Religious round table to examine Australia's faith freedom

A RELIGIOUS "roundtable" will be formed to establish how to best advance religious freedom in Australia.

Freedom of expression and religion, as well as access to housing are among the human rights challenges facing Australia Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson said after he released his key priorities to work on.

Mr Wilson said he had attended numerous public meetings to see what issues "everyday people" were concerned with.

"After seeking the views of everyday Australians on the human rights issues that matter to them, I have identified five key priorities for future work: freedom of expression, religious freedom, property rights, freedom from arbitrary detention and human rights education," he said.

"The role of the Human Rights Commissioner is to bring together individuals and groups to advance human rights causes and to prompt conversations that wouldn't otherwise occur.

"Through the consultation process, I actively engaged with communities in suburban, regional, remote and rural areas," Commissioner Wilson said.

"I listened to the concerns of around 1,100 people at public events and meetings. I asked these everyday people what issues mattered to them and how well their rights and freedoms were protected."

Mr Wilson said the commission will look for potential reforms to laws restricting freedom of expression and form a committee of difference faiths to "facilitate how to advance religious freedom in Australia".

Similarly Mr Wilson said a high-level forum would be formed with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner to find reforms removing legal and regulatory barriers facing native title holders seeking economic development.

Work will also be undertaken to examine right to affordable housing, freedom from arbitrary detention for people with mental health issues and "develop educational resources" for the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta in June.


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