Influencing public policy
Prof Frank Brennan
Fr Frank Brennan’s address opening the Yarra Institute conference, Key challenges & responsibilities of the churches in the current social & cultural context, examined a range of Christian responses to political and social issues, including religious freedom in light of the abortion controversy, non-discrimination and religious vilification, human rights in a modern democracy, and a place for Sharia law in Australia.
He also considered the debate over same-sex marriage, arguing that he supported civil unions. However, he wanted any legislation on same-sex marriage to be decided not by States or Territories, but by a conscience vote in the Commonwealth parliament.
On the issues of asylum seekers and border protection, he said many people were deeply troubled by the way our governments have handled the problem, and were torn between principled opposition and how to find practical solutions, between ideals and what could be achieved realistically in current circumstances.