What a stunning performance by Professor Gillian Triggs – the hero of many an ABC and Fairfax Media journalist – at the University of Sydney last night. After interviewing Labor Senator (and media tart) Sam Dastyari among the Sandalista Set at her old workplace, Professor Triggs was reported by the Daily Mail this morning to have made the following comments:
There are various ways in which religious law affects the private lives of people. The views of the Vatican affect the lives of Catholics in this country.
The Daily Mail report continued:
Professor Triggs’ likening of Sharia law, which secular Muslims reject, to Catholic canon law comes a month after controversial Muslim psychologist Hanan Dover made exactly the same argument. “Australia’s liberal democracy prides itself being accommodating to different codes of law for different groups: halacha law for Jews, canon law for Catholics, tribal law for the Aboriginal communities, Islamic law for Muslims,” Ms Dover said on Facebook in July. “These are where the double standards we have to face from politicians/media commentators and bigots.”…
Professor Triggs also said Sharia divorce courts should be allowed in Australia, under a system where a Muslim man can leave his wife by saying ‘I divorce you’ three times. “If it’s a matter of private law within the Muslim community and they want to manage their affairs in that way, and they believe in those rules, that’s reasonably acceptable,” she said.
Later, she told Daily Mail Australia that One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s policy of banning the burqa could be unconstitutional and would be likely to fail in the High Court. “It could be. It’s going to be a matter for the High Court. Wearing an external representation of your religious faith is something that we respect in Australia,” she said.
What a load of absolute tosh. Dr Triggs (for a doctor she is) fails to understand that the Catholic Church’s canon law has no legal standing in Australia.
Canon law applies to the Church – not to the state. Sharia law, on the other hand, envisages an alternative system of government where theology determines the rules of civic behaviour.
Take marriage, for example. The marriage of Catholics in Australia is in accordance with the Marriage Act. Catholics do not – and cannot – marry under canon law. Any Catholics who divorce in Australia do so under the civil law – not with respect to a religious law.
It is simply intellectually dishonest to equate a marriage conducted at a Catholic Church with the implementation of sharia law with respect to marriage in Australia – whereby a husband could dissolve a marriage by saying “I divorce you” three times.
Also Dr Triggs’ claim that the views of the Vatican affect the lives of Catholics in this country overlooks the fact that no one has to belong to the Catholic Church – and no one has to follow the teachings of the Vatican.
As to Dr Triggs’ view that wearing a burka is an expression of religious faith – this has been challenged by Dr Elham Manea, the author of Women and Sharia Law. Dr Manea was interviewed by Andrew West on ABC Radio National’s The Religion and Ethics Report on Wednesday. See today’s Five Paws Award segment.
MWD reckons that if Professor Triggs believes that wearing a burka is only an expression of Islamic faith, perhaps – as a gesture of religious solidarity – she could rug-up in one for a Q&A panel on sharia law. Tony Jones could present a Q&A discussion with Gillian Triggs (wearing a burka as a gesture of support) and Senator Pauline Hanson (wearing a burka as a stunt). Just a thought.