Evidence of Absence in the Ruddock Report

Patrick, Jeremy ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2032-9543 (2019) Evidence of Absence in the Ruddock Report. Australian Law Journal, 93 (9). pp. 747-751. ISSN 0004-9611


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.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 37407
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Law and Justice (1 Jul 2013 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Heritage and Culture (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2020 22:49
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2022 05:00
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ruddock, Freedom of Religion, Religious Freedom
Fields of Research (2008): 18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180108 Constitutional Law
Fields of Research (2020): 48 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 4807 Public law > 480702 Constitutional law
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/37407

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only