Should religion be kept out of Australian politics?
15 September 2006
Members of Parliament should declare their religious allegiances in the same way they declare financial interests, Australian Democrats member of the NSW Legislative Council, Arthur Chesterfield-Evans, told last night's Socratic Forum, presented by Sydney Ideas, the University of Sydney's international public lecture series.
"Perhaps ministers should also not hold portfolios that carry the likelihood of a conflict of interest that comes from strongly held personal religious believes," Chesterfield-Evans told the audience.
The Democrat spoke in favour of The Socratic Forum topic "That we should keep religion out of politics" while Anglican Bishop of South Sydney and former rector of St Barnabas at Broadway, Rt Rev Robert Forsyth, argued that politics and religion should mix.
Other speakers on the night included Associate Professor Suzanne Rutland of the Department of Hebrew, Biblical Studies at the University of Sydney; Jamila Hussain, lecturer in law from the University of Technology, Sydney; Dr Stephen Mutch, Honorary Associate from the Department of Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University and David Duffy of the Humanist Society of NSW.
The Socratic Forum was facilitated by the ABC's John Cleary and introduced by the University of Sydney's Vice-Chancellor Gavin Brown. It was co-presented with the Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance at Griffith University.
Coming up: Israeli academic, author (The Road Map to Nowhere - Israel/Palestine since 2003 ) and outspoken critic of Israel's handling of the Palestinian conflict is the next Sydney Ideas lecturer. Her lecture, "Open air prisons - The Israeli occupation of Palestine", will be given on Monday, 9 October at 6.30pm, at the Seymour Theatre Centre.
View the full program of Sydney Ideas, the University of Sydney's international public lecture series.
For media enquires contact Katrina O'Brien on (02) 9036 7842 or firstname.lastname@example.org.