author: Jack Maxwell

  • AUSTRALIA

    Freedom of conscience and same-sex marriage

    • Jack Maxwell
    • 23 January 2017
    25 Comments

    Two issues can be dealt with shortly. First, ministers of religion must be free to solemnise marriages in accordance with their beliefs. Second, there is no basis for extending a similar concession to marriage celebrants. The case of commercial service providers is more complex. Many argue that caterers, florists, reception centres and so on should be free to refuse to participate in same-sex weddings, on the basis of their religious beliefs. The case for the commercial exemption is unconvincing.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Political donations reform is not so easy

    • Jack Maxwell
    • 29 July 2015
    5 Comments

    Political donations give privileged access to powerful public officials to those who are wealthy. But public funding does little to reduce parties’ reliance on private money and radical control measures can fall foul of the Constitution. A 2013 High Court judgment finding that a ban on donations infringed the constitutional freedom of political communication.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The unjustified secrecy of the Abbott Government

    • Jack Maxwell
    • 11 August 2014
    17 Comments

    Liberal democracies keep secrecy in check. Where secrecy is justified, this justification should itself be public. The Abbott Government has withheld important information from the public on questionable grounds, and it has shielded itself from criticism by stifling debate on whether that secrecy is justified.

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