The Labor Party and the Liberal Party have conflicting policies over the need to maintain a separation between religion and politics, according to research conducted by the Rationalist Society of Australia (RSA).
Drawing on published policies, actual practices and public statements by party leaders, the RSA assessed 10 political parties against its 10 point plan for a secular Australia.
Overall, Labor was graded B and the Liberals C. But both Labor and Liberal got an F (fail) in regard to their commitment to separation between religion and the state. This suggests, at best, a state of confusion within the major parties about the implications of a genuinely secular state. More likely, it’s simple political pragmatism.
Labor scored a bare C- for its attitude to countering the privileges sought by religious institutions, while the Liberals failed in this respect.
One thing both parties were strongly united on however was the notion of ‘one law for all’, recognising the pre-eminence of Australian law over religious law such as sharia.
Unsurprisingly the Secular Party got an overall A, as did the Greens and the Sex Party.
“The fact these parties get such different ratings shows just how confused they really are about what being a secular state really means” says RSA President Dr Meredith Doig.
Key to the scores
|B||Occasionally positive. Party may allow a conscience vote, with the assumption that most would support a positive position.|
|C||Mixed positive and negative. Actual position uncertain if the party were in power.|
|F||Consistently negative or hostile.|
|??||Not enough information to make a judgement.|
|ALP||Liberal Party||National Party||Aust. Greens||DLP||Family First||Secular Party||Sex Party||Liberal Dem. Party||Shooters & Fishers|
|1. Overall grade||B||C||C||A||F||F||A||A||B-||??|
|2. Separation between religion & the state||F||F||F||A||F||F||A||A||??||??|
|3. One law for all||A||A||A||A-||A||C-||A||A||A||??|
|4. Special treatment for religious organisations||C-||F||C-||A||F||F||A||A||A||??|
|5. Protection of children||C-||C-||??||A||F||??||A||??||??||??|
|6. Secular education||C||C-||C-||A||F||F||A||A||C-||C|
|7. Sex and sexuality||B||F||F||A||F||F||A||A||A||??|
|8. Reproductive choices||A-||B||C-||A||F||F||A||A||B||??|
|10. Dying with dignity||C-||C-||F||A||F||F||A||A||A||F|