Politics

The Guy Who Made Marriage Equality Illegal Will Lead A Review Of Religious Freedoms

Sounds balanced and neutral.

Well, our government has just appointed Howard-era Attorney General Philip Ruddock to lead a review of Australia’s legal protections for religious freedoms. You know, Philip Ruddock, current Mayor of Hornsby Shire Council, and the guy who made marriage equality illegal in the first place.

A refresher: in 2004 Ruddock was the bloke — the Attorney-General, in fact — who introduced amendments to the Marriage Act that explicitly defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. He’s also tried to suggest things like removing marriage entirely and just giving everyone civil unions instead of allowing LGBTQI+ people to marry. Sure, he spewed rainbows on Snapchat one time, but don’t let that distract you from his terrible record on LGBTQI+ (and asylum seeker) rights.

The government is insisting that the review Ruddock will head up is not just about marriage equality — rather, it says concerns about religious freedoms go well beyond the marriage bill. There’s is no doubt that the review was largely inspired by the postal survey, however, and Treasurer Scott Morrison made clear this morning that he thinks the review will reassure the “4.9 million Australians who had a different view”, (ie, voted No). The review will involve consultation with members of religious groups, and will report back to Parliament by March next year.

On Today this morning, Ruddock himself helpfully listed some of the religions he can remember as evidence that he’s qualified for the job.

“I certainly know a lot of the Christian leadership, I know many in the Islamic community, I’m very much focused on the Hindus and the Buddhists and I know most of the people who are involved in those religions as well,” he said, which seems doubtful when you consider that there are more than 400,000 Hindus in Australia alone.

He also responded to a question about whether he’ll be independent with “I will be doing it as Philip Ruddock”, which we’re guessing is a firm no. After all, Philip Ruddock is this guy: patently terrible towards asylum seekers and LGBTQI+ Australians, and definitely not a neutral party.

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Feature image via Philip Ruddock on Twitter.