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Former minister to advise PM on religious freedom

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Former immigration minister Philip Ruddock has been asked by the Turnbull government to assess Australia’s religious protection laws.

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Ruddock, who was recently Australia’s Special Envoy for Human Rights, and a panel will look into whether Australian law adequately protects the human right to religious freedom.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants their findings by the end of March.

Treasurer Scott Morrison strongly welcomed the review, noting the four million people who voted against same-sex marriage in the postal survey.

“I think there are many more Australians who would want to be confident that Australia’s religious freedoms as expressed in our law are satisfactory in today’s environment,” he told reporters in Canberra.

But he insisted the review was separate from same-sex marriage legislation now before the Senate.

The Treasurer wants to see parental rights protected for the teaching of children in schools, and no organisation or person who supports traditional marriage penalised for their views.

“I don’t think any of those things open up the door to sharia law (or) religious extremism,” Morrison said.

“I think they’re sensible things that I would be encouraging my colleagues in the parliament to support.”

– AAP

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