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AT2: REPORT AND LITERATURE REVIEW: You are a researcher working for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in Australia.  The PMC has requested you to prepare a short 2000-word report on issues pertaining to conflicting rights claims of religious freedom and sexuality equality, considering the recent national debate on the Religious Discrimination Bill in Australia. Your report must draw on existing research, data, and public opinion. It is what we call a review of literature/literature review, so your task is to read and summarise existing debates, research findings, academic theories, and policy documents on your topic.  Begin with a short 200-word introduction outlining why this issue is currently of importance to the PMC and what you will cover in your report.  The body of the report should include 4-6 subheadings and you must cite at least four academic sources and at least four reports and/or websites with relevant data on this subject. You should refer to at least two of our weekly readings and then search for additional material in the library and/or a database and online. You must end the report with a 200–300-word conclusion, summarising your main points, and including a list of recommendations of how the government should proceed. There is no need to include an Executive Summary, given the report is only 2000 words.   While this is a government report and not a Religious Studies essay, you must still cite all sources accurately using the Harvard (select Harvard from options provided) referencing system.   Useful instructions on how to quote, paraphrase and cite material accurately can be found in the Deakin online study guides on report writing, academic skills and referencing. NOTES: 1) Recommend that you cite some of the Week 1-3 set readings, given they form the theoretical foundations for the rest of the Unit, but you may also certainly cite later readings that refer to relevant theories – once again it is about striking the right balance. We want to make sure that students can demonstrate they have undertaken the set key readings and understand the main concepts and theories, but that you have also undertaken your own research of relevant scholarly sources as well as other material to illustrate your arguments 2) Reports prepared by academics typically begin with a review of literature – we review and analyse the material that has already been published on a topic. So, your Assessment 2 Report, is both a report and a literature review, that will refer to Module 1 theories as well as already published Module 4 data. HOW TO WRITE REPORT: https://www.deakin.edu.au/students/studying/study-support/academic-skills/report-writing HOW TO WRITE LITERATURE REVIEW: https://www.deakin.edu.au/students/studying/study-support/academic-skills/literature-review IMPORTANT MATERIAL LINKS FROM MODULE 1: (Previously used in AT1) https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/2011-freedom-religion-and-belief-21st-century-australia https://theconversation.com/australia-has-finally-achieved-marriage-equality-but-theres-a-lot-more-to-be-done-on-lgbti-rights-88488 https://www-smh-com-au.ezproxy-f.deakin.edu.au/politics/federal/fairfax-ipsos-poll-huge-majority-of-australians-oppose-laws-banning-gay-students-and-teachers-20181014-p509kv.html https://theconversation.com/theres-no-argument-or-support-for-allowing-schools-to-discriminate-against-lgbtiq-teachers-104765
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ARTICLE John Stuart Mill’s Harm Principle and Free Speech: Expanding the Notion of Harm Melina Constantine Bell Washington and Lee University Email:[email protected] Abstract This article advocates employing John Stuart Mill’s harm principle to set the boundary for unregulatedfreespeech, and his Greatest Happiness Principle to regulate speech outside that boundary because it threatens unconsented-to harm. Supplementing the harm principle with an offense principle is unnecessary and undesirable if our conception of harm integrates recent empirical evidence unavailable to Mill. For example, current research uncovers the tangible harms individuals suffer directly from bigoted speech, as well as the indirect harms generated by the systemic oppression and epistemic injustice that bigoted speech constructs and reinforces. Using Mill’s ethical framework with an updated notion of harm, we can conclude that social coercion is not justified to restrict any harmless speech,no matter how offensive. Yet certain forms of speech, such asbigoted insults,are both harmfulandfail to express a genuine opinion, and so do not deserve free speech protection. In 1994 Stanford University sought to prohibit on campus, as discriminatory harass- ment:“personal vilification of [individuals] on the basis of their sex, race, color, handi- cap, religion, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin.”Under this policy, speech would be regarded as personal vilification only if it met each of these criteria: (1)“is intended to insult or stigmatize an individual or small group of individuals on the basis of”one of the listed categories; (2)“is addressed directly to the individual or individuals whom it insults or stigmatizes”; and (3)“makes use of insulting or‘fighting words’or nonverbal symbols,”which“‘tend to incite to an immediate breach of the peace,’and which are commonly understood to convey direct and visceral hatred or contempt for human beings on the basis of”the listed categories. A California court struck down Stanford’s policy on grounds that it violated students’free speech rights. The American Civil Liberties Union articulates the usual concern with speech policies: How much we value the right of free speech is put to its severest test when the speaker is someone we disagree with most. Speech that deeply offends our morality © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unre- stricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Utilitas(2021),33, 162–179 doi:10.1017/S0953820820000229https://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820820000229 Published online by Cambridge University Press or is hostile to our way of life warrants the same constitutional protection as other speech because the right of free speech is indivisible: When we grant the govern- ment the power to suppress controversial ideas, we are all subject to censorship by the state. Since its founding in 1920, the ACLU has fought for the free expression of all ideas, popular or unpopular. Where racist, misogynist, homophobic, and transphobic speech is concerned, the ACLU believes that more speech–not less– is the answer most consistent with our constitutional values. 1 That is the civil liberties side of it. But the civil rights side, advocated by Richard Delgado, Mari Matsuda, Charles Lawrence III, Kimberlè Crenshaw and others, takes a different view. For them, absence of government speech regulation grants private parties with the most social capital expansive freedom to express themselves. The powerful are free to speak, and also free to silence the vulnerable by intimidating them, and by reinforcing inaccurate stereotypes that undermine their credibility. Thus, even if those belonging to historically stigmatized groups attempt to speak (which may require them to risk an important social alliance, a job, or even their personal safety), they may end up with no audience or with an audience that sharply discounts their testimony. Moreover, the dom- inant may engage in expression that causes psychological harm through overt intimidation and/or targeted insults that function as verbal assaults. Harm to physical and mental health occurs when stress levels are perpetually elevated by living in a constant state of hyper-vigilance. 2Concrete, measurable financial disadvantages can accrue as a result of intentional and inadvertent discrimination. Forms of expression, including media por- trayals, bigoted humor, and verbal reinforcement of stereotypes in daily conversation, con- tribute to biased attitudes and a hostile environment for historically stigmatized groups. How might a society or institution safeguard the free exchange of ideas, for the sake of discovering truth and fostering individual freedom, while simultaneously ensuring the equitable distribution of testimonial credibility, opportunities for free expression, and protection from unjustified harm? In this article, I propose a principled framework for striking the right balance among these important competing claims. The centerpiece of this framework is nineteenth-century English philosopher John Stuart Mill’sharm principle, which rules out regulation of speech based on its offensiveness to particular persons, regardless of the number offended. The harm principle checks majorities who, regarding a view as distasteful or false, would otherwise have the authority to sup- press it. It also provides society with an effective means of preventing powerful private parties from harming vulnerable ones, even when their chosen weapon is verbal expres- sion. Mill himself might have favored the civil liberties paradigm because he did not have the benefit of modern scientific knowledge about forms of tangible psychological harm, mechanisms for transmitting cultural norms, implicit bias, structural discrimin- ation, etc. Coupled with a more expansive, modern conception of harm, the principle can provide a valuable resource for separating the speech that should be addressed with more speech from the speech acts that unjustifiably harm others and should be discouraged or sometimes even coercively restrained. Even as prominent and resolute a free speech advocate as Mill could recognize this, within his ethical framework, given currently available facts. 1ACLU, Speech on Campus [accessed 1 June 2020].2LaBarron K. Hill and others, Ethnic Differences in Resting Heart Rate Variability: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,Psychosomatic Medicine77.1 (2015), 16–25 ( pp. 8–9). Utilitas163https://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820820000229 Published online by Cambridge University Press My basic argument is that we should use Mill’s harm principle to set the boundary for unregulatedfreespeech, and Mill’s Greatest Happiness Principle (GHP) to regulate speech that threatens unconsented-to harm. Speech should be regulated to minimize such harm, ensuring that the regulation itself does not cause greater harm than it prevents, and that the interests of all persons are treated with equal concern. Using these principles, I hope to show that (1) harmless speech–no matter how offensive it may be–should not be sup- pressed coercively; but (2) certain forms of speech–such asbigoted insults, which fall into a category of what is sometimes called‘assaultive speech’–are harmful and fail to express agenuineopinionorviewpoint, and so do not deserve free speech protection. In Part I, I provide an account of how Mill envisioned his harm principle safeguard- ing free discussion, using Joel Feinberg’s influential account of the distinction between harm and offense. In Part II, I consider arguments and evidence that demonstrate the need to broaden the concept of harm beyond Mill’s understanding of it. In Part III, I use the harm principle thus expanded and the GHP to explain why the rationale for free speech does not justify protection of bigoted insults, even though it justifies protecting the content of offensive opinions and viewpoints that may accurately be categorized as bigoted. I conclude that it is not morally justifiable to use coercive means (including formal legal sanctions and the informal social sanction ofmoral disapprobation)to attempt to silence or restrain merely offensive speech, although some harmful speech that has gone unregulated can, with moral justification, be subject to social regulation. I focus on bigoted insults as an example of harmful speech that has been protected without justification. Using the Millian framework I propose, society is likely justified in restricting other forms of harmful speech that it now accepts, defends, and protects. I. Mill’s harm principle and free speech Recognizing the possibility oftyranny of the majoritywithin a democracy, especially considering how strongly people tend to believe that their own views are correct, Mill wrote his influential essayOn Libertyto articulate and defend theharm principle: That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. 3 As Mill explains, the harm principle is a jurisdictional principle that sets a boundary for social coercion, whether it takes the form of law or informal social sanctions. 4 Mill is a proponent of liberalism, a political philosophy that entails a presumption in favor of individual liberty, and requires that any limitation of liberty be justified by a liberty-limiting principle. A liberty-limiting principle identifies a prima facie reason to justify social coercion, and justifies that coercion in the absence of stronger countervailing reasons. 5For Mill, the GHP and the harm principle are the only 3Mill,On Liberty,CWXVIII, pp. 223–24. Citations of Mill marked by‘CWvolume number, page num- ber’refer to theCollected Works of John Stuart Mill, ed. John M. Robson, 323 vols (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963–91). 4Ibid., pp. 224–25.5Joel Feinberg,The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law, 4 vols (Oxford University Press, 1984), I, pp. 9–10. Mill, unlike Feinberg, would have to regard the GHP as a liberty-limiting principle because promoting 164 Melina Constantine Bellhttps://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820820000229 Published online by Cambridge University Press acceptable liberty-limiting principles. Unless a person’s conduct causes a definite risk of harm to other persons, who either do not consent to the risk or who lack the capacity to consent, that conduct is outside society’s jurisdiction. All coercive social paternalism aimed at competent adults is foreclosed. Additionally, coercive social regulation of con- duct that merely offends (without harming) others is unjustified. Bysocial coercion, I mean to include both legal penalties and moral disapprobation. In both cases, social force or power is aimed at an individual to cause them to change their behavior in order to avoid the pain of social disapproval and/or exclusion. This is to be contrasted with educating someone, 6remonstrating with them, 7and helpfully alerting them to possible consequences. 8The latter activities appeal to a person’s reason and autonomy: they aim to convince a person of a view or equip them with useful infor- mation they can use to make their own decision. Social coercion, as I use it, motivates someone to act differently than they would in its absence to avoid pain, rather than because they recognize reasons to act differently and choose to alter their course. Because the harm principle places within society’s jurisdiction to regulate only those actions that pose a significant risk of harm to individuals other than the competent actor, a clear distinction between conduct that is harmful and conduct that is disagree- able, though harmless, is critical. InThe Moral Limits of the Criminal Law, Joel Feinberg attempts to draw this distinction, first setting aside the sense of‘harm’that means any sort of damage to any object; this is not the relevant sense for Feinberg, Mill, or me. The harm that concerns us is that which constitutes“a setback to the inter- ests”of a person.Interestsare a person’s stake in certain matters, such that their life goes better or worse depending on how these matters develop. Feinberg illustrates this with some examples: a person has an interest in the advancement of their career, the pres- ervation of their property, the economic and social conditions of their country, and the well-being of family and people they love. But the most ardent fan of a baseball team is not harmed by loss of even the most important game. Disappointments of this sort do not set back a person’s interests. Experiences of temporary discomfort or pain– “unhappy mental states”–do not (as such) set back interests. If they pass and leave a person as they were, whole and undamaged, their interests were not set back. 9 Feinberg further clarifies the distinction:“[A]n affront or an insult normally causes a momentary sting; we wince, suffer a pang or two, then get on with our work, unharmed and whole. But if the experience is severe, prolonged, or constantly repeated, the mental suffering it causes may become obsessive and incapacitating, and therefore harmful.” 10 In my view, when Mill refers to‘harm’he has in mind a broader concept than Feinberg, who refers exclusively to setbacks caused by one person violating another’s rights. 11For Mill, legal sanctions are only justified to safeguard rights. But for violations of imperfect duties, which lack correlative rights, moral disapprobation may be justified. As a form of social coercion, however, it is justified only to counter a substantial risk of aggregate happiness is a prima facie reason to justify social coercion (even when the harm principle pro- vides a stronger reason not to do so). 6Mill,On Liberty,CWXVIII, p. 282.7Ibid., p. 224.8Ibid., p. 277.9Feinberg, I, pp. 31–44.10Ibid., pp. 45–46.11That Mill and Feinberg have different notions of harm should not be surprising, given their different purposes: for Mill, to protect a personal zone of social non-interference; for Feinberg, to determine when criminalpunishment is justifiable. Utilitas165https://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820820000229 Published online by Cambridge University Press harm to nonconsenting others. 12Because sometimes social coercion is justified though no rights are violated, there must be harm on Mill’s view even when there is no harm on Feinberg’s. While I find Feinberg’s account of harm too narrow, I find Piers Turner’s, which regards offense as a category of minor harm–where harm is any direct negative consequence for others–too broad. 13 I believe it is critically important to distinguish harm–a tangible, objectively verifiable setback to a person’s interests–from offense, which is a subjective reaction to an experience that can vary greatly among persons. I agree with Turner that intense feelings of offense can exceed the painfulness of some harms. For example, losing a dollar from your wallet without ever noticing that it is missing is a very minor setback to interests (harm), while public criticism of your parenting skills is undoubtedly more painful (offense). Turner appears to equate offense with emotional distress, which I would resist. For me, offense is what Feinberg calls“unhappy mental states”: temporarily unpleasant, but not causing sus- tained damage to well-being interests. To know a person is offended, one must know about the person’s subjective state: a person cannot be mistaken about whether they are offended. A personcanbe mistaken about whether they are harmed, or unaware of the harm ( for example, when a disease caused by environmental pollution or drug side effects has yet to manifest symptoms). But harm is objectively verifiable with access to the relevant situational information. Pain or distress, though a mental state, can cause or constitute objective harm if it is severe, prolonged, and/or repeated. Chronic head- aches and post-traumatic stress, for instance, can interfere with normal functioning. So the offense–harm distinction, in my view, is not determined by the intensity of dis- comfort a person suffers, but by whether it is (or becomes) grounded in an objective state of the person, rather thansolelyresiding in a temporary subjective state of the per- son. To take seriously Mill’s concern about protecting minorities from tyranny of the majority, we should categorically reject the possibility of justifying coercion solely to accommodate the sensibilities of those who happen to constitute a majority at a particu- lar time. For that reason, I distinguish offense from harm, and reject using an offense principle as a liberty-limiting principle. 14 Significant wrongful threats to personal safety, bodily and mental health, means of earning a living or securing a place to live, or to the legal rights that safeguard a person’s key liberties and opportunities are clearly types of harm. Society is authorized to use coercive force to protect nonconsenting people from these threats to the extent the coer- cion will not cause a greater harm or threat of harm to individuals in society than the harm whose prevention is sought. This Millian liberal position is to be contrasted sharply with the principle of legal moralism, 15which regards limitations on individual liberty as justified to protect the majority’s sensibilities or moral judgments. InOn Liberty, this contrasting position is represented by a temperance movement that claims the government is obligated to prohibit liquor sales to protect their“social right”to be free of drunken misbehavior. Mill denounces this theory of social rights, which 12Mill,On Liberty,CWXVIII, p. 276.13Piers Norris Turner,‘Harm’and Mill’s Harm Principle,Ethics124.2 (2014), 299–326. Turner argues that Mill simply intended for his harm principle to be a bulwark against social paternalism. 14Feinberg, II, p. x. Feinberg defines‘offense’as an objective state of the person because his notion of it limits its causes to moral wrongs and its mental states to“a universally disliked kind”(II, p. 2). I find this account problematic in ways that go beyond the scope of this article. 15Feinberg also rejects legal moralism as illiberal (IV, p. x). 166 Melina Constantine Bellhttps://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820820000229 Published online by Cambridge University Press authorizes coercive regulation to force people to behave as the majority believes they ought, as a“monstrous principle”that effectively nullifies individual liberty. 16 Such a principle gives people too little control over their own behavior and lives, and too much control over others’. Agreeing with Mill on this point, I endorse Mill’s version of liberalism, with the harm principle as the only liberty-limiting principle besides the moral criterion itself ( for Mill, the GHP). I believe the harm principle is judged insufficient, when it is, because the scope of harm–understood as setbacks to object- ively identifiable interests–is drawn in a biased way to exclude important instances. For Mill, the harm principle is derived from his GHP 17and serves as a corollary to it. 18It is subordinate to the GHP in the sense that its function is to provide a safer route to maximal aggregate happiness by bypassing, in cases of self-regarding or harmless conduct, separate case-by-case calculations to determine whether social restraint of individual liberty is justified. As with the Nautical Almanac, 19we are relieved from per- forming numerous calculations and multiplying opportunities to make mistakes. Mill apparently judges that a blanket rule prohibiting social interference in cases of self- regarding and harmless conduct produces greater aggregate happiness than the rule that we perform the utility calculation in each individual case. But even though an action that harms othersiswithin society’s jurisdiction to regulate coercively, such regu- lation should occur only to the degree that it maximizes aggregate happiness. So in making decisions about whether to adopt speech-restrictive policies, first we should determine that the behavior under considerationdoespose a risk of harm to others and therefore falls within society’s jurisdiction. Only if the behavior falls within society’s jurisdiction may utilitarian calculations take place to determine whether the benefits of regulating the conduct outweigh the harm of doing so. We should implement the policy if and only if the behavior is within society’s jurisdictionandthe policy’s aggregate ben- efits outweigh its aggregate harms. Consequently, when blameless conduct poses a risk of harm, it seems unlikely that aggregate utility could be served better by social coercion than by less intrusive means. Social coercion is intrinsically painful to the person(s) coerced, and will only be justified wherenecessaryto prevent greater harm to others. Harm that is not intended cannot be deterred by punishment or force more effectively than through education or other social supports, and deterrence would be counterpro- ductive with respect to harm that is an unavoidable byproduct of a socially useful activ- ity benefitting all. 20 In light of Mill’s harm principle, consider Mill’s emphatic defense of free expression and discussion inOn Liberty.Mill acknowledges two important roles free expression plays in human happiness: an individual or private role, and a social or public role. Free expression (including participation in discussion) has what I will callprivate valuebecause it enables individuals to gain knowledge, develop their capacities, and express their individual personalities. 21 Free expression has what I will callpublic valuebecause, especially in discussion of opinions, it contributes to the accumulation 16Mill,On Liberty,CWXVIII, p. 288.17“[A]ctions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness”for all persons considered collectively. Mill,Utilitarianism,CWX, p. 210. 18“I regard utility as the ultimate appeal on all ethical questions: but it must be utility in the largest sense, grounded on the permanent interests of man as a progressive being.”Mill,On Liberty,CWXVIII, p. 224. 19Mill,Utilitarianism,CWX, p. 225.20Mill,On Liberty,CWXVIII, pp. 292–93.21Christopher Macleod seems correct to assign Mill’s defense of freedom of discussion toOn Liberty Chapter II, and his defense of expressing one’s personality to Chapter III. Macleod, Mill on the Liberty Utilitas167https://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820820000229 Published online by Cambridge University Press of collective knowledge and to social progress. Free discussion is of both private and public value as a check on government power. 22Individuals privately experience restric- tions on these activities as intrinsically painful, so there must be powerful countervail- ing reasons for them. For Mill, freedom is an“essential”of human well-being, so freedom of opinionand its expressionare necessary components of individual well- being. 23 However, security is also essential to human well-being. 24 So when expressive actions risk harm to others and are within society’s jurisdiction to regulate, there seems to be nogeneral answeras to whether private utility will be maximized by permitting these expressive actions or restraining them to some degree. Decisions about whether to regulate particular forms of potentially harmful expression must be made case by case, after carefully weighing the utilities on each side. A pivotal consideration in many cases will be the public value of particular forms of speech. Mill cautions that silencing an opinion is not“simply a private injury,”but is identical with“robbing the human race”of resources vital to the pursuit of truth through discussion and expos- ure to new ideas. 25 Looking ahead to Part III, I will there consider how to balance conflicting private interests and the public interest using a hypothetical example. First, in Part II, I explain how bigoted expression and discrimination can set back a person’s interests in physical and mental health in concrete, measurable ways; and how members of marginalized groups with no opportunity to withhold consent to certain forms of bigoted speech might find their own capacity to speak and be heard greatly curtailed. Their work, hous- ing, personal safety and/or liberty might also be compromised. II. Expanding the notion of harm In this part, I want to highlight thegeneralpoint that because bigoted speech causes direct harm to individuals, and plays a central role in maintaining and perpetuating institutional oppression and injustice, it causes not merely subjective unpleasant mental states or offense, but also serious harms that usually remain unrecognized both in law and in public discussion. Even those who are not offended, or those who do not belong to the groups targeted by bigoted speech, can be harmed by it. Although I am not the first to make this argument, I wish to reiterate it in light of recent empirical evidence. My second, morespecificobjective, undertaken in Part III, will be to explore circum- stances in which bigoted speech might justifiably be prohibited because it is both harm- ful, andalsofails to communicate a viewpoint that serves as a basis for consideration or discussion. A. Tangible, concrete harms Members of historically marginalized social groups suffer tangible, concrete harms both directly from exposure to bigoted speech, and indirectly because of the hostile social environment, discrimination, and oppression that result. I will briefly describe of Thought and Discussion,The Oxford Handbook of the Freedom of Speech, ed. A. Stone and F. Schauer (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). 22Mill,On Liberty,CWXVIII, pp. 222–23.23Ibid., pp. 257–58.24Mill,Utilitarianism,CWX, pp. 250–51.25Mill,On Liberty,CWXVIII, pp. 228–29. 168 Melina Constantine Bellhttps://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820820000229 Published online by Cambridge University Press experiments identifying some of these harms to help convey their concrete and material nature and to demonstrate that they are not, in Feinberg’s words, mere“unhappy men- tal states.”Instead, they involve“experience [that] is severe, prolonged, or constantly repeated”such that“the mental suffering it causes may become [. . .] incapacitating, and therefore harmful.” 26 First, consider sexist humor, which can tangibly and directly harm women by elicit- ing depression, eating disorders, disruption of focused attention, appearance anxiety, and body shame. It can indirectly harm women by instigating discrimination. In one study, a group of female participants exposed to sexist comedy skits expressed a greater state of self-objectification compared to women exposed to neutral comedy skits, while male participants’ratings of self-objectification did not differ based on which skits they viewed. 27Other experiments found that women engaged in more body surveillance after watching sexist comedy clips compared to women who watched neutral comedy clips. 28 The skits were considered sexist if they reduced women to sex objects, depicted them as a caricature of traditional gender roles, or played on specific sexist stereotypes of infer- iority. Examples included a skit about“good wife school,”a man telling a woman “you’re an attractive waste of time”at this party“unless you want to sleep with me,” and a Daniel Tosh skit about women being able to do what men can do“except”a long catalog of tasks. 29 Women were notmerelyoffended by the humor ( finding it less funny than men according to ratings). More importantly, they had greater body surveillance, a kind of negative self-focus that can disrupt focused attention, usurping attentional resources and reducing performance on other cognitive tasks. In other research, women per- formed worse on math tests while wearing swimsuits, relative to a comparison group wearing sweaters. Their attention seems to have been divided between their appearance and the test. 30Lower performance can mean not getting the degree, the job, the raise, or the promotion. It can have concrete effects on mental health and material circumstances. Sexist humor has greater capacity to harm women than straightforward sexist state- ments. Humor places women’s“disadvantaged status in a more acceptable light and thus bypasses criticism and rejection.”Sexist jokes imply that it is acceptable to make demeaning statements about women aloud, reinforcing notions that it is culturally acceptable to regard women as unequal.“Humor cues people to suspend their usual critical or literal ways of responding to a message”and“creates the perception that its underlying message is socially acceptable.”Therefore, women who hear these jokes might internalize their messages and self-objectify rather than rejecting or criticiz- ing the jokes. Self-objectification, in turn, has been experimentally linked to depression, eating disorders, disruption of focused attention, appearance anxiety, and body shame. 31 Besides harming women directly, sexist humor can activate discrimination against women. One study asked men who expressed sexist attitudes (“sexist men”) to respond 26Feinberg, I, pp. 45–46.27Thomas E. Ford and others, Sexist Humor as a Trigger of State Self-objectification in Women,Humor 28 (2015), 253–69, at p. 259. 28Ibid., pp. 261–64.29Ibid., pp. 257–59.30Ibid., p. 265.31Ibid., pp. 255–65. Utilitas169https://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820820000229 Published online by Cambridge University Press to a vignette about a workplace interaction, and found that prior experimental“expos- ure to sexist jokes led to greater tolerance of the supervisor’s sexist behavior in compari- son to exposure to neutral jokes or comparable non-humorous sexist statements.” 32 Additionally, after watching sexist comedy skits, sexist men demonstrated significantly greater willingness to cut funding for a women’s organization, compared to other types of organizations. This was not true of sexist men who watched neutral comedy skits. 33 Mill recognizes that writing a newspaper opinion that corn merchants are starvers of the poor is an importantly different matter from shouting the same opinion to an angry mob gathered at the merchant’s business or home:“even opinions lose their immunity, when the circumstances in which they are expressed are such as to constitute their expression a positive instigation to some mischievous act.” 34As described above, experi- mental evidence suggests that expressing views such as“women only have value as wives or sexual partners”is significantly less likely to cause harm to women than expressions of comparable views using humor,which bypasses rational consideration, as does an incendiary statement to an angry mob. Jokes do not contribute to discussion as propositions with truth values do, 35 and therefore jokes have lower social value. So while opinions should be protected, the manner of expressing those opinions could be shaped to optimize their potential contributions to rational discussion while minim- izing their likelihood to harm socially vulnerable, disadvantaged, or oppressed people, whether the foreseeable harm is imminent or festering, caused simply or by aggregation of contributory causes. As we have seen, sexist humor can cause serious harm. Now consider how African Americans might be tangibly harmed by racist speech. A 2018 overview of recent psych- ology studies explores the relationship between discrimination and physical health in African Americans. 36The authors state explicitly that they focused on the link between discrimination and objective physical health outcomes because those are“more mech- anistically linked to disease and mortality than mental health and other self-reported outcomes.”On major indicators of health (coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke, HIV) African Americans do worse in the US than other ethnic groups, even controlling for socioeconomic status (SES), health behaviors, and access to care. Researchers believe this may be due todiscriminatory stressors. African-American men and women often experience different sorts of discrimination. For example, most often men experience racial profiling and mistreatment by police, and women experience interpersonal incivilities and wage discrimination. Black women have a stronger association between discrimination and health outcomes compared to Black men, perhaps due to intersec- tional discrimination (involving interactions between race and gender oppression). Regarding SES, at“least one study has found that the effects of discrimination on cor- tisol (a physiological marker of stress activation) were more harmful for African Americans with higher versus lower levels of education.”Low SES has, independently of race/ethnicity, been linked to worse health outcomes; for example, it is associated 32Julie A. Woodzicka and Thomas E. Ford, A Framework for Thinking about the (not-so-funny) Effects of Sexist Humor,Europe’s Journal of Psychology6.3 (2010), 174–95 ( p. 182). 33Ibid., p. 185.34Mill,On Liberty,CWXVIII, p. 260.35Christopher Macleod, Truth, Discussion, and Free Speech inOn LibertyII, in press.36Tené T. Lewis and Miriam E. Van Dyke, Discrimination and the Health of African Americans: The Potential Importance of Intersectionalities,Current Directions in Psychological Science27.3 (2018), 176– 82 ( p. 176). 170 Melina Constantine Bellhttps://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820820000229 Published online by Cambridge University Press with a“C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation linked to later disease.”Yet SES discrimination is associated“with higher levels of CRP among college-educated African Americans, but not among African Americans without a college degree or Whites at any level of education.”This appears to indicate that harmful stress activation in African Americans is not reducible to SES discrimination; racial discrimination itself can cause direct physical harm in the form of tangible adverse health outcomes. 37 The study’s authors define“discrimination”as“the unjust or prejudicial treatment of a person or group of people, particularly on the grounds of characteristics such as race, age, or gender,”and their examples involve discrimination in housing, policing, and medical care. 38 However, it would be surprising if racist jokes and insults, which fall within this broad definition of discrimination, failed to affect African Americans in similar ways, especially given the demonstrated connection between sexist humor and harm to women. Instances of racist or racially insensitive speech (such as microaggres- sions) are likely to be more pervasive and occur more regularly in a person’s life than the other forms of discrimination mentioned. And self-reported experiences of discrim- ination have already been linked to worse health outcomes across various groups mar- ginalized on the basis of their race, gender, SES, age, and/or sexual orientation. 39 B. Systemic oppression and epistemic injustice In the US, where free speech is stringently protected, the civil liberties view is most familiar: the proper response to speech that is erroneous, incomplete, bigoted, etc. is more speech, and government should not suppress speech or declare truth. The civil rights view, however, draws attention to oppressive social background conditions, which lead to starkly unequal social capital to be leveraged in the celebratedmarketplace of ideas. The civil rights view needs more emphasis and attention in considering what constitutes genuine harm and its magnitude. Constitutional interpretation unfolds in the US case by case, and with it public con- ceptions of free speech. A state actor’s attempt to restrict speech can be understood in isolation from other happenings and conditions within society: a KKK leader is con- victed of involvement in a criminal syndicate for making a speech at a rally; 40 public high school students are expelled for wearing black armbands in protest against the Vietnam War. 41 US courts typically speak as though their adjudications simply apply relatively straightforward rules to sets of facts in a syllogistic manner. This obscures, perhaps even from the judges themselves, the way decisions serve the interests of dom- inant social groups. Most judges and members of society who do not belong to a mar- ginalized demographic category interpret bigoted utterances as isolated events too. They are not seen for what they are: part of an oppressive system of unfair discrimination in employment, exclusion from housing and educational opportunities, police violence and mass incarceration, etc. Members of oppressed groups are not the people who made legal rules to fit their experience and protect their interests, so often their experi- ences and interests are left out of the systems designed to protect people from, and com- pensate them for, others’encroachments. White privilege and male privilege, for 37Ibid., pp. 179–80.38Ibid., p. 176.39Ibid., p. 180.40Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969).41Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969). Utilitas171https://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820820000229 Published online by Cambridge University Press example, make harm that is only suffered by those who are marginalized difficult to see, and the legal framework in place for hundreds of years further obscures it. Bigoted utterances are among, to borrow Marilyn Frye’s metaphor, 42 the wires in a birdcage that cut off movement in every direction, pressing the groups it contains between inescapable barriers. Looking at a single wire, one might wonder why the bird does not simply fly around it to escape. One must see the system as a whole before one can grasp that it is oppression. When considering particular instances of bigotry, such as a racist epithet shouted at a person, it is common for members of dominant groups in society to see an isolated event that can be shrugged off. It is easy to miss how such insults play a role in reproducing and reinforcing an oppressive system in which members of particular social groups are vulnerable because of their group iden- tities. The harm caused by bigoted insults is possible only because of the system in which they play a role. There are insults against people of color and LGBTQ+ people, for example, that trade on a particular history of discrimination, so there is no equiva- lent way to insult, intimidate, stigmatize or exclude a person for being white, heterosex- ual, or cisgender. The weight of historical contempt and implicit bias cannot be leveraged against members of dominant groups in the way it can against members of marginalized groups. The invisibility of hierarchical social oppression to most members of dominant groups conceals from them how members of marginalized groups are asymmetrically vulnerable to group-identity insults. Miranda Fricker develops a useful conceptual framework for understanding why the costs and benefits of free speech are not equitably distributed: the problem of epistemic injustice. 43 Epistemic injustice occurs when a discriminatory social attitude toward a person limits that person’s ability to participate in social practices of sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas. Fricker identifies two different kinds of epistemic injustice: tes- timonial injustice and hermeneutical injustice.Testimonial injusticelimits the person’s participation because, due to their identity, their word is not regarded as credible. Hermeneutical injusticelimits a person’s participation because their experiences are dif- ficult to articulate in a way that is intelligible, perhaps even to them, given the social concepts and language available. Their perspective is thus marginalized, obscured from the common store of knowledge. Fricker illustrates testimonial injustice by discussing the situation of Tom Robinson, the African-American defendant in Harper Lee’sTo Kill a Mockingbird, who is accused of raping a white girl, Mayella. In fact, Mayella tried to kiss him when he stopped to help her with some household chores, and he ran. If he had pushed her away, he would no doubt be accused of assault; if he did not, he would also be accused of assault. That is the double bind of oppression. Running away also made him appear guilty. So he could not tell the truth on the witness stand and sound credible. When asked why he would help her with chores for free, he answered honestly that he felt sorry for her, because she had no one to help her. But the statement that a Black person felt sorry for a white person was incomprehensible and perceived as impertinent by the court- room audience, who could not believe Robinson, who was Black, could be motivated by human sympathy. Besides, there was already a stereotype working against Robinson that Black people tend to lie. The jury’s epistemic failure–failure to perceive 42Marilyn Frye,The Politics of Reality:Essays in Feminist Theory(New York: The Crossing Press, 1983), pp. 2–5. 43Miranda Fricker,Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). 172 Melina Constantine Bellhttps://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820820000229 Published online by Cambridge University Press Robinson as fully human or as a truthful witness–led to a terrible ethical failure, as they found an innocent man guilty. 44 Fricker labels this type of epistemic injustice an “identity-prejudicial credibility deficit”because the speaker’s identity makes the hearer judge his testimony as significantly less truthful than it is. And social attitudes and dis- positions toward the stereotyped group tend to be persistent and systematic, rather than incidental. 45 Hermeneutical injusticearises when the prevailing social framework lacks the con- cepts or language to describe a particular experience, placing members of marginalized groups at a disadvantage in trying to articulate their experiences and advocate improve- ments. Fricker offers two historical examples: postpartum depression and sexual harass- ment. Women experienced both for a long time without a vocabulary or conceptual resources to understand or explain what they were enduring. This can make members of marginalized groups feel disconnected from reality and alone. 46 III. Striking the right balance In Part II, I demonstrated that bigoted speech can result in harm, in Feinberg’s sense of a setback to the interests of persons, contrasted with merely subjective unpleasant men- tal states or offense. This brings it within society’s jurisdiction to regulate under Mill’s harm principle. In this part, I argue thatbigoted insults, a category of bigoted speech, may justifiably be prohibited because in addition to being harmful, theyalsofail to communicate a viewpoint that serves as a basis for consideration or discussion. From the standpoint of the Greatest Happiness Principle, because they do not benefit humans as progressive beings by contributing to discussion, they have no public value and pro- duce no benefit that can justify tolerating the harms they cause. Here I will directly address only bigoted insults, because I believe they provide the clearest case for justify- ingprohibitionof a category of speech. However, I hope to leave open the question whether other forms of bigoted or assaultive speech might justifiably be subject to forms of restriction proportionate and tailored to both their harmfulness and potential contributions to the free exchange of ideas. The phrase‘bigoted insults’is meant to distinguish the form of speech I mean from some close relatives. Within my Millian framework, some of the speech that critical race theorists refer to as“assaultive” 47 might qualify as speech that is better expressed and answered rather than prohibited. Additionally, although bigoted insults are sometimes referred to as‘hate speech,’this phrase can be misleading. Those who utter bigoted insults may not hate their target or be motivated by hate; instead, they are oftenindif- ferentto how their victims are affected 48 by their attempts to gain acceptance to, or bond with, a social peer group by rejecting an out-group. 49Although this sort of indif- ference may be as morally undesirable as hatred, its relative prevalence in society means 44Ibid., pp. 23–26.45Ibid., p. 29.46Ibid., pp. 148–52.47Words that Wound, p. 42.48As Michelle Alexander notes, racial hostility is not required to maintain a racial caste system; society’s indifference to Black suffering is all that is needed. See Michelle Alexander,The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness(New York: The New Press, 2012), pp. 203–04. 49See, e.g., Larry May and Robert Strikwerda, Men in Groups: Collective Responsibility for Rape,Hypatia 9.2 (1994), 134–51; Michael Kimmel,Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men(Harper Collins, 2008), pp. 186–87. Utilitas173https://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820820000229 Published online by Cambridge University Press that bigoted insults contribute more to a bigoted social climate than we would expect if only unabashed bigots uttered them. Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic seem to have in mind what Fricker callshermen- eutical injusticewhen they assert that what judges hear and read about marginalized peoples largely comes from law, their own interpretive community. Law’s canon con- sists of terms like‘just,’‘fair,’‘equal,’and‘deserving.’These concepts and meanings come from an existing paradigm, which appears to construe them as they ought to be, or even as they plainly are. Humans are psychologically inclined to believe that we deserve our advantages because they are the product of our efforts in a fair system. If this is the paradigm, and it excludes consideration of systemic oppression, then demands for change will be heard as“incoherent or unprincipled.” 50 For example, institutional restrictions on bigoted insults are frequently referred to by the derogatory word‘censorship.’But censorship historically refers to a powerful gov- ernment silencing weaker private speakers who are their unpopular critics or political dissidents. Those who utter bigoted insults target vulnerable people rather than criticize public figures or institutions. Restrictions on bigoted, targeted insults are not equivalent to government attempts to control the public narrative or to silence dissent. The only idea that bigoted insults express isYou do not deserve my respect or regard; you are not my social or moral equal. This can strengthen identity-prejudicial credibility deficits and drive victims away from the discussion. Thus, hate speech regulations actually may enhance dialogue rather than hampering it. Racial and ethnic slurs“evoke and reinforce entire cultural histories of oppression and subordination.”Even the most accomplished people in subordinated groups are vulnerable to the least accomplished bigot’s incivility and disparagement. 51 Speech“at least in the grand dialogic sense [. . .] presupposes rough equality among speakers.” 52 The main public purpose of free speech protections, for Mill, is to safeguard a public space for opinions to be shared, for debate to take place, and for rational and reasonable people to both argue for and amend their viewpoints. Bigoted insults do not deserve protection under this rationale because they cannot reasonably be understood as opi- nions tendered for consideration and they arenot answerable. We should also acknow- ledge that a stringently protectedmarketplace of ideasis of far greater value to dominant members of society than to oppressed members, with the latter bearing the brunt of its costs. First, bigoted insults cannot reasonably be understood as opinions or viewpoints to be considered or discussed. Speech content can function differently in different con- texts. The word‘Fire!’may serve as a warning to fellow occupants of a burning building, or it may serve as a military command to discharge weapons. The function of expres- sions within particular social contexts is usually not difficult to discern for people famil- iar with the culture and language. 53 The effect and sometimes the intent of bigoted insults is to“reassert and reinscribe”the speaker’s social power over the person insulted as a member of a socially stigmatized group. As Delgado and Stefancic argue, 50Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic,Must We Defend Nazis? Hate Speech, Pornography, and the New First Amendment(New York: NYU Press, 2018), p. 123. 51Ibid., pp. 94–95.52Ibid., p. 114.53Melanie Beres, Sexual Miscommunication? Untangling Assumptions About Sexual Communication Between Casual Sex Partners,Culture, Health & Sexuality12 (2010), 1–14. 174 Melina Constantine Bellhttps://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820820000229 Published online by Cambridge University Press Racial insults and remarks are among the most pervasive means by which discrim- inatory attitudes are imparted, communicating the message that distinctions of race are ones of merit, dignity, status, and personhood. Not only does the listener learn and internalize these messages, they color our institutions and are transmit- ted to succeeding generations. 54 Bigoted insults are a form of cultural propaganda that ordinarily bypasses rational pro- cessing. Hearing an unsubstantiated statement repeated tinges it with familiarity, mak- ing hearers more likely to believe it whether or not it is true. 55 Moreover, repeated exposure to bigoted stereotypes conditions people to have unconscious, implicit biases that are not available to reflection. These biases can lead people to errors in cognition and judgment, and those errors can lead to prudential and moral mistakes. Although a per- son understands the principles surrounding what is in their self-interest or what is the right thing to do, factual mistakes about their environment and the people with whom they inhabit it can cause their judgment to misfire. People do not consent to implicit biases, which interfere with their agency. Everyone in a bigoted society therefore suffers unconsented-to harm when bigoted insults,jokes, and statements invade their character and judgment and mislead them. But bigoted utterances have the most devastating impacts on those who are also oppressed by the unjust cultural hierarchies they sustain. Bigoted insults are not put forward as a point of view to be tested, contested, and defended. They are targeted at particular individualsjust as a physical blow would be, to harm mem- bers of stigmatized groups. They are a form of assault and subordination, not a form of communication. Physical assaults can also express a viewpoint, or at least an attitude toward the victim, but their function is only incidentally, not primarily, expressive. Any viewpoint they express can be expressed in a less harmful, more constructive manner. Second, viewpoints and opinions are answerable; the accuracy of their content can be challenged, buttressed, and debated in a suitable context. But this is not true of an attack by bigoted insult. Suppose a group of white college men yell a racist, sexist insult (e.g., “N____ whore!”) at a female Black student walking across campus at night. What is she to say to counter that speech?“No, actually, I never have been paid for sex, so‘whore’is inaccurate besides being derogatory to sex workers; and N___ is a word with a history connected to intimidation, terrorism and murder of Black people, and which, because of false beliefs about the intelligence and work ethic of Black people, has operated to deny them recognition of their equality and full personhood.”Would that prompt an apology? Would it make her attackers recognize the truth of the words spoken, so that they stop shouting bigoted remarks at fellow students? 56 The likely effect would be to place the female student in danger of physical violence, and/or invite further insults and mockery. This is not an exchange of ideas, does not contribute to anyone’s self-development, and does not bring anyone closer to truth. It does not function as communication but as an assault. As noted in Part I, Mill recognizes free speech as having both public and private value. Admittedly, it might be just as important to the white students shouting insults 54Delgado and Stefancic,Must We Defend Nazis?, pp. 7–8.55Roselyn J. Lee-Won et al., Source Magnification of Cyberhate: Affective and Cognitive Effects of Multiple-Source Hate Messages on Target Group Members,Media Psychology(2019); see also Tom Stafford, How Liars Create the Illusion of Truth,BBC Future(26 October 2016) [accessed 1 June 2020]. 56My example is an adaptation of Delgado and Stefancic’s example.Must We Defend Nazis?,pp.68–69. Utilitas175https://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820820000229 Published online by Cambridge University Press that they are free to do so as it is to the African-American student to avoid those insults. Ideally this would not be true, but in speaking of subjective sources of individual ful- fillment, it is difficult to deny this sometimes might be true. If these hypothetical per- sons’interests are equally matched, however, the tie is easily broken by the other important dimension of free speech: the public interest in truth-seeking, equal concern for constituents, and aggregate human happiness. Public values line up squarely against permitting such an utterance in this context. Even under the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which so stringently pro- tects freedom of speech, exceptions are made when speech causes harm–that is, sets back recognized individual interests–and thereby collides with other important values, such as reputation, security, and ownership of ideas. Publishing false statements that damage people’s reputation can make one liable to defamation claims. Making illegal threats and inciting riots are unlawful. Copyright protections restrict use of others’ ideas to incentivize creativity. Mill would agree that significant risks of harm to repu- tation, personal security, and property justify speech restrictions,even when the restricted expression represents an opinion or viewpoint. 57 Significant risks of harm from bigoted insults are, likewise, antithetical to important social values, such as equal opportunity and equal concern for people’s comparable welfare interests. 58 Why are these types of harmful speech viewed so differently that there is general agree- ment that defamation, illegal threats, inciting riots, and violating copyrights should not be protected activities, while equally harmful bigoted insults receive stringent legal protection? Bigoted insults are an important weapon to help those in power retain their privil- ege, whether or not they are used deliberately for this purpose. Legal rules protecting property and reputation are also designed to safeguard the interests of powerful people in society, who are far more likely to benefit from these speech restrictions and seek remedies using their frameworks. But because bigoted speech and its harmful effects are not widely recognized as part of an oppressive system, but regarded as a series of unrelated incidents–and because the harms are not recognized as such, due in part to epistemic injustice–protecting bigoted speech makes free speech absolutists appear principled, as though they are claiming the high ground. 59Their stance appears object- ive because it regards itself as neutral between different viewpoints, where civil rights advocates are portrayed as desiring to suppress speech that offends overly sensitive peo- ple, catering to their subjective preferences. This distortion arises from an institutional paradigm that accepts a civil liberties framework and rejects a civil rights framework, given historical circumstances in which a dominant majority built social institutions around a paradigm sensitive to, and suited to, their own needs and interests. The formalistic First Amendment jurisprudence that struck down Stanford’s speech code would accept restrictions on speech for the alleged purpose of preventingviolence: street fights provoked by“fighting words.”That these words were intended to insult on the basis the target’s sex, race, color, handicap, religion, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin supposedly constituted viewpoint discrimination: it showed govern- ment favoritism for one point of view over another. Targeted compliments based on the named categories (whatever that might mean) were permitted, the court 57Piers Norris Turner, Authority, Progress, and the‘Assumption of Infallibility’inOn Liberty,Journal of the History of Philosophy51.1 (2013), 93–117 ( p. 105). 58Delgado and Stefancic,Must We Defend Nazis?, p. 153.59Ibid., pp. 158–59. 176 Melina Constantine Bellhttps://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820820000229 Published online by Cambridge University Press admonished, but targeted insults were forbidden. So, according to the court, a positive view of people based on their identity withinnamed categorieswas impermissibly favored by the state over a negative view. The court treated all members ofnamed categoriesas symmetrically situated: as if white people could be insulted on the basis of race equally with Black people, or het- erosexual cisgender people could be insulted on the basis of sexual identity/orientation equally with LGBTQ+ people. 60 The asymmetrical vulnerability to insults of some members of these identity categories (e.g.,“race”and“sexual orientation”) seems to have gone unrecognized. While the court saidallfighting words might constitutionally have been prohibited, Stanford prohibited only words whose insults were based on identities associated with what the court called“favored”categories (race, sex, etc.–implicitly equating these with subordinated subgroups–people of color, women, etc.). Effectively, fighting words doc- trine affords protection from insults to straight white men: members of a dominant social group who take a smaller risk when they become angry and respond to insults with violence. But that doctrine does notexplicitlyinvoke a demographic category, so courts accept it, even though it gives more protection from insult to the numerical minority group (straight white men) whose interests the institution of law was designed to protect. Worse, it ignores the way bigoted vilification functions not as speech–as communication–but as an assault on members of a vulnerable group. The First Amendment does not protect those beating or killing members of marginalized groups, even when doing so clearly expresses an attitude toward the victim or a group to which they belong. How much harm must be threatened to constitutionally justify restraining expressive conduct? Or does it matter more who would suffer the harm, and whose expressive conduct would be restrained? In an institutionally racist society, colorblind or neutral policies (such as the fighting words doctrine) favor the interests of dominant groups, who are seen as the neutral, ordinary people, and do not adequately protect those at the margins of the system. It is sometimes argued that the civil rights movement depended on the freedom of activists to speak against the status quo. But in fact, a First Amendment free speech guarantee has not been much help to African Americans. Contained in a Constitution that recognized slavery, it never protected the free speech of enslaved per- sons. The Founders meant to protect the sort of speech that educated, upper class white men engaged in. Civil rights activists often spent time in jail for speaking out against abusive state and local governments and the white establishment. 61 The First Amendment, as Delgado and Stefancic argue,“is far more valuable to the majority than to the minority, more useful for confining change than for propelling it.” 62 The argument thatmore speechis the cure to bad speech ignores the disproportionate dan- gers that marginalized people face, when answering is even possible (graffiti and anonymous messages, for example, cannot be answered). How might Mill’s impartial agent 63attempt to reconcile the civil rights and civil lib- erties paradigms in creating a just social institution? Here is a theory I regard as 60See Harold Blum, Racial and other Asymmetries, inPhilosophical Foundations of Discrimination Law, ed. Deborah Hellman and Sophia Moreau (Oxford 2013), 182–200 &&L&L
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20 19-2020 -2021 The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Presented and read a first time Religious Discrimination Bill 20 21 No. , 202 1 (Attorney -General ) A Bill for an Act relating to discrimination on the ground of religious belief or activity , and for related purposes No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 i Contents Part 1— Preliminary 1 1 Short title ………………………….. ………………………….. ……………………… 1 2 Commencement ………………………….. ………………………….. …………….. 2 3 Objects of this Act ………………………….. ………………………….. …………. 2 4 Simplified outline of this Act ………………………….. ………………………. 3 5 Definitions ………………………….. ………………………….. ……………………. 4 6 Extended meaning of ground ………………………….. ……………………….. 9 Part 2— Conduct etc. that is not discrimination 10 7 Religious bodies may generally act in accordance with their faith etc. ………………………….. ………………………….. ……………………… 10 8 Certain conduct by religious hospitals, aged care facilities, accommodation providers and disability service providers that is not cover ed by section 7 ………………………….. …………………… 11 9 Areas of public life in which the conduct of religious hospitals, aged care facilities, accommodation providers and disability service providers is not discrimination ……………………….. 12 10 Reasonable conduct intended to meet a need or reduce a disadvantage ………………………….. ………………………….. ……………….. 15 11 Conduct in relation to employment by religious educational institutions —overriding certain State and Territory laws ……………. 15 12 Statements of belief ………………………….. ………………………….. ……… 16 Part 3— Concept of discrimination on the ground of religious belief or activity 18 13 Discrimination on the ground of religious belief or activity — direct discrimination ………………………….. ………………………….. …….. 18 14 Discrimin ation on the ground of religious belief or activity — indirect discrimination ………………………….. ………………………….. ….. 18 15 Discrimination on the ground of religious belief or activity — qualifying body conduc t rules ………………………….. ……………………. 19 16 Discrimination extends to persons associated with individuals who hold or engage in a religious belief or activity ………………………….. ………………………….. ……………………….. 20 17 Conduct engaged in for 2 or more reasons ………………………….. …… 21 Part 4— Unlawful discrimination 22 Division 1— Introduction 22 18 Introduction ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………… 22 Division 2— Discrimination in work 23 19 Employment ………………………….. ………………………….. ……………….. 23 ii Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 20 Partnerships ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………… 23 21 Qualifying bodies ………………………….. ………………………….. ………… 24 22 Registered organisations ………………………….. ………………………….. .. 25 23 Employment agencies ………………………….. ………………………….. …… 25 Division 3— Discrimination in other areas 27 24 Education ………………………….. ………………………….. ……………………. 27 25 Access to premises ………………………….. ………………………….. ………. 27 26 Goods, services and facilities ………………………….. …………………….. 28 27 Accommodation ………………………….. ………………………….. ………….. 28 28 Land ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. . 29 29 Sport ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. 29 30 Clubs ………………………….. ………………………….. …………………………. 29 31 Requesting or requiring information ………………………….. ……………. 30 32 Commonwealth laws and programs ………………………….. …………….. 30 33 Victimisation ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………. 31 Division 4— Exceptions and exemptions 33 Subdivision A — Introduction 33 34 Certain conduct by religious bodies is not covered by this Division ………………………….. ………………………….. ……………………… 33 Subdivision B — General exceptions 33 35 Counselling, promoting etc. a serious offence ………………………….. . 33 36 Conferring charitable benefits ………………………….. ……………………. 33 37 Conduct in direct compliance with certain legislation etc. ………….. 34 38 Orders, determinations and indust rial instruments …………………….. 35 Subdivision C — Specific exceptions relating to particular areas of public life 36 39 Exceptions relating to work ………………………….. ……………………….. 36 40 Exceptions relating to accommodation and facilities ………………….. 37 41 Exception for disposal of land ………………………….. ……………………. 39 42 Exception relating to clubs ………………………….. ………………………… 39 43 Exception relating to voluntary bodies ………………………….. ………… 39 Subdivision D — Exemptions granted by the Commission 39 44 Commission may grant exemptions ………………………….. …………….. 39 45 Applying for an exemption ………………………….. ………………………… 40 46 Effect of exemptions ………………………….. ………………………….. …….. 40 47 Variation and revocation of exemptions ………………………….. ………. 40 48 Review by Administrative Appeals Tribunal ………………………….. … 41 Part 5— Offences 42 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 iii 49 Unlawful conduct is not an offence unless expressly provided ………………………….. ………………………….. ……………………… 42 50 Victimisation ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………. 42 51 Advertisements ………………………….. ………………………….. ……………. 44 Part 6— Religious Discrimination Commissioner 45 52 Religious Discrimination Commissioner ………………………….. ……… 45 53 Term of appointment ………………………….. ………………………….. ……. 45 54 Remuneration of Commissioner ………………………….. …………………. 45 55 Leave of absence ………………………….. ………………………….. …………. 46 56 Outside employment ………………………….. ………………………….. …….. 46 57 Other terms and conditions of appointment ………………………….. ….. 46 58 Resignation ………………………….. ………………………….. …………………. 46 59 Termination ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………… 47 60 Acting Commissioner ………………………….. ………………………….. …… 48 Part 7— Functions of the Australian Human Rights Commission 49 61 Functions of the Commission ………………………….. …………………….. 49 Part 8— Application and constitutional provisions 51 62 This Act binds the Crown ………………………….. ………………………….. 51 63 Geographical application of this Act ………………………….. …………… 51 64 Constitutional basis of this Act ………………………….. …………………… 51 65 Additional operation of this Act ………………………….. …………………. 52 66 Limited application provisions ………………………….. …………………… 55 67 Compensation for acquisition of property ………………………….. ……. 55 68 Relationship with State and Territory laws ………………………….. …… 56 Part 9— Other matters 57 69 Delegation ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………….. 57 70 Liability of persons involved in unlawful conduct …………………….. 57 71 Conduct by representatives ………………………….. ………………………… 58 72 Protection from civil actions ………………………….. ………………………. 59 73 No right of action unless expressly provided ………………………….. … 59 74 Non -disclosure of protected information ………………………….. ……… 60 75 Commissioner to give information to the Commission ………………. 61 76 Review of operation of Act ………………………….. ……………………….. 61 77 Regulations ………………………….. ………………………….. …………………. 61 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 1 A Bill for an Act relating to discrimination on the 1 ground of religious belief or activity, and for 2 related purposes 3 The Parliament of Australia enacts: 4 Part 1— Preliminary 5 6 1 Short title 7 This Act is the Religious Discrimination Act 20 21 . 8 Part 1 Preliminary Section 2 2 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 2 Commencement 1 (1) Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table 2 commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with 3 column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect 4 according to its terms. 5 6 Commencement information Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Provisions Commencement Date/Details 1. The whole of this Act A single day to be fixed by Proclamation. However, if the provisions do not commence within the period of 6 months beginning on the day this Act receives the Royal Assent, they commence on the day after the end of that period. Note: This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally 7 enacted. It will not be amended to deal with any later amendments of 8 this Act. 9 (2) Any information in column 3 of the table is not part of this Act. 10 Information may be inserted in t his column, or information in it 11 may be edited, in any published version of this Act. 12 3 Objects of this Act 13 (1) Recognising the freedom of all people to have or adopt a religion 14 or belief of their choice, and freedom to manife st th is religion or 15 belief either individually or in community with others, t he objects 16 of this Act are: 17 (a) to eliminate, so far as is possible, discrimination against 18 persons on the ground of religious belief or activity in a range 19 of areas of public life; and 20 (b) to ensure, as f ar as practicable, that everyone has the same 21 rights to equality before the law, regardless of religious belief 22 or activity; and 23 (c) to promote the recognition and acceptance within the 24 community of the principle that people of all religious 25 Preliminary Part 1 Section 4 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 3 beliefs, incl uding people with no religious belief, have the 1 same fundamental rights in relation to those beliefs ; and 2 (d) to ensure that people can, consistently with Australia’s 3 obligations with respect to freedom of religion and freedom 4 of expression , and subject t o specified limits, make 5 statements of belief. 6 (2) In giving effect to the objects of this Act, regard is to be had to: 7 (a) the indivisibility and universality of human rights, and their 8 equal status in international law; and 9 (b) the principle that ever y person is free and equal in dignity 10 and rights. 11 4 Simplified outline of this Act 12 This Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person o n the 13 ground of religious belief or activity in a range of areas of public 14 life , including work, education, acc ess to premises and the 15 provision of goods, services and accommodation. 16 Di scrimination is unlawful if it occurs, for example, because of a 17 religious belief or activity that the person holds or engages in (see 18 section 6). It is also unlawful if it occurs because of the person’s 19 association with someone else who holds or engages in a religious 20 belief or activity, regardless of whether or not they themselves hold 21 or engage in a religious belief or activity (see section 16). 22 However, certain conduct is not discrimination at all, such as 23 conduct by religious bodies in some circumstances. Certain 24 statements of belief also do not constitute discrimination for the 25 purposes of specified legislation, including this Act (see Part 2). 26 There are some exceptions to unlawful discrimination (see 27 Division 4 of Part 4). The Australian Human Rights Commission 28 may also grant certain exemptions (see Subdivision D of 29 Division 4 of Part 4). 30 Certain conduct involving advertisements and victimisa tion is an 31 offence (see Part 5). 32 Part 1 Preliminary Section 5 4 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 Conduct that is unlawful or an offence under this Act is unlawful 1 discrimination for the purposes of the Australian Human Rights 2 Commission Act 1986 . Complaints can be made under that Act to 3 the Australian Human Rights Comm ission about such conduct. 4 The office of the Religio us Discrimination Commissioner is 5 established by this Act (see Part 6). The Australian Human Rights 6 Commission has a number of functions in relation to this Act (see 7 Part 7). 8 This Act has effect subject t o certain geographical and 9 constitutional limitations (see Part 8). 10 Provision is made for miscellaneous matters such as delegation and 11 protection from civil actions (see Part 9). 12 5 Definitions 13 (1) In this Act: 14 accommodation includes residential and busin ess accommodation. 15 Australia , when used in a geographical sense, includes all the 16 external Territories. 17 child : without limiting who is a child of a person for the purposes 18 of this Act, someone is the child of a person if he or she is a child 19 of the person within the meaning of the Family Law Act 1975 . 20 club means an association (whether incorporated or 21 unincorporated) of persons associated together for social, literary, 22 cultural, political, sporting, athletic or other lawful purposes that 23 provides and maintains its facilities, in whole or in part, from the 24 funds of the association. 25 Commission means the Australian Human Rights Commission. 26 Commissioner means the Religious Discrimination Commissioner 27 appointed under section 52. 28 Preliminary Part 1 Section 5 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 5 de facto partner of a person has the meaning given by the Acts 1 Interpretation Act 190 1. 2 discriminate : see sections 7, 9, 10 , 13 , 14 and 15 . 3 Note 1: See also section 16, which extends the concept of discrimination to 4 persons who are associated with individuals who hold or engage in a 5 religious belief or activity. 6 Note 2: Certain statements of belief do not constitute discrimination for the 7 purposes of specified legislation, including this Act (see section 12). 8 educational institution means a school, college, university or other 9 institution at which education or training is provided . 10 Note: This includes child care centres and early learning centres at which 11 education or training is provided. 12 employer includes a person acting or purporting to act on behalf of 13 an employer. 14 employment means: 15 (a) work under a contract of employment (within its or dinary 16 meaning); or 17 (b) work that a person is otherwise appointed or engaged to 18 perform; 19 whether the work is on a full -time, part -time, temporary or casual 20 basis, or whether it is paid or unpaid. 21 engage in conduct means: 22 (a) do an act; or 23 (b) omit to perform an act. 24 ground has a meaning affected by section 6. 25 local by -law means a law made by a body established for the 26 purposes of local government by or under a law of a State or 27 Territory. 28 near relative , in relation to a person, means: 29 (a) a parent, st ep -parent, grandparent or step -grandparent of the 30 person; or 31 (b) a child, step -child, grandchild or step -grandchild of the 32 person; or 33 Part 1 Preliminary Section 5 6 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 (c) a brother, sister, step -brother or step -sister of the person; or 1 (d) the spouse or de facto partner of the person ; or 2 (e) another person who has any of the relationships specified in 3 paragraph (a), (b) or (c) to the person’s spouse or de facto 4 partner. 5 paid work means work for financial gain or reward (whether as an 6 employee, a self -employed person or otherwise). 7 pare nt: without limiting who is a parent of a person for the 8 purposes of this Act, someone is the parent of a person if the 9 person is his or her child because of the definition of child in this 10 subsection. 11 premises includes: 12 (a) a structure, building, aircraf t, vehicle or vessel; and 13 (b) a place (whether enclosed or built on or not); and 14 (c) a part of premises (including premises of a kind mentioned in 15 paragraph (a) or (b)). 16 qualifying body means an authority or body that is empowered to 17 confer, renew, exten d, revoke, vary or withdraw an authorisation or 18 qualification that is needed for, or facilitates, any of the following 19 by an individual: 20 (a) the practice of a profession ; 21 (b) the carrying on of a trade ; 22 (c) the engaging in of an occupation . 23 registered c harity means an entity that is registered under the 24 Australian Charities and Not -for -profits Commission Act 2012 as 25 the type of entity mentioned in column 1 of item 1 of the table in 26 sub section 25-5(5) of that Act. 27 religious belief or activity means: 28 (a) holding a religious belief; or 29 (b) engaging in religious activity; or 30 (c) not holding a religious belief; or 31 (d) not engaging in, or refusing to engage in, religious activity. 32 Preliminary Part 1 Section 5 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 7 religious body means any of the following that is conducted in 1 accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of a 2 particular religion: 3 (a) an educational institution; 4 (b) a registered charity; 5 (c) any other kind of body (other than a body that engages s olely 6 or primarily in commercial activities). 7 serious offence : see subsection 35(2). 8 services means services of any kind, including (for example) the 9 following: 10 (a) services relating to banking, insurance, superannuation and 11 the provision of grants, loans , credit or finance; 12 (b) services relating to entertainment, recreation or refreshment; 13 (c) services relating to transport or travel; 14 (d) services relating to telecommunications; 15 (e) services of the kind provided by the members of any 16 profession or tra de; 17 (f) services of the kind provided by a government, a government 18 authority or a body established for the purposes of local 19 government by or under a law of a State or Territory. 20 statement of belief : a statement is a statement of belief if: 21 (a) the stat ement: 22 (i) is of a religious belief held by a person; and 23 (ii) is made, in good faith, by written or spoken words or 24 other communication (other than physical contact) , by 25 the person; and 26 (iii) is of a belief that the person genuinely considers to be in 27 accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or 28 teachings of that religion; or 29 (b) the statement: 30 (i) is of a belief held by a person who does not hold a 31 religious belief; and 32 (ii) is made, in good faith, by written or spoken words or 33 other communicat ion (other than physical contact) , by 34 the person; and 35 Part 1 Preliminary Section 5 8 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 (iii) is of a belief that the person genuinely considers to 1 relate to the fact of not holding a religious belief. 2 step -child : without limiting who is a step -child of a person for the 3 purposes of this A ct, someone who is a child of a de facto partner 4 of the person is the step -child of the person if he or she would be 5 the person’s step -child except that the person is not legally married 6 to the partner. 7 step -parent : without limiting who is a step -parent of a person for 8 the purposes of this Act, someone who is a de facto partner of a 9 parent of the person is the step -parent of the person if he or she 10 would be the person’s step -parent except that he or she is not 11 legally married to the person’s parent. 12 this Ac t includes the regulations. 13 vilify , in relation to a person or group of persons, means incite 14 hatred or violence towards the person or group. 15 voluntary body means an association or other body (whether 16 incorporated or unincorporated), the activities of which are not 17 engaged in for the purpose of making a profit, but does not include: 18 (a) a club; or 19 (b) a body established by a law of the Commonwealth, a State or 20 a Territory; or 21 (c) an association that provides grants, loans, credit or finance to 22 its members. 23 (2) For the purposes of paragraph (b) of the definition of relig ious 24 belief or activity in subsection (1), religious activity does not 25 include an activity that is unlawful. 26 (3) For the purposes of subsection (2), an activity is not unlawful 27 merely because a local by -law prohibits the activity. 28 (4) For the purposes of this Act, if one person is the child of another 29 person because of the definition of child in subsection (1), 30 relationships traced to or through that person are to be determined 31 on the basis that the person is the child of the other person. 32 Preliminary Part 1 Section 6 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 9 6 Extended meaning of ground 1 Discrimination on the ground of a person’s religious belief or 2 activity includes discrimination: 3 (a) on the ground of a characteristic that people who hold or 4 engage in the religious belief or activity generally have; and 5 (b) on the ground of a characteristic that people who hold or 6 engage in the religious belief or a ctivity are generally 7 presumed to have; and 8 (c) on the ground of the religious belief or activity that a person 9 holds or engages in; and 10 (d) on the ground of the religious belief or activity that a person 11 has held or engaged in in the past, whether or no t the person 12 still holds or engages in the religious belief or activity; and 13 (e) on the ground of the religious belief or activity that a person 14 is thought to hold or engage in, whether or not the person 15 holds or engages in the religious belief or activit y; and 16 (f) on the ground of the religious belief or activity that a person 17 is thought to have held or engaged in in the past, whether or 18 not the person has held or engaged in the religious belief or 19 activity in the past. 20 Part 2 Conduct etc. that is not discrimination Section 7 10 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 Par t 2— Conduct etc. that is not discrimination 1 2 7 Religious bodies may generally act in accordance with their faith 3 etc. 4 What this section is about 5 (1) This section sets out circumstances in which a religious body’s 6 conduct is not discrimination under this Act . Because the conduct 7 is not discrimination, it is therefore not unlawful under this Act in 8 any area of public life, including work, education, access to 9 premises and the provision of goods, services and accommodation. 10 As such, it is not necessary to consider whether the conduct come s 11 within an exception in Division 4 of Part 4. 12 Note 1: For example, because of subsection (4), it is not discrimination for a 13 religious primary school to require all of its staff and students to 14 practice that religion, if such a requirement is necessar y to avoid 15 injury to the religious susceptibilities of people of that religion. 16 Note 2: This section does not cover the conduct of religious hospitals, aged 17 care facilities , accommodation providers or disability service 18 providers (see section 8). However, certain conduct of these bodies is 19 covered by section 9. 20 Conduct that is not discrimination by a religious body 21 (2) Subject to subsection (6), a religious body does not discriminate 22 against a person under this Act by engaging, in good faith, in 23 conduct that a person of the same religion as the religious body 24 could reasonably consider to be in accordance with the doctrines, 25 tenets, beliefs or teachings of that religion. 26 Note 1: Subsec tion (6) contains an additional requirement for r eligious 27 educational institution s in relation to conduct in the context of 28 employment. 29 Note 2: Conduct that is not discrimination under this Act may still constitute 30 direct or indirect discrimination under o ther anti -discrimination laws 31 of the Commonwealth including, for example, the Sex Discrimination 32 Act 1984 . 33 Conduct etc. that is not discrimination Part 2 Section 8 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 11 (3) Without limiting subsection (2), conduct mentioned in that 1 subsection includes giving preference to persons of the same 2 religion as the religiou s body. 3 (4) Subject to subsection (6), a religious body does not discriminate 4 against a person under this Act by engaging, in good faith, in 5 conduct to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of adherents 6 of the same religion as the religious body. 7 Note 1: Subsection (6) contains an additional requirement for religious 8 educational institutions in relation to conduct in the context of 9 employment. 10 Not e 2: Conduct that is not discrimination under this Act may still constitute 11 direct or indirect discrimination under other anti -discrimination laws 12 of the Commonwealth including, for example, the Sex Discrimination 13 Act 1984 . 14 (5) Without limiting subsection (4), conduct mentioned in that 15 subsection includes giving preference to persons of the same 16 religion as the religious body. 17 Religious educational institutions must have a publicly available 18 policy in relation to conduct in the context of employment 19 (6) If a religious body that is an educational institution engages in 20 conduct mentioned in subsectio n (2) or (4) in relation to the 21 matters described in section 19 (about employment): 22 (a) the conduct must be in accordance with a publicly available 23 policy; and 24 (b) if the Minister determines requirements under 25 subsection (7) — the policy, including in rela tion to its 26 availability, must comply with the requirements. 27 (7) The Minister may, by legislative instrument, determine 28 requirements for the purposes of paragraph (6)(b). 29 8 Certain conduct by religious hospitals, aged care facilities , 30 accommodation providers and disability service providers 31 that is not covered by section 7 32 Subsections 7(2) and ( 4) do not apply to conduct of a religious 33 body if the conduct is in the course of: 34 Part 2 Conduct etc. that is not discrimination Section 9 12 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 (a) establishing, directing, controlling or administering a hospital 1 or aged care facility; or 2 (b) if the religious body solely or primarily provides 3 accommodation — the provision of accommodation ; or 4 (c) establishing, directing, controlling or administering a camp or 5 conference site that provides accommodation ; or 6 (d) if the religious body solely or primarily provides services to 7 people with disability — the provision of the services. 8 Note 1: However, conduct mentioned in paragraph (a), (b) or (d) does not 9 constitute discrimination in some circumstances (see section 9). 10 Note 2: For the purposes of paragraph (c), it is not unlawful for a person 11 engaging, in good faith, in conduct in the course of administering etc. 12 religious camps or conference sites to discriminate in relation to 13 accommodation in some circumstances (see subsecti ons 40(2) and 14 (5)). 15 9 Areas of public life in which the co nduct of religious hospitals, 16 aged care facilities , a ccommodation providers and 17 disability service providers is not discrimination 18 What this section is about 19 (1) This section sets out some areas o f public life (employment and 20 partnerships) in which the conduct of religious hospitals, aged care 21 facilities , accommodation providers and disability service 22 providers is not discrimination under this Act. Because the conduct 23 is not discrimination, it is therefore not unlawful under this Act in 24 those areas and it is not necessary to consider whether the conduct 25 come s within the relevant exception in Division 4 of Part 4. 26 Note: For example, it is not discrimi nation for a religious hospital, aged care 27 facility , accommodation provider or disability service provider to seek 28 to preserve a religious ethos amongst its staff by making faith -based 29 decisions in relation to employment. Such conduct is therefore not 30 unla wful under section 19. 31 Kinds of religious bodies this section applies to 32 (2) This section applies to the following bodies: 33 Conduct etc. that is not discrimination Part 2 Section 9 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 13 (a) a body (a religious hospital ) that establishes, directs, controls 1 or administers a hospital in accordance with the doctrines, 2 tenets, beliefs or teachings of a particular religion; 3 (b) a body (a religious aged care facility ) that establishes, 4 directs, controls or administers an aged care facility in 5 accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of 6 a particular relig ion; 7 (c) a body (a religious accommodation provider ) that solely or 8 primarily provides accommodation i n accordance with the 9 doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of a particular religion ; 10 (d) a body (a religious disability service provider ) that solely or 11 primarily provides s ervices to people with disability in 12 accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of 13 a particular religion. 14 Conduct by religious hospitals, aged care facilities , 15 accommodation providers and disability service providers in the 16 context of employment and partnerships is not discrimination 17 (3) A religious hospital, religious aged care facility , religious 18 accommodation provider or religious disability service provider 19 does not discriminate ag ainst a person under this Act by engaging 20 in conduct if: 21 (a) either of the following apply to the conduct: 22 (i) if the body is an employer — the conduct is described in 23 section 19 (about employment); 24 (ii) if the body is a partnership or a partner in a 25 part nership — the conduct is described in section 20 26 (about partnerships); and 27 (b) the conduct is engaged in by the body in good faith; and 28 (c) a person of the same religion as the body could reasonably 29 consider the conduct to be in accordance with the doctrin es, 30 tenets, beliefs or teachings of that religion; and 31 (d) the conduct is in accordance with a publicly available policy; 32 and 33 (e) if the Minister determines requirements under 34 subsection (7) — the policy, including in relation to its 35 availability, complies with the requirements . 36 Part 2 Conduct etc. that is not discrimination Section 9 14 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 Note: Conduct that is not discrimination under this Act may still constitute 1 direct or indirect discrimination under other anti -discrimination laws 2 of the Commonwealth including, for example, the Sex Discrimination 3 Act 1984 . 4 (4) Without limiting subsection (3), conduct mentioned in that 5 subsection includes giving preference to persons of the same 6 religion as the body. 7 (5) A religious hospital, religious aged care facility , religious 8 accommodation provider or religious disability service provider 9 does not discriminate against a person under this Act by engaging 10 in conduct if: 11 (a) either of the following apply to the conduct: 12 (i) if the body is an employer — the conduct is described in 13 section 19 (about employment); 14 (ii) if the bod y is a partnership or a partner in a 15 partnership — the conduct is described in section 20 16 (about partnerships); and 17 (b) the conduct is engaged in by the body in good faith; and 18 (c) the body engages, in good faith, in the conduct to avoid 19 injury to the reli gious susceptibilities of adherents of the 20 same religion as the body; and 21 (d) the conduct is in accordance with a publicly available policy; 22 and 23 (e) if the Minister determines requirements under 24 subsection (7) — the policy, including in relation to its 25 ava ilability, complies with the requirements. 26 Note: Conduct that is not discrimination under this Act may still constitute 27 direct or indirect discrimination under other anti -discrimination laws 28 of the Commonwealth including, for example, the Sex Discriminatio n 29 Act 1984 . 30 (6) Without limiting subsection (5), conduct mentioned in that 31 subsection includes giving preference to persons of the same 32 religion as the body. 33 Requirements relating to publicly available policies 34 (7) The Minister may, by legislative instru ment, determine 35 requirements for the purposes of paragraph (3)(e) or (5)(e). 36 Conduct etc. that is not discrimination Part 2 Section 10 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 15 10 Reasonable conduct intended to meet a need or reduce a 1 disadvantage 2 (1) A person does not discriminate against another person under this 3 Act by engaging in conduct that: 4 (a) is reasonable in the circumstances; and 5 (b) is consistent with the purposes of this Act; and 6 (c) either: 7 (i) is intended to meet a need arising out of a religious 8 belief or activity of a person or group of persons; or 9 (ii) is intended to reduce a disadvantage experienced by a 10 person or group of persons on the basis of the person’s 11 or group’s religious beliefs or activities. 12 Note: For example, a residential ag ed care facility or hospital does not 13 discriminate under this Act by providing services to meet the needs 14 (including dietary, cultural and religious needs) of a minority religious 15 group, such as a Jewish or Greek Orthodox residential aged care home 16 or hospital that provides services specifically for the Jewish or Greek 17 Orthodox community. 18 (2) This section applies despite anything else in this Act. 19 11 Conduct in relation to employment by religious educational 20 institutions — overriding certain State and Territory laws 21 (1) A religious body that is an educational institution does not 22 contravene a pr escribed State or Territory law if: 23 (a) when engaging in conduct described in section 19 (about 24 employment), the religious body gives preference, in good 25 faith, to persons who hold or engage in a particular religious 26 belief or activity ; and 27 (b) the condu ct is in accordance with a written policy that: 28 (i) outlines the religious body’s position in relation to 29 particular religious beliefs or activities ; and 30 (ii) expl ains how the position in subparagraph (i) is or will 31 be enforced by the religious body; and 32 (iii) is publicly available, including at the time employment 33 opportunities with the religious body become available. 34 Part 2 Conduct etc. that is not discrimination Section 12 16 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 (2) For the purposes of this section, a prescribed State or Territory 1 law means a law of a State or Territory that is prescribed under 2 subsection (3). 3 (3) The regulations may p rescribe one or more laws of a State or a 4 Territory for the purposes of subsection (2) if the Minister is 5 satisfied that the law has the effect of both: 6 (a) prohib iting discrim ination on the ground of religious belief or 7 activity; and 8 (b) preventing religious bod ies that are educational institution s 9 from giving preference, in good faith, to persons who hold or 10 engage in a particular religious belief or activity when 11 engaging in conduct described in section 19 (about 12 employment). 13 (4) This section is intended to apply to the exclusion of a law of a State 14 or Territory so far as it would otherwise apply in relation to the 15 conduct of a religious body that is an educational institution only if 16 the law is prescribed un der subsection (3). 17 Note: If such a law is not prescribed, the law is intended to operate 18 concurrently with this Act, including this section, to the extent it is 19 capable of doing so (see section 68). 20 12 Statements of belief 21 (1) A statement of belief, in and of itself, does not: 22 (a) constitute discrimination for the purposes of any of the 23 following: 24 (i) this Act; 25 (ii) the Age Discrimination Act 2004 ; 26 (iii) the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 ; 27 (iv) the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 ; 28 (v) the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 ; 29 (vi) the Anti -Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW); 30 (vii) the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic.); 31 (viii) the Anti -Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld); 32 (ix) the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA); 33 (x) the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA); 34 Conduct etc. that is not discrimination Part 2 Section 12 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 17 (xi) the Anti -Discrimination Act 1998 (Tas.); 1 (xii) the Discrimination Act 1991 (ACT); 2 (xiii) the Anti -Discrimination Act (NT); or 3 (b) contravene sub section 17(1) of the Anti -Discrimination Act 4 1998 (Tas.); or 5 (c) contravene a provision of a law prescribed by the regulations 6 for the purposes of this paragraph. 7 Note: This section does not protect a statement that has no relationship to 8 religious belief (see the definition of statement of belief in 9 subsection 5(1)). 10 (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a stat ement of belief: 11 (a) that is malicious; or 12 (b) that a reasonable person would consider would threaten, 13 intimidate, harass or vilify a person or group; or 14 (c) that is covered by paragraph 35(1)(b). 15 Note 1: A moderately expressed religious view that does not incite hatred or 16 violence would not constitute vilification. 17 Note 2: Paragraph 35(1)(b) covers expressions of religious belief that a 18 reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would 19 conclude counsel, promote, encourage or urge conduct that would 20 constitute a serious offence. 21 Part 3 Concept of discrimination on the ground of religious belief or activity Section 13 18 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 Par t 3— Concept of discrimination on the ground of 1 religious belief or activity 2 3 13 Discrimination on the ground of religious belief or activity — 4 direct discrimination 5 A person discriminates against another person on the ground of the 6 other person’s religious belief or activity if: 7 (a) the person treats, or proposes to treat, the other person less 8 favourably than the person treats, or would treat, another 9 person who does not h old or engage i n the religious belief or 10 activity in circumstances that are not materially different; and 11 (b) the reason for the less favourable treatment is the other 12 person’s religious belief or activity. 13 14 Discrimination on the ground of religious belief or activit y— 14 indirect discrimination 15 Indirect discrimination 16 (1) A person discriminates against another person on the ground of the 17 other person’s religious belief or activity if: 18 (a) the person imposes, or proposes to impose, a condition, 19 requirement or practice; and 20 (b) the condition, requirement or practice has, or is likely to 21 have, the effect of disadvantaging persons who hold or 22 engage in the same religious belief or activity as the other 23 person; and 24 (c) the condition, requirement or practice is not reasonab le. 25 Considerations relating to reasonableness 26 (2) W hether a condition, requirement or practice is reasonable depends 27 on all the relevant circumstances of the case, including the 28 following: 29 Concept of discrimination on the ground of religious belief or activity Part 3 Section 15 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 19 (a) the nature and extent of the disadvantage resulting from the 1 imposition, or proposed imposition, of the condition, 2 requirement or practice; 3 (b) the feasibility of overcoming or mitigating the disadvantage; 4 (c) whether the disadvantage is proportionate to the result sought 5 by the person who imposes, or proposes to impose, the 6 condition, requirement or practice . 7 15 Discrimination on the ground of religious belief or activity — 8 qualifying body conduct rules 9 (1) A qualifying body discriminates against a person o n the ground of 10 the person ’s religious belief or activity if: 11 (a) the qualifying body imposes, or proposes to impose, a 12 condition, requirement or practice (a qualifying body 13 conduct rule ) on persons seeking or holding an authorisation 14 or qualification from the qualifying body that relates to 15 standards of behavio ur of those persons ; and 16 (b) the qualifying body conduct rule has, or is likely to have, the 17 effect of restricting or preventing the person from making a 18 statement of belief other than in the course of the person 19 practising in the relevant profession, car rying on the relevant 20 trade or engaging in the relevant occupation. 21 (2) However, a qualifying body does not discriminate against a person 22 under subsection (1) if compliance with the qualifying body 23 conduct rule by the person is an essential requirement of the 24 profession, trade or occupation. 25 (3) Subsection (1) does not apply to a statement of belief: 26 (a) that is malicious; or 27 (b) that a reasonable person would consider would threaten, 28 intimidate, harass or vilify a person or group; or 29 (c) that is cover ed by paragraph 35(1)(b). 30 Note 1: A moderately expressed religious view that does not incite hatred or 31 violence would not constitute vilification. 32 Note 2: Paragraph 35(1)(b) covers expressions of religious belief that a 33 reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would 34 Part 3 Concept of discrimination on the ground of religious belief or activity Section 16 20 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 conclude counsel, promote, encourage or urge conduct that would 1 constitute a serious offence . 2 Section does not limit section 14 3 (4) This section does not limit section 14 (about indirect 4 discrimination). 5 16 Discrimination ext ends to persons associated with individuals 6 who hold or engage in a religious belief or activity 7 (1) This Act (other than section 15 and Part 2) applies to a person who 8 has an association with an individual who holds or engages in a 9 religious belief or ac tivity in the same way as it applies to a person 10 who holds or engages in a religious belief or activity. 11 Note: It is therefore unlawful under this Act to discriminate against a person 12 (irrespective of whether they hold or engage in a religious belief or 13 activity) in the areas of public life that the Act covers on the basis of 14 the person’s association with someone who does hold or engage in a 15 religious belief or activity. 16 Example: It is unlawful, under section 19, for an employer to discriminate 17 against an employee on the ground of a religious belief or activity of 18 the employee’s spouse. 19 (2) Without limiting subsection (1), a person that is an individual has 20 an association with another individual if: 21 (a) the other individual is a near relative of the perso n; or 22 (b) the person lives with the other individual on a genuine 23 domestic basis; or 24 (c) the other individual is in a n ongoing business relationship 25 with the person ; or 26 (d) the other individual is in an ongoing recreational relationship 27 with the person ; or 28 (e) the person and the other individual are members of the same 29 unincorporated association. 30 (3) For the purposes of subsection (1), a person that is a body 31 corporate has an association with an individual if a reasonable 32 person would closely associate the body corporate with that 33 individual. 34 Concept of discrimination on the ground of religious belief or activity Part 3 Section 17 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 21 17 Conduct engaged in for 2 or more reasons 1 If: 2 (a) conduct is engaged in for 2 or more reasons; and 3 (b) one of the reasons is a person’s religious belief or activity 4 (whether or not it is the dominant or a su bstantial reason for 5 the conduct); 6 then, for the purposes of this Act, the conduct is taken to be 7 engaged in for that reason. 8 Part 4 Unlawful discrimination Division 1 Introduction Section 18 22 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 Part 4— Unlawful discrimination 1 Division 1— Introduction 2 18 Introduction 3 (1) This Part sets out when discrimination on the ground of a person’s 4 religious belief or activity is unlawful. 5 Note: Complaints can be made to the Australian Human Rights Commission 6 about conduct that is unlawful under this Part (see the definition of 7 unlawful discrimination in subsection 3(1) of the Australia n Human 8 Rights Commission Act 1986 , and section 46P of that Act). 9 (2) There are some exceptions to unlawful discrimination. These are 10 set out in Division 4. The Commission may also grant certain 11 exemptions (see Subdivision D of Division 4). 12 (3) Certain c onduct that is engaged in by religious bodies on the 13 ground of a person’s religious belief or activity is not 14 discrimination under this Act and is therefore not covered by this 15 Part (see Part 2). 16 (4) Certain statements of belief also do not constitute dis crimination 17 for the purposes of specified legislation, including this Act . Such 18 statements are also not covered by this Part (see section 12). 19 Unlawful discrimination Part 4 Discrimination in work Division 2 Section 19 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 23 Division 2— Discrimination in work 1 19 Employment 2 Discrimination in relation to hiring etc. 3 (1) It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against another 4 person on the ground of the other person’s religious belief or 5 activity: 6 (a) in the arrangements made for the purpose of determining who 7 should be offered employment; or 8 (b) in determining who should be off ered employment; or 9 (c) in the terms or conditions on which employment is offered. 10 Note: The word employment has an extended meaning in this Act and 11 includes, for example, contract work and work on commission (see 12 subsection 5(1)). The words employer and employee have similarly 13 extended meanings (see section 18A of the Acts Interpretation Act 14 1901 ). 15 Discrimination in relation to terms and conditions of employment 16 etc. 17 (2) It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee 18 on the ground of the employee’s religious belief or activity: 19 (a) in the terms or conditions of employment that the employer 20 affords the employee; or 21 (b) by denying the employee access, or limiting the employee’s 22 access, to opportunities for promotion, transfer or traini ng, or 23 to any other benefits associated with employment; or 24 (c) by dismissing the employee; or 25 (d) by subjecting the employee to any other detriment. 26 20 Partnerships 27 Discrimination in relation to forming partnerships etc. 28 (1) It is unlawful for 3 or mo re persons who are proposing to form 29 themselves into a partnership to discriminate against another 30 Part 4 Unlawful discrimination Division 2 Discrimination in work Section 21 24 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 person on the ground of the other person’s religious belief or 1 activity: 2 (a) in determining who should be invited to become a partner in 3 the partnership; or 4 (b) in the terms or conditions on which the other person is 5 invited to become a partner in the partnership. 6 (2) It is unlawful for any one or more of the partners in a partnership 7 consisting of 3 or more partners to discriminate against another 8 person o n the ground of the other person’s religious belief or 9 activity: 10 (a) in determining who should be invited to become a partner in 11 the partnership; or 12 (b) in the terms or conditions on which the other person is 13 invited to become a partner in the partnershi p. 14 Discrimination against partner 15 (3) It is unlawful for any one or more of the partners in a partnership 16 consisting of 3 or more partners to discriminate against another 17 partner in the partnership on the ground of the other partner’s 18 religious belief or activity: 19 (a) by denying the other partner access, or limiting the other 20 partner’s access, to any benefit arising from being a partner 21 in the partnership; or 22 (b) by expelling the other partner from the partnership; or 23 (c) by subjecting the other partner to any other detriment. 24 21 Qualifying bodies 25 It is unlawful for a qualifying body to discriminate against a person 26 on the ground of the person’s religious belief or activity: 27 (a) by refusing or failing to confer, renew, extend or vary an 28 authorisation or qualification; or 29 (b) in the terms or conditions on which the qualifying body is 30 prepared to confer, renew, extend or vary an authorisation or 31 qualification; or 32 (c) by revoking, varying or withdrawing an authorisation or 33 qualification. 34 Unlawful discrimination Part 4 Discrimination in work Division 2 Section 22 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 25 22 Registered organisations 1 Discrimination in relation to applications for membership 2 (1) It is unlawful for a registered organisation, the committee of 3 management of a registered organisation or a member of the 4 committee of management of a registered organisation to 5 discriminate against another person, on the ground of the person’s 6 religious belief or activity: 7 (a) by refusing or failing to accept the person’s application for 8 membership; or 9 (b) in the terms or conditions on which the organisation is 10 prepared to admi t the person to membership. 11 Discrimination against members 12 (2) It is unlawful for a registered organisation, the committee of 13 management of a registered organisation or a member of the 14 committee of management of a registered organisation to 15 discriminate a gainst a person who is a member of the registered 16 organisation, on the ground of the member’s religious belief or 17 activity: 18 (a) by denying the member access, or limiting the member’s 19 access, to any benefit provided by the organisation; or 20 (b) by deprivin g the member of membership or varying the terms 21 of the member’s membership; or 22 (c) by subjecting the member to any other detriment. 23 Meaning of registered organisation 24 (3) In this section: 25 registered organisation means an organisation registered under the 26 Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 . 27 23 Employment agencies 28 It is unlawful for an employment agency to discriminate against a 29 person on the ground of the person’s religious belief or activity: 30 (a) by refusing to provide the person with any o f its services; or 31 Part 4 Unlawful discrimination Division 2 Discrimination in work Section 23 26 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 (b) in the terms or conditions on which it offers to provide the 1 person with any of its services; or 2 (c) in the manner in which it provides the person with any of its 3 services. 4 Unlawful discrimination Part 4 Discrimination in other areas Division 3 Section 24 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 27 Division 3— Discrimination in other areas 1 24 Education 2 (1) It is unlawful for an educational institution to discriminate against 3 a person on the ground of the person’s religious belief or activity: 4 (a) by refusing or failing to accept the person’s application for 5 admission as a student; or 6 (b) in the terms or conditions on which it is prepared to admit the 7 person as a student. 8 (2) It is unlawful for an educational institution to discriminate against 9 a student on the ground of the student’s religious belief or activity: 10 (a) by denying the student access, or limiting the student’s 11 access, to any benefit provided by the educational institution; 12 or 13 (b) by expelling the student; or 14 (c) by subjecting the student to any other detriment. 15 25 Access to premises 16 It is unlawful for a person to discriminate against another person 17 on the ground of the other person’s religious belief or activity: 18 (a) by refusing to allow the other person access to, or the use of, 19 any premises that the public or a section of the public is 20 entitled or allowed to enter or use (whether fo r payment or 21 not); or 22 (b) in the terms or conditions on which the person is prepared to 23 allow the other person access to, or the use of, any such 24 premises; or 25 (c) by refusing to allow the other person the use of any facilities 26 in such premises that the p ublic or a section of the public is 27 entitled or allowed to use (whether for payment or not); or 28 (d) in the terms or conditions on which the person is prepared to 29 allow the other person the use of any such facilities; or 30 (e) by requiring the other person to leave such premises or cease 31 to use such facilities. 32 Part 4 Unlawful discrimination Division 3 Discrimination in other areas Section 26 28 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 26 Goods, services and facilities 1 It is unlawful for a person who, whether for payment or not, 2 provides goods or services, or makes facilities available, to 3 discriminate against another person on t he ground of the other 4 person’s religious belief or activity: 5 (a) by refusing to provide the other person with those goods or 6 services or to make those facilities available to the other 7 person; or 8 (b) in the terms or conditions on which the person provid es the 9 other person with those goods or services or makes those 10 facilities available to the other person; or 11 (c) in the manner in which the person provides the other person 12 with those goods or services or makes those facilities 13 available to the other pers on. 14 27 Accommodation 15 (1) It is unlawful for a person, whether as principal or agent, to 16 discriminate against another person on the ground of the other 17 person’s religious belief or activity: 18 (a) by refusing the other person’s application for 19 accommodatio n; or 20 (b) in the terms or conditions on which the accommodation is 21 offered to the other person; or 22 (c) by deferring the other person’s application for 23 accommodation or according to the other person a lower 24 order of precedence in any list of applicants fo r that 25 accommodation. 26 (2) It is unlawful for a person, whether as principal or agent, to 27 discriminate against another person on the ground of the other 28 person’s religious belief or activity: 29 (a) by denying the other person access, or limiting the other 30 person’s access, to any benefit associated with 31 accommodation occupied by the other person; or 32 (b) by evicting the other person from accommodation occupied 33 by the other person; or 34 Unlawful discrimination Part 4 Discrimination in other areas Division 3 Section 28 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 29 (c) by subjecting the other person to any other detriment in 1 relation to ac commodation occupied by the other person. 2 28 Land 3 It is unlawful for a person, whether as principal or agent, to 4 discriminate against another person on the ground of the other 5 person’s religious belief or activity: 6 (a) by refusing or failing to dispose of an estate or interest in 7 land to the other person; or 8 (b) in the terms or conditions on which an estate or interest in 9 land is offered to the other person. 10 29 Sport 11 It is unlawful for a person to discriminate against another person 12 on the ground of the other person’s religious belief or activity by 13 excluding that other person from participation in a sporting activity 14 (including umpiring, coaching and administration of sporting 15 activities). 16 30 Clubs 17 (1) It is unlawful for a club, the committee of m anagement of a club or 18 a member of the committee of management of a club to 19 discriminate against a person who is not a member of the club on 20 the ground of the person’s religious belief or activity: 21 (a) by refusing or failing to accept the person’s applica tion for 22 membership; or 23 (b) in the terms or conditions on which the club is prepared to 24 admit the person to membership. 25 (2) It is unlawful for a club, the committee of management of a club or 26 a member of the committee of management of a club to 27 discrimin ate against a person who is a member of the club on the 28 ground of the member’s religious belief or activity: 29 (a) in the terms or conditions of membership that are afforded to 30 the member; or 31 Part 4 Unlawful discrimination Division 3 Discrimination in other areas Section 31 30 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 (b) by refusing or failing to accept the member’s application fo r 1 a particular class or type of membership; or 2 (c) by denying the member access, or limiting the member’s 3 access to any benefit provided by the club; or 4 (d) by depriving the member of membership or varying the terms 5 of membership; or 6 (e) by subjecting t he member to any other detriment. 7 31 Requesting or requiring information 8 It is unlawful for a person (the first person ) to request or require 9 another person to provide information if: 10 (a) the first person requests or requires the information for the 11 pu rpose of engaging in conduct in relation to the other 12 person; and 13 (b) the conduct would be unlawful under another provision of 14 this Part. 15 Example: It is unlawful under section 19 to refuse to employ a person on the 16 ground of the person’s religious belief or activity. Under this section, 17 it is therefore also unlawful to ask a person in a job interview if they 18 are religious if the question is asked for the purposes of determining 19 whether to employ the person. 20 32 Commonwealth laws and programs 21 It is unlawf ul for a person who: 22 (a) performs any function or exercises any power: 23 (i) under a law of the Commonwealth; or 24 (ii) for the purposes of a program conducted by or on behalf 25 of the Commonwealth; or 26 (b) has any other responsibility for: 27 (i) the administr ation of a law of the Commonwealth; or 28 (ii) the conduct of a program conducted by or on behalf of 29 the Commonwealth; 30 to discriminate against another person on the ground of the other 31 person’s religious belief or activity in performing that function, 32 exercising that power or fulfilling that responsibility. 33 Unlawful discrimination Part 4 Discrimination in other areas Division 3 Section 33 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 31 33 Victimisation 1 Victimisation —actual detriment 2 (1) It is unlawful for a person (the first person ) to engage in conduct 3 that causes detriment to another person (the second person ) if the 4 first person engages in the conduct because he or she believes that: 5 (a) the second person has made, or proposes to make, a 6 complaint under the Australian Human Rights Commission 7 Act 1986 ; or 8 (b) the second person has brought, or proposes to bring, 9 proceedings under the Australian Human Rights Commission 10 Act 1986 against any person; or 11 (c) the second person has given, or proposes to give, any 12 information, or has produced, or proposes to produce, any 13 documents to a person exercising or performing any power or 14 function under this Act or the Australian Human Rights 15 Commission Act 1986 ; or 16 (d) the second person has attended, or proposes to attend, a 17 conference held under the Australian Human Rights 18 Commission Act 1986 ; or 19 (e) the second person has appeared, or pr oposes to appear, as a 20 witness in a proceeding under this Act or the Australian 21 Human Rights Commission Act 1986 ; or 22 (f) the second person has reasonably asserted, or proposes to 23 assert, any rights of the second person, or of any other 24 person, under this Act or the Australian Human Rights 25 Commission Act 1986 ; or 26 (g) the second person has made an allegation that a person has 27 engaged in conduct that is unlawful by reason of a provision 28 of this Part (other than this section). 29 Note: See also section 50 (offen ce of victimisation). 30 Victimisation —threat of detriment 31 (2) It is unlawful for a person (the first person ) to make to another 32 person (the second person ) a threat to cause detriment to the 33 second person or to any other person if the first person makes the 34 Part 4 Unlawful discrimination Division 3 Discrimination in other areas Section 33 32 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 threat because he or she believes a matter mentioned in any of the 1 paragraphs in subsection (1). 2 Note: See also section 50 (offence of victimisation). 3 (3) For the purposes of subsection (2), a threat may be: 4 (a) express or implied; or 5 (b) conditional or unconditional. 6 Unlawful discrimination Part 4 Exceptions and exemptions Division 4 Section 34 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 33 Division 4— Exceptions and exemptions 1 Subdivision A — Introduction 2 34 Certain c onduct by religious bodies is not covered by this 3 Division 4 Certain conduct by religious bodies is not discrimination under 5 Division 2 or 3 of this Part, and it is therefore not necessary for the 6 conduct to come within an exception in this Division (see Part 2). 7 Subdivision B— General exceptions 8 35 Counselling, promoting etc. a serious offence 9 (1) Divisions 2 and 3 do not make it unlawful to discriminate against a 10 person on the ground of the person’s religious belief or activity if: 11 (a) the person has expressed a particular religious belief; and 12 (b) a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, 13 would conclude that, in expressing the belief, the person is 14 counselling, promoting, encouraging or urging conduct that 15 would constitute a serious offence; and 16 (c) at the time the discrimination occurs, it is reasonable to 17 assume that the person holds the particular belief. 18 (2) Serious offence means an offence involving harm (within the 19 meaning of the Criminal Code ), or financial detriment, that is 20 punishable by imprisonment for 2 years or more under a law of the 21 Commonwealth, a State or a Territory. 22 36 Conferring charitabl e benefits 23 (1) Nothing in Division 2 or 3: 24 (a) affects a provision of the governing rules (within the meaning 25 of the Australian Charities and Not -for -profits Commission 26 Act 2012 ) of a registered charity, if the provision: 27 (i) confers charitable benefits ; or 28 (ii) enables charitable benefits to be conferred; 29 Part 4 Unlawful discrimination Division 4 Exceptions and exemptions Section 37 34 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 wholly or in part on persons who hold or engage in a 1 particular religious belief or activity; or 2 (b) makes unlawful any conduct engaged in to give effect to such 3 a provision. 4 (2) Nothing in Divisi on 2 or 3: 5 (a) affects a provision of a deed, will or other instrument, if the 6 provision: 7 (i) confers charitable benefits; or 8 (ii) enables charitable benefits to be conferred; 9 wholly or in part on persons who hold or engage in a 10 particular religious b elief or activity; or 11 (b) makes unlawful any conduct engaged in to give effect to such 12 a provision. 13 37 Conduct in direct compliance with certain legislation etc. 14 Provisions of Commonwealth Acts etc. 15 (1) Nothing in Division 2 or 3 makes it unlawful for a person to 16 discriminate against another person, on the ground of the other 17 person’s religious belief or activity, if: 18 (a) the conduct constituting the discrimination is in direct 19 compliance with a provision of a law of the Commonwealth, 20 or of an instrumen t made under such a law; and 21 (b) that provision is not prescribed by the regulations for the 22 purposes of this paragraph. 23 Law enforcement, national security and intelligence functions etc. 24 (2) Nothing in Division 2 or 3 makes it unlawful for a person to 25 discriminate against another person, on the ground of the other 26 person’s religious belief or activity, if: 27 (a) the person is performing a function or exercising a power 28 relating to law enforcement, national security or intelligence 29 under a law or program o f the Commonwealth; and 30 (b) the conduct constituting the discrimination is reasonably 31 necessary in performing the function or exercising the power. 32 Unlawful discrimination Part 4 Exceptions and exemptions Division 4 Section 38 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 35 State and Territory Acts etc. 1 (3) Nothing in Division 2 or 3 makes it unlawful for a person to 2 discriminate against another person, on the ground of the other 3 person’s religious belief or activity, if: 4 (a) the conduct constituting the discrimination is in direct 5 compliance with a provision of a law of a State or a 6 Territory; and 7 (b) that provision is not prescribed by the regulations for the 8 purposes of this paragraph. 9 (4) Despite sub section 14(2) of the Legislation Act 2003 , regulations 10 made for the purposes of paragraph (3)(b) of this section may 11 prescribe a provision of a law of a State or a Territory as in force at 12 a particular time or as in force from time to time. 13 Meaning of national security 14 (5) In this section: 15 national security has the meaning given by the National Security 16 Information (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Act 2004 and 17 includes granting, revoking or denying Australian Government 18 security clearances (within the meaning of the Criminal Code ). 19 38 Orders, determinations and industrial instruments 20 Nothing in Division 2 or 3 makes it unlawful for a person to 21 discriminate against another person, on the ground of the other 22 person’s religious belief or activity, if the conduct constituting the 23 discrimination is in direct compliance with any of the follo wing: 24 (a) an order of a court or tribunal; 25 (b) without limiting paragraph (a)— an order, determination or 26 award of a court or tribunal that has power to fix minimum 27 wages or other terms and conditions of employment; 28 (c) an instrument that is: 29 (i) a fair work instrument (within the meaning of the Fair 30 Work Act 2009 ); or 31 (ii) a transitional instrument or Division 2B State 32 instrument (within the meaning of the Fair Work 33 Part 4 Unlawful discrimination Division 4 Exceptions and exemptions Section 39 36 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 (Transitional Provisions and Consequential 1 Amendments) Act 2009 ). 2 Subdivision C— Specifi c exceptions relating to particular areas 3 of public life 4 39 Exceptions relating to work 5 Exception —domestic duties 6 (1) Paragraphs 19 (1)(a) and (b) (about offering employment) do not 7 make it unlawful for a person (the first person ) to discriminate 8 against another person, on the ground of the other person’s 9 religious belief or activity, in connection with employment to 10 perform domestic duties on the premises on which the first person 11 resides. 12 Exception —inherent requirements 13 (2) Sections 19 (about employment ) and 20 (about partnerships) do not 14 make it unlawful for a person (the first person ) to discriminate 15 against another person, on the ground of the other person’s 16 religious belief or activity, if: 17 (a) the discrimination is in connection with a position as an 18 employee or partner; and 19 (b) because of the other person’s religious belief or activity, the 20 other person is unable to carry out the inherent requirements 21 of the employment or partnership . 22 (3) Subsection (2) does not apply in relation to discriminatio n referred 23 to in paragraph 19(2)(b) or (d) or 20 (3)(a) or (c), other than 24 discrimination in determining who should be offered promotion or 25 transfer. 26 (4) Section 21 (about qualifying bodies) does not make it unlawful for 27 a qualifying body to discriminate against a person, on the ground 28 of the person’s religious belief or activity, if the person is unable to 29 carry out the inherent requirements of the relevant professi on, trade 30 or occupation because of the person’s religious belief or activity. 31 Unlawful discrimination Part 4 Exceptions and exemptions Division 4 Section 40 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 37 (5) Section 23 (about employment agencies) does not make it unlawful 1 for an employment agency to discriminate against a person, on the 2 ground of the person’s religious belief or activity, if the person is 3 unable to carry out the inherent requirements of the work sought 4 because of the person’s religious belief or activity. 5 Employee includes prospective employee 6 (6) In this section, a reference to an employee includes a reference to a 7 prospective employee. 8 40 Exception s relating to accommodation and facilities 9 Exception —accommodation provider who is resident etc. 10 (1) Section 27 (about accommodation) does not apply to or in respect 11 of the provision of accommodation in premises if: 12 (a) the person who provides, or proposes to provide, the 13 accommodation or a near relative o f that person resides, and 14 intends to continue to reside on those premises; and 15 (b) the accommodation provided in those premises is for no more 16 than 3 persons, other than a person mentioned in 17 paragraph (a) or near relatives of such a person. 18 Exception —religious camps and conference sites 19 (2) Sections 26, to the extent it relates to making facilities available, 20 and 27 (about accommodation) do not make it unlawful for a 21 person (the first person ) to discriminate against another person, on 22 the ground of the other person’s religious belief or activity, if: 23 (a) the conduct constituting the discrimination is in the course of 24 establishing, directing, controlling or administering a camp or 25 conference site that: 26 (i) provides accommodation; and 27 (ii) is conducted in accordance with the doctrines, tenets, 28 beliefs or teachings of a particular religion; and 29 (b) the conduct is engaged in by the first person in good faith; 30 and 31 Part 4 Unlawful discrimination Division 4 Exceptions and exemptions Section 40 38 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 (c) a person of the same religion as the first person could 1 reasonably consider the conduct to be in accordance with the 2 doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of that religion; and 3 (d) the conduct is in accordance with a publicly available policy 4 issued by the first person; and 5 (e) if the Minister determines requirements under 6 subsection (3) — the policy, including in relation to its 7 availability, complies with the requirements. 8 (3) The Minister may, by legislative instrument, determine 9 requirements for the purposes of paragraph (2)(e). 10 (4) Without limiting subsection (2), conduct mentioned in that 11 subsection includes giving preference to persons of the same 12 religion as the first person. 13 (5) Sections 26, to the extent it relates to making facilities available, 14 and 27 (about accommodation) do not make it unlawful for a 15 person (the first person ) to discriminate against another person, on 16 the ground of the other person’s religious belief or activity, if: 17 (a) the conduct constituting the discrimination is in the course of 18 establishing, directing, controlling or administering a camp or 19 conference s ite that: 20 (i) provides accommodation; and 21 (ii) is conducted in accordance with the doctrines, tenets, 22 beliefs or teachings of a particular religion; and 23 (b) the first person engages, in good faith, in the conduct to avoid 24 injury to the religious suscept ibilities of adherents of the 25 same religion as the first person; and 26 (c) the conduct is in accordance with a publicly available policy; 27 and 28 (d) if the Minister determines requirements under 29 subsection (6) — the policy, including in relation to its 30 availability, complies with the requirements. 31 (6) The Minister may, by legislative instrument, determine 32 requirements for the purposes of paragraph (5)(d). 33 Unlawful discrimination Part 4 Exceptions and exemptions Division 4 Section 41 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 39 (7) Without limiting subsection (5), conduct mentioned in that 1 subsection includes giving preference to persons of the same 2 religion as the first person. 3 41 Exception for disposal of land 4 Section 28 (about land) does not apply in relation to a disposal of 5 an estate or interest in land by will or by way of gift. 6 42 Exception relating to club s 7 Section 30 (about clubs) does not make it unlawful to discriminate 8 against a person, on the ground of the person’s religious belief or 9 activity, if membership (however described) of the club is 10 restricted to persons who hold or engage in a particular r eligious 11 belief or activity and the person does not hold or engage in that 12 religious belief or activity. 13 43 Exception relating to voluntary bodies 14 (1) This section applies to voluntary bodies whose membership 15 (however described) is restricted to persons who hold or engage in 16 a particular religious belief or activity. 17 (2) Divisions 2 and 3 do not make it unlawful for a voluntary body to 18 discriminate against a person, on the ground of the person’s 19 religious belief or activity, in connection with: 20 (a) the admission of persons as members of the body; or 21 (b) the provision of benefits, facilities or services to members of 22 the body. 23 Subdivision D— Exemptions granted by the Commission 24 44 Commission may grant exemptions 25 (1) The Commission may, by notifiable ins trument, grant to a person 26 or body an exemption from the operation of a provision of 27 Division 2 or 3. 28 (2) The exemption must: 29 Part 4 Unlawful discrimination Division 4 Exceptions and exemptions Section 45 40 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 (a) specify the persons or bodies covered by the exemption; and 1 (b) specify the provision or provisions to which the exemption 2 applies; and 3 (c) be granted for a specified period (which must not exceed 5 4 years, starting from when the exemption takes effect). 5 (3) The exemption may: 6 (a) be granted subject to such terms and conditions as are 7 specified in the instrument of exemption ; and 8 (b) be expressed to apply only in such circumstances, or in 9 relation to such activities, as are specified in the instrument 10 of exemption. 11 45 Applying for an exemption 12 (1) One or more persons or bodies may apply to the Commission for 13 the granting o f an exemption under section 44. 14 (2) The application must be in a form approved, in writing, by the 15 Commission. 16 46 Effect of exemptions 17 This Part does not make it unlawful for: 18 (a) a person or body that is covered by an exemption granted 19 under section 44; or 20 (b) a person employed by, or under the direction or control of, a 21 person or body that is covered by an exemption granted 22 under section 44; 23 to engage in conduct in accordance with the exemption. 24 47 Variation and revocation of exemptions 25 (1) The Commission or the Minister may, by notifiable instrument, 26 vary or revoke an exemption granted under section 44. 27 (2) The variation or revocation takes effect on the day specified in the 28 notifiable instrument. 29 Unlawful discrimination Part 4 Exceptions and exemptions Division 4 Section 48 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 41 48 Review by Administrative Appeals Trib unal 1 Applications may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal 2 for review of the following decisions: 3 (a) decisions of the Commission under section 44; 4 (b) decisions of the Commission under section 47; 5 (c) decisions of the Minister under section 47. 6 7 Part 5 Offences Section 49 42 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 Part 5— Offences 1 2 49 Unlawful conduct is not an offence unless expressly provided 3 Except as expressly provided by this Part, nothing in this Act 4 makes it an offence to engage in conduct that is unlawful because 5 of a provision of Part 4. 6 50 Victimisation 7 Victimisation —actual detriment 8 (1) A person (the first person ) commits an offence if: 9 (a) the first person engages in conduct; and 10 (b) the first person’s conduct causes detriment to another person 11 (the second person ); and 12 (c) the first pe rson intends that his or her conduct cause 13 detriment to the second person; and 14 (d) the first person engages in his or her conduct because he or 15 she believes that: 16 (i) the second person has made, or proposes to make, a 17 complaint under the Australian Human Rights 18 Commission Act 1986 ; or 19 (ii) the second person has brought, or proposes to bring, 20 proceedings under the Australian Human Rights 21 Commission Act 1986 against any person; or 22 (iii) the second person has given, or proposes to give, any 23 information, or has produced, or proposes to produce, 24 any documents to a person exercising or performing any 25 power or function under this Act or the Australian 26 Human Rights Commission Act 1986 ; or 27 (iv) the second person has attended, or proposes to attend, a 28 conference held under the Australian Human Rights 29 Commission Act 1986 ; or 30 Offences Part 5 Section 50 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 43 (v) the second person has appeared, or proposes to appear, 1 as a witness in a proceeding under this Act or the 2 Australian Hu man Rights Commission Act 1986 ; or 3 (vi) the second person has reasonably asserted, or proposes 4 to assert, any rights of the second person, or of any 5 other person, under this Act or the Australian Human 6 Rights Commission Act 1986 ; or 7 (vii) the second pers on has made an allegation that a person 8 has engaged in conduct that is unlawful by reason of a 9 provision of Part 4 of this Act. 10 Note: Complaints can be made to the Commission about conduct that is an 11 offence under this subsection (see the definition of unl awful 12 discrimination in subsection 3(1) of the Australian Human Rights 13 Commission Act 1986 , and section 46P of that Act). 14 Penalty: Imprisonment for 6 months or 30 penalty units, or both. 15 Victimisation —threat of detriment 16 (2) A person (the first person ) co mmits an offence if: 17 (a) the first person makes to another person (the second person ) 18 a threat to cause detriment to the second person or to any 19 other person; and 20 (b) the first person: 21 (i) intends the second person to fear that the threat will be 22 carrie d out; or 23 (ii) is reckless as to causing the second person to fear that 24 the threat will be carried out; and 25 (c) the first person makes the threat because he or she believes a 26 matter mentioned in paragraph (1)(d). 27 Note: Complaints can be made to the Commi ssion about conduct that is an 28 offence under this subsection (see the definition of unlawful 29 discrimination in subsection 3(1) of the Australian Human Rights 30 Commission Act 1986 , and section 46P of that Act). 31 Penalty: Imprisonment for 6 months or 30 penalt y units, or both. 32 (3) For the purposes of subsection (2), a threat may be: 33 (a) express or implied; or 34 (b) conditional or unconditional. 35 Part 5 Offences Section 51 44 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 (4) In a prosecution for an offence against subsection (2), it is not 1 necessary to prove that the person threatened actually feared that 2 the threat would be carried out. 3 51 Advertisements 4 A person commits an offence if: 5 (a) the person publishes or displays an advertisement or notice, 6 or causes or permits an advertisement or notice to be 7 published or displayed; and 8 (b) the advertisement or notice indicates, or could reasonably be 9 understood to indicate, an intention to engage in conduct that 10 would be unlawful under Part 4. 11 Note: Complaints can be made to the Commission about conduct that is an 12 offence under this section (see the definition of unlawful 13 discrimination in subsection 3(1) of the Australian Human Rights 14 Commission Act 1986 , and section 46P of that Act). 15 Penalty: 10 pen alty units. 16 Religious Discrimination Commissioner Part 6 Section 52 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 45 Part 6— Religious Discrimination Commission er 1 2 52 Religious Discrimination Commissioner 3 (1) There is to be a Religious Discrimination Commissioner . 4 (2) The Commissioner is to be appointed by the Governor -General by 5 written instrument. 6 Note: The Commissioner may be reappointed: see section 33AA of the Acts 7 Interpretation Act 1901 . 8 (3) The Commissioner may be appointed on either a full -time or 9 part -time basis. 10 (4) A person is not qualified to be appointed as the Commissioner 11 unless the Minis ter is satisfied that the person has appropriate 12 qualifications, knowledge or experience. 13 53 Term of appointment 14 The Commissioner holds office for the period specified in the 15 instrument of appointment. The period must not exceed 7 years. 16 54 Remuneratio n of Commissioner 17 (1) The Commissioner is to be paid the remuneration that is 18 determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. If no determination of 19 that remuneration by the Tribunal is in operation, the 20 Commissioner is to be paid the remuneration that is prescr ibed by 21 the regulations. 22 (2) The Commissioner is to be paid the allowances that are prescribed 23 by the regulations. 24 (3) Subsections 7(9) and (13) of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 25 do not apply in relation to the office of the Commissioner. 26 Note: The effect of this subsection is that remuneration or allowances of the 27 Commissioner will be paid out of money appropriated by an Act other 28 than the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 . 29 Part 6 Religious Discrimination Commissioner Section 55 46 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 (4) This section has effect subject to the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1 1973 (except as provided by subsection (3) of this section). 2 55 Leave of absence 3 (1) If the Commissioner is appointed on a full -time basis: 4 (a) the Commissioner has the recreation leave entitlements that 5 are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal; and 6 (b) the Minister may grant the Commissioner leave of absence, 7 other than recreation leave, on the terms and conditions as to 8 remuneration or otherwise that the Minister determines. 9 (2) If the Commissioner is appointed on a part -time basis, the Minister 10 may gr ant leave of absence to the Commissioner on the terms and 11 conditions that the Minister determines. 12 56 Outside employment 13 (1) If the Commissioner is appointed on a full -time basis, the 14 Commissioner must not engage in paid work outside the duties of 15 the Co mmissioner’s office without the Minister’s approval. 16 (2) If the Commissioner is appointed on a part -time basis, the 17 Commissioner must not engage in any paid work that, in the 18 Minister’s opinion, conflicts, or could conflict, with the proper 19 performance of the Commissioner’s duties. 20 57 Other terms and conditions of appointment 21 The Commissioner holds office on the terms and conditions (if 22 any), in relation to matters not covered by this Act, that are 23 determined by the Governor -General. 24 58 Resignation 25 (1) The Commissioner may resign the Commissioner’s appointment 26 by giving the Governor -General a written resignation. 27 Religious Discrimination Commissioner Part 6 Section 59 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 47 (2) The resignation takes effect on the day it is received by the 1 Governor -General or, if a later day is specified in the written 2 resignatio n, on that later day. 3 59 Termination 4 (1) The Governor -General may terminate the appointment of the 5 Commissioner: 6 (a) for misbehaviour; or 7 (b) if the Commissioner is unable to perform the duties of the 8 Commissioner’s office because of physical or mental 9 incapacity. 10 (2) The Governor -General must terminate the appointment of the 11 Commissioner: 12 (a) if the Commissioner: 13 (i) becomes bankrupt; or 14 (ii) takes steps to take the benefit of any law for the relief of 15 bankrupt or insolvent debtors; or 16 (iii) compo unds with one or more of the Commissioner’s 17 creditors; or 18 (iv) makes an assignment of the Commissioner’s 19 remuneration for the benefit of one or more of the 20 Commissioner’s creditors; or 21 (b) if the Commissioner is appointed on a full -time basis — if the 22 Comm issioner is absent from duty, except on leave of 23 absence, for 14 consecutive days or for 28 days in any period 24 of 12 months; or 25 (c) if the Commissioner is appointed on a full -time basis — if the 26 Commissioner engages in paid work outside the duties of the 27 Co mmissioner’s office without the Minister’s approval; or 28 (d) if the Commissioner is appointed on a part -time basis — if the 29 Commissioner is absent, except on leave of absence, for 3 30 consecutive meetings of the Commission; or 31 (e) if the Commissioner is appoi nted on a part -time basis — if the 32 Commissioner engages in paid work outside the duties of the 33 office of Commissioner that, in the Minister’s opinion, 34 Part 6 Religious Discrimination Commissioner Section 60 48 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 conflicts, or could conflict, with the proper performance of 1 the Commissioner’s duties. 2 60 Acting Commissi oner 3 (1) The Minister may, by written instrument, appoint a person to act as 4 the Commissioner: 5 (a) during a vacancy in the office of the Commissioner (whether 6 or not an appointment has previously been made to the 7 office); or 8 (b) during any period, or du ring all periods, when the 9 Commissioner: 10 (i) is absent from duty or from Australia; or 11 (ii) is, for any reason, unable to perform the functions of the 12 office. 13 Note: For rules that apply to acting appointments, see sections 33AB and 14 33A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 . 15 (2) A person is not qualified to be appointed under subsection (1) 16 unless the Minister is satisfied that the person has appropriate 17 qualifications, knowledge or experience. 18 Functions of the Australian Human Rights Commission Part 7 Section 61 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 49 Part 7— Functions of the Australian Human Rights 1 Commissio n 2 3 61 Functions of the Commission 4 The following functions are conferred on the Commission: 5 (a) to exercise the powers conferred on it by section 44 (about 6 granting exemptions); 7 (b) to promote an understanding and acceptance of, and 8 compliance with, this Act; 9 (c) to undertake research and educational programs, and other 10 programs, on behalf of the Commonwealth for the purpose of 11 promoting the objects of this Act; 12 (d) to examine enactments (within the meaning of the Australian 13 Human Rights Commission Act 1986 ) to determine whether 14 those enactments are inconsistent with or contrary to the 15 objects of this Act; 16 (e) at the request of the Minister, to examine proposed 17 enactments (within the meaning of the Australian Human 18 Rights Commission Act 1986 ) to det ermine whether those 19 enactments would be inconsistent with or contrary to the 20 objects of this Act; 21 (f) to report to the Minister the result of examinations conducted 22 for the purposes of paragraph (d) or (e); 23 (g) on its own initiative or at the request of the Minister, to report 24 to the Minister as to the laws that should be made by the 25 Parliament, or action that should be taken by the 26 Commonwealth, on matters relating to discrimination on the 27 ground of religious belief or activity; 28 (h) to prepare and publ ish guidelines for avoiding discrimination 29 on the ground of religious belief or activity; 30 (i) where the Commission considers it appropriate, with the 31 leave of the court conducting the proceedings and subject to 32 any conditions imposed by the court, to inte rvene in 33 proceedings that involve issues of discrimination on the 34 ground of religious belief or activity; 35 Part 7 Functions of the Australian Human Rights Commission Section 61 50 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 (j) to do anything incidental or conducive to the performance of 1 any of the above functions. 2 Application and constitutional provisions Part 8 Section 62 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 51 Part 8— Application and constitutional provisions 1 2 62 This Act binds the Crown 3 (1) This Act binds the Crown in each of its capacities. 4 (2) However, this Act does not make the Crown liable to be prosecuted 5 for an offence. 6 63 Geographical application of this Act 7 (1) This Act applies throughout Australia. 8 (2) This Act applies to conduct engaged in in Australia, even if the 9 conduct involves persons or things, or matters arising, outside 10 Australia. 11 64 Constitutional basis of this Act 12 This Act gives effect to Australia’s obligations under one or more 13 of the following international instruments, as amended and in force 14 for Australia from time to time: 15 (a) the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights done 16 at New York on 16 December 1966 ([1980] ATS 23); 17 (b) the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural 18 Rights done at New York on 16 December 1966 ([1976] ATS 19 5); 20 (c) the Convention on the Rights of the Child done at New York 21 on 20 November 1989 ([1991] ATS 4); 22 (d) the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms 23 of Racial Discrimination done at New York on 21 December 24 1965 ([1975] ATS 40); 25 (e) the ILO Convention (No. 111) concerning Discrimination in 26 respect of Employment and Occupation done at Geneva on 27 25 June 1958 ([1974] ATS 12); 28 Part 8 Application and constitutional provisions Section 65 52 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 (f) the ILO Convention (No. 158) conce rning Termination of 1 Employment at the Initiative of the Employer done at Geneva 2 on 22 June 1982 ([1994] ATS 4). 3 Note: The text of a Convention or Covenant could, in 20 21, be viewed in the 4 Australian Treaties Library on the AustLII website 5 (http://www.aust lii.edu.au). 6 65 Additional operation of this Act 7 Act also has effect as provided by this section 8 (1) In addition to section 64, this Act also has effect as provided by 9 this section. 10 Constitutional corporations 11 (2) This Act also has the effect it would h ave if each reference in this 12 Act to a person (the first person ) engaging in conduct in relation to 13 another person were, by express reference, limited so that it applies 14 only if one or more of the following paragraphs applies: 15 (a) the first person is a co rporation to which paragraph 51(xx) of 16 the Constitution applies; 17 (b) the first person is an officer, employee or agent of a 18 corporation to which paragraph 51(xx) of the Constitution 19 applies, and the conduct is connected with the person’s duties 20 as such an officer, employee or agent; 21 (c) the other person is an officer, employee or agent of a 22 corporation to which paragraph 51(xx) of the Constitution 23 applies, and the conduct is connected with the person’s duties 24 as such an officer, employee or agent. 25 Commonw ealth and Territory matters 26 (3) This Act also has the effect it would have if each reference in this 27 Act to a person (the first person ) engaging in conduct in relation to 28 another person were, by express reference, limited so that it applies 29 only if one or more of the following paragraphs applies: 30 (a) the first person is the Commonwealth, a Territory, or a body 31 (a covered authority ) covered by subsection (4); 32 Application and constitutional provisions Part 8 Section 65 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 53 (b) the first person is an officer, employee or agent of the 1 Commonwealth, a Territory or a cover ed authority, and the 2 conduct is connected with the person’s duties as such an 3 officer, employee or agent; 4 (c) the other person is an officer, employee or agent of the 5 Commonwealth, a Territory or a covered authority, and the 6 conduct is connected with the person’s duties as such an 7 officer, employee or agent; 8 (d) the conduct occurs in the course of the first person, or the 9 other person, performing a function or exercising a power 10 under a law of the Commonwealth or a law of a Territory; 11 (e) the conduct is engaged in within a Territory. 12 (4) The following bodies are covered by this subsection: 13 (a) a body established for a public purpose by or under a law of 14 the Commonwealth or a Territory; 15 (b) an incorporated company over which any of the following is 16 in a position to exercise control: 17 (i) the Commonwealth; 18 (ii) the Government of a Territory; 19 (iii) a body referred to in paragraph (a); 20 (c) a person who holds: 21 (i) an office or position established by or under a law of the 22 Commonwealth or a Territory; or 23 (ii) an appointment made under a law of the 24 Commonwealth or a Territory; or 25 (iii) an appointment made by the Governor -General, by a 26 Minister, or by any other person on behalf of the 27 Commonwealth Government; or 28 (iv) an appointment made by a Minister of a Territory, or by 29 any other person on behalf of the Government of a 30 Territory; or 31 (v) an office or appointment that is prescribed by the 32 regulations for the purpose of this subparagraph. 33 Part 8 Application and constitutional provisions Section 65 54 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 Trade or commerce 1 (5) This Act also has the effect it would have i f each reference in this 2 Act to a person (the first person ) engaging in conduct in relation to 3 another person were, by express reference, confined to conduct 4 engaged in while the first person, or the other person, is acting in 5 the course of, or in relation to, trade or commerce: 6 (a) between Australia and places outside Australia; or 7 (b) among the States; or 8 (c) between a State and a Territory; or 9 (d) between 2 Territories. 10 Banking and insurance 11 (6) This Act also has the effect it would have if each ref erence in this 12 Act to a person (the first person ) engaging in conduct in relation to 13 another person were, by express reference, confined to conduct 14 engaged in while the first person, or the other person, is acting in 15 the course of, or in relation to, the c arrying on of: 16 (a) the business of banking, other than State banking (within the 17 meaning of paragraph 51(xiii) of the Constitution) not 18 extending beyond the limits of the State concerned; or 19 (b) the business of insurance, other than State insurance (with in 20 the meaning of paragraph 51(xiv) of the Constitution) not 21 extending beyond the limits of the State concerned. 22 Telecommunications 23 (7) This Act also has the effect it would have if each reference in this 24 Act to a person engaging in conduct in relation to another person 25 were, by express reference, confined to conduct engaged in by 26 means of a postal, telegraphic, telephonic or other like service 27 within the meaning of paragraph 51(v) of the Constitution. 28 Defence 29 (8) This Act also has the effect it would hav e if each reference in this 30 Act to a person engaging in conduct in relation to another person 31 were, by express reference, confined to conduct engaged in for 32 purposes relating to the defence of Australia. 33 Application and constitutional provisions Part 8 Section 66 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 55 66 Limited application provisions 1 (1) Subsections 7(4) and ( 5), 9(5) and (6) and 40 (5) and ( 7) apply in 2 relation to any of the following kinds of conduct: 3 (a) conduct engaged in by a corporation to which 4 paragraph 51(xx) of the Constitution applies; 5 (b) conduct engaged in by a person acting in the cours e of, or in 6 relation to, trade or commerce: 7 (i) between Australia and places outside Australia; or 8 (ii) among the States; or 9 (iii) between a State and a Territory; or 10 (iv) between 2 Territories; 11 (c) conduct engaged in by a body corporate that is incorporated 12 in a Territory; 13 (d) conduct engaged in by a body corporate that is taken to be 14 registered in a Territory under section 119A of the 15 Corporations Act 2001 ; 16 (e) conduct engaged in in a Territory; 17 (f) conduct engaged in by means of a postal, te legraphic, 18 telephonic or other like service within the meaning of 19 paragraph 51(v) of the Constitution. 20 (2) This section applies despite sections 64 and 65 . 21 67 Compensation for acquisition of property 22 (1) If the operation of this Act would result in an a cquisition of 23 property (within the meaning of paragraph 51(xxxi) of the 24 Constitution) from a person otherwise than on just terms (within 25 the meaning of that paragraph), the Commonwealth is liable to pay 26 a reasonable amount of compensation to the person. 27 (2) If the Commonwealth and the person do not agree on the amount 28 of the compensation, the person may institute proceedings in the 29 Federal Court of Australia or the Supreme Court of a State or 30 Territory for the recovery from the Commonwealth of such 31 reasona ble amount of compensation as the court determines. 32 Part 8 Application and constitutional provisions Section 68 56 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 68 Relationship with State and Territory laws 1 (1) This Act is not intended to exclude or limit the operation of a law 2 of a State or Territory to the extent that the law is capable of 3 operating concurren tly with this Act. 4 Note: Nothing in this subsection detracts from the operation of section 12. 5 (2) If: 6 (a) a law of a State or Territory deals with a matter dealt with by 7 this Act; and 8 (b) a person has made a complaint, instituted a proceeding or 9 taken any other action under that law in respect of conduct 10 engaged in and in respect of which the person would, but for 11 this subsection, have been entitled to make a complaint under 12 the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 alleging 13 that the conduct is un lawful under a provision of this Act; 14 the person is not entitled to make a complaint or institute a 15 proceeding under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 16 1986 alleging that the act or omission is unlawful under a provision 17 of this Act. 18 (3) If: 19 (a) a law of a State or Territory deals with a matter dealt with by 20 this Act; and 21 (b) conduct engaged in by a person that constitutes an offence 22 against that law also constitutes an offence against this Act; 23 the person may be prosecuted and convicted either u nder that law 24 of the State or Territory or under this Act. 25 (4) Nothing in subsection (3) renders a person liable to be punished 26 more than once in respect of the same conduct. 27 Other matters Part 9 Section 69 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 57 Part 9— Other matters 1 2 69 Delegation 3 Delegation by the Commission 4 (1) The Commission may, in writing, delegate all or any of its 5 functions or powers under this Act to: 6 (a) the Commissioner or another member of the Commission; or 7 (b) a member of the staff of the Commission; or 8 (c) any other person or body of persons. 9 Note: Sec tions 34AA to 34A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 contain 10 provisions relating to delegations. 11 Delegation by the Commissioner 12 (2) The Commissioner may, in writing, delegate all or any of the 13 Commissioner’s functions or powers under this Act to: 14 (a) a member of the staff of the Commission approved by the 15 Commission; or 16 (b) any other person or body of persons approved by the 17 Commission. 18 Note: Sections 34AA to 34A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 contain 19 provisions relating to delegations. 20 Delegate mu st comply with directions of delegator 21 (3) In performing a delegated function or exercising a delegated 22 power, the delegate must comply with any written directions of the 23 delegator. 24 70 Liability of persons involved in unlawful conduct 25 (1) A person must not do any of the following in relation to conduct 26 that is unlawful under Part 4: 27 (a) attempt to engage in that conduct; 28 (b) aid, abet, counsel or procure that conduct; 29 Part 9 Other matters Section 71 58 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 (c) induce (by threats, promises or otherwise) that conduct; 1 (d) be in any way, dir ectly or indirectly, knowingly concerned in, 2 or party to, that conduct; 3 (e) conspire with others to engage in, or effect, that conduct. 4 (2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) in relation to conduct that 5 is unlawful under Part 4 is taken, for the pur poses of this Act, to 6 have engaged in the conduct. 7 71 Conduct by representatives 8 (1) Any conduct engaged in on behalf of a person by a representative 9 of the person within the scope of actual or apparent authority is 10 taken to have been engaged in also by the person, unless the person 11 establishes that the person took reasonable precautions and 12 exercised due diligence to avoid the conduct. 13 (2) If it is necessary to establish the state of mind of a person in 14 relation to particular conduct, it is sufficient t o show: 15 (a) that the conduct was engaged in by a representative of the 16 person within the scope of actual or apparent authority; and 17 (b) that the representative had that state of mind. 18 (3) A reference in subsection (2) to the state of mind of a 19 representative of a person includes a reference to: 20 (a) the representative’s knowledge, intention, opinion, belief or 21 purpose; and 22 (b) the representative’s reasons for the intention, opinion, belief 23 or purpose. 24 (4) In this section: 25 representative of a p erson means: 26 (a) if the person is a body corporate — a director, employee or 27 agent of the body corporate; or 28 (b) if the person is a body politic — an employee or agent of the 29 body politic; or 30 (c) if the person is an individual — an employee or agent of the 31 individual. 32 Other matters Part 9 Section 72 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 59 (5) This section does not apply to proceedings for an offence against 1 Part 5. 2 72 Protection from civil actions 3 (1) Subsection (2) applies to: 4 (a) the Commission; and 5 (b) the Commissioner or another member of the Commission; 6 and 7 (c) a person acting for or on behalf of: 8 (i) the Commission; or 9 (ii) the Commissioner or another member of the 10 Commission. 11 (2) A person mentioned in subsection (1) is not liable to an action or 12 other proceeding for damages for or in relation to conduct engaged 13 in i n good faith: 14 (a) in the performance, or purported performance, of any 15 function conferred on the Commission by this Act; or 16 (b) in the exercise, or purported exercise, of any power conferred 17 on the Commission by this Act. 18 (3) Subsection (4) applies if a submission has been made, or a 19 document, information or evidence has been given, to the 20 Commission or to a person acting for or on behalf of the 21 Commission. 22 (4) A person is not liable to an action, suit or proceeding in respect of 23 loss, damage or injury of any kind suffered by another person by 24 reason only that the submission was made or the document, 25 information or evidence was given. 26 (5) This section is subject to section 67 (about compensation for 27 acquisition of property). 28 73 No right of action unless expressly provided 29 Except as expressly provided in this Act, nothing in this Act 30 confers any right of action in relation to conduct that: 31 (a) is unlawful under a provision of Part 4; or 32 Part 9 Other matters Section 74 60 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 (b) is an offence against a provision of Part 5. 1 74 Non -disclosure of protected information 2 (1) A person commits an offence if the person: 3 (a) is, or has been, an entrusted person; and 4 (b) has acquired protected information in the person’s capacity 5 as an entrusted person; and 6 (c) discloses the information t o another person. 7 Penalty: Imprisonment for 2 years. 8 (2) Subsection (1) does not apply if: 9 (a) the conduct is authorised by a law of the Commonwealth or 10 of a State or Territory; or 11 (b) a person engages in the conduct: 12 (i) in the performance of a functi on under or in connection 13 with this Act; or 14 (ii) in the exercise of a power conferred on the Commission 15 or the Commissioner by this Act; or 16 (iii) in accordance with an arrangement in force under 17 section 16 of the Australian Human Rights Commission 18 Act 19 86 . 19 Note: A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to a matter in this 20 subsection (see sub section 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code ). 21 (3) A person who is, or has been, an entrusted person must not be 22 required: 23 (a) to disclose to a court protected in formation acquired in the 24 person’s capacity as an entrusted person; or 25 (b) to produce in a court a document containing protected 26 information of which that person has custody, or to which 27 that person has access, in that person’s capacity as an 28 entrusted pe rson; 29 except where it is necessary to do so for the purposes of this Act. 30 (4) In this section: 31 Other matters Part 9 Section 75 No. , 2021 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 61 court includes any tribunal, authority or person having power to 1 require the production of documents or the answering of questions. 2 entrusted person means: 3 (a) the Commissioner or another member of the Commission; or 4 (b) a member of the staff assisting the Commission; or 5 (c) a delegate of the Commission; or 6 (d) a delegate of the Commissioner. 7 produce includes permit access to. 8 protected information means information: 9 (a) that is obtained by an entrusted person under or for the 10 purposes of this Act; and 11 (b) that relates to the affairs of another person. 12 75 Commissioner to give information to the Commission 13 The Commissioner must give the Commission such information 14 relating to the operations of the Commissioner as the Commission 15 requires. 16 76 Review of operation of Act 17 (1) The Commissioner must conduct a review of the operation of this 18 Act , which must be completed no later than 2 years after the 19 commenc ement of this Act. 20 (2) The Commissioner must give the Minister a written report of the 21 review. 22 (3) The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be tabled in each 23 House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after 24 the Minister receives the report. 25 77 Regulations 26 The Governor -General may make regulations prescribing matters: 27 (a) required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed by the 28 regulations; or 29 Part 9 Other matters Section 77 62 Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 No. , 2021 (b) necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or 1 giving effect to t his Act. 2
Report 2000 words Plagiarism free. Harvard Referencing!
Homophobia, transphobia, young people and the question of responsibility Mary Lou Rasmussen a, Fida Sanjakdar a, Louisa Allen b, Kathleen Quinlivan cand Annette Bromdal d aFaculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; bFaculty of Education, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand; cSchool of Educational Studies and Leadership, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand;dSchool of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education, in the Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts, University of Southern Queensland, Toowomba, Australia ABSTRACTYoung people may face con flicting and confusing messages about what it means to respond well in relation to homophobia and transphobia. Consequently, we ask –What might it mean to respond well to homophobia and transphobia? This strategy, inspired by Anika Thiem and Judith Butler, is recognition of the ambivalent conditions which structure attempts to respond well to bullying related to gender and sexuality. Such an approach is counter to educational responses that suggest a remedy in advance of the enactment of perceived bullying. Our paper draws on research conducted by the authors in four schools, two in Australia and two in Aotearoa/New Zealand. It is a deliberate turn away from focusing on who should be held to account for homophobia and transphobia. KEYWORDSHomophobia; transphobia; responsibility; relationality; bullying; sexuality; gender Our speci fic focus in this article is on how to understand the question of responsibility in relation to what Pascoe ( 2013) has termed the ‘sociology of bullying ’. Inspired by Thiem ’s ( 2008 )Unbecoming Subjects: Judith Butler, Moral Philosophy, and Critical Responsibility ,we recon figure responsibility in relation to the question –What might it mean to respond well to homophobia and transphobia? Thiem ’s work investigates the potential of thinking about responsibility as relational –rather than in terms of what we should do ( 2008, p. 5). This is a deliberate turn away from focusing on who should be held to account for homophobia and transphobia. It is also recognition of the ambivalent conditions which structure attempts to respond well (Thiem, 2008, p. 6). When responses to homophobia and transphobia are understood as relational, the impetus to craft a pedagogical or disci- plinary response that suggests a remedy in advance of the enactment of perceived bully- ing is called into question. The context of the investigation is public secondary schools in Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) with culturally and religiously diverse student populations. We chose these sites because we recognize that attention to diversity is a fundamental characteristic of effective education related to gender and sexuality (UNESCO, 2009). Our paper draws on research conducted by the authors in four such schools, two in each country. 1In © 2015 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group CONTACT Mary Lou Rasmussen [email protected] DISCOURSE: STUDIES IN THE CULTURAL POLITICS OF EDUCATION, 2017 VOL. 38, NO. 1, 30 –42 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2015.1104850 embarking on this research we reasoned that many young people approach adulthood faced with conflicting and confusing messages about sexuality and gender and that they may experience con flicting advice and feelings about what it means to respond well in relation to homophobia and transphobia. Responsibility, relationality and repetition In thinking through the question of responsibility we begin by underscoring the need to see injury in relation to homophobia and transphobia. We also argue that we cannot just see injury. Homophobia and transphobia are the subject of numerous de finitions and dis- courses, it is not possible of offer neat de finitions of either –and part of the point of this paper is to resist de fining these concepts. That said, we are in no doubt that young people and teachers experience violence related to gender and sexual identi fications (real or per- ceived) and the associated injuries are important to acknowledge and address. We strongly believe that homophobia and transphobia can diminish all members of school communities because it impacts on those directly involved, those asked to intervene and as well as bystanders and allies. This is not to say that responsibility and accountability no longer matter . It is recognition that they are not straightforward or easily apprehended. To this end, we argue the need to separate accountability and responsibility, and to recog- nize that neither can be totally located in the individual, or a speci fic event, place or time. We are not the first to make the observation that bullying needs a sociological response that recognizes the complex relations of power underpinning gender and sexuality (see Bansel, Davies, Laws, & Linnell, 2009; Pascoe, 2013; Ringrose & Renold, 2010; Walton, 2011 ). In a recent interview on the subject of responsibility, Judith Butler argues that: Sometimes the language of victimization strengthens the rationale of a paternalistic form of power …at other times it can lead to practices of organized resistance. So we have to assess in what direction it works, and whose interest it serves. (Athanasiou & Butler, 2013, p. 115) This argument suggests homophobia and transphobia in public schools might be under- stood as working in multiple directions, directions that we cannot necessarily anticipate in advance. If one concedes that transphobia and homophobia might work in many direc- tions –what are the implications of this for how schools, students and researchers might analyze accounts of homophobia and transphobia, and then respond to these accounts? We are also prompted to think about how the power dynamics of victimization related to homophobia and transphobia might potentially strengthen paternalistic forms of power that take various guises. Courtney Bailey ( 2011) explores an instantiation of this in his discussion of a US celebrity scandal related to homophobia and race. He draws atten- tion to the way in which the high-pro file black celebrity (Isaiah Washington) is character- ized as ‘the angry black man ’perpetrating homophobia, simultaneously ‘con firming white culture ’s fears about masculinity ’, and portraying Washington as a ‘bad individual in need of reform ’(2011 , p. 2). Are there are other bad individuals and groups who are situated as in need of reform within the language of victimization related to homophobia and trans- phobia in school contexts? If so, how might these questions of responsibility relate to homophobia and transphobia? InGiving an Account of Oneself , Judith Butler argues responsibility is not a question of responsibility that be conceptualized alone, in isolation from the other ( 2005, p. 85). In the DISCOURSE: STUDIES IN THE CULTURAL POLITICS OF EDUCATION 31 scope of this conceptualization, individuals cannot take full responsibility for bullying–to do so would be a failure to recognize the fundamentally relational aspect of such an encounter. Applebaum ( 2010), in an article on ignorance and social justice education, notes that Butler ’s approach to theorizing responsibility has sometimes been misconstrued: … to assume that individuals are not responsible for their speech and, thus, should not be blamed for it …It is important, however, to underscore that most Butlerians, and Butler herself, do not reject individual responsibility, although the conception of responsibility they assume moves away from an exclusive focus on blame, control, and causality. (Apple- baum, 2010, p. 326) We share Applebaum’ s interpretation–this article is not about absolution from blame, rather our focus is on how young people and we as researchers apprehend and frame bul- lying and responsibility. In this article we are particularly interested in how blame, control and causality are conceptualized by students in response to homophobia and transphobia related bullying within school contexts. Davies and McInnes ( 2012), also inspired by Butler, similarly recognize that the question of responsibility is not straightforward when it comes to gender and bullying. They argue: … perpetrators [of homophobic violence and we would add transphobic violence] are not the originators of their fear nor are they solely invested with or responsible for the power enacted through their injurious acts. Perpetrators of homophobic harassment and violence accumulate the power to injure through the repetition or citation of a prior set of practices –in this case, a set of practices that are understood to cause injury to the intended recipients. (p. 140) While bullying is part of a practice of repetition and citation, the ways in which bullying is embedded in relations of power is not necessarily apparent to the bullies themselves, to the recipient of bullying, to teachers who are required to discipline and educate students about bullying, to parents whose children might be charged with bullying, or whose chil- dren may be the targets of harassment. Bullying is ubiquitous within schools, but its racial, cultural, nationalist and religious politics, and the ways they are intertwined with heteronormativity, cisgenderism and shame are less apparent. Is it possible to avow certainty about bullying, when we may be in the dark about why we bully, and we may easily misconstrue the reasons that others bully. This is the basis of a mutual unrecognizability that lies at the heart of our social relations. We recognize that cultural and religious differences are implicated in the repetition and citation of homophobia and transphobia. They are also implicated in attempts to speak back to and disrupt homophobia and transphobia. Yip ’s( 2012 ) research on homophobia within ethnic minority communities in the UK is useful for thinking about how homopho- bia is linked to relations of power and resistance speci fically linked to cultural and religious difference. Through his interviews, Yip grasps some of the complexities of labeling speci fic understandings as homophobic. For instance, he notes that for many of the heterosexual identi fied participants in his research the notion of homophobia evoked strong responses because they felt that it con flated ethical and moral concerns about homosexuality with irrational fears related to homosexuality –while the participants insisted upon the main- tenance of this distinction. 32 M. L. RASMUSSEN ET AL. Taking this style of thought to school contexts, it is possible that a student might fea- sibly question the morality of homosexuality at school –arguing that this objection is not irrational but reasoned. Yip is also careful to note that lesbian and gay respondents in his research refused this distinction. In thinking through these sets of relations, Yip argues that it: … may prove to be more productive ultimately to frame unequal treatments of lesbians and gays as ‘discrimination’ ,‘hostility ’, ‘prejudice ’,or ‘negativity’ (or a combination of these), which is more recognisable in the everyday lexicon, rather than ‘homophobia’ , which is far more emotive; and to some, condemning. (Yip, 2012, p. 113) Yip’s approach does not deny the existence of unequal treatment. But he suggests a way forward that can recognize discrimination, hostility, bullying and so on, while calling into question the value of labeling particular acts as homophobic. For Yip, this is recognition that religious traditions and secular rights discourses frame unequal treatment of people based on their gender and sexual identity according to very different questions of accountability and responsibility. Responsibility, bullying, and sexual and gender identity Walton ( 2011) argues the importance of ‘reconceptualizing bullying beyond behavior based approaches ’in Canadian public schools where bullying is often addressed in a fashion which treats it as somehow divorced from difference. He believes that this is apparent in the production of generic safe schools policies that individualize school vio- lence focusing on ‘the actual moments of bullying. Doing so does not account for broader and social and political conditions that endorse bullying behaviours and the attitudes that are expressed as bullying ’(p. 135). Walton goes on to argue that homophobic bullying is pervasive but frequently unaddressed in Canadian public schools and notes: … parents ’religious perspectives often clash with anti-homophobia initiatives. From an administrative standpoint, it therefore seems pragmatic as a strategy for evading controversy to draft policies that refer to bullying as generic behaviour. The problem, simply put, is this: Although masquerading as providing protection for all students, generic policies do not address the speci fic ways that particular children, and not others, are continual targets of peer violence. (p. 137) In this passage Walton makes the point that parents ’‘religious perspectives ’might clash with anti-homophobia initiatives. It is worth mentioning that parents who are not religious may also have objections to anti-homophobia initiatives, and that students (like their parents) might also object to anti-homophobia initiatives. He goes on to argue, ‘particular and prevalent forms of bullying (such as homophobia) have not drawn focused preventa- tive action ’(2011 , p. 137). Here we wonder: What focused preventative action might look like? What is the goal of such action? Presumably the goal is to eliminate homophobia and transphobia. Does this also presume some agreement about what constitutes homopho- bia and transphobia? Can we agree in advance about how such things will be identi fied and addressed in school contexts? Does this depend on the community in which the school is located; the relations of power between students, teachers and parents; whether the school is public or private; secular or religious? DISCOURSE: STUDIES IN THE CULTURAL POLITICS OF EDUCATION 33 In concluding his discussion, Walton writes‘anti-bullying in schools must acknowledge, address, and educate about notions of difference so that children who are vili fied for being different (or perceived as such) are accorded safer learning environments ’(p. 142). There is a perception here that more education about difference will combat an apparent ignor- ance about difference, and therefore go some way towards combating bullying that is pre- sumably linked to this ignorance about difference. We recognize the value of teaching about difference, but we wonder about Walton ’s conceptualization of bullying as ‘ fueled by antipathy toward difference ’(p. 142). Within this framing, bullying is something that is associated with a knowledge de ficit. Such a position invites an educative response whereby schools, teachers and students are invited to teach and learn about difference in the hope of constructing safer learning environments. Applebaum’ s(2014 ) essay Ignorance as a Resource for Social Justice Education? is insightful in considering Walton ’s suggestion that bullying may be related to ignor- ance of, or antipathy toward difference. Opening her article with a brief discussion of ignorance, Applebaum notes that ignorance ‘has often been simplistically perceived to be the primary culprit behind racism and many still believe that the remedy for racism is simply more knowledge ’(p. 391). Similarly, homophobia and transphobia may be associated with the need for education about difference. In short, education about difference relating to sex, sexuality and gender may be seen as potentially ameliorative with regard to bullying. Drawing on the work of Judith Butler, Apple- baum posits a different way of thinking about ignorance, and its uses in education, which is also instructive for our discussion of responsibility. We will return to this point in our conclusion, but now turn to data collected as part of our own research on cultural and religious difference in sexuality education in order to focus on how young people respond to our queries about homophobia and transphobia in public schools. Taking responsibility for homophobia and transphobia? Our ethnographic research explored how cultural and religious differences intersect with public school-based sexuality education. One element of this research tried to tease out how young people in these schools imagined what might constitute an appropriate response in relation to bullying related to homophobia and transphobia. Our research included observations of sexuality education lessons over two years in four religiously and culturally diverse high schools (two in Melbourne Australia and two in Aotearoa/ New Zealand. Each of the researchers already had some type of relationships in the school, though this was still very diffi cult to negotiate in some instances (see Allen et al., 2014). Participants were in Year 8 or 9, aged 13 and 14 years, when the study com- menced in 2012. This age group was selected partially because compulsory sexuality edu- cation in Australia is completed by the end of Year 10. In addition to our observations, at each school we conducted: . Interviews with sexuality education teachers and their students (4 –6 participants from each site). . Focus groups (with all participants together –or with boys and girls split, depending on students ’preferences). 34 M. L. RASMUSSEN ET AL. As part of the interviews and focus groups, a range of scenarios were read out. In this paper our speci fic focus is on one scenario detailed below: A new boy has started in your class at school and he has been teased by other students because they think he is a sissy boy, his name is Joshua but he prefers to be called Jo. He mainly hangs out with a few girls and he likes to wear make up to school. His parents don ’t care what he wears or how he looks as long as he is happy. For as long as his family can remember he has enjoyed dressing up, wearing jewellery and putting on shows for his family. . What advice would you give to Jo about being teased? . Would you feel comfortable talking to your classmates about how they are treating him? . Would you feel like you could invite him home or hang out with him outside school? . What might teachers or students do to better support Jo? In asking these questions we were partially interested in exploring in what ways, if at all, cultural and religious differences might mediate how participants would advise and support Jo. In retrospect, it is apparent to us that in our structuring of these questions we are implying that participants ’must take responsibility for acting in relation to the teasing that Jo was experiencing. There is a demand to respond, in the framing of the question. This is problematic because the structure of the question effectively calls upon participants to recite how they will take responsibility for protecting Jo and educat- ing their peers. In reading excerpts from these data we want to contemplate how bullying, sexuality and gender might be read through a Butlerian-inspired understanding of the notion of responsibility. We begin with Abla, a student at Outer Suburbs High (a pseudonym), located on the urban fringe of Melbourne. 2In the exchange below, Abla clearly interpreted our scenario as a call to be responsible for Jo. She is quick to suggest advice she might offer Jo –given the predicament in which we have placed Jo: Sanjakdar: What advice would you give Jo about being teased? Abla: Being teased, I ’d tell him to actually try as hard as he could to ignore it. I know it ’s hard, because when you ’ve been called something for a long period of time, a numerous amount of times, you ’re going to start to believe it. You ’re going to start –I know some people, they come to the point where they start self- harming themselves. I tell them to try to ignore it, to try and tell them, ‘I was born this way. I like it. It ’s not my fault …’ Accountability and responsibility are tangible for Abla in this exchange –she under- stands the teasing is problematic (primarily for Jo). Potentially Abla shares an understand- ing of how bullying and identity can be linked in Australian schools (Mansouri & Wood, 2008 ) based on her own or others ’experiences of Islamophobia at school. Abla acknowl- edges that insistent bullying can lead to self-harm. For Abla, Jo is teased but he is not responsible for his predicament –she implies, because he has no choice –he was likely ‘ born this way ’. Responsibility here might be read as being conferred upon and then removed from Jo. In the context of this discussion Abla also recalls an experience with a boy in her peer group at primary school who experienced gender-based bullying and who ‘hung out with the girls ’. Abla interprets this boy ’s desire to hang out with the girls as indicative of his need for protection –she does not consider that this affi liation DISCOURSE: STUDIES IN THE CULTURAL POLITICS OF EDUCATION 35 might relate to his own desire/pleasure in spending time with the girls. In reflecting on this account, it is interesting to us that the possibility that a boy might prefer the company of women is obfuscated in Abla ’s story. What conditions of account have resulted in Abla structuring a narrative where such a choice is construed as unthinkable? Maybe part of responding well is recognition of young people ’s agency in choosing af filiations and ques- tioning who can hang out with whom? Bisar, another student at outer suburbs high, echoes some of Abla ’s sentiments in the exchange below: Sanjakdar: What advice would you give Jo about being teased? Bisar: If he doesn ’t care what people think, just don ’t think about them. If he wants to be like that, he can be like that, but if he actually gets offended at what people say, he should actually take it into consideration and try fixing it. So, he’ ll either ignore it, or he’ s got tofix it. Sanjakdar: You think it ’s worth fixing it if he wants to? Bisar: Yeah, if he wants to, he can fix it. If he wants to actually get a girlfriend and be like a man, he’ s got tofix it. But if he likes the way he is, who cares? … Both Bisar and Abla see the teasing of Jo as something to be dealt with by Jo. They also take some responsibility –through our injunction for them to respond. The notion of advising Jo to try and ignore the bullying comes up repeatedly in conversations with stu- dents across the schools. The participants in these exchanges (at least in part because of how the scenario is framed) continually turned their focus to how Jo might best negotiate this scenario –the responsibility is on Jo to fix it or ignore it. Both options seem unsatis- factory. These comments might be read as an expression of transphobia and heteronor- mativity. They could also be read as genuine by Bisar to offer a resolution to Jo ’s situation. What is most interesting to us about these exchanges is the ways in which they illustrate varied understandings of the difference between gender identity, sex and sexual identity. These understandings condition questions of responsibility in relation to the scenario we posed. We could not have predicted the responses made by these young women and find ourselves unsure about how to respond. In his critique of school bullying policy in Canada, Walton writes ‘particular and preva- lent forms of bullying (such as homophobia) have not drawn focused preventative action’ ( 2011 , p. 137). What would ‘focused preventative action ’look like in response to Abla and Bisar ’s comments? Bansel et al. ( 2009), in their discussion of bullying and power in the context of schooling, suggest one way forward: Teachers could work with students to become aware of the discourses and positionings and relations of power that are at play. Together they might turn their attention to the practices of schooling and their disciplining effects, and examine the tensions between conformity and conscience, between policing and questioning, and the tension between normalising prac- tices and openness to difference. (p. 67) We like this suggestion because it is propelled by a move away from the pathological character of the bully. The emphasis here is on education about relationality that circulates around incidents identi fied as bullying. But we wonder if teachers currently have the resources to identify and examine the tensions embedded in Abla and Bisar’ s responses to this particular scenario of bullying (see Martino, Lingard, & Mills, 2004). Bansel et al. ( 2009 ) go on to suggest: 36 M. L. RASMUSSEN ET AL. …responsibility rests in the network of practices, discourses and relations of power through which subjects are constituted and for which schools have some considerable responsibility through the development of ethical re flexivity. (p. 67) In thinking about homophobia within the context of the culturally and religiously diverse public schools –responsibility matters, but how we think about responsibility is crucial here. Thiem ’s( 2008 ) writing on responsibility in Butler ’s work is helpful in further teasing out this concept and how it might be useful in understanding participants ’response to the scenario related to Jo. Thiem writes, ‘we can never act fully responsibly ’(p. 137). This is not to say that responsibility and moral action are an impossibility, but rather that ‘it is the failure to become fully responsible that opens up the possibility for ethical life and for an inquiry into morality ’(p. 137). Following this line of thought we can never become fully responsible because we are opaque to ourselves. This lack of understanding about the self, this opacity is apparent in the exchanges about Jo. How did Bisar come to a place where she thinks Jo might need fixing? How did Bisar come to a place where she thinks he does not need fixing, if he likes the way he is? How does she hold these two ideas together? These ideas have long histories that precede Bisar, but they are surely part of Bisar ’s reckoning of responsibility in relation with Jo. The ways in which religious and cultural difference play a part in this framing is not straightforward. It appears that people continue to be undone by the prospect of realizing Bisar ’s proposition that ‘if he likes the way he is, who cares? ’People do care, these situ- ations are not easily fixed. It is not clear to us who is responsible –though many popular commentaries in the press and online share Bisar’ s assessment that it is easy, he should have just ‘come out ’. The ways in which the figure of Jo is constructed in these interactions also speaks of the challenges of incorporating people with diverse gender identities in such a way that onerous notions of responsibility and accountability are not invoked. Sanjakdar ’s response to Abla (which we think could have been uttered by any member of the team) is to reinforce Abla ’s approach ‘That’ s very good advice, very supportive advice from a friend ’.Onre flection we do not find Abla ’s advice very helpful. Yet in the moment we would not have responded as such –articulating our own discomfort with this response feels inappropriate in the context of data collection. Yet, we are still unsure about what responding well here looks like. In retrospect, the structure of the question we posed suggests that the participants are responsible for Jo. Or, if you are not responsible in your care for Jo, then you are somehow accountable for Jo ’s predicament –in this structure you are either with Jo or against Jo. Thiem ( 2008) writes: We become responsible not because actions can be attributed to us and we can be held accountable for them but because we are addressed by others in ways that demand we respond, and respond well. (p. 145) Each of these interview exchanges shapes how we each imagine responsibility in relation to Jo. Relationality shapes our expectations and forms our different exchanges with participants upon asking these questions. In summary, these exchanges are instruc- tive because of how suggestive they are of our own and participants ’ingrained ways of thinking about, and desires for, responsibility and accountability. In part these ways of DISCOURSE: STUDIES IN THE CULTURAL POLITICS OF EDUCATION 37 thinking command a response from our participants: Will you do this, or that? Will you intervene, will you stand up, will you be responsible for Jo? Rather than ask about how they understood the scenario (which may have been a more instructive line of questioning –or prompting them to devise their own scenario) we wanted to know what they would do for Jo. Responsibility and queer youth suicidality We now turn to Paci fic High 3(a pseudonym), one of the two schools in New Zealand in which we conducted our research. In response to our scenario Patrick ’s suggestions for how to engage with Jo, and his peers are not dissimilar to Abla and Bisar: Patrick: It ’s all good. Being teased. I just tell him to ignore them. I know it ’s hard but just ignore what they say, and because some people do take what those bullies or those people who tease people, they take it to heart, ‘Oh, why you wearing that much make up? Why you wearing jewellery? ’They do take it to heart, and that’ s when sometimes they ’ll go overboard and then they will go and commit suicide. Just ignore what they say, but you should go to the teacher, otherwise the teasing will get worse. Patrick ’s response to this scenario draws on his own experience at school. Like Abla, Patrick is highly aware that Jo might self-harm as a result of the teasing he receives. Later in the interview Patrick reports that in his sexuality education class he learnt about the correlation between identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and being suicidal. This correlation is clearly playing on Patrick ’s mind when responding to this prompt. But Patrick is also distant from Jo, but unwilling to risk a direct relation, instead suggesting that Jo should seek out the assistance of a teacher if the students ‘go overboard ’. These young people ’s concerns about suicidality in relation to this scenario about Jo speaks to the ways in which responsibility and accountability have become inseparable from research and popular understandings that con flate suicidality and queer youth (Cover, 2012; Rasmussen, 2006; Waidzunas, 2012). LGBT identities in school are intertwined with notions of risk and our scenario ill-advisedly reinforces this perception. In his discus- sion of queer youth suicide, Cover ( 2012) argues that ethical responsibility is limited by the framework of identity politics (p. 144). He prefers a position that pays attention to the pro- blems youth encounter that looks ‘beyond sexual categorization ’(p. 144). Untying the knots that thread together queer youth, suicidality, accountability and responsibility is dif- fi cult work. In the context of this broader discussion of responsibility, we concur with Cover ’s observation of the need to challenge ‘the notion that vulnerability is endemic to queer youth rather than a common, human, corporeal and shared attribute of humanity in relationality ’(p. 145). A way of thinking about Jo that might be taken as resonant with Cover ’s suggestion above is offered by students at Central High 4(pseudonym). Of the four schools we observed, this school was the one that did the most to cultivate a climate that was accept- ing of diversity related to gender and sexuality. In responding to the scenario we devel- oped in relation to Jo, Ted ’s impetus is to resist the temptation to call on a teacher to save Jo: 38 M. L. RASMUSSEN ET AL. Rasmussen: What advice would you give to Jo about being teased? Ted: I’d say basically just; giving advice to him for starters, I ’d probably; if he looked like he wanted advice or he was upset, then I might start the subject. But if he seemed fine, I wouldn ’t; unless I felt that I ’d be doing him justice if I didn ’t speak to him, I would go up and say, ‘Listen. I know people are teasing you. You should do this ’. The advice I ’d give him would be, ‘who cares? Stick around with your friends ’. And just ‘if you act like you just don ’t care, then people will probably feel like it ’s not worth it ’. Rasmussen: What might teachers and student do to support Jo or people in that situation? Ted: Well teachers could just make sure that they keep an eye out on things and just if it looks like they ’re actually getting very seriously bullied, then they should step in. But in general, just if someone ’s being picked on a little bit, they should just keep an eye on the situation and make sure it doesn ’t escalate until it ’s out of control. And maybe if health teachers think it ’s necessary, they could also just make sure that everybody knows that this sort of thing is okay, it doesn ’t matter. And I think that would help. This response does not assume that Jo will need an intervention related to the teasing. Like Patrick, Bisar and Abla, Ted keeps open the possibility that the teasing does not undo Jo. Responsibility, as con figured in this scenario, involves asking the question as to whether it is best to engage with people who are teasing peers. Is ignoring hate speech sometimes an ethical response, one that can admit a shared vulnerability, but not assume this in advance on the basis of identity? Ted ’s impulse to stand back is echoed in Damian ’s comments below: Rasmussen: And just finally, what might teachers and students do better to support him? Damian: Well, sometimes I find if we have a problem the teachers point it out, and that’ s actually quite annoying I know they ’re trying to help but that’ s actually pretty annoying, so I guess the teachers could try to treat Jo with the same respect as everyone else so he doesn ’t stand out … Damian sees the teacher ’s role in relation to Jo as potentially ‘quite/pretty annoying ’ because to his mind teachers can compound problems by drawing attention to them. At first glance such an observation might seem counter-intuitive in terms of thinking about responsibility, teasing and gender identity. Damian does not suggest that the teacher should turn away from Jo –but his comments are a reminder that when teachers call attention to particular incidents of bullying they run the risk of underscoring differ- ence. This observation is not necessarily contrary to Walton ’s worry that ‘particular and prevalent forms of bullying (such as homophobia) have not drawn focused preventative action ’(Cover, 2012, p. 137). But it is a reminder that focused preventative action needs to be mindful of the politics of identity and its relationship to ethical responsibility. In a recent article Teaching about sexual minorities and ‘princess boys ’, Martino and Cumming-Potvin ( 2014) discuss the strategic potential of bullying discourses in the pro- duction of what they call a ‘depathologising pedagogy ’(p. 8; italics in original) undertaken by Janice, an elementary school teacher working in Ontario, Canada. They illustrate how: Janice capitalized on a broader degree of consensus in the community about human rights and the unacceptability of bullying, which appeared to minimize or at least ameliorate their concerns or disapproval of the queer-trans focused content of her curriculum delivery. (p. 16) DISCOURSE: STUDIES IN THE CULTURAL POLITICS OF EDUCATION 39 They argue that the frame of bullying in this context: …needs to be understood as a response to navigating a potentially threatening terrain as an openly queer teacher whose queerness is legible and visibilized through her embodied signif- ication where she feels vulnerable to professional assault from religiously devout parents espousing conservative family values. (Martino & Cumming-Potvin, 2014, p. 15) There is a strong sense here that vulnerability is expansive beyond the category of queer youth. Vulnerability is something which profoundly infl uences the pedagogical practices of teachers such as Janice (see also Gray, 2013). Vulnerability might also adhere to ‘religiously devout parents ’who negotiate school systems that they may view as increasingly divergent from their own beliefs about sex, gender and sexuality. In closing We return now to Applebaum ( 2010) and her discussion of ignorance and social justice education. Here she articulates the value of thinking responsibility as relational. She argues that such an approach understands responsibility as related to the ‘critical interrog- ation of the limits of knowing ’(p. 396). Following this, Applebaum suggests three points to consider about opacity responsibility, inspired by Butler ’s( 2005 )Giving an Account of Oneself. These are listed below: (1) Ignorance about the self is the source of our ethical connection to others. (2) We are all implicated in the maintenance of norms ‘that determine the livability of sub- jects ’(p. 396). (3) ‘If one can acknowledge the limits of knowing then one can be open to the possibility of what has been foreclosed and from here new horizons of being can arise ’(p. 397). Bringing these points in relation to teasing and bullying related to gender and sexuality we can observe that such events take place in school contexts, which are not of young people ’s own making. They are also in flected by desires, fantasies and beliefs, which shape understandings of responsibility. Such a perspective runs counter to the idea that young people (and adults) who are engaging in teasing or bullying related to gender and sexuality are solely responsible for their behavior. It also interrupts the notion that education can repair ignorance, fear and anxiety that may infuse such scenes –because this too insinuates individuals have an awareness of what underpins homophobia and transphobia. For Thiem ( 2008),‘responding and responsibility are determined by how emotions, desires, and fantasies condition our opacity to ourselves as well as our way of relating to others and ourselves ’(p. 145). This means that the way in which we relate to ourselves and to others within speci fic school cultures is conditioned by things we know, and things we cannot know, that also condition our responses and relations, desires and fantasies about gender, sex, sexuality and teasing. In this way of thinking about the ‘subject in terms of its formation, rethinking respon- sibility consequently becomes a pressing question, since we no longer have the subject unquestionably as that of a self-conscious and self-knowing moral agent ’(Thiem, 2008, p. 144). In the context of this discussion of accountability and responsibility in relation to young people and homophobia and transphobia, we argue the need to see injury, 40 M. L. RASMUSSEN ET AL. but we cannot just see injury. We are all implicated in homophobic and transphobic bully- ing and teasing. Accountability and responsibility cannot be located in a specific individ- ual, nor a speci fic event, place or time. This is not to say that responsibility and accountability no longer matter. It is recognition that neither are they virtues, straightfor- ward or easily apprehended. To our minds, the dialogues presented in this paper illustrate this opacity of accountability and responsibility. That is precisely their signi ficance. By tracing different attempts to respond to Jo in the scenario we manufactured –it is possible to see how responsibility is conditioned by different ways of thinking about gender identity, care, accountability, the role of the teacher, the vulnerability of Jo. None of these things are necessarily transparent to any of us. Accountability and respon- sibility in this paper are structured by temporalities, spatialities, desires and structures of knowledge that opaquely shape our responses to Jo. In short, maybe none of us can really know what responding well looks like –which does not stop us trying to respond well in the hope of generating new horizons of being. Notes 1. This article draws on data gathered in 2011 and 2012 as part of a research project led by the first author entitled Sex Education in Australia and New Zealand: Responding to religious and cultural difference. DP110101173. The investigators on this project were Mary Lou Rasmussen and Fida Sanjakdar,Monash University; Kathleen Quinlivan, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand;Louisa Allen, University of Auckland, New Zealand; Clive Aspin, Independent researcher. 2. This school is in a community that is populated by a lot of new immigrant families. The average income is classi fied by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as below the Victorian and national averages. In terms of religious diversity, Catholicism is still the largest religious group represented on the census (nearly 40%), followed by Islam (nearly 30%). The community also has signi ficant populations that identify as Eastern Orthodox and Buddhist. 3. It is a co-educational, secondary school in an urban location with a mixed population in terms of socio-economic status with populations of students that identi fied as Maori, Pasi fika and Chris- tian, Anglo and Christian, Muslim and Hindu, as well as students from who identi fied as having no-religious identi fication. It is classi fied as a decile four school (NZ Schools in decile one have the highest proportion of students from low socio-economic backgrounds while schools in decile ten have the highest proportion of students from high socio-economic backgrounds). 4. An inner city Melbourne school that has the largest proportion of students who identi fied as having no religion. This school is located in a culturally diverse suburb with an average income signi ficantly above state and national averages. Acknowledgments Thanks to the reviewers for their thoughtful responses and their valuable feedback. 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1 REPORT TO THE BOARDS OF TRUSTEES OF: RIGPA FELLOWSHIP UK, AND RIGPA FELLOWSHIP US O U T C O M E O F A N I N V E S T I G A T I O N I N T O A L L E G A T I O N S M A D E A G A I N S T S O G Y A L L A K A R ( A L S O K N O W N A S S O G Y A L R I N P O C H E ) I N A L E T T E R D A T E D 1 4 J U L Y 2017 K A R E N B A X T E R , P A R T N E R L E W I S S I L K I N L L P 2 2 A u g u s t 2 0 1 8 2 Contents A preliminary note on terminology ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ……… 3 Executive summary ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. . 4 Appointment and scope of investigation ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. 5 Aims of the investigation ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. …………………… 6 Approach ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. …………….. 7 Parameters of partic ipation ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ……………….. 8 Burden of proof ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ……. 9 Interviewing Sogyal Lakar ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………… 10 Assessment of the witnesses ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ……………. 11 Sogyal Lakar’s teachings ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………….. 12 Find ings ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. …………….. 16 Physical abuse ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. … 16 Findings: physical abuse ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ……………. 22 Sexual abuse ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ….. 23 Allegations with no supporting evidence / insufficient evidence ………………………….. …………….. 23 Allegation that Sogyal Lakar used his role to gain access to young women and to coerce, intimidate and manipulate them into giving him sexual favours and has had decades of sexual relationships with students, including u nderage girls ………………………….. ………………………….. .. 23 Requiring students to lie to cover up relationships with him ………………………….. ………………….. 27 Groping students, photographing attendants and girlfriends naked, and forcing others to make collages of the images ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………. 27 Offering attendants to other lamas ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………… 28 Emotional and psychological abuse ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. .. 29 Ian Maxwell comments ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. …………….. 30 Telling people their loved ones would be at risk / died because they displeased Sogyal ………… 30 Pushing students to the verge of emotional breakdown ………………………….. ……………………….. 31 Use of Rigpa therapy ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………… 31 Lavish, gluttonous and sybaritic lifestyle ………………………….. ………………………….. …………………….. 32 Tainting appreciation of Dharma ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. …… 35 Vacuum of accountability ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. …………….. 36 An organisational culture that maintains absolute secrecy ………………………….. ……………………….. 37 Further allegations ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. 48 Recommendations ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………….. 49 3 A preliminary note on terminology Within the Buddhist community, the epithet “Rinpoche” carries great significance. It will not escape the attention of anyone associated (or formerly associated) with Rigpa that Sogyal is referred to throughout this report by his full name, Sogyal Lakar, as opposed to calling him Sogyal Rinpoche. This simply reflects the fact that this report has been compiled from an independent, non -Buddhist perspective. It is intended as an e xpression of neutrality, and nothing more should be read into this. Where possible, the use of personal pronouns which might enable witnesses to be identified has been avoided. This is not always possible as the content of their testimony sometimes revea ls their gender. 4 Executive summary Whilst I have seen evidence that many people feel that they have benefitted greatly from having Sogyal Lakar as their teacher, individual ex periences are very different . There are varying degrees of closeness to Sogyal Lakar, with the closest relationships regularly referred to as the “inner circle”. The experiences of some of the members of the inner circle are very different from the experiences of many of those who are less close. Not all of the allegations again st Sogyal Lakar are upheld, as explained in the body of the report below, but based on the evidence available to me, I am satisfied that, on the balance of probabilities: a. some students of Sogyal Lakar (who were part of the ‘inner circle ’, as described late r in this report ) have been subjected to serious physical, sexual and emotional abuse by him; and b. there were senior individuals within Rigpa who were aware of at least some of these issues and failed to address them, leaving others at risk. A number of s erious concerns arise out of my findings which, in my opinion, must be addressed. Recommendations and proposed action points are set out at the conclusion of this report. 5 Appointment and scope of investigation Lewis Silkin LLP was first approached by R igpa International in August 2 017 to discuss the potential appointment of this firm to conduct an independent investigation into allegations which had been raised by eight former Rigpa students against Sogyal Lakar in a letter dated 14 July 2017 (the “Comp laint”). Rigpa International made clear that its overall goal was to “ restore peace and harmony ” to all who have been affected by the issues outlined in the Complaint, including anyone who feels personally hurt, as well as those within the worldwide Rigpa community. Rigpa International explained the Buddhist belief that reconciliation can only be achieved through compassion and understanding, and that it saw this investigation as a first step towards that goal. Lewis Silkin set out a proposal for how it would approach the investigation , if appointed . There followed a lengthy period during which different law firms were considered by Rigpa’s various boards internationally. Lewis Silkin was formally appointed on 19 December 2017, and I (Karen Baxter) wa s appointed as the lead investigator. It was agreed that Rigpa International would step back from the investigation process at that point given the likelihood of Rigpa International members being potential witnesses. The organisations which engaged Lewi s Silkin were Rigpa Fellowship UK and Rigpa Fellowship US; essentially they were the bodies that would be responsible for the fees connected with the work. Two members of each the U .K. and U .S. boards were appointed as their authorised representatives (“th e Investigating Committee”) who were to act as the point of contact between Lewis Silkin and Rigpa. It was agreed that the initial scope of the investigation was to collate the allegations and establish the facts in respect of the Complaint. It was my hope and expectation that this would initially involve interviewing the signatories of the Complaint, and would then extend to interviewing additional witnesses and/or members of Rigpa management as I deemed appropriate (and achievable within the agreed f ee budget). It was agreed between Lewis Silkin and the Investigating Committee that the investigation was to be objective and impartial. The Investigating Committee asked Lewis Silkin to ensure that due respect and sensitivity was shown to those who fee l they have been harmed. It was agreed that the fact that Rigpa engaged Lewis Silkin as a client should not be allowed to influence or bias the investigation or its conclusions in any way. It was expressly acknowledged by the Investigating Committee tha t the report might be critical of Rigpa and that there was nothing arising out of the relationship between Rigpa and Lewis Silkin that would prevent that. It was expressly agreed that all interviews conducted as part of the investigation (and the notes thereof) would be confidential and would not be shared with the Investigating Committee, or anyone else, unless the witness specifically agreed to this, or unless Lewis Silkin was required to disclose this information by law . I am satisfied that, throughou t this investigation, the Investigating Committee has behaved in the way that was agreed at the outset; I have been allowed to investigate the Complaint as I saw fit and reach my own conclusions without interference, bias or inappropriate influence. 6 Aim s of the investigation The purpose of the investigation was defined by the Investigating Committee to be as follows: a. To ascertain in more detail the specific allegations against Sogyal Lakar and to identify the potential witnesses to those allegations. b. To understand the extent to which senior members of Rigpa were aware of these allegations and whether they were dealt with appropriately at the time. c. To enable Rigpa to take a first step towards healing and reconciliation with those who feel they have been harmed, by listening to the experiences in an open, impartial and sensitive way. d. To provide an independent assessment of what Rigpa needs to learn and change in the light of these experiences, in terms of structures, processes and the like. It was agree d that this report would set out my key findings, together with any recommendations or learning points for Rigpa going forward. It was also acknowledged at the outset that this report might be a preliminary report, with a recommendation for further invest igation to be carried out. 7 Approach It was agreed with the Investigating Committee at the outset of the investigation that I would initially seek to interview the eight authors of the Complaint . Thereafter, I would identify who else I felt would have re levant evidence and I was free to determine who those people should be and how many people I should see, within the constraints of the budget that had been agreed with Rigpa. On the same date as I was appointed, I wrote to the eight authors of the Complai nt to invite them to meet with me in order to participate in the investigation. To date, some of the letter writers have not responded to me at all. Others have, but it was clear from the outset that certain of the letter writers held a deep suspicion t hat the investigation was not being conducted inde pendently, or was some sort of trap . I spent some months agreeing parameters which would enable some of the letter writers to feel safe and willing to participate. We were, eventually, able to reach a po int where some of the letter writers agreed to meet me. I have, however, agreed that I will not identify which of the letter writers spoke to me, or how many of them I have spoken with. Whilst the process of negotiating the terms of participation for t he letter writers was ongoing, I was approached by some other individuals who told me that they had first -hand knowledge to share with me. To the extent that these people claimed to have knowledge of the matters referred to in the Complaint, or of a simil ar nature, I arranged to meet with most of these individuals and received testimony from them in person. This group of people included three former trustees of Rigpa UK (Witness B, Witness C and Witness D), who each gave evidence to me separately and hav e agreed to be identified as former trustees in this way. I was also provided with a number of written statements or other evidence in relation to the allegations. Within Rigpa, I requested interviews with three senior and long -term students who were ident ified to me by some of the letter writers as being the people I should speak to. All of them agreed to this and provided evidence to me in person. I should make clear that there are some other individuals who offered to speak to me but with whom I was no t able to speak. I address the fact of these outstanding testimonies below in the section headed: further allegations. The investigation has been international in scope, and I have attended face – to- face witness interviews in six locations across three countries. In addition, I have been provided with written accounts from some further witnesses. In total, I have received evidence from twenty two relevant witnesses. Rigpa extended the original budget for the investigation in order to facilitate this. 8 Parameters of participation From the outset, it was agreed by the Investigating Committee that where any witness wished to give evidence to me without being identified, or in confidence, that would be respected and I would be under no obligation to share that information with Rigpa . In the lead up to the interviews taking place, Rigpa’s Investigating Committee also provided the following assurances in response to direct requests from some of the authors of the Complaint: “We confirm that no legal action will be taken by or on behalf of Rigpa against any of the 8 letter writers, or against any other victim of abuse who comes forward, as a result their providing witness evidence to Karen as part of the investigati on. There is a huge number of members of Rigpa worldwide so we are not in a position to prevent all of our members from taking legal action, but we confirm that Rigpa will not support or encourage anyone to take legal action against you arising out of you r participation in the investigation. In addition, we would highlight that the confidential nature of your interviews with Karen … will help to protect you – very few people will know what information you have shared ”. In response to requests from some o f the letter writers, the Investigating Committee also agreed to commit to making a copy of this report available to each of the letter writers who participated in the investigation and to the public. These assurances made a significant difference for ma ny people participating in the investigation, and were relied upon by many of the witnesses who agreed to speak to me. The majority of witnesses asked to remain anonymous . They have all, however, agreed that the information they provided to me can be use d in this report, accepting that this may enable them to be identified to some degree. In order to protect the identities of the witnesses as far as possible, I have applied an identifier to each person who spoke to me, or who was spoken about – those from whom I received evidence are referred to as, for example “Witness A” and those who were spoken about, but from whom I did not receive evidence directly, are referred to as, for example “Student 1”. There are three witnesses referred to in the report as the “Rigpa management witnesses” (Witness N, Witness O and W itness P); this description reflects the fact that they are senior students who have held and continue to hold positions of influence. I have not been more specific about their current roles as this would identify them. I will provide the Investigating Committee with a confidential key that will enable them to identify (only) those witnesses or students referred to in the report who hold current senior positions within Rigpa. This is purely so that Rigpa is able to take the steps identified in my recommendations below (should they be accepted). For the sake of transparency, there is one person who is referred to in the report by two separate identifiers – this is because information provided in one area of the report would enable the witness to be identified by information included elsewhere. Where sensitive information was provided by witnesses which relates to students who did not participate in the investigation and have not therefore consented to the inclusion of this information, that information has been set out in a separate confidential annexe to this report . The confidential annexe will be made available on a strictly confidential basis to the Investigating Committee (on the understanding that they will be permitted to share it only with the UK Charity Commission). 9 Burden of proof In reaching my conclusions I have applied the U .K.’s civil standard of proof (as opposed to the criminal standard). This means that, in order to uphold an allegation, I need to be satisfied, on the basis of relevant and sufficient evidence, that the conduct occurred “on the balance of probabilities”. In essence, this means that , in order to uphold the allegation , I need to conclude that there is more than a 50% chance that the alleged behaviour occurred. Some of the allegations levelled against Sogyal Lakar would, if proven, constitute criminal behaviour. I should make clear that, in the UK, in order for someone to be convicted of a crime, a higher standard of proof applies – the allegations would need to be proven “beyond all reasonable doubt”. Wheth er this is the case in respect of allegations against Sogyal Lakar would be a matter for the relevant law enforcement authorities and I have urged those who consider themselves to be victims of criminal behaviour to contact the police if they feel able to do so. 10 Interviewing Sogyal Lakar I was initially provided with a copy of Sogyal Lakar’s letter in response to the Complaint, dated 18 July 2017, which set s out his position to some degree. I requested a meeting with Sogyal Lakar in order to interview him, but he wrote to me on 30 April 2018 explaining that he was not well enough to participate. He wrote: “It is with regret that I must inform you that I am not available for interview, owing to my ill health. Last autumn I was diagnosed with cancer of the colon and have since received surgery an d am receiving follow -up treatment with regular medical check ups … Upon the recommendation of my doctors, I am taking a period of complete rest … it is for this reason that I will be unable to participate. I d o hope that the investigation will nonetheless proceed in the best possible way .” I was provided with medical evidence to support the fact of Sogyal’s cancer diagnosis and related ill health. As I reached the point of concluding my investigation I contac ted Sogyal Lakar again, in June 2018, to ask if his health had improved such that he would be able to meet with me. I also provided him with the alternative options of providing responses to specific written questions (which I sent to him) or providing a written statement to me. Sogyal Lakar wrote to me on 4 July 2018. Sogyal’s letter did not respond to the specific questions I had asked, but it did address the allegations, in general terms, from his perspective. The content of this letter is addressed in my report below. I am, of course, disappointed by the fact that I have not been able to speak with Sogyal Lakar. In reaching my conclusions, I have been very conscious of the fact that I have not heard from him face – to-face. That did not, however, m ean that the investigation could not proceed. In both his letter to me of 4 July 2018, and the letter 18 July 2017 to the eight letter writers, I noted that Sogyal did not deny the allegations against him, but instead point ed out that he did not ever inte nd to cause harm. Having heard evidence from a number of witnesses and listened to some recorded teachings by Sogyal, I have concluded that it would not be safe to treat his lack of denial as a tacit admission. Sogyal has stated publically that he consid ers that he will not defend himself against attack, and others (e.g. Witness N) spoke to me of the Buddhist belief that there is no need to respond to any form of attack against you – “wait and the truth will come ”. As such, I have treated his positi on as akin to a ‘no comment’ interview – this is essentially a neutral position (save that he expressly denies ever intending to cause harm). This requires me to satisfy myself that there is sufficient evidence to support the allegations, in the absence o f an admission or a denial on Sogyal’s part. 11 Assessment of the witnesses The vast majority of the witnesses that I spoke to came across as honest, credible and forthcoming; their motivation for speaking to me was clear and it was evident that a number of witnesses had overcome significant fear by agreeing to speak to me. Some of the witnesses were visibly distressed when relaying their account. I tested each testimony to understand whether it stood up to scrutiny and I was satisfied that the witnesses were generally careful to ensure that they did not speculate but spoke only about what they had personally witnessed or experienced. Many witness es produced physical evidence to support their accounts, such as emails, photographs, recorded teachings, videos, letters and minutes. Of the Rigpa management witnesses, Witness N and Witness P were sincere and credible in their accounts; I believe that t here were some areas where they were not entirely forthcoming, but they addressed some difficult topics in what appeared to be a candid manner. Some of their responses were troubling, particularly Witness P (for which, see the section entitled ‘vacuum of accountability’ below). The only witness who gave me cause for concern about some elements of their testimony was Rigpa management Witness O, who I found, at times, to be guarded, hostile and inconsistent. I must make clear that Witnesses N, O and P hav e not been afforded a right of reply in respect of the conclusions that I have reached in this report, and this will need to be taken into consideration by Rigpa as it decides how to move forwards in light of this report and its recommendations. Where witnesses are quoted in this report, please note that these quotations are extracted from my contemporaneous notes of my interviews, or from written statements or documents provided by the witnesses. In the former case, the quotes are as accurate a s possible but may not be verbatim. 12 Sogyal Lakar’s teachings Over the course of this investigation I have heard a great deal about the witnesses’ understanding of ‘path to enlightenment’, which was described as a graduated path, starting with basic medit ation and working up to the Vajrayana and, ultimately, the Dzogchen teachings. What is set out below reflects the information that was provided to me by witnesses about their experience of these teachings with Sogyal Lakar as their teacher. I recognise t hat not everyone will agree that this reflects their own experience, and fewer people may agree that this is an accurate description of Buddhist teachings more widely, but this context is important in terms of setting out the experiences of the witnesses t hat I spoke to. The Dzogchen teachings were described to me as “ the fast path to enlightenment ”. W itness B explained that the Dzogchen teachings are like taking Concorde to enlightenment instead of getting there on horseback. Witness N explained that one part of the Dzogchen teachings involves your teacher working with you and ‘ pointing out ’ aspects that you need to work on. W itness N explained that if, as part of these teachings, Sogyal Lakar felt that someone’s thinking or emotional response showed a lack of openness, he would seek to intervene. Witness P provided me with a variety of texts which seek to explain the permission granted by a student to his or her teacher to work with them. The paragraph I found most helpful to understand the purpose of this technique comes from Dzogchen Ponlop’s “Rebel Buddha” text: “Essentially our spiritual friend has our permission to turn up the heat, to push our buttons, to add fuel to our fire of wisdom so that it blazes more intently and burns up our self -cling ing. We trust our teacher to do this and also to make sure that the fire doesn’t get out of control and become destructive. In this sense, it’s like a controlled burn in a forest to make it more healthy and productive”. Several witnesses told me that Sog yal Lakar use s a technique known as ‘crazy wisdom’ or ‘skilful means’ as part of his teachings. This has been explained to me as a means of pointing out egocentric tendencies and different understandings that a student might have. This was described by Wi tness O as “ a last resort, when conventional methods don’t work ”. Witness P explained as follows: “The connection between a student and a master is undertaken consciously ; you request to be a student and would then give permission to your master for them to help you wake up, even if this would mean some direct guidance of their attention. You get into a situation where permission is granted to a master to take care of your spiritual enlightenment and they will use all sorts of different ways to help them get over their self -defea ting patterns – ego, delusions … For example, he would give me jobs to do which seemed pointless – eventually the penny dropped. He was trying to show me that I was doing the work based on self -regard. It would sometimes be absu rd things, he would ask you to do repeatedly ”. Other examples of crazy wisdom that were given to me included asking someone to run to the top of a mountain to see whether the sun had set, asking a student repeatedly to find answers to questions that they a lready knew the answer to, or asking someone to build a tower then take it down and rebuild it over and over again. I was told that t he student is meant to watch their reaction to the seemingly impossible or pointless question or task and use this as an o pportunity to “look into their mind” . It was accepted by almost all witnesses that this process is not intended to be easy or comfortable, but challenging and, at times, difficult to understand. 13 Rigpa management W itness N acknowledged that there is an e xpectation that people will progress to the highest levels of the teachings, but Witness N agreed that, due to the challenging nature of these teachings, “ some people truly should not ”. Witness O described the concept of crazy wisdom as “ a wisdom entirely for the student’s benefit; not crazy, mad or out of control, but unconventional ”. W itness O accepted that Sogyal could , on occasion, be wrathful as a means of achieving this, but that it was “ not ordinary anger as a gut reaction to a situation, it was anger as a method of showing people something, it was not uncontrolled ”. I note that Rigpa’s new Code of Conduct expressly states that: “ if a guru asks you to do something and you cannot do it for whatever reason, you should know that you are allo wed to say no ”, however, this document did not exist until after the Complaint. Some of the witnesses that I spoke to had a significantly more negative take on Sogyal Lakar’s teachings and the ability of students to say no or question what they were taug ht. For example, a former instructor, Witness U, told me: “We were taught to see these daily displays of anger not as anger but as kindness, specifically as wrathful compassion, as ‘cutting through ego’. I was never comfortable with these displays as I co uldn’t see why they couldn’t be done in private, but we were told that they were a teaching for us —activity teachings teaching us how to be better workers, to be more efficient and more aware … Sometimes [Sogyal] would spend the first hour of a ‘teaching’ finding fault with those who served him, sometimes sending someone into tears. These ‘activity teachings’ are not Buddhist teachings, they’re S ogyal’s own made up speciality. A mark of our devotion was our ability to see these outbursts in a positive ligh t, and we needed to show our devotion if we were to be allowed to receive the highest teachings, the Dzogchen teachings which we all sought. In various sessions we were asked how we saw these ‘teachings’ and I, like everyone else, did my best to see them in a positive light. I took his ‘grumpiness’ as part of the package – if I wanted the Buddhist teachings Sogyal imparted, I had to take the bad along with the good, so I did, but I did my best to make sure I would never be on the receiving end of his verb al attacks —when offered a [management role] , I turned it down, knowing that anyone in a major role opened themselves up to this kind of attack. He picked his targets though; he didn’t do it to everyone. We were also taught that any attention given to you by a lama was good attention, even if it felt bad at the time. The situation is similar to a child with an abusive parent in that, for the student, the abuse is better than being ignored. (I likened the attitude we were taught to take about this as simila r to my father strapping me for being naughty while saying that he did it only because he loved me.) The fact that Sogyal gives you any kind of attention at all is seen as an indication that he cares for you, and students on the receiving end of the public humiliation or ‘dressing downs’ said they felt ‘blessed’ by getting this kind of ‘wrathful compassion.’ One meditation instruction is to ‘let go of your risings’, meaning to let go of any thoughts or emotions that arise. This is not a wrong instruction, but in this instance we were taught to see our natural disgust with the public humiliation as ‘just a rising’ and we were taught to let it go without giving any consideration for the possibility that what we were letting go of was actually something we sho uld be paying attention to. The instruction became a way to ignore, or suppress our instincts. 14 I see now that all of this was a form of brainwashing that desensitised us to his behaviour. The longer we stayed the more this attitude became programmed in”. I recognise that the above description may not be accepted by those who remain students of Sogyal Lakar, but this context is important in order to understand the perception of many of the witnesses I spoke to. I listened to a recorded public teaching de livered by Sogyal Lakar in which I heard evidence of the fact that senior students are taught to have pure faith and pure trust in Sogyal as their master. In this teaching, Sogyal said: “With trust you can relax, with faith you can have peace. When you have trust and faith , for example with my masters, then you can really receive the blessings. When you don’t have trust, you diminish the blessings because you doubt and you think this and that. You get yourself confused, you begin to mistrust things. This cleverness only brings you more suffering and confusion … I do everything for your benefit. Don’t resist; t rust. If you resist, you’re very stupid”. It was explained to me that, i n theory, students only progress throug h the nine levels (or ya nas) of Buddhism when they are ready and once they have gone through a specific initiation process at each stage. Before I met with any of the witnesses, I conducted some initial basic research into the nature of the Samaya relationship and I understood there to be a long process of introduction to the basics of Buddhism before students would be ready to embark upon the Vajrayana path. Many of the witnesses that I spoke to, however, did not appear to have undertaken any meaningful initiation which would have enabled them to understand the true nature of this relationship, and the potential ways they might be tested, in advance. It is evident to me that many of the students I met did not truly understand what might be involved until they had already embarked upon the journey and, in their view, there was no going back. Within Sogyal Lakar’s teachings, the re appears to be a very informal approach to these initiations in some cases. For example, Witness N had started off by attending Buddhist courses and meditation practice and received an initiation around two years later. I asked whether Witness N felt t hat Witness N understood what this meant at the time, to which Witness N responded “probably not”. Witness N explained: “It was generally not a quick transition to go from being new to Buddhism to being a Vajrayana student, but not always. Some people go quickly – Buddhists would say there were past life connections. It’s akin to falling in love and the situation where most people do it slowly but some people might get married within a week. The teacher should have a good sense of where they are, and some people don’t really get there in 30 years ”. Witness D, a Dzogchen student, told me that Sogyal would give initiations quite freely; “ you turn up to a retreat and you’re part of it, you discover bit by bit what you have let yourself in for .” Several of the witnesses did not consider that they had undergone any form of initiation. Witnesses explained to me that, once a student has asked a teacher to teach them and has been accepted by that teacher, there is said to be ‘Samaya’ between them. The mean ing of Samaya is an area where there is considerable divergence of views. At its simplest, I am told that the meaning of Samaya is described (by Mingyur Rinpoche ) as “ to maintain unwavering respect towards the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and in the case of Vajrayana, the guru”. 15 Several of the witnesses that I spoke to described to me their understanding, which is that when a student agrees to enter into the Vajrayana path of Buddhism they enter into an agreement whereby they are permitting their teacher/master (in this case, Sogyal Lakar) to help them on the road to enlightenment by whatever means he believes will help them. In return, they understood that the student is bound never to criticise their master in public and is encouraged to have absolute trust that what their master is doing will help them on their path. They told me that it is meant to be understoo d that the means employed by the master will push the student’s boundaries and that this may not be an entirely comfortable process. Several of the witnesses I met told me that they were taught the consequences of breaking Samaya (which they understood inc luded criticising or speaking out against your teacher). Witnesses told me that Sogyal Lakar’s teachings describe a Samaya breaker as being condemned to Vajra Hell; I was told that this is described at length in historic teachings as the worst of the eigh teen hells and a place of eternal torture. I heard evidence that breaking Samaya is taught by Sogyal to be the worst thing a student can do; it is said that it will damage their own health, the health of their family and cause harm to the teacher / damage his long life. Many witnesses considered that there was pressure on them to keep their Samaya. For completeness, I was also told that the teacher is said to be bound by Samaya as well, and it is said that if a teacher breaks Samaya, they too are said t o be bound for Vajra hell. The fact that many of the witnesses I spoke to considered that they are, or were, bound by Samaya, and felt that they would be said to be breaking that vow by speaking to me, has been a particularly challenging aspect of this in vestigation. It is also a factor which I have had to take into account when assessing the credibility of the evidence available to me. 16 Findings I turn now to the specific allegations against Sogyal Lakar as set out in the Complaint , and my conclusion s in respect of them. The allegations broadly fall into the following categories: a. Physical abuse . b. Sexual abuse . c. Emotional and psychological abuse . d. Living a lavish, gluttonous and sybaritic lifestyle . e. Tainting appreciation of Dharma . I deal with each of these in turn below, but I think it is helpful initially to reiterate that there are varying degrees of closeness to Sogyal Lakar, with the closest relationships regularly referred to as the “inner circle”. I heard a great deal of evi dence about the fact that Sogyal Lakar’s inner circle includes a team of students who provide assistance and personal care to him, typically working without pay in exchange for food and board. The level of care that Sogyal requires is extreme; this is not just about people booking his travel, driving him around, delivering his bags and cooking his meals. Sogyal requires round the clock assistance from the ‘lama care’ team, which is required to meet his every need , as and when he it arises; they dress him, massage him to sleep and even attend to him in the toilet. Some members of the lama care team described having to sleep on the floor of his room, being on call through the night, and many were surviving for weeks at a time with around three hours ’ sleep a night. The experiences of Sogyal Lakar’s inner circle are very different from the experiences of those who are less close. Physical abuse It is alleged that Sogyal Lakar physically abused the letter writers by slapping them, punching them, kicking th em, pulling their ears, hitting them with a backscratcher, phones, cups and hangers. It is alleged that a student was knocked unconscious by Sogyal and that monks and nuns were left bloodied and scarred. It was specifically alleged that a nun was “gut pu nched” by Sogyal in front of hundreds of people in August 2016 at Lerab Ling. I started the investigation in the belief that it was alleged that there had been a handful of such incidents, however, I received corroborated evidence from several witnesses th at p eople in the inner circle were beaten on a daily basis. Witness F claimed to have been be aten by Sogyal Lakar more than two hundred times. Of the twenty two witnesses who se direct evidence I received , thirteen of them confirmed that they had been hit by Sogyal Lakar (this includes people who are currently senior students of Rigpa). The witnesses gave evidence that (between them) they were aware of a further twenty people who were regularly subjected to physica l abuse. Of the thirteen witnesses who said that they had been hit, the degree to which they said this happened varied considerably. By way of illustration: Witness P (Rigpa management) : “He might tap someone on the head with a backscratcher; he did it half a dozen times that I saw. It was not violent … he might shake somebody … with me, he once pretended to punch me in the stomach, it was a non -event. He would kick people up the bum, very publically ”. 17 Witness N (Rigpa management) : “He might shake you or pull your ear or tap you with a back scratcher, this was all in the context of surprise. He never hurt me or went too far. He has punched me. It was not full force and I laughed. I did witness Sogyal punching a nun. She said it was experienced diff erently ”. Witness O (Rigpa management) : “He would occasionally [use physical force], not often. He once hit me on the knuckles with his bac kscratcher … I didn’t like it … but there was a context – I had made a mistake of some kind. I’ve seen him hit [st udents] with a backscratcher a few times – a handful – I can’t recall who, it is not a clear memory ”. Witness C : “Sogyal would walk along a line of students and hit us all in the stomach. [On one occasion] , he came up behind me and hit me in the back. It was no worse than a game of rugby, I wasn’t very concerned. I’m aware of others who were badly affected. At a 1992 retreat a woman was brought to the front with 300 people there and he slapped her in the face. This clearly didn’t help her. Most violenc e happens within the small inner circle, occasionally he would slip and do it in public. His punches were not soft, but not totally furious. He was like an enraged drunk on the street, on the edge of being out of control ”. Witness L: “I was hit by Sogya l a couple of times with his backscratcher. He hit me three times and left me with a lump on my head. It was painful and was in anger. He would also kick me up the backside and slap me over the head … it was usually about food. There was one time when Witness E and I both got hit because we hadn’t put food in the car for him . He called us both in, called us idiots and hit us both. Witness J did something and Sogyal beat him a lot with the backscratcher. We [approximately 9 students] were all practising in the lounge room. Sogyal came in and was furious about something Witness J was doing. He was throwing the remote control and hitting Witness J over the head. He was furious with Witness J ”. Witness L also gave evidence of witnessing physic al abuse against a female student on more than one occasion because she had been “too slow to do something ”. Witness J: “There was a lot of verbal and physical abuse that went on and I developed high anxiety. I slept on the floor next to the phone and wo uld have panic attacks whenever the phone rang. Physical abuse was quite common, he would use a backscratcher to hit people over the head or hand or back. If he couldn’t reach them, he would pick something up and throw it at them e.g. a phone. In privat e, every day was random and you wouldn’t know what mood he was in. He could be demanding things and then hitting, throwing objects and pulling hair. He would focus on me, Witness E, Witness F, [and six other students] . 18 Mid -way through the retreat the re was a major event – Buddha’s birthday. We had to practise all day and had been preparing for several days. We took everything to the house and practised together – it started around 4pm and went on until around 2 am. During this, Sogyal was the most w rathful I have ever seen. Everything and everyone was annoying him. He was hitting everyone, pulling hair. Witness E and I were his main targets and he hit us repeatedly with the backscratcher and with leather bound parchments. My scalp was bleeding an d my ear ringing from having been hit on the side of the head. He hit me 10 or 15 times and there was nothing soft or painless about it. It stings, it hurts, it knocks you over. If you try to move away he will call you out and make you come closer. I wa s in complete shock and petrified. I was in a state of anxiety – my instinct was to run but those around me were convincing me to stay. I felt I had no choice. My brain stopped working – it was damage control to try to stay alive. We were on call, day and night. We would try to pre -empt any scenario that would anger him and do anything to try to avoid irritation. I saw Witness F being beaten a lot … Witness F was regularly hit – he would use his backscratcher to hit her. … it was unnerving to watch [another student being beaten] . You would have a sense of relief that it’s not you and you would be terrified. Stepping in would make it worse for both of you” . Witness F: “On one occasion he was hitting me, [and three other students] with a broken wooden hanger. He hit each person repeatedly and was so tense that he bit through his own lip while doing it and drew blood. My initial assumption was that the blood on his face had come from one of the people he was hitting. [One student] was knocked unconscious. If one of his girlfriends was at their limit, he would hit me instead. Between 2006 and 2010 I was beaten over two hundred times; if he was in a bad mood he would beat me every day, or more than once a day . At one stage he had fallen out with [his girlfriend ] – he would meet her daily at her chalet, come back to his chalet, slam the door and punch me in the guts. He was just taking out his frustrations; it was nothing to do with me. He did the same thing every day for ten days. On one occasion I asked him if he had remembered to take a calendar that he wanted to give as a gift. He responded by grabbing me by my ear – it ripped all down the back and was bleeding ”. I was provided with a recording of a teaching delivered by Sogyal Lakar to W itness F. During this teaching, Sogyal can be clearly heard to state: “It’s like each time I hit you, I want you also to remember that you’re closer to me, closer to me. And the harder I hit you, the deeper the connection. And if this breaks it means that all the barriers of communication are gone. But, however, frankly speaking I don’t want to resort to that ”. Witness E: “I saw him crash [two students] heads together so they both collapsed . 19 He lined [three female and three male stude nts] up, grilling us about something , in his house. He started slapping and punching me, and kneed me in the stomach. He then grabbed a thi ck practi ce book and slammed it down on my head, breaking the spine of the book on my head. I fell to the floor … he grabbed his glass and threw its contents in my face, then grabbed a metal stupa and went to hit me in the head with it. He stopped and backed off. I thought if he hit me with that, I’m going down – I thought I might never get up. His favourite thing t o hit us with was his backscratcher [which he would hit his male and female attendants with] … he would hit us four or five times on the head and he wielded it heavily – it was wooden with teeth on the end and he would hit with the teeth end. At one point, the beatings were daily; it could be several times a day. I would be left bruised and sore. He would come across as utterly ferocious and would seem to have lost control. The blows were aimed at my head and were serious, real blows. I saw Witness J s tart to take the flack – Witness J received gruelling, ferocious, constant beatings … it was like a mauling, slapping Witness J over and over until Witness J was reduced to a frightened jelly -like person. He would grab your ear and twist it whilst pushing your head down and dragging you along. He punched me out of the blue, a full punch to my jaw while I sat in the driver’s seat and him in the passenger seat because I forgot a torch. There was a correlation between being hit and Sogyal having fallen out wit h his girlfriends; out of the blue we would be screamed at for nothing. He hit me over the head and made me bleed, there were around twelve people sitting aro und the table when it happened” . Witness K : “He realised an offering had been removed and he got apocalyptically angry – he was screaming and shouting down the phone. It was nothing to do with me but he threw a shoe at somebody and then got out his backscratcher and hit us all on the head – he whack ed all of them, and me, really hard on the head. I felt very shocked and didn’t understand. I got hit several times with the backscratcher. I saw that if you argued back or drew a boundary it got worse. He was hitting [another student] with the backscra tcher and she pushed back and said it was abusive. He was berating her for calling it abuse and said she was an idiot and not a good Buddhist for calling it that. Arguing against it doesn’t help ”. Witness M described a female student who “received severe beatings ”. Details are set out in the confidential annexe to this report. Witness G described witnessing a female student being beaten by Sogyal with his backscratcher because a document was in the wrong font. Details are set out in the confidential annexe to this report. Witness G said “I asked her if she needed help and she said “forget it, leave it”. That bothered me; a man shouldn’t beat up a woman with a stick ”. Witness G also recounted another experience, as set out below: “On another occasio n, I had to leave a retreat early to get back to work. I knew he wouldn’t be happy if I left without telling him, so told [another student] that I was leaving and asked her to tell Sogyal. When I was about to leave I checked with her that she had told hi m and it turned out she had forgotten. We went to find him and [the other student] told him that my friend and I had to leave early. He blew up saying “what do you mean you have to leave?” He 20 went into a rage and someone in the corridor was holding a hug e binder. He grabbed it and whacked us both over the head with it. In 2016, I was sitting 10 metres from the stage at the temple at the Dzogchen retreat. Sogyal came out and went to get up onto his throne – Student 19 has to bring him a stool. Student 19 put the step stool down for him. He steps up, then turns around and punches her. I heard the air explode out of her and she doubled up. I could see she was crying and she ran off stage. I thought it was totally fuc ked up. I was restraining myself and wanted to stand up and challenge him . The punch was the type of punch you use to get control of someone. If someone was out of control in a bar it’s what I would do to enable me to grab them and cuff them while they’ re disabled. He’s a strong, stocky guy; it was akin to a one inch punch that you see in martial arts. Th e next day Witness P read out a letter from Student 19 which said ‘it’s all OK, just part of my training – sometimes I don’t pay enough attention ’.” Several of the other witnesses I spoke to were present when Student 19 was punched in the stomach by Sogyal at Lerab Ling in August 2016, in front of several hundred people. Witness H corroborated the account of W itness G above, telling me that : “[Sogya l] quickly, aggressively and forcefully hit her in the stomach. I was close enough to hear the exhalation. She doubled up, burst into tears and disappeared for several hours … when she reappeared she had reddened eyes, a facial expression of defeat and u pset, a downturned mouth and a slumped body. The next day she appeared on the stage and had to confess her own failings and agree that this had been highly beneficial and privileged event … she had the appearance of a prisoner of war stating how well the N orth Koreans had treated her”. I have seen a statement issued by Student 19 since the incident in the temple has come to prominence in which she says: “The day of the incident, the 25th of August, there was a smaller mishap, but [Sogyal] Rinpoche was def initely not in a fit rage [sic] , there was just a single moment of wrath, which manifested in a soft punch, but it was neither violent or abusive, at least not to my feelings. Even though I was in tears and crying afterward and the situation easily could have appeared and seen as me being punched very hard, the fact is that I cried because of a complete different reason, which had nothing to do with the actual situation. The incident just sparked open an inflammation of a mental wound I was in the middle of experiencing ”. The language used by Student 19 is strikingly s imilar to that used by the current senior students who confirmed that when they had been hit by Sogyal this had been a “soft punch ”, not something that caused them real pain. It gives me the impression that this is the ‘party line’ on the issue; the striking of people cannot plausibly be denied, but its significance can be minimised. On hearing these accounts, I wanted to understand why people had ‘allowed’ themselves to be hit; why hadn’t they complained, why hadn’t they hit him back? This was explained to me as follows: Witness G told me that it was “ a source of eternal shame ” that Witness G had not spoken up when Student 19 was punch ed. Witness G told me “ I sat in abject denial of what my eyes were seeing; the whole room did … we were conditioned to belonging for so long that there was not a peep of protest. Even more disturbing is that over the course of the next two days we were e xcoriated [by Sogyal and Witness P] for even thinking something had happened … we were a brainwashed group, myself included ” 21 Witness E told me that he understood that a teacher slapping you is a training; as a student Witness E believed that you should see it as pure, carry on and not react. Witness E said that, “ as a newcomer, you look around you at the other senior students who it happens to and they don’t react, so you think that it must be doing some good as they tolerate it without complaint, and the students would even tell you that it is a training and is helping them in their practice ”. Witness E said that “ you kind of let go of your common sense when it comes to boundaries and you’re prepared to believe it might wake you up faster ”. Witness F made similar comments and explained that Sogyal would start by hitting you once, to see how you would react. W itness F said that “ if you took it, he would then continue, gradually building up the severity ”. Witness I (who alleges both sexual and physical abu se) spoke about the need to adopt a coping mechanism where she would close her mind to what was going on and pretend it did not exist. Witness I spoke of feeling ashamed and unable to tell anyone about it. Witness J said “ your mind leaves your body, it’s a skill to protect yourself. [The abuse] has a numbing effect ”. Witness I believed that Sogyal likes to be surrounded by people who had experienced trauma, abuse or neglect, and felt that he was easily able to identify such people. Witness J explained h ow being involved with Rigpa left W itness J disconnected from friends and family in the outside world and that the thought of leaving is very difficult because it means leaving the whole “Rigpa family ” behind too, Witness J said “ I didn’t have the strength to walk away ”. Various witnesses talked to me about not being ready to turn their back on something that they had been so devoted to for so many years, and not being ready to accept that it was not what they thought and hoped it was. Witness K said that you start off being told by everyone around you that you are lucky to be singled out by Sogyal for special attention; you feel special because of this. W itness K said that she had witnessed other people push back or try to draw a boundary and things got worse. This had been Witness J’s experience too. Witness K said she was told by another student to look at how well the people around Sogyal were doing and trust his process. Witness K said she was told that it is not an easy path, but it is the quick path to enlightenment. Witness K acknowledges that, technically, it was possible to leave, but doing so would have damaged the relationship between Witness K and a close family member, who was a committed member of Rigpa, and Witness K felt she had nowhe re else to go. In his letter to me, Sogyal Lakar says: “It is clear that a number of people feel that they have been hurt, and hold me responsible. That is something I have to acknowledge and face up to. I am truly sorry if anything that I have said or d one has caused anyone offence or harm and I ask in all humility for their forgiveness. At the same time from my side I find it very hard to recognize myself in the descriptions in the letter, and the picture that it paints. It distresses me that my action s and intentions could have been misunderstood and characterized in this way. I am a human being doing my best to follow the Buddha’s teaching and I have never knowingly set out to harm anyone, which would be against the most fundamental precept that I fol low, as a Buddhist. Nonetheless I wo uld be the first to acknowledge that I have faults, and I am always striving to work on myself, to become a better and more compassionate person. That’s why it is so troubling that anyone could be left with the impression that I am acting merely out of imp atience, irritation or anger”. 22 Findings: physical abuse Based on the evidence that I have heard, a number of witnesses gave credible evidence about physical abuse that they have personally suffered and witnessed. Several of the accounts were corroborated by other witnesses, and where there is a lack of corroborative evidence, the facts complained of are very similar, even from witnesses who were at Rigpa at very different points in time and locations in the world. On the balance of probabilities, I conc lude that Sogyal Lakar has subjected a number of his closest attendants to repeated physical violence by assaulting them with his own hands, his backscratcher or with items that he could throw or hit them with . Whilst some of the physical abuse might be de scribed as being part of a teaching, it is clear that on many occasions the reason for the violence was Sogyal’s own frustrations – for example, he would hit attendants for no particular reason following an argument with one of his girlfriends. I have hea rd compelling evidence that he effectively used several of his attendants as a punching bag to vent h is own frustrations and anger. It is also clear to me that, on the balance of probabilities, even if Sogyal’s violence towards his students was intended to help them on the path to enlightenment, the physical abuse caused real harm. I heard evidence of an individual being knocked unconscious, several people were left with bleeding wounds and one received a concu ssion which lasted for days. 23 Sexual abuse It is alleged that Sogyal Lakar: a. Used his role to gain access to young women and to coerce, intimidate and manipulate them into giving him sexual favours and has had decades of sexual relationships with students , including underage girls. b. Instructed students to strip, show him their genitals, take photos of their genitals and show them to him, give him oral sex, have sex with their partners in his bed and describe sexual relationships to him, as well as lying to cover up relationships with him. c. Groped students and asked one of his students to photograph attendants and girlfriends naked, forcing others to make collages of the images for him which were then shown to others. d. Offered a female attendant to another lam a for sex. These allegations are dealt with below. Allegations with no supporting evidence / insufficient evidence In relation to some of these allegations, I did not receive any evidence to support them and therefore cannot uphold them. Specifically, no body gave evidence to me that they had been required to take photos of their own genitals and show them to Sogyal. I heard some evidence in relation to relationships with girls under the age of 16, but I do not consider there to be sufficient proof of su ch relationships on the basis of the evidence provided to me . I do not therefore uphold this allegation . No witness gave evidence to me that they had been asked to have sex with their partner in Sogyal’s bed. One witness spoke of being invited to use a room in Sogyal’s chalet to have ‘make -up sex’. There was no suggestio n that this was forced upon the couple , albeit that there is a general theme from all witnesses that they could not say no to Sogyal. I cannot therefore uphold this allegation. I did, h owever, receive a significant volume of evidence in support of the other allegations, which I deal with below. Allegation that Sogyal Lakar u sed his role to gain access to young women and to coerce, intimidate and manipulate them into giving him sexual f avours and has had decades of sexual relationships with students, including underage girls Sogyal Lakar is open about the fact that he has sexual relationships; he is not a monk and is not required to remain celibate. He is known to have often had girlfri ends who are significantly younger than him and to have had more than one girlfriend at the same time. There is nothing wrong with this, if they are consenting adults. Sogyal Lakar is also known for being attended to by a number of beautiful young women , who form a significant part of the lama care team. Again, on the surface there is nothing wrong with this, however, several witnesses shared their experiences of this role with me and their evidence was very troubling. I am particularly concerned about the vulnerability of the individuals who gave evidence that they were called upon to provide sexual favours to Sogyal Lakar and the apparent abuse of Sogyal’s power over them. It was again striking how many similar accounts were provided by different witn esses spanning a considerable time period – it supports a conclusion that Sogyal Lakar has a particular modus operandi when it comes to securing sexual relationships with his students ; particularly young women . 24 First -hand accounts Witness K shared the foll owing information with me: “When I was 18 or 19, he asked me to come and meet him at his personal shrine in his house. He said he had had a dream about me and it would be good if I worked for him as an attendant. He asked if I wanted to and I said yes. I understood it would be li ke a PA but the uber rich version, bringing him anything and everything he might need including food, laundry, cleaning and carrying his bags. He said it’s really important that you never talk to anyone about anything that goes on while you’re working, es pecially don’t tell [a family member also in Rigpa] as it will damage [that person’s] view and relationship with the dharma. I said OK . I didn’t expect this to mean there would be anything awful, but I understood I would have information about what he spe nt his money on and what he did which he would want to keep private. I was very young and emotionally vulnerable; he knew this. One day he showed me some sexy photos of [another student] on the beach to see if I was shocked. I wasn’t. Within three month s of me arriving, I was helping him one evening to get ready for bed with [another student] . I had to bring his hot water. He suddenly asked me to lick and touch his genitals. He said it in a jovial way and I wasn’t sure if he was serious. [The other s tudent] smiled and said “yes, do it”. I tried but I freaked out and he said “oh, that’s OK” and he dismissed me. The next day I felt very uncomfortable and said I was not well and stayed in bed. A couple of hours later I was called and told he wanted to see me in the garden straight away. I went to the garden reluctantly and he started screaming abuse at me, saying “you think I’m attracted to you, why would I be?” He was aggressive and it was terrifying, I was not used to being yelled at. I started to cry and felt panicked. I said I didn’t think that, but felt bad because I had failed him and his test. He immediately turned nice and said “oh no, you did well”. I felt shaken and was not OK with it. I had no one to talk to. I then went to [another coun try] with him [as part of the lama care team] and I was leaning over to give him something. He put his hand down my top and touched me. He said my nipples were young. I felt shocked. [Some time later], I attended a retreat and was feeling better and more on track. I was alone with him in the shrine room and he asked me to give him a blow job. I tried to be a good Buddhist and see it as a teaching. It was an out of body experience. I didn’t want to do it but I did. I didn’t do it for long and he then dismissed me. It felt like a power play, he didn’t seem particularly aroused”. Witness L recounted the following experience which took place when Witness L was aged around twenty: “So gyal asked me to take my clothes off. It was just before he was about to teach and I had been ironing his clothes in the lounge area of his hotel room. He was on the bed in his underwear and called me into his bedroom. I laughed and made a joke about no t wearing nice underwear. I think my reaction made clear that I wasn’t going to do it. I felt shocked, nervous and vulnerable. He dismissed me and I went back to ironing his robe, my heart was pounding and I wanted to run ”. Witness I also reported first -hand experience of this , which is set out in the confidential annexe. Witness A was a former girlfriend of Sogyal, who confirmed that she had been in a consensual sexual relationship with him. She gave evidence, however, that on one occasion she had expe rienced a non -consensual sexual act by Sogyal. Details of this are set out in the confidential annexe. 25 The Rigpa management witnesses, W itness N, Witness O and Witness P accepted that Sogyal had girlfriends, and sometimes more than one at a time, but all considered these relationships to be consensual and denied ever seeing or having knowledge of him behaving inappropriately, or using the teachings to persuade people to have sex with him. Very significantly, however, Witness P had witnessed a female stude nt, being instructed to take her clothes off by Sogyal Lakar. W itness P stated that the response of the student was to burst into tears but not to comply with the request. W itness P says that Sogyal Lakar did not press the issue and changed the subject. W itness P was not concerned by this instruction and considered it to be an example of Sogyal Lakar having an agreement with the female student to “ intervene in [ her] thought pattern by saying this ”. Rigpa management W itness N had also witnessed Sogyal te lling a female student to strip and reported that she then removed one item of clothing. Further evidence – second hand accounts I also received further, second hand accounts of similar, inappropriate sexual behaviour by Sogyal Lakar from Witnesses B, C , E, M and S, the details of which are set out in the confidential annexe because they relate to people who have not consented to that information being included in this report . Because I did not speak to the alleged victims first -hand, these accounts necessarily must carry less weight in my assessment of the evidence than the first -hand accounts that I have referred to above. For the avoidance of doubt, I would have upheld the allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour without these additional accounts, but they add further credibility to the accounts that I have heard and reflect the potential that there are further victims who have not yet come forward. Consent A number of individuals with whom I spoke told me that th ey did not want to participate in sexual activities with Sogyal and were not, therefore, consenting adults. I have given careful consideration to the question of whether, despite this evidence, Sogyal Lakar could reasonably have believed that they were pa rticipating as consenting adults. It is apparent that some of the witnesses who gave evidence of performing sexual favours, or being intimately touched by Sogyal against their will did not expressly say no to him; quite often the evidence is that they co mplied with a request or a demand from him without outward complaint but because they felt they had to. Some of the witnesses who spoke to me talked about that fact that when Sogyal first started to show them attention (although not sexual attention) the y saw this as a blessing and a positive thing for their development as a Buddhist. W itness K, for example, spoke about initially feeling special to be singled out to work for him. According to the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service , under the UK’s sex ual off ences legislation c onsent is only given when someone agrees by choice to participate in the activity and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice. The word consent should be given its ordinary meaning, but there is a difference between consent and submission . Consent is required for each and every sexual interaction; consent can be freely given for one interaction and not given for the next. Some witnesses spoke about the apparent promiscuity or sexual openness of some of the alleged sexual part ners of Sogyal, in particular the Rigpa management witnesses all made this point about one of the students. Witness O provided evidence to support this assertion in the form of a video of this student speaking openly about matters of a sexual nature. The Rigpa management witnesses all suggested that this student had been a willing sexual partner / girlfriend of Sogyal and that she had, in fact, “ seduced ” Sogyal. 26 There is no suggestion, however, that W itness L was a willing sexual partner of Sogyal Lakar . In his letter to me, Sogyal Lakar makes no express mention of his sexual relationships with his students; he makes more general statements about never having any intention to exploit or take advantage of students : “My abiding aim in life has been to tra nsmit the Buddhist teachings as fully and completely as I can, to benefit as many people as possible. I cannot say I am entirely selfless, and I have no wish to exaggerate, but the way in which my character has been portrayed – as self – interested and plea sure seeking – is far from the truth. The welfare of my students has always been paramount in my mind. My intention towards them has always been characterized by compassion and by love. I have always sought to ensure that they make a deep connection with the core of the teachings, and come to a personal understanding… It has never been my intention to exploit or take advantage of students. I respect them deeply and have only sought to benefit them. Whatever I have said or done when interacting with my students has been with the aim of helping them to awaken their true inner nature. Nonetheless I see this intention has been misunderstood and my action have been judged otherwise. For some, this way of training may not have had the desired outcome. I mus t accept my own responsibility in this, and apologize to anyone who feels this way”. Sogyal’s statement – “whatever I have said or done when interacting with my students has been with the aim of helping them to awaken their inner nature ” – causes me concer n if and to the extent that it relates to sexual relationships. He is not saying, I thought that these were ‘normal’ consenting adult relationships. A sexual relationship which is designed to help awaken the inner nature of a student is, necessarily, a sexual relationship between a student and a teacher; it is not a relationship between equals. In that context, if such a relationship can ever be consensual (which is a controversial question in itself), I consider that the requirement for clear and unequ ivocal consent is paramount. That point is made even starker in a situation where the student considers that she is not permitted to speak out against her teacher and has been taught to see everything their teacher does as enlightened behaviour. Find ings: abusing young women It is alleged that Sogyal used his position to coerce, intimidate and manipulate young women into giving him sexual favours. There i s a significant weight of first -hand evidence which leads me to uphold this allegation. By way of illustration, W itness K, referred to above, who became upset when asked to strip gave evidence to me that she had first been sworn to secrecy with a threat to her karma and that of her family in the event that she broke this pr omise. This promise was extracted from her within a week of first coming to work as a helper in the lama kitchen as a teenager, having come to a retreat by way of respite from a period of depression and self -harm. Having broken down and refused to strip, she alleges that she was subjected to aggression and anger and she says she was also hit with a backscratcher. On the balance of probabilities, I do not believe that W itness K freely participated in sexual activity with Sogyal Lakar. These interactions were against her will and took place after Sogyal had shouted at her after she had first said no to him. She was vulnerable and not in a position to refuse him: in my view she submitted; she did not consent. I also conclude that Sogyal Lakar attempted to use his position of authority to obtain sexual favours from Witness L and I am seriously concerned about the ability of Student 15 to provide consent freely against the backdrop of physical abuse alleged to be directed towards her which is outlined in the confidential annexe. 27 Whilst one of the witnesses may initially have enjoyed Sogyal’s attentions, and may even have been flirtatious with him, I do not accept that she consented to the sexual relationship that developed and the use of threats of Samaya br eakage and bad karma towards her demonstrate that the relationship arose out of an abuse of power. I am unable to make a clear finding in relation to the experiences of Witness A; this allegation arises out of a different sort of relationship (Witness A d escribes herself as a former -girlfriend of Sogyal). There is simply not enough direct or corroboratory evidence to enable me to uphold this allegation. I do not believe that Sogyal Lakar could reasonably have believed that Witness K, Witness L or Witnes s I consented freely to his actions. When a significantly older man, who is responsible for a student’s spiritual development, and who uses physical force against that student, tells that student to perform sexual favours for him, I cannot accept that the re is any basis upon which this could be said to be a consensual act. I should make clear that I do not conclude that all of the sexual partners of Sogyal are the victims of sexual abuse. There are some individuals who appear to be treated quite differen tly, are looked after by Sogyal and consider themselves to be his girlfriends. I spoke to one such individual who had a relationship with him in the 1970s and said he was a “ loving and gentle man ”. I do not think that the same can be said when it comes to the vulnerable people working in the lama care team, who are required to attend to Sogyal’s every need around the clock. It is entirely possible that Sogyal has allowed himself to believe that the se women choose to be his sexual partners but I cannot accept that there is any legitimate basis for that conclusion on the evidence I have heard. Requiring students to lie to cover up relationships with him Witness E told me that Sogyal Lakar would often be having a relationship with five or six women at a time. Witness E would, for example, be expected to drive Sogyal to a hotel where one female student was waiting for him in the hotel room. Witness E would then be instructed by Sogyal not to tell anot her student, who was known to be his girlfriend. Witness E explained that a number of Sogyal’s sexual partners were based in the same city and there would be times when one girlfriend was visiting Sogyal via one staircase as Witness E was escorting anothe r girlfriend out of the building, via another exit. Witness E accepted that most of the girlfriends knew about each other and would discuss it amongst themselves. This does not, therefore, appear to be wrongful behaviour on Sogyal’s part per se, aside from expecting a Rigpa volunteer to give up time to facilitate his exclusively personal arrangements. Whilst I accept the evidence of Witness E, I cannot uphold this allegation as an act of abuse or similar wrongdoing on the part of Sogyal Lakar. Gropi ng students, p hotograph ing attendants and girlfriends naked, and forcing others to make collages of the images Witness G alleges that, on one occasion, Sogyal walked up to him in front of eight or nine of his attendants and grabbed W itness G by the testic les; it is alleged that Sogyal squeezed Witness G’s testicles and made a lewd comment about whether or not Witness G was aroused. W itness G says he tried to laugh this off, but felt violated by this act and continues to look back on this as a “ damaging an d traumatic event ” and a moment of “ abject humiliation ”. Witness G believes that this was an assertion of authority on Sogyal’s part, as opposed to being sexually motivated. Witness G spoke of Sogyal being very concerned about the size of other men’s pe nises, and how his own compared. Witness E made similar comments, and told me that Sogyal would often ask male students to show him their penises. As set out above, W itness K also gave evidence of Sogyal groping her. 28 On the balance of probabilities, I conclude that Sogyal Lakar did grope Witness G and Witness K against their wishes; whether this was sexually motivated or a display of power does not, in my view, make a difference as to the harm done to the students in question. It is alleged that Sogya l required one of his students to photograph attendants and girlfriends naked, forcing others to make collages of the images for him which were then shown to others. Several witnesses confirmed to me that they understood that a student who was a photogra pher was required to take naked photographs of Sogyal’s girlfriends and attendants. Witness L gave evidence of an occasion when four female students were called upstairs, and W itness E was then asked to go upstairs to take photos in Sogyal’s personal shr ine room. Witness L said “ I went upstairs a day or two later and saw photos of them all posing naked in the shrine room. I felt shocked to see it ”. . Witness G also saw intimate sexual photographs of Student 3 in Sogyal’s possession and alleges that he saw Sogyal share these with another lama. I have been provided with evidence (which is addressed in the confidential annexe) which confirms the existence of these photographs. I have also been provided with evidence (which is addressed in the confidentia l annexe) which confirms the existence of some of the video footage that W itness E says he was asked to film or was given by Sogyal to edit. This includes a video of two young female attendants who are asked by Sogyal to dance for him. One starts dancing in a bikini until he simply tells to her: “ take it off ”. She complies with the instruction. In my opinion , the student who is dancing lo oks uncomfortable and awkward . I was told that t his footage was filmed by W itness E , at Sogyal’s request. Another o f the videos includes a student being told by Sogyal that she can stop what she is doing when she wants to, but when she immediately asks to stop she is told by Sogyal to repeat what she was doing “ one more time ”. Multiple witnesses confirmed seeing naked pictures of “ Sogyal’s girls ” in his accommodation and to there being huge blown up collages with naked images of one of his girlfriends in his private rooms, to which only the inner circle were granted access. Witness E, who took many of the photogr aphs, explained that Sogyal would ask him to crop and enlarge the images that he would take so as to focus only on the genitals of the women in the photographs. I am satisfied that Witness E, in particular, was asked to photograph attendants and girlfriend s naked . Whether there is anything wrong in this conduct depends primarily on whether the photographs or videos were taken of people who did not consent to them being taken or shared in the way that they were. I have not spoken to any of the women in the photographs so cannot determine whether they were consented to this on the evidence available to me. This could be investigated further if they women in the photographs were willing to provide evidence in future. I have not heard direct evidence of any one being “forced” to make collages of the images for Sogyal, as is alleged, but there is evidence to support at least one student being asked to do so. There is also a significant volume of evidence to support the conclusion that saying no to Sogyal Laka r was not easy to do. Witness E, however, confirmed that taking the photographs was not the problem in itself, it was more about the relationships Sogyal was having with these women that was the cause for concern for this witness. Offering attendants to other lamas It is alleged that Sogyal offered one of his female attendants to another lama for sex. I heard evidence that this happened on more than one occasion. 29 Witness E told me that he had heard Sogyal Lakar on the telephone to another guru on two oc casions and that during the phone call s Sogyal ‘offered ’ a student to the guru. This account is dealt with in the confidential annexe. I was not able to corroborate this account independently; however, another witness spoke of a similar experience, as set out below. Witness K “Another lama was visiting and Sogyal made comments in front of others asking me if I would sleep with the lama. I thought he was joking and trying to get a rise out of me. I jokingly replied “yes, of course” and Sogyal then said “good you can be his attendant” he also told me to go and buy condoms. … On the second day of attending the lama, he led me to a bedroom and started kissing me. I suddenly realised it was not a joke and I froze. The other lama realised I was not consenting and stopped. He asked if I was OK and let me go back to the house. I realised I was in over my head and locked myself in a bathroom and broke down. I didn’t have anywhere else to go – I was 20, had nowhere else to live, no money and no f ood. I was very scared. There was no way out but I felt very unsafe. Someone found me and I was crying hysterically. I had to meet with Sogyal and the other lama; Sogyal said he was sorry as he thought that [offering me to the other lama] would be good for me. Witness E then took me to a bus stop and put me on a bus to [the city] , even though I had nowhere to go when I got there. No one cont acted me or checked I was safe”. Another witness provided a similar account to me, but did not wish for details to be included in this report. Based on the evidence available to me, on the balance of probabilities, I uphold this allegation. Emotional and psychological abuse As set out i n the section above entitled “Sogyal Lakar’s teachings”, I consider that there are aspects of Sogyal’s teachings which are designed to push a student’s buttons psychologically. In his letter to me, Sogyal Lakar states: “I believe it is common in many trad itional cultures and disciplines – such as education, art and sport – that the teacher encourages the student to go beyond his or her limits and sometimes this kind of training can be confronting. It is in this spirit that at times I have tried to train m y own students, especially when I see great potential in them. I believe this is very much in keeping with the culture of training that we find in Tibetan Buddhism. I have never had the feeling that I was obliging someone to do something that was against his or her own will, and that was not aligned to their inner development”. It is alleged, however, that Sogyal’s techniques went beyond legitimate teaching and crossed the line into emotional and psychological abuse. Some specific examples of this allega tion were included in the Complaint. These examples were: a. Comments about Ian Maxwell b. Telling people their loved ones would be at risk / died because they displeased S ogyal c. Pushing s tudents to the verge of emotional breakdown d. Use of Rigpa therapy 30 I d eal with these in turn below. Ian Maxwell comments It is alleged that Sogyal Lakar referred to a senior student, Ian Maxwell, as an “ asshole ” during a live streamed teaching from the unfinished temple at a time when Ian Maxwell was dying in hospital. I have been able to obtain a copy of the December 2015 live teaching in a temple during which Sogyal Lakar spoke about Ian Maxwell, who was terminally ill at the time. Sogyal does refer to Ian Maxwell as “ a bit of a stubborn asshole ” in this teaching and s ays “ so I kick his arse ”, but in my view this comment appears to be to be an attempt at a comic aside in the middle of a longer commentary which talks about the positive impact that Ian has made, how “ crucial ” he has been and asking everyone to “ think of h im very strongly ”. Rigpa management W itness P acknowledged that these comments had been made but felt that they were taken out of context. Witness P said “ I was shocked when I heard it, but he was doing it to wake people up again ”. It is also alleged that, after Ian Maxwell died, Sogyal Lakar told students that Ian had “ died spitting up blood ” because he had defied Sogyal in the past, and that Sogyal would ask students “ do you want to die spitting up blood like Ian for defying me? ” Witness E confirmed that these comments were made in his presence and he understood this to be a reference to Ian Maxwell and Sogyal not seeing eye -to-eye in relation to the cultural side of Tibetan Buddhism. Witness E said that Ian Maxwell just wanted t o benefit from the teachings and did not want to deal with the rest of Sogyal’s behaviour. Rigpa management W itness N was not aware of the specific comments alleged to have been made about Ian Maxwell but confirmed that there was some tension in the relat ionship between Ian and Sogyal. Witness N also confirmed that Sogyal would say deliberately provocative things at times. On balance, I accept that these comments about Ian Maxwell were made, but the comments made in the temple appear to have a context whi ch makes them less shocking. The comments made about dying spitting up blood being the fate of people who do not follow Sogyal are distasteful and add to the overall concerns that I have of people being put under great pressure not to question Sogyal’s ac tions. However, I do not believe that these comments can, on their own, be described as emotional or psychological abuse. Telling people their loved ones would be at risk / died because they displeased S ogyal The Complaint refers (at footnote 3) to one of the letter writers being told that his partner got sick because the letter writer had shouted at him. I understand that this was during a telephone conversation between only the letter writer and Sogyal Lakar. This complaint is consistent with evidence received from Witness K and Witness I that they were told that there would be negative karmic consequences for them and their family members if they spoke about their dealings with Sogyal. Witness P commented that Sogyal had devoted a lot of time to the l etter writer and his partner during her illness, that he would pray for her and showed incredible kindness to them. Witness P confirmed that Sogyal: “… p robably did say these things – it was all about disturbing thoughts, provocation, startling things tha t woke people up. It’s easy to get the wrong perception ”. However, I do not believe that I have sufficient evidence to uphold the specific complaint about the comments Sogyal is alleged to have made about the letter writer’s partner. 31 Pushing students to the verge of emotional breakdown A number of the witnesses that I spoke to gave evidence of the serious impact of their involvement with Sogyal Lakar on their health. In addition to numerous examples of witnesses working very long hours, with little slee p, for long periods of time, the following specific examples of long -term harm being caused were given to me: a. Witness F gave evidence of being forced to undergo elocution lessons because Sogyal would refuse to understand anything said by Witness F, insisti ng that W itness F must speak in a received pronunciation, English accent. W itness F says that this went on for months and months and meant that “ my tongue was taken away from me ” and that “ it was like being gagged ”. Witness F felt that this was an effort to break Witness F’s attachment to Witness F’s own country and family. W itness F reports being left with chronic fatigue, post -traumatic stress disorder and depression. b. Witness K reported that she suffered from hallucinations and suicidal thoughts and st ill suffers from chronic insomnia and anxiety. W itness K says she has spent thousands on therapy since leaving Rigpa. c. Witness J reported having suffered from post -traumatic stress disorder and extreme anxiety. Witness J described being terrified of the phone ringing and explained how this anxiety had negatively affected Witness J’s relationships. W itness J felt able to start therapy after several years of processing what had happened and the therapy is ongoing. I was informed that there are a number o f other students who suffered breakdowns as a result of their involvement with Rigpa. I was not able to corroborate this information with those individuals. Overall, based on the information available to me, I conclude that Sogyal did indeed push some of his students to the verge of emotional breakdowns. Use of Rigpa therapy It is alleged that Sogyal Lakar introduced ‘Rigpa therapy’ for his closest students and that trained therapists were “ given the task of dealing with the pain that was being stirred up in the minds of those [he] was abusing ”. It is alleged that therapists were used to ensure that the students did not see Sogyal as an abuser, but instead blamed old family relationships. Witness N accepted that there was a peri od when four or five students, who were also therapists, were looking at how modern therapy techniques could have confluence with Buddhism. Witness N stated that one of these therapists also saw some students privately, but that this was not a Rigpa offer ing. Witness P also told me that there was a therapist (Student 20) who would see people, but described this was an individual thing and not arranged by the organisation. Witness P said that people would choose to see Student 20 and it was private and conf idential, there was no official organised therapy. Witness O agreed that there had been some work done by a group of therapists to see if they could develop a Buddhist inspired therapy technique, but that this had not been able to make much progress. W itn ess O confirmed that there was some completely informal therapy with a therapist (Student 20) who would informally support students with any problems during the three -year retreat. Witness O stated that this would be confidential and Witness O’s sense was that the therapy was used to get to the bottom of what the cause of any problems might be. Witness K told me that she was “ assigned ” to Student 20 for therapy. W itness K said that this was not a great experience. W itness K says that Student 20 “ made it all about your relationship with your parents ”. Witness K says that Student 20 was caring but she felt that the key message was that 32 Witness K should keep Sogyal’s behaviour under wraps and not make a scene. At one point, W itness K says she was told to s ee Student 20 for therapy twice a week. Witness K says it was a relief to be able to speak to someone, so Witness K did not say no. W itness K continued seeing Student 20 for therapy via Skype for some years but now sees this as a means of keeping W itness K tied up in the Rigpa way of resolving these issues instead of going to the police. Witness F describes Rigpa therapy as a strategy of psychological abuse, saying that Student 20’s job was to mop up the mess created by Sogyal, which enabled him to push t hem all further and Student 20 would catch them. Witness F agrees with the account of W itnesses N, O and P as to how the therapy discussions started, but says that the idea of one -on -one therapy with Student 20 came from Sogyal himself. Witness F was “ se nt” for Rigpa therapy around the time that Witness F started to develop symptoms of post -traumatic stress disorder. Witness F says that the idea of the therapy seemed good at the time. Witness F described the therapy as a chance to relax and not be on -cal l for an hour. Witness F says that during the therapy, Student 20 was told by Witness F about the beatings and other concerns. Witness F says that Student 20’s focus was that the behaviour of Sogyal was purifying W itness F’s relationship with W itness F’s father. Witness F describes this therapy as their one chance of finding help, and that it was abused. Witness F alleges that Student 20 once told Witness F “ the things these girls tell me – if they happened in the real world I’d have to report them ”. I have heard a recorded public teaching in which Sogyal asks for Student 20 to share something that has come out of Witness F’s therapy sessions. Student 20 then shares information coming from those therapy sessions with Sogyal and the rest of those present . This is clear evidence of the misuse of these therapy sessions and the confidential information shared therein. Witness L confirmed that she was aware that W itness F and a number of the young women in the lama care team were seeing Student 20 for ther apy. Witness L alleges that those undergoing therapy reported back that Student 20 would persuade them to blame their families, or their karma from past lives, instead of holding Sogyal responsible for his actions towards them. I must make clear that I h ave not received any testimony from Student 20. There is, however, a significant volume of evidence to support the allegation that (whatever Student 20’s intentions were) the therapy sessions held by Student 20 were encouraged or sanctioned by Sogyal Laka r and caused harm to those who participated in them. On the balance of probabilities, I uphold the allegation that therapy sessions were improperly used. Lavish, gluttonous and sybaritic lifestyle It is alleged that Sogyal Lakar demands money from his st udents to fund his lifestyle, which involves a steady supply of sensual pleasures: personal chefs, entertainment, cigars, drivers, masseuses, and expensive restaurants. It is alleged that he demands free labour. It is apparent that Sogyal has a taste for the finer things; he does indeed have a staff available to him around the clock, including masseuses, drivers and chefs. Many of these people, however, appear to donate their time , without charge , as part of a personal offering, or people worked in exchan ge for free accommodation and food on retreat. Some witnesses explained that there is an expectation within Tibetan Buddhism that a high lama would have these things. W hilst it was understood that some lamas would reject such trappings and live a simple life, it was acknowledged that Sogyal is not one of them. He was described as being from an old school, aristocratic family with certain expectations. Several witnesses spoke about Sogyal having very specific, and expensive, taste when it came to meals that were cooked for him and restaurants that were frequented. It was accepted by Rigpa management Witness N that the cost of such hospitality would be met by the local Rigpa group, not 33 by Sogyal personally. It is not clear to me the extent to which these costs were met by the Rigpa entities o r by individual students within the local sangha ; it appears that there was a mixture of both . Several witnesses described the fact that at the end of a retreat, students are invited to give a financial offering to Sogyal Lakar. The offerings were encouraged through a speech known as the ‘offering pitch ’ in which a senior student or monastic would explain that the money people had already paid was to pay for the infrastructure of the retreat, accommodation and food. It was explained that Sogyal did not personally receive any of this money and that th ere was now an opportunity to express gratitude t o him for the teachings and to ‘ accumulate merit ’. It w ould be explained that the teachings were priceless but this was nonetheless an opportunity to make a gesture. Students would be informed that they could donate by cash or cheque. This speech would then typically be followed by a statement from Sogyal about the fact that he did not keep the money for himself (althoug h some witnesses suggest ed he would indicate that he might keep a small amount to cover daily necessities), but would use it to donate to worthy Buddhist causes, such as supporting monks in Tibet who were in retreat, or to help build temples. Some of the witnesses I spoke to were involved in collecting the offerings. The y told me that the money collected would be counted up by Rigpa staff and kept in personal safes within Sogyal’s living quarters at the relevant Rigpa centres. W itnesses that I spoke to w ere involved in providing detail to Sogyal of exactly how much had been donated and they confirmed that this would run to many thousands of pounds. Two of the witnesses that I spoke to confirmed that Sogyal would ask for some of the money (typically 500 euros per person ) to be put in envelopes and delivered to his mother and to two of his girlfriends. Witness E explained that they had been asked to deliver significantly larger sums to two girlfriends of Sogyal. Several w itnesses also told me that when t hey travelled overseas they would be asked to carry 10,000 euros in cash in order to move Sogyal’s money across country borders. There is a significant amount of evidence to suggest that Sogyal enjoys what has been described as a “five star existence ”, however, based on the evidence provided to me, there is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. The problem arises if he is doing so using money which has been donated for a different purpose. Most significantly, it seems to me that it is essential that the money should not have been donated on the understanding that it would be used for benevolent purposes, if it was, in fact, going to fund Sogyal’s chosen lifestyle. I have received evidence that people working for Rigpa are the ones who count, ac count for, store and move the money that is offered at the end of a retreat. Despite this, the Rigpa management witnesses displayed a lack of knowledge about what happens to that money and what it is for. Witnesses gave evidence that there are safes loca ted at various Rigpa centres which are believed to contain significant amounts of cash (said to be in excess of £0.5 million each) . Some of Sogyal’s girlfriends are alleged to receive payments of around £50,000 per year out of these cash reserves. The c ash is also alleged to fund their yoga retreats in Thailand, botox and expensive lunches, though I did not see any direct evidence of this. Whilst I have not found evidence to support the allegation that Sogyal Lakar demands money from his students to sup port his lifestyle, it appears to me that there is at least the potential that money has been collected by or for him under false or misleading pretences, or that the money received has not been fully accounted for by him. I do not have sufficient evidenc e to make a definitive finding about this and, subject to the points below, I consider that this requires further investigation, particularly in relation to the role that Rigpa students are alleged to play in explaining what the donations will be used for. 34 Close consideration should also be given to the extent to which (if at all) charitable money has been used to fund extravagant personal expenditure when local Rigpa centres host Sogyal. I do not have sufficient information to reach my own findings on this point. The UK trustees have explained to me that there has recently been a process of enquiry, investigation and accounting to the Charity Commission (in the UK) about the UK Charity’s fundraising and I am told that “ this has been gone through meticu lously with the auditors and solicitors for the UK and disclosed to the Charity Commission ”. As a result of this process, I am told that the UK trustees are satisfied that all money received by the UK charity has been properly used and accounted for. I a m not in a position to assess any aspect of this financial investigation or the conclusions that were reached, so I would simply invite the UK trustees to review the findings of fact and areas for further investigation which are set out above (particularly in relation to what is said during the offering pitch) to ensure that this does not impact upon the advice that they have received or the position detailed to the Charity Commission. To the extent that it has not been done already, it seems that a simil ar process of enquiry, investigation and accounting should be undertaken in all of the other relevant jurisdictions in which Rigpa operates to ensure that appropriate financial practices have been adopted. 35 Tainting appreciation of Dharma The Complaint sets out the damage that is alleged to have been done to the letter writers’ appreciation of the Dharma. Given the conclusions that I have reached above, it is entirely understandable that they feel this way. In his letter to me, Sogyal says “ my utmost c oncern is that no one should be deterred from their spiritual path and their commitment to following the Buddhist teachings ”. Sadly, it appears that the damage has been done for many of those with whom I have spoken. 36 Vacuum of accountability The Complaint states “ we see no clear or identifiable ethical standards or guidelines to which you are held. There is a vacuum of accountability”. Witness O told me that turning against your teacher would amount to breaking Samaya. According to Witness O, i f a student were to change their mind, they could move away from the teacher but they should not “ turn against them ”. W itness O said it should be like an amicable divorce, as opposed to a nasty divorce. I was particularly troubled by the responses of Wi tness P on this topic. Witness P’s view was that if someone was unhappy, they should leave: “If you feel you can’t continue even with the support of the sangha members then the important thing is to leave in a harmonious way. You need to leave in a no n-acrimonious way and maintain relationships after you have left ”. Witness P said that an unhappy student should: “Talk openly to the community and say you feel it is not right. You should ask ‘how shall we proceed? ’ You could continue in the community p utting a mental pause on your relationship with [Sogyal] . You can receive teachings from others and may reach a different understanding in due course. If not, you could leave in a harmonious way. It depends on the maturity of the sangha. It’s about doi ng the most beneficial thing for everybody ”. I then asked Witness P specifically about what a student should do if they considered that they had been seriously sexually assaulted by a guru. Witness P responded: “It would be good for them to talk to each other and senior members of the community that they trust. Information doesn’t have to be suppressed. Perhaps bring it to [Sogyal] ’s attention. You need to find out what they want ”. I asked Witness P what a stud ent should do if they had tried to speak to the community and take teachings elsewhere, but still considered themself a victim of sexual assault. W itness P responded “ I don’t know. ” I asked whether it would ever be OK for that student to go to the police . W itness P responded “ I don’t know ”. I found these responses extremely troubling. W itness P, who accepted that a guru is not perfect and can make mistakes, did not say that a student who believes they have been subjected to a serious sexual assault can go to the police. Witness P is one of the most senior members of the Rigpa community and a vital conduit for complaints (for which, see below) yet, in my opinion, W itness P is not prepared to hold Sogyal to account. Overall, based on this information a nd the information set out in the next section of this report, I uphold the allegation that, for many years, there has been nobody within Rigpa holding Sogyal Lakar to account. In saying this, I recognise that W itness P and Witness N were instrumental in the instigation of this investigation, which I see as a very hopeful sign the vacuum of accountability might become a thing of the past. 37 An organisational culture that maintains absolute secrecy The final allegation in the Complaint is that Rigpa, as an organisation, has helped to keep the allegations against Sogyal Lakar secret; the letter writers describe a “ veil of secrecy, deception and deceit ”. Indeed, the writers go on to say that “ some of us, who have held positions of responsibility within Rigp a, struggle with our own part in having covered for [Sogyal] and “explained” away [his] behaviour, while not caring for those with traumatic experiences ”. My investigation into this aspect of the complaint was greatly assisted by the willingness of three former trustees of Rigpa to give evidence to me: W itnesses B, C and D. W hat they each had to say was critical to enable me to understand the extent of the information available to members of Rigpa management over the years, and to understand how that infor mation was responded to. I deal with the chronology of various matters which are relevant to this allegation under the various sub -headings below, and set out my conclusions at the end of this section of the report. Allegations raised by Witness C Witness C’s account is set out in more detail in the confidential annexe due to the involvement of a third party in the account, but is summarised below. Witness C was a trustee of Rigpa. During 1992, he had started to hear some rumours of Sogyal having abusiv e sexual relationships with students. He had heard that one student had left because of this and Witness B had also raised some concerns with him (for which, see below). In 1992, a student told Witness C she had been sexually abused by Sogyal over an ext ended period of time. Further details of this allegation are set out in the confidential annexe. Witness C says he spoke to W itness P and said that Sogyal’s sexual behaviour was abusive but that Witness P sought to reassure him that nothing was wrong. W itness C said he felt alone with his concerns and did not know what to do. On 1 February 1994 Witness C made an unannounced presentation to four senior Rigpa students, which included W itness P, Witness O and W itness N. This presentation outlined Witnes s C’s concerns about Sogyal’s behaviour, which, he said, related to money, sex and power, and urged these individuals to take action. W hen Witness C sought to include his presentation as an addendum to the minutes of the meeting he was instructed by one o f the attendees to unconditionally withdraw the statement as a formal record of any kind, and that it should remain a personal document to him. At some point between April and June 1994, W itness C says that W itness P addressed another formal Rigpa meeting and confirmed that these matters had been raised with Sogyal Lakar and that there was nothing to be concerned about. W itness C says that there was no further discussion. Contact from Inform In June 1994, Rigpa UK received a letter from Inform, which des cribes itself as “ an independent charity providing information that is as up -to-date and reliable as possible about what many call cults, sects, new religious movements (NRMs), non -conventional religions” . I was shown a copy of the letter from Inform whi ch said: “It is said that Sogyal Rinpoche has had sexual relations with several of his female disciples. The allegation comes from a number of sources and indeed appears to have been common knowledge among those concerned with Buddhist affairs … Could you please confirm that it is true a nd could you say whether it is an experience for which young women joining Rigpa now and in the future should be prepared? Further, can you explain how the practice fits in with accepted Buddhist teaching?” 38 Witness C shared with me a number of different dr aft responses prepared by Witness P and W itness O, as well as a draft prepared by Witness C. In my view, the responses prepared by Witness P and Witness O were defensive and focussed on the good done by Sogyal; neither draft suggests that there is any cau se for concern. Witness C’s draft was very different; it sought to acknowledge the problems and recognise that harm had been caused. Witness C says his approach was rejected. The final response to Inform was not sent until 10 September 1994. In the inte rim period, the meeting with W itness B (referred to below) took place, and Rigpa UK was contacted by both the Observer newspaper and the Charity Commission (see below). Witness C says that the eventual response to Inform was prepared by a lawyer instructe d by Rigpa and was considerably briefer than the earlier drafts. On 11 September 1994, W itness C wrote to Witness P to raise concerns about the minutes of an earlier formal meeting and to complain that W itness P had told Inform that sexual relations with teachers did not form any part of the teaching of Buddhism practised by Sogyal. Witness C did not believe that this statement could be made in good faith given the matters disclosed by Witness B (see below). I have not seen a response to this from Witn ess P. Allegations raised by Witness B Witness B claims to have been approached by a number of women during the early 1990s who complained in confidence that they had been involved in sexually abusive relationships with Sogyal Lakar. Witness B says the incidents complained of included “ sexual harassment, sex within the environment of emotional manipulation, coercion to have sex with him “for the sake of the teachings, his health and long life”, verbal abuse, sexual infections as a result of his refusal t o practise safe sex and pregnancies resulting in abortions ”. I have set out below the allegations made by Witness B; I should make clear that this is Witness B’s account, as opposed to my own findings. I should also make clear that I have not interviewed Student 21, who is referred to below. Witness B says that Witness B saw three main patterns emerging from the allegations:  In the first, women undertaking lama care (i.e. acting as attendant to Sogyal) were told, upon entering his room, to lock the door and take their clothes off, whereupon Sogyal proceeded to have sex with them. As described to W itness B , they did not feel they had a choice in the matter, and submitted to him in a state of shock since he was their master.  In the second, Sogyal would t alk about marriage with the female student, indicating that she was very special. She would then find out later that he was having sex with multiple partners. On one retreat, a student told Witness B that she estimated that Sogyal Rinpoche was having sex with seven women including herself.  In the third, women found themselves attracted to Sogyal out of curiosity, knowing him to be sexually active. However, once involved, they frequently found themselves unable to extricate themselves from the relationship . Witness B believed that these events were causing harm on many levels. The women who confided in Witness B are said to have expressed shock, confusion and distress, especially since the man who seduced them was their spiritual teacher in whom they had pl aced their trust. They also reported that this caused distress to the partners of the women involved, since they were seduced into maintaining a sexual relationship which they were told to keep secret from their partners. Witness B claims to have raised these concerns directly with Sogyal Lakar on three occasions, and also referred to them in a letter which W itness B wrote to him on 15 September 1992. Witness B believed assurances from Sogyal Lakar that he would change his behaviour and seek help. 39 Subsequently, W itness B was approached by two further women who described traumatic sexual experiences with Sogyal Lakar. As a result, Witness B concluded that the assurances from Sogyal were not to be trusted. Witness B told St udent 21 and Witness N that, in W itness B’s view the sexual relationships in which Sogyal was engaging with his students were abusive and detrimental to their well -being. Witness B also spoke to Witness C about these matters who shared Witness B’s concerns . In these conversations, W itness B emphasised the need for Rigpa to fulfil the requirements of its status as a registered charity, and the responsibilities of the trustees to ensure accountability and safeguard students. Having discussed the situation w ith Student 21 and Witness N, they agreed to inform Witness P of this and facilitate a conversation with Sogyal. W itness B says that the efforts to contact Sogyal were blocked by W itness P, who allegedly said that Sogyal was too busy with his book tour to be dealing with this kind of stuff. It is alleged that Witness P stated that the problems lay with the students. On 13 October 1992, W itness B then wrote a personal letter to Sogyal Lakar of 10 pages setting out these concerns and the basis for them. W itness B also sent a copy of this letter to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Also on 13 October 1992, W itness B wrote giving notice of resignation as a trustee. After leaving Rigpa, W itness B continued to be engaged in conversations with women who were trau matised. Witness B decided that it was important to share information in a way that protected confidentiality in order that Rigpa management were officially briefed on what had happened. Witness B arranged a private meeting on 10 July 1994, attended by Wi tnesses C, N, O and P, and Student 21 as well as four other individuals. Witness B felt it was important that people in senior positions at Rigpa clearly understood Witness B’s reasons for leaving. Around the same time, Witness B had been approached by a journalist from the Sunday Observer with a request to comment on allegations of sexual misconduct by Sogyal, and financial irregularities. Witness B had declined to make any comment. Witness B prepared a speaking note in advance of the meeting, which Witn ess B read out loud, providing information which had come to Witness B’s attention from both the men and the women who had confided in W itness B about their experiences of Sogyal’s behaviour. The speaking note is 18 pages long and a copy has been provided to me. Witness B did not give the attendees a copy of the note or permit them to take notes. Witness B’s speaking note does not identify victims by name, but provides significant detail of the allegations referred to above. It makes clear that those alle ging sexual misconduct include those in the lama care team, as well as other students. The note states that these incidents happen ed behind closed doors when Sogyal got them alone. The note sets out three specific examples of women who said they had been sexually abused by Sogyal. I spoke to W itness C about this meeting, who was present at it. W itness C recalls that when W itness B finished speaking Witness P asked “ is any of this information out there anywhere? ” W itness C says that he was quite upset at this point and said something along the lines of “ you have just heard about sexual abuse, rape and abortion and all you seem to be interested in is who else has the information .” Witness P is said to have replied: “ it’s a jungle out there ”. Witness B’s r ecollection is that Witness P was trying to ascertain if Witness B was going to take this any further. At the time, W itness B had no desire to do so, and says that W itness P seemed to relax visibly when W itness B did not seem interested in taking the info rmation outside of Rigpa. W itness B’s view is that Witness P was trying to gauge whether or not Witness B would go to the press. Witness B considers that Witness P was only concerned about damage limitation for Sogyal Lakar. 40 When I met with W itness N an d Witness P, I did not know about this meeting, but the way that they each dealt with this meeting in response to more general questions about their knowledge of any concerns is set out below:  Witness P volunteered the fact that “ someone in England ” had said that they had talked to some women who said they had been mistreated. Witness P said that they had asked who this person was referring to and the person wouldn’t name names due to confidentiality problems. Witness P said that Witness B had tal ked to quite a lot of people and said that a few females had been approached by Sogyal and were unhappy about it. W itness P said that there were “ some kind of sexual implications ”. W itness P said “ I kept asking who they were and said if anyone wants to ma ke a complaint they should do so. There weren’t any names, this was problematic for us and Witness B … we were stuck. The result is a stand -off – who is it and what can we do? ”  I asked Witness N an open question about whether W itness N had any suspi cion of wrongdoing by Sogyal Lakar and Witness N responded “ no one has ever come to me saying that they have been mistreated or feel uncomfortable ”. Whilst this may technically be true (at least in respect of this meeting , as the complaints were being del ivered by a third party), the fact that Witness N did not mention this meeting gives me concern that Witness N was being selective in the information provided to me. Whilst I acknowledge that this meeting took place a long time ago, t his is not a meeting that would be easy to forget. By the time I met Witness O I was aware of the July 1994 meeting having taken place so was able to ask more direct questions. Witness O accepted that there had been a meeting at Witness B’s request with lots of people present. Witness O could not recall the detail of what was discus sed; rightly pointing out that it took place a long time ago. I asked W itness O what the gist of the meeting was and Witness O said that Witness B was very aggressive and said that Sogyal was abusing people and causing suffering. Witness O said that the allegations related to sexual and emotional issues, not physical coercion or rape. I asked Witness O what they did with this information and W itness O responded that: “ nobody complained to us. I asked one other person ‘do you have a complaint, how are you feeling now ’; somebody had given me her name. She was just a bit upset and did not make a complaint”. November 1994: Janice Doe Towards the end of 1994, Sogyal Lakar and Rigpa were sued in the US by a complainant known as Janice Doe. I was able to o btain a copy of the claim (but should make clear that this did not come to me from Janice Doe or anyone involved in the litigation) which states: “Plaintiff brings this action for reparations and to halt a pattern of physical, mental and sexual abuse by wo rld famous Tibetan author and teacher, Sogyal Rinpoche… Defendant Sogyal Rinpoche has used his position a s an interpreter of Tibetan Buddhism to take sexual and other advantage of female students over a period of many years and has caused extreme injuries to many students, including Plaintiff. Plaintiff is a student who sought out Sogyal Rinpoche and Rigpa Fellowship … at an especially vulnerable time in her life [following the dealth of her father] and met Sogyal Rinpoche [in 1993] … She was almost immedi ately subjected to systematic indoctrination designed to separate her from her normal support systems including family and friends … A central aspect of this mental coercion was to lead plaintiff to believe that her only way to enlightenment, or salvation, was to serve her master, Sogyal Rinpoche, and that by pleasing him she would achieve enlightenment and relief of her suffering. The corollary to this was that to incur displeasure, or to refuse him in any way, could cause dire consequences to herself and her family. As a result of this pressure she was coerced into an intimate 41 relationship with Sogyal Rinpoche that continued through November 1993, and included physical, mental and sexual abuse. Simply put, under the guise of teachings of the Buddha, Sogy al Rinpoche took unfair advantage of plantiff’s and other students’ vulnerability for his own sexual and other gratification … … defendant Sogyal wilfully, intentionally and maliciously assaulted and battered, and committed sexual assault upon plaintiff.” Witness P confirmed to me that this claim was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. I asked Witness O about the Janice Doe case and Witness O confirmed being aware of it, but denied any direct involvement. W itness O said “ there was a whole team of people behind her, supporting her. She was persuaded to do it by people who had been in Dharamasala and there were secret meetings to plan the law suit. It was part of an anti -Asian guru movement ”. Witness O ac knowledged having read the case at the t ime, so Witness O would have been aware in the 1990s that the claim alleged that there were a number of other victims, not just Janice Doe (even if W itness O had forgotten that detail now). I asked Witness O what Sogyal’s response was to the allegations i n the claim and the other issues raised in the Witness B meeting earlier that year. W itness O did not know but “ would imagine that ” Witness N or Witness P would have asked him. I asked W itness O whether W itness O had been told that Sogyal denied the alle gations; to which Witness O replied “ I’ve forgotten what he said ”. W itness O was “ personally satisfied that he hadn’t behaved as alleged ” and had never had cause for concern for anyone. Witness O accepted that it was W itness O who was tasked with produc ing a grievance procedure and code of conduct for trustees following these issues. Witness O says that a grievance procedure was drafted but never adopted. In any event, I understand that the mechanism that was proposed was that anyone with concerns shou ld talk to a senior instructor, member of management or trustee. I asked Witness P to tell me about Janice Doe. W itness P said she was someone who had a relationship with Sogyal and had been his girlfriend for some time. Witness P said that Janice Doe ha d then “ decided she had been taken advantage of … because the relationship had not met her expectations ”. Witness P could not recall exactly what Janice Doe had alleged, but said it was sexual and physical abuse. Witness P understood the claim to be “ an over dramatized description of the relationship ”. W itness P accepted that Janice Doe’s father had died and said she was “ fragile and had issues ”. W itness P went on to describe Janice Doe as “ a pawn in the beginnings of a battle ”, attributing her legal action to a group of Western Buddhist Teachers who were known to be hostile towards Sogyal Lakar and other Asian teachers in the west. I asked Witness P whether Sogyal had been asked for his response to the allegations against him . Witness P’s response was: “ we must have talked to him, I can’t recall his take ”. I asked Witness N about the Janice Does law suit. W itness N confirmed that he was aware of it but that it had been handled by Witness P. W itness N said that he was aware that Janice Doe had alleged sexual misconduct but that “ the circumstances around her weakened her credibility ”. W itness N did not, however, have any personal knowledge of these circumstances and relied on the accounts of others, specifically W itness P, wh o W itness N told me is trusted by Witness N implicitly. The Charity Commission meeting On 9 November 1994, I understand that W itness C, Witness O, Witness P and Student 21 attended a meeting with the Charity Commission in the UK. W itness C showed me the notes that were taken by Witness C during that meeting. 42 In this meeting, the notes rec ord that W itness C, Witness O, Witness P and Student 21 were asked about the Janice Doe law suit. W itness C’s notes of this meeting state that Witness O responded that “the result of our preliminary findings is that there is nothing in it. This is the fir st time in 20 years that there have been any allegations of harassment or misappropriation of funds”. Witness C recalls that Witness C, W itness O, Witness P and Student 21 were asked in turn whether they had concerns about the sexual allegations and that only W itness C said that he had concerns. Student 21 is alleged to have told the Charity Commission that the trustees “ had been in dispute ”. Witness C says that the Charity Commission did not ask what W itness C’s concerns were, but said that the fact th at the trustees had been in dispute was “ a good thing ; that’s why you have more than one trustee ”. In a letter dated 31 March 1995, the Charity Commission wrote to Student 21 thanking Student 21 for letting the Charity Commission know that Rigpa was “ draw ing up guidelines to deal with harassment ”. No such guidelines were put in place, although I have seen evidence that W itness C had put forward detailed proposals at a trustee meeting on 22 February 1995. . It is clear that W itness C’s position caused fri ction between the UK trustees. Witness P accepted that it became increasingly difficult to work with Witness C. Witness O’s description of the reasons for this are set out in the confidential annexe as they involve a third party’s position. Issues raised by Witness D I have set out below the allegations made by Witness D; I should again make clear that this is Witness D’s account, as opposed to my own findings. Witness D was appointed a UK trustee in 2006, having become a student of Sogyal Lakar in 2001 . Witness D says that W itness D was not informed of any of the allegations set out above when Witness D accepted a role as a trustee. Witness D considers that these matters should have been disclosed so that Witness D could have made an informed choice a bout whether to become a trustee in these circumstances. Witness D attended the three -year retreat which commenced in August 2006 on a part -time basis (attending for the summer only). When Witness D returned to the retreat in August 2007 he was approache d by a prominent student, and warned about physical and sexual abuse by Sogyal Lakar against a young female student, Student 27. Details of the allegations are addressed in the confidential annexe. Witness D understood that Student 27 had confronted Sogya l Lakar with her allegations at the Easter retreat in 2007. This evidence was corroborated by Witness E who told me that Witness E had been present at the Easter retreat and had been tasked with collecting Student 27 and driving her to the retreat. W itne ss E says that, during the journey, Student 27 confronted W itness E with her allegations about Sogyal. Details of what was said are set out in the confidential annexe. Witness E said he “ gave her a lame response and told her to look at the positive things that come out of the way he trains us ”. Witness E accepts that this was simply an attempt to placate Student 27 as Witness E was not yet ready to accept that what Student 27 described was anything other than a teaching. W itness E believed Student 27 was telling the truth as other girlfriends had confided similar details to W itness E before. Witness E told me that, on arrival at the Easter retreat, Student 27 spoke in private to Sogyal and was very distressed when she left. Witness D recounted being shoc ked by these allegations which had come as a complete surprise. Witness D recalls his wife expressing concern for Witness P and what these allegations would mean for Witness P whose life had been devoted to Sogyal. They assumed that Witness P would have no idea about such allegations. 43 Witness D understood that Student 26 had confronted Sogyal about Student 26‘s allegations and that Sogyal accepted they were true. Days later, W itness D wrote to Witness P, Student 21 and Student 23 resigning as a trustee and confirming that he would explain his reasons to them in person. Witness D returned to the retreat to collect his belongings, having cancelled his membership of Rigpa. Witness D met with Witness P and recounted the allegations raised by Student 26 and Student 27. Witness P confirmed to Witness D that he had asked Student 26 to promise not to speak to anyone about the allegations and he was concerned that Student 26 had broken that promise. Witness P is said to have asked Witness D what he would say t o the Charity Commission if asked why he had resigned. Witness D said he would tell the truth. W itness D was still not aware, at that point, of the previous enquiries that had been made by the Charity Commission and now infers that Witness P was actively trying to minimise the number of people who knew about the allegations. Witness D had a conversation with Sogyal before he left the retreat during which Sogyal highlighted the importance of judging the situation from all angles. Witness D recalls discus sing the allegations with W itness N as well, who he says responded that if the disclosures were made public it would threaten the future of Tibetan Buddhism in the west. Witness D says he subsequently had a two -hour telephone call with Student 27 in which she went into detail about her allegations; Witness D said “ I was shocked beyond words by what she told me ”. Witness D then spoke to Sogyal again and told him that Student 27 had shared, in detail, what had taken place, to which it is alleged Sogyal resp onded “ oh dear ”. Witness D attempted to broker a mediation between Student 27 and Sogyal to allow her to articulate her concerns in a safe environment. Witness D also wanted W itness P and others to hear her first – hand account so that the concerns were ta ken seriously. I understand that Witness P and W itness N offered to meet with Student 27, but she did not wish to do so. On return to London, Witness D met with Students 21, 23 and 24 to explain why he had resigned. Despite Student 21’s awareness of the issues raised by W itness B and Witness C, the contact from Inform and the Observer, and being present at the meeting with the Charity Commission in 1994, Student 21 is alleged to have said nothing about any previous allegations of a similar nature. It was only when W itness D spoke to Witness C about the allegations some time later that he discovered this history. I have seen a copy of a letter from Witness P to Witness D dated 11 July 2007. Witness P went to some considerable lengths in this letter to pe rsuade W itness D that these issues were “ an obstacle that – given time and reflection – you can overcome, and for the better ”. The letter attempts to persuade W itness D that he has been tricked or seduced by ideas of victimhood which are a distortion of t he truth. The letter is, in my opinion, an attempt at silencing W itness D – in W itness D’s words, it paints W itness D “ as the one with the problem, which was only based on the machinations of [his ] own mind, woven out of shadows residing there ”. As Witne ss D said to me: “ reading it now, and knowing what I now know Witness P knew when he wrote that letter to me, I am frankly sickened ”. Witness D says that Sogyal himself also attempted to persuade W itness D in person that he has been “very foolish ” and tha t he had been “ bamboozled ”. Witness O is then said to have approached Witness D on a separate occasion and told Witness D that Student 27’s relationship with Sogyal had been as a consenting adult, that Sogyal disputed Student 27’s allegations and that ther e was nothing objectionable about it. W itness D says that Witness O was highly critical of Student 26 in this conversation, the basis for which Witness D struggled to understand. Witness O’s comments were the first suggestion to W itness D that Sogyal d isputed Student 27’s account; Witness D had previously understood that Sogyal accepted it entirely. Witness D then spoke 44 to W itness P again who, this time, denied knowledge of the allegations. Witness D found this extraordinary as he knew that he had per sonally discussed them with Witness P, and Witness P had written to Witness D about the obstacle that they caused. W itness D recalls that Witness P was now also critical of Student 26. Witness D met with Witness O again and shared a full copy of Student 27’s letter to Student 26 (with permission). Witness O was said to be dismissive of the entire letter and is alleged to have focussed on the problems in the relationship between Student 27 and Student 26. Witness D wanted to discuss the allegations again st Sogyal, but W itness O stated that they were not accepted and would not accept that there was any issue in a sexual relationship between Sogyal and a student. Again, Witness O is said to have made no reference to the fact that this was not the first suc h allegation against Sogyal. Witness N and Witness P made no reference to these discussions with W itness D when I met with them (and I was not aware of them at the time of those meetings so was not able to ask them directly). When I met with W itness O, Witness O explained the basis for these allegations from Witness O’s perspective; this information is set out in the confidential annexe. In essence, Witness O does not believe Student 27’s account and referred to Student 27 as a beauty who manipulates m en with her beauty. Witness O said that Student 27 is “ bright and bubbly but manipulative and I think she’s invented it ”. Witness O provided me with video footage of Student 27 telling a risqué joke in public. Witness O says that Sogyal accepts that he had a sexual relationship with Student 27, but said that she had seduced him and that there was no coercion. According to W itness O, he “ could not recognise himself in the way she was describing things ”. Witness O accepted that Witness D had thought th at there was cause for concern, but felt that the fact that W itness D later returned as a student of Sogyal’s must have meant that he changed his mind. Witness D described to me the difficult situation he found himself in and that he wrestled with whether he could remain a student of Sogyal, whose teachings he found hugely personally relevant and helpful, at the same time as holding concerns about his behaviour. W itness D decided that he would remain involved for the purpose of the study of Buddhism, but was not prepared to accept any management or pastoral role given what he knew. Witness D has stepped away from Rigpa in light of the Complaint. Representing Rigpa I also heard evidence of the various ways that Rigpa appears to have sought to control the dialogue about and response to the various allegations that have circulated about Sogyal’s behaviour. One of those is a series of training sessions which were rolled out, known as “Representing Rigpa”. Witness C re called his experience of attending this training. He says attendees were taught a strategy where if someone raised concerns, they should point them to an instructor who will give them space and listen. W itness C alleges that they were told to acknowledge the concern but encourage the individual to look at what’s behind it. W itness C says they were not given the answer to any specific questions about historic allegations, but were told that the allegations were being stirred up by a handful of people and that no one knows what happens in Sogyal’s private life. Witness C says they were told that they could acknowledge that Sogyal has relationships and has a child, but were told to say that they have never seen anything inappropriate. Witness C says that there were not asked to lie, but that the training skilfully manipulated instructors to be able to deny knowledge of concerns and reassure students. 45 Witness P acknowledged that the training was an initiative on behalf of the organisation to respond to dem ands from the press. Witness P said that the first version, called ‘responding to criticisms’ was “done enthusiastically by amateurs and may not have come across well ”. Witness N accepted that Public Relations firms were engaged by Rigpa in light of a cr itical 2011 television documentary. W itness N said that the meetings were designed to train them on how to be a spokesperson in light of the media interest. Around Easter 2017, a working group was again formed to discuss the topic of ‘working with critic ism’ which Witness D says was essentially formed to discuss how to respond to criticisms about Sogyal’s conduct. Findings On the basis of the evidence available to me, it is clear that a number of senior individuals within Rigpa management have been awa re of serious concerns about the behaviour of Sogyal Lakar since, at least, the mid -1990s. Witness P appears to have had the most knowledge of the allegations of impropriety as Witness P handled the Janice Doe claim, attend ed the UK trustee meetings in t he mid -90s, attended the meeting called by Witness B and was involved in the issues surrounding Student 27. It is also W itness P who was understood to have raised these issues with Sogyal, according to W itness N. I conclude that Witness P’s devotion to S ogyal Lakar has resulted in W itness P refusing to accept the possibility that anything Sogyal had done might have been wrong. In my view, it appears that W itness P has made no meaningful efforts to establish whether or not the allegations are true . I bel ieve that this reaction arises out of his view that students who are unhappy should simply leave quietly – Witness P was not really concerned about whether these things happened, but seems to have been prepared to accept t hat Sogyal intended no harm, regardless of what happened. I asked Witness P whether Witness P thought a guru could ever be bad, to which Witness P responded “ if it said never you would think I have been brainwashed ”. Witness P agreed that mistakes may have been made “ due to cultural d ifferences ”, but I was not able to understand what W itness P understood those cultural differences to be. Witness P’s letter to W itness D was , in my view, designed to manipulate W itness D into dropping his concerns about Student 27. I believe t his demons trates a proactive cover -up, not just a failure to deal with things adequately. I also find Witness P is responsible for telling others that complainants should not be believed, for example, those of Janice Doe and Student 27. Witness O went to some leng th to deny holding any management responsibility that could cause Witness O to be responsible for anything that has happened , yet W itness O was clearly heavily involved in the issues raised during the 1990s – it was Witness O who was tasked with investigat ing them and devising the relevant policy documents to protect against these concerns. W itness O was involved in relation to denying what had happened to Student 27 and Witness O had a pivotal role in the “representing Rigpa” training. Witness O said to me “ there has been a lot of rumour and innuendo, a lot of people talking on behalf of people, a lot of exaggeration and gossip – we can’t act on that as an organisation. Why in the space of forty years hasn’t anyone complained?” I found this to be an ext raordinary statement from someone who was aware of Janice Doe and Student 27, as well as the complaints brought to their attention by Witness B, which I do not believe can reasonably be dismissed as mere gossip or rumour. At the start of my meeting with W itness O, Witness O said [about the letter writers] “ I’m not blaming them, [Vajrayana] is subtle and complex, but what they say shows something fundamentally hasn’t 46 clicked … there are grains of truth in [the Complaint] but they are exaggerated and distor ted ”. But Witness O later said to me “ we don’t believe that [Sogyal] abuses people, it’s not the [letter writers’] understanding either – it’s a mystery for me why in this letter they have changed their mind ”. Witness O also descrived it as “ pretty hear t-breaking to see these friends turn against everything; I don’t believe [Sogyal] has been harming people like this ”. In my opinion, Witness O is not prepared to accept that Sogyal has done wrong; I believe that has always been the case and this seems to be why Witness O has not been prepared to take any complaints seriously over the years. In my view, Witness O’s mind is closed even to the outcome of Rigpa’s own investigation. I remain somewhat perplexed as to W itness N’s role. Many witnesses who spok e to me were adamant that W itness N would have known about all of the abuse that was going on, but when pressed were not able to provide me with clear evidence to demonstrate this. It is apparent that Witness N attended the meeting with Witness B in 1994, but it seems Witness N was not involved in the follow -up to that meeting in volving the Charity Commission and Inform. I am concerned, however, that W itness N did not tell me about this meeting, which I think would be hard to forget in this context , notw ithstanding the passage of time . I received evidence from some witnesses that Witness N had provided real and valuable help to some individuals; W itness F felt that Witness N was supportive when W itness F left Rigpa, and Witness E understood that Student 5 considers that she would have “ gone under ” if it wasn’t for Witness N’s help. During our interview, Witness N was prepared to acknowledge the experience of the letter writers – for example, W itness N said: “I was very shocked to read [Witness F]’s expe rience, I don’t want to say that [Witness F] didn’t experience this. [Witness F] is a very sincere person and evidently [Witness F] did. Something has gone awry” . On balance, I believe that Witness N knew that some people were being harmed by their involv ement with Sogyal Lakar. I conclude that Witness N did not take sufficient action to stop this or prevent future harm being caused, but did made some efforts to intervene to help specific individuals. There are other individuals who held management posi tions and, it is alleged, had knowledge of the allegations against Sogyal. This includes, for example, Student 21, Student 22, Student 23 and Student 24. I recommend that their knowledge should be investigated further if they are to retain management rol es or positions of influence in future. I am satisfied that the organisation had several opportunities to realise and address the extent of the harm that was being caused, but failed to take these. The efforts made to investigate these issues and protect students in future were , in my assessment, entirely inadequate and, in some cases, there is evidence that proactive steps have been taken to discredit those raising concerns . That said, I recognise that a number of the witnesses I spoke to and who have now left Rigpa had also seen things that they knew were wrong but had felt unable to speak up for a long time. It is clear that, by speaking out, these individuals feel that they have to leave behind the ‘Rigpa family’ and their support netwo rks. In addition, they have had to lose their relationship with their teacher and, to a degree, their beliefs. Speaking out appears to require a willingness to ‘step off the path to enlightenment’ , and many are not ready to do that. It should not, there fore, be overlooked, that the Rigpa management witnesses referred to above are also students of Sogyal and will have likely faced huge difficulties in speaking out against him, assuming that they felt that there was a need to do so. As a final note, seve ral of the witnesses expressed their unhappiness at the way Rigpa had responded to the Complaint. As this issue strictly falls outside the scope of this investigation, I will not address this further in this report but it is right to acknowledge their con cerns. 47 48 Further allegations Throughout the course of this investigation I have been contacted by a number of additional people who have further stories of abuse. Regrettably, the scope of this investigation has had to be limited to investigating the Complaint and there came a point when it was not feasible to conduct further interviews. I have assured those who raised concerns with me that I would alert Rigpa to the fact that there are more concerned students and former students who would like the opportunity to be heard. To ensu re a proper investigation is undertaken, any such process needs to be truly independent of the influence of those individuals who I conclude have been involved in failing to deal with concerns for many years. 49 Recommendations I have been asked to set out any recommendations that I have for change within Rigpa as a result of my findings . My practical recommendations are set out below. Should they be accepted, there will be detailed work to be done in implementing the recommendations across the Rigpa organ isation, which operates in a number of different territories. It will be necessary in a number of respects to take into account local laws, regulations and guidance in each such territory as well as having regard to the legal personality and governance st ructure through which Rigpa operates in each territory. There are also a number of matters which may require further investigation before the Rigpa leadership is able to reach final decisions in relation to this overall matter. The possibility of such further investigations is referred to at various points above. Before moving to implement the recommendations below, my view is that the leadership of Rigpa should consider first the overall effect of these findings on its mission and work as an organisati on. In the United Kingdom, for example, the trustees would need to consider whether the findings of the report, the resources required to act on the recommendations and the degree to which the work and profile of Rigpa has in the past been closely associa ted with the persona of Sogyal Lakar, make it possible for the organisation to move past these events and operate sustainably and successfully in the future. Appropriate advice should be taken on this and it should be noted that in raising this issue for the trustees I do not seek to guide their decision either way, such guidance being outside the scope of my investigation and remit. Assuming that the Rigpa leadership concludes that the appropriate overall course is to put in place structures and procedu res to ensure that its work as an organisation can continue in the future without the risk of harm, I recommend the following: 1. Sogyal Lakar should not take part in any future event organised by Rigpa or otherwise have contact with its students; 2. Rigpa shou ld take steps to disassociate itself from Sogyal Lakar as fully as is possible (having regard to any legal arrangements which may for the time being connect the organisation with him); 3. Rigpa leadership in each country (being the trustees or equivalent) and the Vision Board should, as necessary, be refreshed in order to ensure that; a. its members are unconnected with the harmful events referred to in this report and so can credibly lead the programme of changes required; b. its members are all publically commi tted to the concept that abuse will not be tolerated by anyone, or against anyone, within Rigpa (including teachers); and c. wherever possible, the leadership should include some members who are unconnected with the student body, for example lay trustees as s uch would be recognised in the United Kingdom. 4. Professional management should b e appointed at each major Rigpa centre. Wherever possible, the management team should include some members who are not part of the student body. Care should be taken to ensu re that all members of management are able to perform their responsibilities and are not inhibited in doing so, for example, as a consequence of considering themselves bound to demonstrate ‘unwavering respect’ towards the guru . 5. An appropriate risk assessm ent addressing the whole range of the organisation’s activities should be conducted and regularly refreshed. The risk assessment should specifically address teaching practices which are, or have been, associated with the Dzogchen Mandala – careful, well guided 50 judgments will need to be made on the future use of such practices in the organisation’s work. For the avoidance of doubt any practice amounting to abuse of a student should never be tolerated. 6. A comprehensive and written safeguarding policy sho uld be put in place to ensure that: a. sexual relationships between teachers and students are either prohibited entirely, or subject to specific safeguarding measures to ensure there can be no abuse of power; b. any ‘lama care’ that is deemed to be necessary is carried out in a way which ensures the health and safety of those providing these services is adequately protected; c. mechanisms for the confidential reporting of concerns are clear and can be easily found by those with concerns; d. reports of any incidents a nd allegations are recorded and stored in a secure and proper way; e. incidents and allegations are promptly investigated in accordance with the policy with appropriate follow up action taken; f. consideration is given to reporting serious incidents to relevan t law enforcement authorities and/or regulators; and g. the management and leadership of each Rigpa entity is aware of and properly trained in its responsibilities. 7. An a buse helpline outside of Rigpa should be set up , in addition to the internal reporting mec hanisms made available. 8. To the extent that it has not done so already, Rigpa should review its fundraising activities to ensure that these are compliant with local laws and regulations. This review should specifically include contexts in which Rigpa events such as retreats may be used as an opportunity for third parties such as external speakers to raise funds for other causes and/or invite gratuity payments on their own behalf. There should be absolute clarity on the proper uses of all such funds. 9. A clear approach to the engagement of speakers and teachers should be established which ensures that they are aware of relevant policies, including the safeguarding and fundraising policies, before having contact with students. 10. So far as is consistent wi th the wider financial responsibilities of Rigpa, a fund should be created to provide professional counselling to those affected by abuse. 11. An appropriate programme of communications related to the above steps should be undertaken with the letter writers, s tudents and the wider Rigpa community. In addition to a first communication setting out Rigpa’s commitment to a safe and secure environment for all students and the steps to be taken in achieving that, regular updates should be given until the programme of changes has been completed. 12. Rigpa’s leadership should consider (taking further advice as necessary) the extent to which it is obliged to report any of the matters set out in this report to law enforcement authorities or relevant regulators in each appl icable jurisdiction. —————————————————– END 51
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ARTICLE The power of belief: religious freedom in Australian parliamentary debates on same-sex marriage Elenie Poulos Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia ABSTRACTMore than merely a theme of the Australian parliamentary debates on the bill to legalise same-sex marriage,‘religious freedom ’ appeared in the bill ’s very title. This paper explores why and how this happened using a corpus-assisted analysis of the 663 parliamentary speeches made during the marriage legislation debates from 2004 to 2017. The analysis demonstrates that by 2017, the idea that marriage equality was a profound threat to religious freedom was well entrenched in the parliamentary discourse. The study finds that the potential off ence of religious sensibilities came to be regarded by politicians as more signi ficant than ongoing discrimination, thereby granting tremendous social power to religious institutions to practise discrimination in the face of changing values in society. ARTICLE HISTORYAccepted 25 November 2019 KEYWORDSReligion; Australian politics; sexuality; parliamentary speeches; text analysis Introduction The name of the bill that saw marriage equality legislated in Australia was the Marriage Amendment (De finition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 . Debates about the bill, both parliamentary and public, were as much about religious freedom as marriage equality (see, for example, Hunter 2017; Karp 2017; Murphy 2017). Protecting religious freedom had become a dominant discursive frame for the political debate on marriage equality. This paper uses a corpus-assisted analysis of all speeches made by Australian federal par- liamentarians during the debates on same-sex marriage from 2004 to 2017 to explore how the framing of arguments for and against marriage equality changed over time and identify the discursive frames evident in the parliamentary discourses. The research seeks to con- tribute to the studies of political speeches in Australia (in which corpus-assisted methods have only rarely been used); the politics of same-sex marriage; and, in particular, the dis- course and politics of religious freedom in Australia. To trace how the language in the debates changed over time and how supporters and opponents framed their arguments at di fferent times, the speeches were grouped in sub- corpora chronologically and according to support or opposition. Examining the most fre- quent lexical words, the keywords and their collocates across the chronologically grouped sub-corpora exposes how the idea of ‘protection ’remained constant through the debates, while the object of protection changed –from the institution of marriage and the welfare © 2020 Australian Political Studies Association CONTACT Elenie Poulos [email protected], [email protected] www.linkedin.com/in/ EleniePoulos @EleniePoulos AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE 2020, VOL. 55, NO. 1, 1 –19 https://doi.org/10.1080/10361146.2019.1706719 of children (in 2004), to religious institutions and organisations (2006–16), to religious freedom (2017) including freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. The analysis shows that once marriage equality became inevitable, the debate largely became about the extent to which religious freedom should be protected, and marriage equality was con- sistently framed as a threat to the foundations and the institutions of a civil, democratic society. Comparing the supporters’ and opponents’speeches exposes how opponents of marriage equality framed their arguments around tradition, family and the raising and educating of children while supporters framed their arguments around love and equality, referring to the ‘journey ’to equality, and focussed on the personal and relational. These fi ndings are consistent with the findings of previous studies on religion in Australian par- liamentary speech and those on the language of opposition to marriage equality, in par- ticular, how opponents avoid framing their arguments in explicitly religious terms, focussing instead on how it would a ffect society. The paper first provides a brief overview of the theoretical foundations and locates the research in the relevant fields. The second section describes the methodology and the con- struction of the corpus and sub-corpora, and presents the most signifi cant results. The third section draws these findings together to chart how the framing of the parliamentary discourse about same-sex marriage changed over time. Theoretical foundations The language of political speeches In her classic work The Concept of Representation , Hanna Pitkin described how represen- tative politicians act ‘within an elaborate network of pressures, demands, and obligations ’ including their need to understand their constituency; and their identity as ‘a professional politician in a framework of political institutions, a member of a political party who wants to get re-elected …a member of legislature along with other representatives ’, and an indi- vidual with views and opinions of their own ( 1967, 219–220). These multiple roles, and the myriad of responsibilities and expectations that they generate, mean that a speech made in parliament can serve any number of functions, its language replete with meaning and intention. Slapin and Proksch describe three main functions of parliamentary speeches: they ‘argue for or against legislative proposals, they scrutinize the executive, and they send signals to …constituents, fellow party members, or other members of parliament ’ ( 2010 , 333). They argue that, rather than a tool for persuading opponents, repeatedly found ‘largely ine ffectual ’, legislative speech serves as ‘position taking for MPs and their parties ’(Proksch and Slapin 2012, 521), communicating to other politicians, their con- stituents and the media. This paper seeks to examine the framing of this position- taking communication, in this case, on the matter of same-sex marriage. This paper is located within the broad and interdisciplinary tradition of critical dis- course analysis (CDA) (Bayley 2004, 28; see also Fairclough 2001; Fairclough 2010). In a democratic state, political discourse, a signi ficant form of hegemonic discourse, reveals where power is located and how it is wielded by a nation ’s lawmakers. In his corpus-assisted study of the language of New Labour in the UK, Fairclough described poli- tics as the ‘struggle amongst groups of people over substantive aspects of social life, includ- ing …the distribution of social “goods ”in the widest sense ’(2000 , 11). Political struggles, 2 E. POULOS he wrote,‘have always been partly …over the dominant language ’(2000 , 3). Ilie argued that the struggle over language in the political sphere is ‘a concrete manifestation of the struggle for power ’(2010 , 879) and that exploring political language helps ‘understand the role of parliamentary practices in identifying, defending or discarding topical political issues ’(880). Identifying how arguments are framed –how meaning is constructed and signi fied in ways that give shape to people ’s perceptions and understandings (Entman 2006 )– in political debate can expose the ideologies brought to bear on law-making, how policy problems are constructed (Bacchi 2009), and what ‘criteria of assessment’ (Fin- layson 2007, 550) are being used by parliamentarians to argue positions in debates about the ‘distribution of social goods ’(which includes rights). Corpus analysis describes a range of computational methodologies developed in the fi eld of linguistics –corpus linguistics –for analysing large sets (corpora) of machine-read- able text (McEnery and Hardie 2012). Grimmer and Stewart examined the computational and statistical methods commonly used in political science to code and classify texts and identify ideological positions but did not make any reference to corpus-assisted analysis (Grimmer and Stewart 2017). This paper seeks to demonstrate the usefulness of corpus and corpus-assisted methodologies in the study of political language, adding to the work of, for example, Fairclough ( 2000), Baker ( 2004) and Miller and Hobson ( 2009). This paper adds to this field of study from an Australian perspective and contributes to both the increasing numbers of studies of Australian political discourse (Broughton and Palmieri 1999; Maddox 1999; Every and Augoustinos 2007; Summers 2007; Young 2007 ; Crabb 2009; Uhr and Walter 2014; Cheng 2017) and the language and the politics of same-sex marriage debates (Edwards 2007; Grossi 2012; Johnson 2013; Carson, Ratcli ff, and Dufresne 2017 ; Grube and Van Acker 2017; Malloy2017; McAllister and Snagovsky 2018 ). Most of these studies used historical, rhetorical and critical discourse methods. Cheng’ s(2017 ) study of anti-racist discourse in 97 parliamentary speeches used some corpus-assisted analysis but the primary methodology was CDA. Analysing the Australian Senate debate on euthanasia in 1996, Maddox ( 1999) found that religious opponents made a tactical decision to avoid religious references. Crabb ( 2009 ) found a rise in the use of religious language in speeches between 2000 and 2006 and argued that ‘Christian beliefs [were privileged] to the disadvantage of non-Christians ’ (276). Johnson found that the discourse of socially conservative politicians re flected a pro- found belief that ‘the very idea of same-sex marriage (and gay parenting) [was] deeply threatening to the [political] symbolic order ’(Johnson 2013, 250). Grube and van Acker compared the rhetoric of same-sex marriage speeches made by Barack Obama, David Cameron and Tony Abbott and found that (former Australian Prime Minister) Tony Abbott, in focussing on the de finition of marriage as between a man and a woman, ‘position[ed] the discussion of same-sex marriage as a debate about tradition and legal de finitions rather than a debate about equality ’(2017 , 193). Religious freedom and LGBTIQ rights in Australian law Without a national charter or bill of rights, Australian Commonwealth (federal) law upholds human rights through a series of anti-discrimination laws, protecting people on the basis of race, gender, age and disability. After years of debate and public conversation about the need to better protect LGBTIQ people, in 2008 the Rudd Labor Government amended over 80 AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE 3 laws to remove discrimination from same-sex couples 1and in 2013 theSex Discrimination Act (1984) was amended to add protection on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status. Religious freedom is captured in a number of exemptions or exceptions to these laws which allow religious organisations to discriminate against people under certain circumstances. 2Australian law, therefore, assumes that religious belief will put reli- gious bodies and individuals in con flict with others ’rights. This assumption remained uncontested by Australian politicians during the same-sex marriage debates and was critical to conservative Christian politicians ’arguments for additional religious freedom protections, as it previously had been for most Australian churches opposing progressive anti-discrimi- nation law reform (Poulos 2018). The language of opposition to marriage equality Studies have identi fied some common frames in arguments against marriage equality. Mucciaroni found that US federal and state political opponents of marriage equality tended to avoid passing ‘moral judgment on sexual orientation ’, focussing instead on ‘ the likely impacts of gay rights on society, procedural dimensions of policymaking, and moral principles directed at governmental behaviour ’(Mucciaroni 2011, 210). These included arguments about the e ffects on the institutions of marriage and family, and the welfare of children. Haskell ( 2011) examined documents from Canada ’s three major evangelical groups and found three common ‘non-religious ’arguments: (1) a change of de finition would undermine the family and harm children (2) it would lead to polygamy and the legitimatisation of other unacceptable relationships (3) it would lead to discrimination and lawsuits against Christians and churches. Bachmann ’s( 2011 ) corpus analysis examined the language of UK parliament debates on civil partnerships for same-sex couples. He found opponents used a number of dis- courses, including ‘di fference ’(same-sex partnerships are not equal to heterosexual mar- riages), ‘one of many disadvantaged relationships ’(no di fferent from other caring relationships), ‘the thin edge of the wedge ’(civil partnerships will lead to gay marriage), and ‘detrimental to society ’(keywords ‘marriage ’and collocates ‘institution ’and ‘ undermine ’). Jowett ( 2013) examined 3000 British media articles and found seven main arguments against same-sex marriage: (1) marriage is between a man and woman (by de finition and tradition) (2) heterosexual marriage is a framework for raising children (3) it would lead to polygamy etc. (4) it threatens religious freedom (5) same-sex couples have equal rights anyway (6) changing the law would be undemocratic (7) government should focus on other more important issues. These studies and others (Kettell 2013 ; Williams 2018), demonstrate that while reli- gious opposition to marriage equality has been central to public debates around the 4 E. POULOS world, opponents are highly strategic in how they frame their opposition. This is consist- ent with Maddox’s( 1999 ) conclusion that Australian politicians claiming religious beliefs for or against policies (in general), choose to frame them in other than religious terms. This study reveals that the arguments identi fied by Mucciaroni, Haskell, Bachmann and Jowett were used in the Australian parliamentary debates, and also demonstrates that poli- ticians in Australia, even if they are known for their religious convictions, framed their arguments against marriage equality in broad terms, most recently focussing on the per- ceived threat to religious freedom. Analysis Corpus-assisted analysis Baker ( 2006) identi fied a number of advantages to corpus-assisted discourse analysis. As data-based, computer generated analysis it helps reduce ‘researcher bias ’; exposes the ‘ incremental e ffect of discourse ’by analysing the associations between words –it is these reoccurring patterns of words that demonstrate ‘evidence of particular hegemonic discourses or majority “common-sense ”ways of viewing the world ’; can uncover ‘resistant and changing discourses ’by comparing texts from di fferent times; and can be used with other forms of analysis to check the validity of findings (10 –16). Corpus analysis software can, in a single text or any number of texts, generate word frequency lists, construct a concordance to show word use in context, analyse texts accord- ing to various statistical measures to identify keywords and collocates in a text or across multiple texts. Word frequency lists are the most basic corpus analysis tool, serving to identify potential trends (Baker 2006) and di fferences between corpora (Hunston 2002). Keywords are those that appear ‘more often than would be expected by chance in compari- son with the reference corpus ’(Scott 2018) and help to identify dominant discourses (Baker 2006).‘Keyness ’goes beyond raw frequency by applying measures of statistical sig- ni ficance to word frequency lists to provide a measure of salience (Baker 2006). Collocates are words that appear near another word more frequently than might be expected to happen by chance (Baker, Gabrielatos, and McEnery 2013). In political discourse, they can o ffer insight into how policy ‘problems ’come to be de fined and understood: ‘From an ideological point of view, collocates are extremely interesting, as if two words are repe- titiously associated with each other, then their relationship can become reifi ed and unquestioned ’(Baker and McEnery 2015, 2). The corpus In 2004, with same-sex marriage legislated in The Netherlands and Belgium and imminent elsewhere, and after a failed bid by the Australian Greens to legislate for same-sex mar- riage, the conservative Australian government led by Liberal Party of Australia (LPA) Prime Minister John Howard determined to shore up ‘traditional marriage ’by amending the Marriage Act 1961 to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman and ensure that same-sex marriages solemnised overseas would not be recognised in Australia. Prior to 2004, Australian law had not de fined marriage. Finding themselves politically wedged on an issue that was at the time marginal in public debate, the Australian AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE 5 Labor Party (ALP) opposition supported these amendments as‘merely ’a con firmation of existing law (AAP 2004). They did, however, block additional amendments against inter- country adoptions by same-sex couples, necessitating a revised bill. The Marriage Amend- ment Bill 2004 was passed by the Senate in August 2004. Subsequently, 20 bills proposing amendments to the Marriage Act allowing for same- sex marriage and/or recognising same-sex marriages conducted overseas were introduced in the Australian parliament between 2004 and 2017 (McKeown 2018). 3Most were spon- sored by the Australian Greens and the Australian Democrats and, after a change in policy at the party ’s national conference in December 2011 (Packham 2011), by ALP members and senators. Parliament ’s failure to legislate same-sex marriage contrasted with growing public support (Carson, Ratcli ff, and Dufresne 2017). After the failure of legislation for a prom- ised plebiscite, the Liberal-National Coalition (the Coalition) government, led by Malcolm Turnbull, held a voluntary postal survey. After an overwhelming ‘yes ’vote (61.6%), the government redrafted a previously released exposure draft bill in line with the recommen- dations of a cross-party committee and renamed it the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 . Despite numerous proposed amendments from govern- ment members and the crossbench –mostly seeking to extend religious exemptions –the bill was passed unamended in December 2017. Having identi fied all the same-sex marriage bills, the speeches were sourced from the Australian Parliament House website using the bill homepages and Hansard (Table 1 ). A Hansard PDF file was collected for every speech and then converted to a text file (.txt) using an online converter. 4All metadata (the text on the Hansard cover sheet, the speakers ’names, electorates, ministerial roles, time stamps etc.) were removed for the purpose of analysis, as were the itemising of amendments, interjections and procedural Table 1. Marriage Act amendment bills. Bill Speeches Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill 2004 36 Marriage Amendment Bill 2004 (amended MLAB 2004) 52 Same Sex Relationships (Enduring Equality) Bill 2004 0 Same-Sex Marriages Bill 2006 1 Marriage (Relationships Equality) Amendment Bill 2007 1 Marriage (Relationships Equality) Amendment Bill 2008 1 Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009 6 Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010 4 Marriage Amendment Bill 2012 39 Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2012 25 Marriage Amendment Bill (No.2) 2012 44 Marriage Act Amendment (Recognition of Foreign Marriages for Same-Sex Couples) Bill 2013 9 Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2013 22 Recognition of Foreign Marriages Bill 2014 9 Freedom to Marry Bill 2014 1 Marriage Amendment (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015 7 Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 13 Marriage Amendment (Marriage Equality) Bill 2016 1 Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 1 Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 [No. 2] 4 Freedom to Marry Bill 2016 1 Marriage Amendment (De finition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 386 Total Speeches 663 Source :Australian Parliament. 6 E. POULOS statements. The textfiles were then analysed using two text analysis software packages, AntConc (Anthony 2018) and WordSmith Tools (Scott 2017), and triangulated with manual discourse coding (using NVivo). The 663 speeches (the corpus of 731,919 words) were grouped chronologically, forming three sub-corpora: . 2004 –speeches made during the debates on the legislation to de fine marriage as exclu- sively between a man and a woman; . 2006 –16 –speeches made during debates on failed attempts to legislate for same-sex marriage and/or the recognition of foreign marriages; and . 2017 –speeches delivered during the debate preceding the successful passage of legis- lation rede fining marriage to allow for same-sex marriage. Another two sub-corpora were formed according to whether a speaker explicitly stated a position in support of or opposed to same-sex marriage (identi fied through manual coding) and another six by sorting them chronologically within the supportive and opposed groups ( Table 2). AntConc was used to generate word frequency lists and concordances and identify col- locates. 5Collocates were identi fied using two di fferent statistical measures, Mutual Infor- mation (MI) and T-score. These two measures in combination provide very strong evidence for collocation. 6WordSmith Tools was used to identify keywords with a high threshold set to ensure confi dence that words did not appear as keywords by chance. 7 Grammatical (non-lexical) words were removed (Baker 2006) and concordance analysis was used to identify the keywords in context (KWIC). To explore how the debates changed over time, each chronologically grouped sub-corpus was analysed against a refer- ence corpus made up of the other two sub-corpora. To examine the framing of arguments for and against same-sex marriage, each sub-corpus of supportive speeches was analysed against the equivalent sub-corpus of opposed speeches and vice versa ( Table 2). The changing debate Taking the most frequent words and lexical keywords in each sub-corpus ( Table 3), reveals how the framing of the issue of same-sex marriage changed over time. As the debates concerned bills to change the law to allow for same-sex marriage, many of the most frequent words ( ‘marriage ’, ‘sex ’, ‘bill ’, ‘couples’ etc.) are unsurprising. Other frequent words and a number of keywords in each sub-corpus re flect the foci of the bills being considered and broader political battles. Important insights into the changing dis- course can be gained by examining the use of unique words (shown in bold) using concordances. Table 2. Sub-corpora. All Speeches Words Supportive Speeches Words Opposed Speeches Words 2004 88 100,641 23 34,351 26 37,911 2006 –16 189 232,385 120 154,958 63 70,144 2017 386 398,893 173 226,760 65 92,816 total 663 731,919 316 416,069 154 200,871 AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE 7 Significantly, ‘institution ’appears as a frequent word andas a keyword only in the 2004 sub-corpus (as a keyword it is less likely to appear by chance in the 2004 speeches com- pared with all other speeches). The cluster ‘institution of marriage ’appears 156 times in the 88 speeches. The concordance analysis reveals that other keywords also relate to the Table 3. Frequent lexical words and lexical keywords. 50 Most Frequent Lexical Words Lexical Keywords 2004 2004 marriage, people, government, same, sex, bill, couples, legislation, community, children, relationships, gay, Labor, law, Australia, Australian, no, support, minister, act, family, amendment, discrimination, prime, think, society, time, debate, families, institution,being, relationship, de finition, lesbian, issue, woman, parliament, say, Australians, man, rights, marriages, party, said, believe, member, view, married, house, fact intercountry, audit, interdependency, adoptions, reassignment, Latham, apackage, interdependent, adoption, wedge, con firms, relations,erosion, adopting, democrats, condemn, superannuation, [de]facto, priority, Grayndler, bban, reinforce , government ’s, forum c, con firm , conditions, Labor ’s, courts, measures, immigration, stable, stability, arrangements, de [facto], adopt, sanctity , caring, Howard, dbenefits, territories, lesbians, enter, honourable, attorney, voluntarily, property, valid, entered, intention, argue, acceptable, seems, exclusion, living, child, government, environment, lesbian, heterosexual, relationships, area, families, overseas, common, prime, discriminatory, homosexual, institution 2006 –16 2006 –16 marriage, people, same, sex, equality, bill, issue, support, couples, Australia, discrimination, parliament, debate, law, time, Australian, love, no, community, right, think, change, act, party, gay, rights, say, vote, Australians, children , views, view, against, know, Labor, said, believe, country, legislation, relationships, married, place, senator, government, relationship, state, society, years, way, marry foreign, Hanson, eALP, Abbott, fpoll, gorientation, biological, conference , husband, homophobic, legally, bills, [New] Zealand h 2017 2017 marriage, people, religious, bill, same, no, equality, Australians, sex, vote, Australian, law, freedom, say, debate, amendments, Australia, time, right, yes, support, think, discrimination, senator, rights, parliament, amendment, change, community, voted, survey, act, way, issue, freedoms , view, place, love, country, Labor, religion , today, party, years, know, government, legislation, believe, against, member postal, icharities , Philip, jexemptions, conscientious , freedoms , Ruddock,jDean, kprotections , Smith, ksurvey, i LGBTIQ, Paterson, lfreedom, yes, ivoted, ischools, Wong, m celebrants, refuse,religious , review, jamendments, delay, fought, celebrant, results, imillions, iextend, journey, solemnise, services, faith,religion , thank, courage, [per]cent, iper [cent], iprotection ,belief , ministers, organisations, service, concerns, protect, million, i protected , result,five, ifriend, outcome, stood, led, worked, fight, campaign aMark Latham, leader of the ALP Opposition.bThe Member for Grayndler, Anthony Albanese MP (ALP) who had been leading the ALP ’s moves to remove discrimination against same-sex couples from superannuation law. cThe National Marriage Forum (Parliament House Canberra, 4 August 2004) organised by a coalition of conservative Chris- tian organisations including the Australian Christian Lobby and the Australian Family Association, see https:// www.smh. com.au/articles/2004/08/04/1091557920696.html . dPrime Minister John Howard.eSenator Sarah Hanson-Young (Australian Greens), who tabled five same-sex marriage bills during this period.fTony Abbott MP (LPA), Prime Minister 2013–2015.gRefers to the proposed plebiscite.hTwo bills during this time sought to recognise foreign same-sex marriages; New Zealand granted marriage equality in August 2013. iKeywords referencing the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey –almost five million people voted ‘no ’.jPhilip Ruddock, former MP (LPA) and Chair of the Expert Panel appointed in 2017 by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (LPA) to review the protection of religious freedom in Australia. kDean Smith MP (LPA), leader of a group of cross-party MPs and senators who sponsored the 2017 bill.lSenator James Paterson (LPA) who drafted an alternative to the Smith bill seeking to extend protections for religiousfreedom. mSenator Penny Wong (ALP), high-pro file advocate of gay rights and marriage equality. 8 E. POULOS heterosexual‘institution of marriage ’–‘erosion ’, ‘reinforce ’and ‘con firm ’. Another unique keyword is ‘sanctity ’, also referring to marriage. The fewer keywords in the 2006 –16 sub-corpus indicate fewer areas of unique debate. The keyword ‘biological ’refers (with one exception) to the relationship between parents and their children, and was used almost entirely during the 2012 debates. The keyword ‘ conference ’refers to the 2011 ALP national conference which voted to change the party ’s policy on same-sex marriage. The words ‘equality ’and ‘love ’appear frequently but not as keywords –they are no more statistically signi ficant in these texts than in the other two sub-corpora taken together. A change in language is evident in the 2017 speeches. The corpus analysis shows ‘reli- gious ’, ‘freedom ’and ‘freedoms ’as some of the most frequent words, even after subtracting the 149 instances of ‘religious ’and ‘freedoms ’used when speakers were citing the name of the bill –the Marriage Amendment (Defi nition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017. ‘Equal- ity’ and ‘love ’appear frequently as they did in the 2006 –16 sub-corpus (but not in 2004) while ‘children ’does not appear in the top 50 most frequent words as it did in the other sub-corpora. A number of keywords directly reference religious freedom including ‘char- ities ’, ‘exemptions ’, ‘conscientio us’, ‘schools ’, ‘refuse ’, ‘religious ’, ‘faith ’, ‘religion ’and ‘ belief ’. With four forms of the lemma (word-form) ‘protect ’identi fied as keywords, it is clear that there were new and signi ficant discourses about ‘freedom ’and ‘protection ’. To help gauge the signi ficance of the shift in discourse, collocation analyses ( Table 4) were performed on the words ‘religious ’and ‘freedom ’and the lemma ‘protect ’(that is, ‘ protect ’, ‘protects ’, ‘protection ’, ‘protections ’, ‘protecting ’, and ‘protected ’).] Table 4. Collocates. Lexical Word Collocates ‘religious ’ 2004 beliefs, marriage, conservative 2006 –16 beliefs, organisations, freedom, civil, people, churches, views, religious, institution, celebrants, institutions, respect, expression, ceremony, faith, view, issue 2017 a freedoms, freedom, marriage, bill, amendment, de finition,protections , beliefs, celebrants, organisations, religious, belief, conscientious, protection,protect , body, views, right, bodies, schools, institutions, established, faith, purposes, liberty, convictions, organisation, rights, exemptions, ministers, country, protecting , celebrant, religion, churches, view, personal, based, speech, grounds, hold, strong, issue, new, reasons, relation, ceremonies, practice, charities, protected ‘ protect ’(lemma) 2004 marriage, institution, children 2006 –16 marriage, children, rights, bill, law, legal, conscience, religious, institution, discrimination, same 2017 b religious, freedom, freedoms, bill, rights, people, marriage, religion, amendments, law, discrimination, no, speech, Australians, charities, provide, place, provides, important, protections, ensure, right, celebrants, amendment, support, adequate, organisations, sex, legal, laws, time, a fforded, individuals, conscientious, human, act, Australia, review, beliefs, conscience, institutions, ministers, strong, believe, bodies, existing, seek, civil, exist, order ‘ freedom ’ c 2006–16 religious, religion, expression, speech, marry, bill, people 2017 d religious, freedom, religion, speech, conscience, protections, right, belief, protect, rights, protection, expression, parental, thought, freedoms, fundamental, conscientious, faith, believe, marry, Australia, hold, protecting, support, liberty, extend, protected, important, human, amendments, law, express, issue, country, issues, celebrants, manifest, worship, concerns, protects, respect, terms, choose, values, strong, views, ensure, civil, required, choice aTop 50 lexical collocates of a total of 292 statistically significant collocates.bTop 50 lexical collocates of a total of 245 statistically significant collocates.cNo statistically significant lexical word collocates of ‘freedom ’were identi fied in the 2004 sub-corpus.dTop 50 lexical collocates of a total of 155 statistically significant collocates. AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE 9 Used in combination with a concordance analysis, the collocations of the word‘reli- gious ’show that in the 2004 speeches what counted as a concern about religious matters was limited to religious or non-religious ‘beliefs ’about the nature of marriage, the separation of church and state and civil versus religious marriage. Carmen Lawrence MP (ALP) said this: Everybody respects religious belief; indeed, it is part of our culture and tradition that we do, and we are tolerant of others ’religious beliefs and practices. But we have, since the inception of this country, been very clear about the need to separate church and state …It certainly is not appropriate either to use Christianity as a justi fication for certain acts in this parliament … (Commonwealth Parliament of Australia [Hansard] 2004b, 30720) Senator Brian Greig (Democrats) commented extensively about: ‘an ideological push behind this from very conservative MPs and some religious communities to ensure that same-sex relationships are relegated to second-class and never equate to marriage … For the religious Right, marriage is seen as the last bastion of conservative values ’(Com- monwealth Parliament of Australia [Hansard] 2004e, 26509). The debates in 2006 –2016 saw an increasing focus on the perceived consequences of same-sex marriage for religious organisations and institutions. In 2017, this became sig- ni ficant with many more collocates of ‘religious ’re flecting a wider range of those concerns and a new prominent discourse about the ‘protection ’(shown in bold) of matters ‘reli- gious ’. The collocation analysis of the lemma ‘protect ’demonstrates that, in marked con- trast to the later debates, the objects of protection in the 2004 speeches were the institution of marriage and children. Senator Guy Barnett (LPA) captured these concerns: I believe that marriage is a bedrock institution worthy of protection, and I will do all that I can …to ensure that that institution is protected …It also provides a solidly-built roof under which children are nurtured, protected and raised. It speci fically benefits the children and is designed to ensure their welfare is maximised. (Commonwealth Parliament of Australia [Hansard] 2004d, 26519) In the 2006 –16 speeches, the protection of children and conscience were important issues and the discourse of religious freedom protections in relation to same-sex marriage appeared in its infancy. The first use of the term ‘religious freedom ’was by Stephen Jones MP (ALP), introducing the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012: … the bill inserts a new subsection into section 47 of the act to reinforce the existing pro- visions that ensure that a minister of religion is under no obligation to solemnise a marriage where the parties to that marriage are of the same sex. This provision will ensure that the principles of …religious freedom are maintained. (Commonwealth Parliament of Australia [Hansard] 2012a, 799) In 2015, Senator David Fawcett (LPA) laid the groundwork for what would become a major public debate in 2017 –freedom of religious conscience for individuals providing goods and services for weddings: Currently the Marriage Act provides that ministers of religion …are not obliged to solemnise any marriage. We need to make sure that those sorts of independent decisions can continue, … even for people of faith who run other businesses or services. (Commonwealth Parliament of Australia [Hansard] 2015, 8391) 10 E. POULOS By 2016, some conservative politicians, anticipating change, turned to the broader issue of religious freedom. Senator Matthew Canavan (Nationals) warned against allowing: some kind of tyranny of the majority to undermine people’s fundamental human rights, and one of those fundamental human rights t hat is extremely important to our country and our way of life is freedom of religion. (Commonwealth Parliament of Australia [Hansard] 2016, 413) With the inevitable legislation of same-sex marriage as a result of the postal survey result, the major objects of protection in the 2017 speeches are freedom of speech and religious freedom (as it mattered to charities, celebrants, organisations, institutions, ministers of religion and religious bodies). The collocation analysis for the word ‘freedom ’reveals how the discourse about freedom became far more expansive in 2017, with religious freedom being associated with a range of other freedoms –most notably freedom of speech, parental freedoms, freedom of worship, belief (which the concordance analysis reveals is not always the same as freedom of religion, and often associated with freedom of conscience) and faith, and freedom of conscience. 8Tony Pasin MP (LPA) brought these concerns together: Indeed, my hope is that parliament will see fit to legislate for same-sex marriage in a way that strengthens freedoms and protects freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of parental choice …After all, no Australian, in my view, should be discriminated against because of their conscientiously-held view of marriage. (Commonwealth Parliament of Aus- tralia [Hansard] 2017b, 12700) At stake in 2017 was the extent of freedom people and organisations would have to dis- criminate against LGBTIQ couples, especially on religious grounds and as a matter of per- sonal conscience. Speaking for and against same-sex marriage Keyword analysis shows that in 2004 speakers who supported same-sex marriage were more likely to be talking about ‘love ’than those opposed to it ( Table 5). For speakers who explicitly opposed to same-sex marriage, the keywords indicate that the nature and signi ficance of families was a common frame. Bruce Scott MP (Nationals) for example, argued: the basis of any successful nation is that the family is the rock on which we survive and, without that, the nation heads down into …decay …By introducing this legislation, we are giving support to children and allowing them the opportunity to grow up with a mother and a father in their family. (Commonwealth Parliament of Australia [Hansard] 2004a , 30568) The debate shifted ground in 2006 –16. Keywords in supporters ’speeches indicated a focus on ‘the message ’that supporting or opposing same-sex marriage legislation sent to the LGBTIQ community. For example, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young raised: the very serious and harmful message that is sent to the young people in our communities when the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition say that because of someone ’s sexuality they are second-class citizens. That is the reality of the message that is being sent …But that message is wrong …The message that we need from our leaders is that young gay and lesbian Australians ’love is equal. (Commonwealth Parliament of Australia [Hansard] 2012b, 6296) AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE 11 Supporters cast support for, or opposition to, same-sex marriage as an example, or a failure of, leadership.‘Equality ’became a signi ficant term as ‘same-sex marriage ’was replaced in their speech by ‘marriage equality ’. 9The keyword ‘friends ’refers to the friends of LGBTIQ people, often cast as ‘family and friends ’in the context of a future wedding. In the speeches opposing same-sex marriage during the 2006 –16 debates, the keywords expose two major argument frames –that the de finition of marriage cannot be changed because it is the ‘traditional ’understanding and/or re flects ‘our culture ’, and that children are best served by being with both their biological parents. Chris Hayes MP (ALP) com- bined these frames: To not amend the federal Marriage Act to apply to any two people, in my opinion, does not form a continuing discrimination. The traditional de finition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman …is a re flection of a society that has considered or constructed the relationship that best serves the nurturing of children. (Commonwealth Parliament of Aus- tralia [Hansard] 2004c, 10077) While speeches during 2006 –16 debates were made in the knowledge that the legislation would not pass, the opposite was the case in 2017. Marriage equality supporters expressed gratitude (keyword ‘thank’ ) to the LGBTIQ community and allies, and certain parliamen- tarians (especially Senators Penny Wong (ALP) and Dean Smith (LPA), as openly lesbian and gay marriage equality advocates). They acknowledged the ‘hurt’ of the postal survey and ongoing debate; the ‘hard’ work and ‘hard’ struggle for equality; celebrated wins for ‘ equality ’and ‘fairness ’; and pointed to the relational nature of the issue –‘love ’(used 468 times), and the partners, friends and families of LGBTIQ people. Penny Wong, for example, said: Table 5. Lexical keyword comparison of speeches for and against same-sex marriage. Speeches in Support of SSM Speeches Opposed to SSM 2004 2004 lesbian, sexuality, gay, love, prime, minister definition, families, woman 2006 –16 2006–16 message, leadership, LGBTI, step, plebiscite, reform, marry, equality, gender, friends undertaking, acarbon, bculture, election, biological, de finition, word, traditional, father, woman, position, man, electorate, union 2017 2017 hurt, Penny, Dean, rainbow, LGBTIQ, fairness, finally, equality, LGBTI, proud, equal, partner, friends, love, lesbian, hard, thank, community population, Archbishop c, moral, traditional, genuine, parental, conscientious, international, held, view, faith, five, protect, protection, Christian, woman, fundamental, hold All All Penny, brothers, rainbow, LGBTIQ, Dean, feeling, LGBTI, pride, sisters, finally, bisexual, message, mental, joy, progress, leadership, equality, intersex, loved, transgender, step, journey, fairness, worked, fight, lesbian, friends, fought, thank, partner, proud, wedding, hard, reform, love, celebrate, told biological, traditional, tax, father, meaning, culture, word, de finition, woman, conscientious, man, union aRefers to the Coalition ’s promise during the 2010 election campaign to maintain the de finition of marriage set in 2004.bRefers to the phrase‘carbon tax’ , used by the conservative opposition to attack the Labor government on its carbon emis- sions trading scheme. The attack was relentlessly pursued at every opportunity and saw the eventual downfall of the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. cThe Catholic Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous, faced an anti-discrimination complaint in 2015 for distributing a booklet, ‘Don ’t Mess with Marriage ’, in Catholic schools. 12 E. POULOS Equality never comes easy. It must be fought for, and it must be won…For decades, we have been fighting for equality in our workplaces and in our communities, and we have come a long way …Australians have voted for equality. They have done their part; now it ’s time for us to do ours. (Commonwealth Parliament of Australia [Hansard] 2017c, 8620–8622) Conversely, opponents used longstanding arguments about strongly ‘held’‘ views’on the ‘ traditional ’de finition of marriage and the ‘moral ’and ‘conscientious ’convictions on their side. But the discourses on ‘protection ’and the ‘fundamental ’nature of religious freedom were new. The case of Archbishop Porteous who in 2015 had faced an anti-discrimination case for distributing a booklet entitled ‘Don ’t mess with marriage ’to Catholic schools evoked the threat same-sex marriage posed to both religious freedom and freedom of speech. The keyword ‘parental ’refers to the argument that marriage equality would threa- ten parents ’right to raise their children with particular beliefs, especially by exerting pressure on religious schools. The need to ‘protect ’all these freedoms and respect the ‘ fi ve ’million people who voted ‘no ’from the threats posed by marriage equality was a major discourse. Comparing all speeches in support against a reference corpus of all speeches opposed and vice versa indicates two very di fferent discourses about marriage. The keywords indi- cate that supporters of same-sex marriage referenced gay politicians; referred to the ‘ journey ’to equality ( ‘progress ’, ‘step ’, ‘fi ght ’, ‘reform ’and ‘fi nally ’); framed their argu- ments around ‘equality’ ,‘leadership ’and ‘love ’; and focussed on the personal and rela- tional. Same-sex marriage opponents framed their often religiously based arguments on the importance of biological families, especially biological parents, the ‘traditional ’ meaning of marriage in human culture, how the institution of marriage should be de fined, and protecting the religious and conscientiously held objections to same-sex marriage. Conclusion: privileging belief This paper has examined the 663 speeches made during Australian parliamentary debates on marriage equality bills in order to chart the changing discourse of the debate, identify dominant discourses and explore when and why the discourse of religious freedom become so intertwined with marriage equality. The major frames identi fied by the corpus-assisted analysis can be summarised as: (1) marriage cannot be rede fined (its de finition is set by biology and tradition) (2) the institution of marriage must be protected (for the sake of the family and society) (3) same-sex marriage is a threat to religious freedom (and freedom of conscience and freedom of speech) (4) same-sex marriage is a threat to the human rights of those people and organisations who oppose it. While these are the dominant frames, all seven of the arguments against same-sex mar- riage that Jowett ( 2013) identi fied in British media articles are present in the speeches. Comparing these results with Haskell ’s findings from Canada show an alignment with two of his three common arguments –the changing de finition would harm the family and children, and Christians and churches would face discrimination (in Australia, an AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE 13 argument for the protection of religious freedom). This research also supports the con- clusions of Maddox (1999) that Australian politicians choose not to frame arguments in religious language and those of Mucciaroni ( 2011), Kettell ( 2013) and Williams ( 2018 ) that opponents of marriage equality make strategic decisions to frame their objec- tions not on arguments about immorality or religious beliefs but on the negative conse- quences of same-sex marriage to society –it threatens marriage, family, freedoms and rights. But it was the threat to religious freedom that came to mark the Australian political debates about marriage equality. In particular, this analysis has exposed ‘protection ’as a signi ficant frame –not the pro- tection or advancement of the rights of LGBTIQ people and couples but the protection of people and organisations whose freedoms are perceived to be threatened by marriage equality. In the early debates, the objects of protection were the institutions of marriage and family, and children. As public and political support for marriage equality gained ground, opponents of marriage equality increasingly focussed their arguments on the need to protect religious freedom and freedom of conscience as fundamental con- ditions for Australia ’s democratic society. This is now taken as given and argued for even by supporters of marriage equality. Underlying the discourse ’s strategic use in later years, no speaker in 2004 expressed concern about same-sex marriage threatening religious freedom. The connection was fi rst raised in 2012, and although the corpus analysis did not reveal any keywords refer- encing religious freedom in the 2010 –16 speeches, the concordance, collocations and dis- course analysis all indicate greater interest in religious freedom than this lack of keywords suggests. By 2017, in the face of the inevitable legalisation of same-sex marriage, religious freedom had become the major issue for debate and a powerful discourse. No politician spoke against the idea of religious freedom, suggested that it should not or could not be protected in law, wondered how it might be de fined, or questioned how determinations might be made about what is or is not a religious belief for legal purposes. This uncon- tested, uninterrogated support for ‘religious freedom ’changed the political debate –the argument was not about whetherto protect religious freedoms, but the nature and extent of those protections. Politicians opposing marriage equality, many who did not explicitly state their position, and even some supporting it, framed their speeches around one or more of three perceived threats (all mediated through the lens of religious freedom) that marriage equality posed to: (1) the freedom of religious organisations, schools and charities (2) the right of parents to educate their children according to their beliefs (3) freedom of speech and freedom of conscience (often referenced by citing legal and civil cases from various jurisdictions). Staunch same-sex marriage opponent Senator George Christensen summarised the three messages: I ’m talking about the right of churches, synagogues, mosques and temples to stand up for, stand by and articulate their religion ’s articles of faith without fear of penalty and without fear of censorship. I ’m talking about the same right for pastors, for priests and for ministers 14 E. POULOS of religion to do likewise; for the businesses and services that those religions run; and for the right of faith based charities and organisations also to articulate their faith’s values and to ensure that their employees, their services, their goods and whom they provide those to conform with those values. It is the right of any person of faith, I’ ve got to say, to express their values and to live by them authentically. I include in that those who do run businesses, and also employees, without fear of being shut down, or being sacked or dismissed, or being hauled before some government tribunal. It is the right of parents to actually have a say in what is taught in the classroom regarding sexuality, marriage and relationships. (Common- wealth Parliament of Australia [Hansard] 2017a, 69) By the time marriage equality became law in Australia, the idea that it was a profound threat to religious freedom was well entrenched in the parliamentary discourse. That the legislation that delivered same-sex marriage was also a ‘religious freedoms ’bill, and that the debate was so focussed on the protection of those who opposed same-sex marriage for mainly ‘religious ’reasons, is a sign of this strategy ’s success. This unquestioned assumption that marriage equality threatened religious freedom and other associated free- doms focussed the arguments on what should be the limits of tolerance for the ‘religiously ’ based exclusion of and discrimination against LGBTIQ couples. The corpus-assisted analysis has revealed that in Australia, the discourse of religious freedom became so powerful in the national parliament that the potential o ffence of reli- gious sensibilities is now regarded by many as more harmful to individuals and society than the eff ects of ongoing discrimination against LGBTIQ couples. This protection in law of (particular) religious sensibilities compounds the uncontested nature of the dis- course of religious freedom, thereby granting tremendous social power to religious insti- tutions to practise discrimination in the face of changing values in society and even in the law itself. It also erases theological diversity within religious traditions. The shared com- mitment of Australian political parties to protecting and promoting religious freedom (even if its extent is still being argued) in the context of same-sex marriage has e ffectively entrenched continued discrimination against LGBTIQ people. Notes 1. See https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/programs-services/ recognition-of-same-sex-relationships , accessed 23 August 2019. 2. At the time of writing, in response to religious groups and the right wing of the Liberal- National coalition, the conservative Morrison government was preparing a draft Religious Discrimination Bill for public consultation, to be modelled on existing anti-discrimination laws. 3. McKeown counts 23 bills after 2004, including two bills ’multiple appearances on the Notice Paper. Multiple appearances of individual bills have been consolidated for the purposes of this paper, giving a total of 20 unique bills after the 2004 amendment, and a total of 22 bills including the two government bills in 2004. 4. PDF to Text, available at http://pdftotext.com 5. Collocates were identi fied using a setting of 4 words to the left and right with a minimum frequency of 3 occurrences across the sub-corpus. 6. MI is an e ffect size measure representing the collocational strength of the relationship between two words (Baker, Gabrielatos, and McEnery 2013). The T-score is a significance measure that takes into account the size of a corpus and re flects the statistical level of con fi- dence in an association between the two words. Potential collocates with an MI score less than 3 or a T-score less than 2 were excluded. See ‘A guide to statistics: t-score and AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE 15 mutual information’, Collins Wordbanks Online, https://wordbanks.harpercollins.co.uk/ other_doc/statistics.html , accessed 28 March 2018. 7. Two measures were used to identify keywords. Log-likelihood establishes any signi ficant di fference in word frequency between the two corpora under comparison –the high threshold of p< 0.000001 was set to give 99.9999% con fidence that an identified keyword did not appear on the list by chance (also, keywords had to appear in at least 10% of the texts). The ‘log ratio ’statistic provided an ‘e ff ect size ’measure indicating the size of the di ffer- ence in frequency in the corpora being compared (Hardie 2014). 8. No lexical words collocated with ‘freedom ’in a statistically signi ficant way in the 2004 speeches. ‘Freedom ’appeared only six times and ‘freedoms ’three times in the 2004 speeches. The collocation analysis for ‘freedom ’was run on the exact word ‘freedom ’because the word- form includes ‘freedoms’ which appeared 99 times in the 2017 speeches within the name of the bill and would have skewed the results. The appearance of ‘freedom/s ’as a collocate for ‘ freedom ’in 2017 indicates use of the word more than once within an 9-word span (4 words to the left and right) as in ‘the right of freedom of conscience and freedom of speech ’. 9. ‘Equality ’appears 880 times in the supportive speeches of 2006 –16, including 36 times within the bill names. The cluster ‘marriage equality ’appears 608 times, excluding its use in bill names. The cluster ‘same-sex marriage ’, by comparison, appears 213 times. Acknowledgements The author is grateful for the constant support and excellent feedback of Marion Maddox from Macquarie University. Clare Monagle also provided wise suggestions at critical points along the way and sta ffand doctoral researchers from the Department of Modern History, Politics and Inter- national Relations responded with helpful feedback to an early work-in-progress presentation. The author also acknowledges the work of the anonymous reviewers whose careful engagement and attention has made this a better paper than it otherwise would have been. Disclosure statement No potential con flict of interest was reported by the author. Notes on contributor Elenie Poulosis a doctoral researcher in the Department of Modern History, Politics and Inter- national Relations at Macquarie University. 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