Government tramples Townsville man’s religious freedom during time of grief

December 14, 2018

A Townsville man’s quest to conduct his father’s funeral according to the requirements of his religion has been denied by Queensland Government bureaucracy gone mad.

Conservative Party Queensland Senate Candidate Lyle Shelton says Anastasios Angelopoulos passed away mid-year but remained unburied because the Queensland Government refused a request from son Angelos for the required religious church service.

This was despite it being offered free of charge by the Townsville Greek Orthodox Community.

Mr Angelopoulos, who was not in a position to fund his father’s funeral costs, applied to the Coroner to also have the free church service for the funeral.

However, under the Queensland Government’s Funeral Assistance Scheme, Mr Angelopoulos was denied his religious freedom to have the church service in line with Greek Orthodox Canon Law.

This is despite the fact that there would have been no cost to the Queensland Government for this. Also, the burial plot already existed which would have saved the government further costs.

Mr Angelopoulos lodged a religious discrimination complaint with the Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland. Last week a conciliation conference was held in Brisbane but the government refused to change its policy. Mr Angelopoulos is investigating his legal options.

He approached Mr Shelton for help.

“This is a case of bureaucracy gone mad and the result is religious freedom trampled and a family’s grief compounded for no good reason,” Mr Shelton said.

Mr Shelton called on the Government to respect religious freedom and to make reasonable accommodations for the requests of families.

Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi has told Sky News Prime Minister Scott Morrison's move to protect religious Australians from discrimination doesn't go far enough and the Conservative Party will presenting parliament with a solution in the New Year.

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