Anna Crabb examines and attempts to account for the increasing prominence of religion in Australian politics.
As religious engagement in the Australian population continues to decline, the apparent increased prominence of religion in Australian politics is puzzling. This article examines the characteristics of 2422 speeches given by prominent Australian federal politicians between 2000 and 2006 to assess whether religion has become more prominent in early twenty-first century Australian politics, and whether or not the explanations provided to explain the increase are compelling. It is argued that the framing of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent 'war on terror' as a religious conflict weakened adherence to Rawls' (2005) liberal consensus (exclusion of religious beliefs from the public forum) and normalised the use of Christian terminology and ideas in Australian political discourse.
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