Former immigration minister Philip Ruddock has been asked by the Turnbull government to assess Australia’s religious protection laws.
Mr 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.
“The impending legislation of same-sex marriage has seen a variety of proposals for legislative reform to protect freedom of religion,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Many of these proposals go beyond the immediate issue of marriage.”
Mr Turnbull warned any reforms to protect religious freedoms should be “undertaken carefully” and warned there was a “high risk of unintended consequences” when legislating rights.
“The Government is particularly concerned to prevent uncertainties caused by generally worded Bill of Rights-style declarations,” the statement said.
The expert panel will include the recently appointed President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM, Annabelle Bennett AO SC and Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO.
Mr Ruddock has been asked to deliver the findings to the government by the end of March.