A Shy Hope in the Mind: Secularisation and the Diversity of Australia’s Religious Economy

There are few facets of human society — whether political, social, or economic — that are untouched by the influence of religion. Yet those who oppose any appearance of religion in the Australian public square argue that it simply has no part to play in a modern, multicultural, secular, and diverse society.
However, a supply-side analysis of the Australian religious market, and the behaviour trends of religious consumers, is likely to show a more vibrant and robust picture, and indicate that religion in Australia is healthier than perceived by critics.

Supply-side analysis of religion features prominently in the field of study known as ‘the economics of religion’ which employs the same assumptions that inform economic enquiry into facets of life such as the family, education, and marriage. Australia’s social compact has been extremely effective in allowing a diversity of religious freedom and practice to flourish.

Religion is not dead, and non-belief is not the new normal. Affirmation of religion’s significance through a supply-side analysis can, in turn, serve to strengthen contemporary calls for more adequate protections for religious liberty, which have come under threat in Australia in recent times.