On Harmony Day in April 2018 the Commission hosted a panel discussion on the contentious topic - Has political correctness gone mad at the State Library Lecture Theatre.
About 100 guests came to listen to four well credentialed panellists:
- The former President of the Australian Human Rights Commissioner Professor Gillian Triggs
- Federal MP Dr Anne Aly
- Political Commentator Dr Peter van Onselen; and,
- Pastor and former MLA Mr Peter Abetz.
Acting Commissioner John Byrne said despite their differing views, the panellists all agreed the human right to practise religion needed proper protection.
“Religion has, in the past, been a divisive subject but the panellists recognised people should be entitled to peacefully practise their religious beliefs and not be discriminated against because of their religious convictions,” he said.
Dr van Onselen said results of the recent same sex marriage vote were emblematic that those who once held majority beliefs in society were now becoming a minority.
He said it was important the new majority who embraced one-time minority groups didn’t shift from a view they once held.
“As conservatives become the minority there may be an attitude that because they ruled the roost for such a long time it’s payback time.
“That’s not a good attitude, and I hope we don’t see too much of it,” he said.
Professor Triggs also said religious freedoms needed to be considered now the same sex marriage vote was done.
“I think the constant repetition of the phrase ‘political correctness’ is avoiding the key issue which is how do we genuinely protect the right to freedom of religion or any other right,” she said.