what legitimately constitutes evidence of a problem. The Ruddock Report often supports its recommendations of inaction by stating that submissions arguing for change consistently relied on a handful of high-profile cases, involved incidents overseas, or just didn’t provide numerically-impressive evidence of complaints to existing human rights bodies. In addition, the Ruddock Report failed in viewing rights-protection as purely reactive (solving an existing problem) rather than prophylactic (safeguarding against plausible and significant future threats). By setting such a narrow standard of acceptable evidence and by neglecting the need for foresight, the Ruddock Report did not properly evaluate the important issues it was asked to investigate.

KeywordsRuddock, Freedom of Religion, Religious Freedom
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020480702. Constitutional law
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Law and Justice
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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