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Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Page: 9091

Senator FAWCETT (South AustraliaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (19:26): I just make the point that this goes to the very heart of article 18.3, which is about limiting the manifestation of religion. It says that it must be necessary. In this case, if you have a force deployed overseas, the Chief of the Defence Force has a number of officers he or she could choose from to make this appointment, and therefore it is not necessary to completely override the individual religious or conscientious beliefs of any one officer when there are multiple officers in a deployment that the CDF could choose to make this appointment. So this would be an egregious breach of our obligations under international human rights law to completely override the individual conscience or belief of one person when there are many others on the deployment who could equally be appointed if they were happy to conduct the task.