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Faith in Politics

Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd are two of the most overtly devout leaders in recent political history. Julia Gillard is firmly atheist. So how do the religious beliefs of our leaders influence their work? Is it possible to separate faith and politics? And does it matter?

Australia is a secular democracy, but the beliefs of our politicians sometimes conflict with party policies. Tony Abbott has said he has never made a political decision based on religious grounds, but his Catholicism informs much of his thinking. How do politicians resolve these tensions? And how have our political, social and religious institutions evolved over time?

Fifth Estate host Sally Warhaft is joined by World Vision CEO and former Baptist minister Tim Costello, and former deputy prime minister and Australia’s first Rome-based Ambassador to the Holy See Tim Fischer, to discuss Christianity and religion in modern Australia, and to ask just how closely religion and politics are intertwined.

Who?

Portrait of Tim Fischer

Tim Fischer

Tim Fischer is a former NSW and Federal politician who, since retiring from politics, has served as Chair Tourism Australia and Australian Ambassador to the Holy See. He is the author of several books.

Portrait of Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer and the host of the Wheeler Centre’s live journalism series, the Fifth Estate, now in its sixth year. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.

Portrait of Tim Costello

Tim Costello

Tim Costello is one of Australia’s most sought after voices on issues of social justice, leadership and ethics. Since 2004, Tim has been CEO of World Vision – Australia’s largest international development agency.

The Fifth Estate

Our long-running current affairs series, The Fifth Estate, is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre programme. With our in-house news anchor Sally Warhaft at the helm, it's a series of in-depth conversations with guests from the world of politics, culture, journalism and international relations. It's free, it's fortnightly and it's rigorous long-form interviewing at its best.

Guests are announced in the weeks prior to events, so keep an eye on our website (or the Wheeler Weekly newsletter) for updates. Subscribe to the popular Fifth Estate podcast – or book a (free) ticket – for expert analysis on today's key debates.

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