Religion in Australia
Australians have the right to practice whatever religion they choose – it’s written in the Constitution. This article deals with religious freedoms, finding a place of worship in Australia and gives you an idea of the major religions observed in Australia.
Religious Freedom in Australia
The Australian Constitution (Section 116) states that Australians have the freedom to practise whatever religion they choose, as long as they obey the law. The Government is not allowed to pass “any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion”.
It is therefore also enshrined in law that Australian citizens are free to not practice any religion at all – and many don’t.
Religions Practiced in Australia
According to census figures, some 63.9 per cent of Australians identify as Christian. However, don’t expect to see 63.9 per cent of people turning up to church on a Sunday morning. It just doesn’t happen. Of those, 26 per cent identify as Catholic, 19 per cent as Anglican, 6 per cent as Uniting and about three per cent each of Presbyterian (including Reformed) and Eastern Orthodox.
The most widely observed non-Christian religion is Buddhism at 2.1 per cent, (about 418,800 people) followed by Islam at 1.7 per cent (about 340,400 people), Hinduism at 0.7 per cent (about 148,100 people) and Judaism at 0.4 per cent (about 88,800 people).
More than 18 per cent of people (close to four million Australians) claim to follow no religion at all.
Finding Somewhere to Worship in Australia
If you’re looking for a church of any denomination anywhere in Australia, check out the ChurchSearch website. You can find a Buddhist temple at BuddhaNet. To find a Hindu temple, look at the HinduNet website. To find a mosque, check out Mosque Finder. To find a synagogue, have a look at Jewish Living.
If you observe a religion not listed here and an internet search proves fruitless, perhaps contact the leaders or hierarchical organisation of your religion within your home country and ask them to use their contacts to help you find a place of worship in Australia.
Visit our Life in Australia section for more articles related to Daily Life in Australia.