Religious Freedom and the Rule of Judges

Religious Freedom and the Rule of Judges, by Tony Abbott.

It was the intention of the Turnbull government and it’s now the intention of the Morrison government to maintain and protect religious freedom. …

The question, of course, is how is that best done? And obviously, what we shouldn’t be doing … is enshrining a general right to freedom of religion.

Because a general right, unlike specific practical protections, will end up not being what the parliament intends it to be. But it will end up being what judges say it is.

It is in the nature of general rights that they have to be interpreted and, in practice, the law in such cases ends up being what the judges say it is.

You give the judges enough scope and they go from being interpreters of the law to being, in effect, makers of the law. This is a real problem, given that judges are not accountable in the way that lawmakers normally are. Under these circumstances, the rule of law can easily become the rule of judges and we can easily find ourselves living not in a democracy so much as in a judge-ocracy. …

Equality of opportunity and meritocracy is being eclipsed by equality of outcome and group politics:

Dr Gabriel Moens … went on to say that affirmative action “is in danger of becoming a racket: the only real beneficiaries of affirmative action may turn out to be women, and upwardly mobile middle-class women at that, and a man who wants to deal with this issue is treated as a trespasser, he might have ideas incompatible with those of the feminist groups.”

hat-tip Augusto, Stephen Neil