Since 2014, Australian Catholic University has hosted four parliamentary interfaith breakfasts, bringing together parliamentarians and the leaders of many faith communities in a spirit of mutual respect and dialogue.
The most recent breakfast was held on 17 October 2018 at Parliament House in Sydney. It was attended by around 200 guests and featured addresses from the NSW Premier and Leader of the Opposition. Click here for information and a short video of the 2018 Parliamentary Interfaith Breakfast.
Parliamentary interfaith or prayer breakfasts, involving both parliamentarians and leaders of faith communities, exist in a number of countries around the world. The events present faith leaders with the opportunity to offer a prayer or reading in support of wise deliberations and good government.
In the Australian context, the breakfasts also provide an opportunity for parliamentarians of all parties to meet the leaders of many different faiths, joining with them to celebrate Australia's diversity and communal harmony, while highlighting the shared interests and values that are common to us all.
Although interfaith breakfasts have not previously been part of the Australian tradition, ACU's parliamentary interfaith breakfasts are becoming a popular and regular fixture on the calendars of both parliamentarians and the leaders of faith communities.
For ACU, the events provide a chance to demonstrate our mission in action, namely, to foster an appreciation of the sacred in life, and a commitment to serving the common good. It is an opportunity to not only embrace and better understand our diverse faiths, but also to reflect on the important role that faith plays in our everyday lives and in our calling to serve the community.
Many people have speculated about the future of religion in the 21st century. The Washington-based Pew Research Center has undertaken detailed demographic projections that explore the future of religious affiliation using data on age, fertility, mortality, migration and religious switching for major religious groups around the world.
During August 2017, Dr Conrad Hackett, Senior Demographer at Pew Research Center, visited Australia as a guest of Australian Catholic University.
On 7 August 2017, ACU’s PM Glynn Institute joined with The Sydney Institute to host a public forum on global trends in religious identity, at which Dr Hackett spoke on the subject ‘World Religions – Who’s up, Who’s down?’
Dr Hackett’s presentation was followed by a response from Associate Professor Ruth Powell, Director of NCLS Research at ACU, who focused specifically on Australian trends, including recently released census data.