According to yesterday's Age, the Victorian government is facing a new "political headache", in the shape of a review of the state's Equal Opportunity Act. The review is said to have "sparked widespread alarm among religious Victorians", threatening "their religious freedom to discriminate within churches, schools and church-run welfare services."

This raises a perennial issue: when should religions be exempt from laws that the rest of us have to obey? Three years ago Pru Goward, now a New South Wales MP but then outgoing federal s-x discrimination commissioner, controversially argued that churches should no longer be allowed to discriminate against women. The debate ranges over such cases as homophobic faith-based schools in the UK and ceremonial use of peyote in the US.