Press Release 502




25 January 2013


Senator Doug Cameron says Government should enshrine Separation of Church and State:


Someone please tell him it was enshrined in Section 116 of the Australian Constitution  and the majority judges in the high court turned it upside down in 1981 - Justice Lionel Murphy in dissent. 


The current debate over the Federal Government’s proposed anti-discrimination legislation has thrown into relief  the inevitable result of entanglement between religion and the state.

The draft Human Rights and Anti-discrimination Bill is currently being examined by a Senate inquiry and some church leaders claim that the Prime Minister had assured that that she has no intention of limiting religious freedom –code for their freedom to discriminate on the basis of religion and lifestyle.


But Senator Doug Cameron claimed that :


  1. The Government should ‘enshrine the separation of church and state’.  
  2. The issue should be discussed within the Caucus of the Labor Party.
  3. It’s better for the Labor Party to say that they stand up for all Australians’ rights

See Missed opportunity' to separate church and state’ The Age, January 17, 2013 and interview with Doug Cameron on the ABC at

Somebody should inform Senator Cameron and those concerned at the discrimination and inequalities that accompany the entanglement of religious organisations with the State that:   Australia had separation of religion and the state -  it and we lost it in 1981. That is why we are now in trouble on the education, political, legal and discrimination front.  

Our forefathers tried to prevent this by ‘enshrining’ the principle of separation of  religion and the state in Section 116 of the Australian Constitution. To find out about the fate of Section 116, read about the DOGS High Court case on this website.

To find out about Justice Murphy’s dissenting judgement – Read the draft of this book on this website called ‘Contempt of Court, ‘or buy this completed book from Arena Publishers, 2 Kerr St, Fitzroy, 3065; Enquiries: Phone: 61 (03) 9 4160232


It should be noted that other Senators beside Doug Cameron indicated concern at the relationship between the religious lobby and the government. The Age article noted that:

Senator Pratt, who is a lesbian and has long history of advocating for gay and lesbian law reform, said she expected the issues would be ''actively debated'' during the public hearings.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who also sits on the Senate committee, said it was disappointing that the Prime Minister was "again following the line that Jim Wallace and the Australian Christian Lobby want her to follow''.

Senator Hanson-Young added that it was not just Mr Wallace but ALP factions and factional powerbrokers, such as Joe de Bruyn – head of the powerful Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association, and a conservative Catholic – who were influencing Ms Gillard's position.