EPISODE 17: Do witchcraft laws breach freedom of religion?

There’s a big debate about religious freedom in Australia after the federal government announced plans to introduce new federal religious discrimination laws.

Most of the coverage of the religious freedom debate focuses on protecting the major religions, most notably Christianity.

But there’s some religious groups that don’t get any coverage at all. 

What if you’re a witch or a Wiccan? A Druid or Shaman? 

How does Australian law protect your beliefs and religious practices?

How has the law treated you over the years if you’re a conjurer or a psychic?

A High Court case from the 1930s could provide the answers.



Dr Luke Beck, Associate Professor, Monash Law School


Dr Melissa Castan & James Pattison

Law topics

Religious freedom, crime, High Court, constitutional law


  • Lee Rosevere 'Last Call'

  • Lee Rosevere 'Introducing the Pre-Roll'

Court case

  • Hansen v Archdall and Smith [1930] HCA 16 44 CLR 265 (view)