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Governance and Religious Diversity in Australia: Multifaith relations and religious instruction in the State of Victoria
chapterposted on 2016-01-01, 00:00 authored by Anna HalafoffAnna Halafoff
Australia, like many societies, is grappling with the reality that its population is becoming at once increasingly religiously diverse and non-religious. This is evident in a number of contentious public and policy debates, including those centred on religion and education. At the turn of the twenty-first century, and particularly after the events of 9/11, religion has featured prominently in the global media and been frequently associated with violence. This had led to the development of a number of strategies by state actors and religious communities aimed at the ‘management’ (Bouma, 1999) or ‘governance’ (Bader, 2007) of religious diversity; sometimes in partnership and, at other times, at odds with one another. The Australian state of Victoria has implemented a number of progressive policies and practices promoting positive multifaith relations and community resilience. Yet, it is still struggling with how best to oversee religious instruction and provide education about diverse religions and non-religious worldviews in government schools.