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Is religion ever more important than democracy? Questions about rules


Event Status

Many secular nations – Australia included – bear constitutions, laws, moral codes and political rituals that defer to a higher power (and we don’t mean the Queen). At the same time, key social institutions such as hospitals and schools are often operated by religious groups. The federal government – through both sides of politics – has funded school chaplains since 2006.

When, for example, the majority of Australia’s palliative care system is run by the Catholic church … how does that affect state policy and practise? Should faith-based operators be allowed to make moral choices about the services they’re willing to provide? How real is the separation of church and state in contemporary Australia?

Artist Abdul Abdullah, moral philosopher Raimond Gaita and GQ Thailand editor in chief Voranai Vanijaka will speak with broadcaster and host Tom Elliott about religion’s influence on democracy (and whether it goes both ways), the moral leadership we expect from politicians, and how society negotiates spiritual and moral discord.

Tickets to this event are available at the door. Arrive at least twenty minutes prior to the event to purchase.

Note to early bookers: if you booked tickets to this event prior to Thursday 19 November, some details may have changed. Please check for details.



Raimond Gaita

Raimond Gaita has published widely to academic and non- academic audiences. In 2009, the University of Antwerp awarded Gaita the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa ‘for his exceptional contribution to contemporary moral philosophy and for his singular contribution to the role of the intellectual in to... Read more

Abdul Abdullah

Abdul Abdullah is an artist from Perth, currently based in Sydney, who works across painting, photography, video, installation and performance. As a self described ‘outsider amongst outsiders’, his practice is primarily concerned with the experience of the ‘other’ in society. Abdullah’s pr... Read more

Voranai Vanijaka

Voranai Vanijaka is the editor in chief of GQ Thailand. He teaches political communication and intercultural communication at Thammasat University. From 2008 to May 2014, he was a political commentator with the Bangkok Post newspaper.  He teaches political communication and inte... Read more

Tom Elliott

Tom Elliott is the host of 3AW’s Drive program. He is also a director of Melbourne-based wealth management firm Beulah Capital. Tom writes a weekly opinion column for Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper and appears regularly on the Nine Network’s Today and A... Read more


Collins Street Baptist Church

174 Collins Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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