- Dr Alex Deagon
- Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Law,
- Discipline *
- Law, Philosophy, Religion and Religious Studies
- +61 7 3138 5202
- View location details (QUT staff and student access only)
Doctor of Philosophy (Griffith University), Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (Queensland University of Technology), Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) (Griffith University), Bachelor of Science (Griffith University)
- Professional memberships
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Member of the Australasian Society of Legal Philosophy
Member of the Western Australian Legal Theory Association
Member of QUT’s Academy of Learning and Teaching
Member of Higher Education Research Network
Law and Legal Philosophy, Jurisprudence, Law and Theology, Religious Freedom and Non-Establishment, Theories of Secularism and the Secular State, ILGG
Alex graduated from Griffith University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) and a Bachelor of Science majoring in Physics. His own Christian faith in conjunction with an interest in the interaction of Contemporary Philosophy, Theology and Legal Theory led him to commence a PhD with the Griffith Law School at the beginning of 2012 entitled “Using Christian Theology and Philosophy to Construct a Jurisprudence of Truth”. Using the work of John Milbank, the thesis examines how the secularisation of reason through the distortion and/or rejection of faith and theology leads to violence in law. The thesis argues in response that the way to remove this violent ontology is through the revelation of truth in the Incarnation, which reconciles faith and theology with reason, and provides the foundation for a Christian ontology of peace in law through the Pauline law of love. The thesis was submitted for examination in June 2015 and awarded without alteration in December 2015, and received the Chancellor’s Medal for outstanding excellence in the Doctor of Philosophy. The thesis was published as the book ‘From Violence to Peace: Theology, Law and Community’ in August 2017 with Hart Publishing, Oxford.
Alex has research expertise in Theories of Law, Law and Theology and Freedom of Religion, and has been published in many prestigious national and international journals including Law, Culture and the Humanities, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, the Cambridge Journal of Law and Religion, and the Federal Law Review. He has been a peer reviewer for academic presses and journals including Cambridge University Press and the Journal of Law, Religion and State. He has also written articles for the International Journal of Constitutional Law Blog, the Australian Public Law Blog (UNSW Law), Law and Religion Australia, and the Sydney Morning Herald. Alex has been cited extensively by Commonwealth Law Reform Inquiries and Parliamentary Committees, including in the 2018-19 Reports on Religious Exemptions for Religious Educational Institutions by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committees. Alex’s research was then cited in the subsequent Senate debate by a Government Minister to support proposed Government amendments to the Sex Discrimination Amendment Bill. Alex has also been cited in the 2017 Interim Report on the Legal Foundations of Religious Freedom in Australia by the Human Rights Sub-Committee, the 2017 Report of the Select Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill and the 2016 ALRC Report 129 ‘Traditional Rights and Freedoms – Encroachments by Commonwealth Laws’, and has received QUT’s Early Career Academic Recruitment and Development Grant.
Alex commenced as a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Queensland University of Technology in December 2014 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in June 2018. He has completed a Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. His teaching areas include Theories of Law, Constitutional Law and Evidence. Alex has presented his research at a number of national and international conferences:
- Is Religious Freedom Loving? Seminar, given at Shore Hope Presbyterian Church, Redland City, August 2019.
- The Law of Love as the Principles of Civility: Secular Translation or Religious Contribution?, given at the Law and Love Workshop, University of Notre Dame, Sydney, July 2019.
- Reconciliation and Recognition: A Christian Perspective on Indigenous Australians and Constitutional Change, given at the Australasian Society of Legal Philosophy Annual Conference, University of Sydney, Sydney, July 2019.
- The Lawyer’s Question: Who is my Neighbour?, keynote address given at City Legal, Tattersalls Club, Brisbane, May 2019.
- Religious Schools, Religious Vendors and Refusing Services after Ruddock: Diversity or Discrimination? given at the Religious Freedom After Ruddock Conference, University of Queensland, Brisbane, April 2019.
- The Name of God in a Constitution: Meaning, Democracy and Political Solidarity, given at the Queensland University of Technology Law Faculty Research Seminar Series, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, February 2019.
- “It’s Not Just Courtesy, It’s the Law”: (Not) Giving Way to Alienation, keynote address given at the Western Australian Legal Theory Association, Sheridan College, Perth, October 2018.
- The Virtues of Public Religion, keynote address given at the Australasian Religious Press Association Annual Conference, Brisbane, September 2018.
- Equal Voice Liberalism and Free Public Religion: Some Legal Implications, given at the Australasian Society of Legal Philosophy Annual Conference, Bond University, Gold Coast, July 2018.
- A Christian Framework for Religious Diversity in Political Discourse, given at the Freedom for Faith 2018 National Conference, Parliament House of New South Wales, Sydney, May 2018.
- Towards a Constitutional Definition of Religion: Challenges and Prospects, given at the Freedom of Religion or Belief Conference: Creating the Constitutional Space for Other Fundamental Freedoms, University of Notre Dame, Sydney, February 2018.
- Turning your PhD into a Book, given at the Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Law, Brisbane, September 2017.
- The Place of Religion in the Australian Democracy, given at the Queensland University of Technology Law Faculty Research Seminar Series, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, July 2017.
- Collaborating with Students to Create Assessment in Law: A Case Study, given at the Higher Education Research Network Symposium, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, November 2016.
- Facilitating Collaboration in Physical and Virtual Spaces, given at the Queensland University of Technology Law School Learning and Teaching Showcase, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, November 2016.
- Secularism and Religious Freedom in Australia: Political Engagement and Constitutional Culture, given at the Queensland University of Technology Law Faculty Research Seminar Series, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, July 2016.
- Shifting Understandings: Radical Orthodoxy and the Future of the Secular State, given at the Queensland University of Technology Law Faculty Research Seminar Series, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, October 2015.
- Sovereignty, Surveillance and Speeding: Considering the Panopticon as a Method of Policing, given at the International Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Conference, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, July 2015.
- What is a “Christian” Jurisprudence?, given at the Centre for the Study of Science, Religion and Society Write Conference, University of Queensland, Brisbane, July 2014.
- “It’s Not the Jedi Way!”: Moral Ambivalence and Delivering the ‘Good’ in Star Wars, given at the Law, Literature and the Humanities Association of Australasia Conference, Australian National University, Canberra, December 2013.
- Popper or Kuhn: Truth and the Progress of Science, given at the Perspectives on Progress Conference, University of Queensland, Brisbane, November 2013.
- Constituting Religion After Williams: The False Dichotomy of Theocracy and Secularism, given at the After Williams Colloquium, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, October 2013.
- Using Christian Theology and Philosophy to Construct a Jurisprudence of Truth (Confirmation Paper), given at the Emerging Scholars Colloquium, Griffith Law School, Griffith University, Gold Coast, February 2013.
Orcid ID: orcid.org/0000-0002-6384-2083
Alex is a member of the International Law and Global Governance Research Program. https://www.qut.edu.au/law/research/research-areas/international-law-and-global-governance
Alex currently teaches Theories of Law, Constitutional Law, and Evidence. He has taught previously in the Masters unit Legal Research Methodologies as well as other undergraduate law units.
Media and Public Engagement
Religious Freedom, the confessional and the Royal Commission: Should priests be compelled to disclose confessions of child sexual abuse? https://www.policyforum.net/religious-freedom-confessional-royal-commission/ Policy Forum, September 2017
Comment on Proposed Amendments to the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Act Law and Religion Australia, October 2017 https://lawandreligionaustralia.blog/2017/10/05/review-of-nt-discrimination-law-guest-blog/
Interview on whether religion does more harm than good on The Wire Current Affairs, October 2017. http://thewire.org.au/story/bad-religion/
Does religion have a place in the marriage debate?Public policy benefits from a diversity of arguments, including religious ones. https://www.policyforum.net/religion-place-marriage-debate/ Policy Forum, October 2017
Interview discussing the need for religious freedom protections when same-sex marriage is legalised. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-16/religious-protection-and-same-sex-marriage/9157830 ABC, November 2017.
Interview discussing my book ‘From Violence to Peace’ and Religious Freedom on Hope Radio’s Open House with Stephen O’Doherty. https://hope1032.com.au/programs/open-house-interviews/ May 2018.
Interview discussing the meaning of religious freedom and what it entails on The Daily segment at 2SER Radio Sydney. https://2ser.com/does-australia-need-religious-freedoms/ , July 2018
Conscientious Objection in the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 (Qld), Law and Religion Australia, October 2018: https://lawandreligionaustralia.blog/2018/10/19/conscientious-objection-in-the-termination-of-pregnancy-bill-2018-qld-guest-blog/
Book Review of Luke Beck’s Religious Freedom and the Australian Constitution: Origins and Future (Routledge, 2018) on the Australian Public Law Blog (UNSW), November 2018: https://auspublaw.org/2018/11/book-forum-alex-deagon/
Overview of current research on religious perspectives and public policy on the QUT Law Research Blog, December 2018. Available at https://blogs.qut.edu.au/law-research/can-public-policy-benefit-from-considering-religious-perspectives/
Discussion of impact of religious freedom research on the QUT Law Research Blog, December 2018. Available at https://blogs.qut.edu.au/law-research/qut-academic-dr-alex-deagons-religious-freedom-research-cited-during-senate-debate/
Analysis of the Ruddock Report and Government Response, Law and Religion Australia, December 2018: https://lawandreligionaustralia.blog/2018/12/20/response-to-ruddock-report-dr-alex-deagon-guest-blog/
Published piece on Policy Forum on the Ruddock Religious Freedom Review and Government Response, December 2018. Available at https://www.policyforum.net/australias-religious-freedom-review/
Voluntary Assisted Dying and Conscientious Objection, Law and Religion Australia, February 2019: https://lawandreligionaustralia.blog/2019/02/21/voluntary-assisted-dying-proposals-in-qld-guest-blog/
Interviewed on Saturday Breakfast with Bill McDonald on ABC Radio Brisbane, in regard to the Israel Folau controversy and freedom of religion and freedom of speech issues, on Saturday 13th April 2019. Available at https://www.abc.net.au/radio/brisbane/programs/saturdaybreakfast/11000084.
Summary and critique of the High Court’s decision in the ‘abortion exclusion zone’ cases (Clubb; Preston) on the Australian Public Law Blog (UNSW), May 2019: https://auspublaw.org/2019/05/there-and-back-again-the-high-courts-decision-in-clubb-v-edwards-preston-v-avery/
‘Folau verdict aside, Labor threatens religious freedom in schools’, Sydney Morning Herald, 17th May 2019. Available at https://www.smh.com.au/national/folau-verdict-aside-labor-threatens-religious-freedom-in-schools-20190516-p51nz9.html
A summary of my latest research on the religious freedom rights of religious schools and religious vendors on the QUT Law Research Blog, May 2019. Available at https://blogs.qut.edu.au/law-research/dr-alex-deagons-religious-freedom-research-published-in-the-sydney-morning-herald/
Interview with David Pellowe discussing my Harvard journal article critiquing liberal secularism in political discourse, as well as Section 116 of the Constitution and other religious freedom issues. Available at https://davepellowe.com/political-liberalism-religious-freedom/?fbclid=IwAR3xT3_lp6Clm5Dp2bPdwy_chhynTg8UM-kLx6MHDyaTd3uywKKpPj32l20
Interview with ABC discussing the issue of secular judges making theological judgments in religious freedom cases, on Friday 19th July 2019. Available at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-18/christian-family-who-avoided-tax-are-honey-farmers/11322056?fbclid=IwAR1MwugZD9wpisERQt1jJSYsPnG4AON4hmO7XHNBHgJHa9mCr5FoOBmrcbM.
Book review of Rosalind Dixon (ed.), Australian Constitutional Values (Hart, 2018) for I-CONnect, the International Journal of Constitutional Law Blog. Published on 1/8/2019, available at http://www.iconnectblog.com/2019/08/book-review-alex-deagon-on-australian-constitutional-values/.
Interview with ABC discussing the religious discrimination bill, on Friday 30th August 2019. Available at https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/am/religious-freedom-bill-pits-money-against-free-speech/11463774?fbclid=IwAR2gz3CQTcavznlGXpBNzFpU0zRnlHvqGqML5TFb999lkiKlrxPZK5w5E2c.
Academic Blog post on ‘The Democratic Imperative: On the Necessity and Means of Protecting Institutional Religious Freedom’ for the ‘Real-World Approaches: Freedom of Religion and Belief’ series on the Religion and Global Society Blog (London School of Economics). Published September 2019, available at https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/religionglobalsociety/2019/09/the-democratic-imperative-on-the-necessity-and-means-of-protecting-institutional-religious-freedom/.
- Deagon AC, (2017) From violence to peace: Theology, law and community p1-232
- Deagon AC, (2018) Liberal secularism and religious freedom in the public space: Reforming political discourse, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy p901-934
- Deagon AC, (2019) Reconciling John Milbank and religious freedom: 'Liberalism' through love, Journal of Law and Religion p1-27
- Deagon AC, (2018) Liberal assumptions in Section 116 cases and implications for religious freedom, Federal Law Review p113-136
- Deagon AC, (2019) Equal voice liberalism and free public religion: Some legal implications, Religious freedom in Australia - a new Terra Nullius?
- Deagon AC, (2019) Maintaining religious freedom for religious schools: Options for legal protection after the Ruddock Review, St Mark's Review p40-60
- Deagon AC, (2017) Defining the interface of freedom and discrimination: Exercising religion, democracy and same-sex marriage, International Trade and Business Law Review p239-286
- Deagon AC, (2017) Secularism as a religion: Questioning the future of the 'secular' state, The Western Australian Jurist p31-95
- Deagon A, (2014) On the symbiosis of law and truth in Christian theology: reconciling universal and particular through the Pauline law of love, Griffith Law Review p589-611
- Deagon A, (2017) Rendering to Caesar and God: St Paul, the Natural Law Tradition, and the Authority of Law, Law, Culture and the Humanities p469-492
For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.
Awards and recognition
- Keynote Speaker/Expert Panel Member/Invited Speaker for a Conference
- Reference year
- Invited to be a keynote speaker for the Australasian Religious Press Association Annual Conference
- Reviewer for an Academic Journal
- Reference year
- Reviewer for Cambridge University Press (Textbooks on Jurisprudence and Evidence), Connor Court Publishing (edited collection on Law and Religion), Law, Culture and the Humanities, Journal of Law, Religion and State, Monash University Law Review, the University of Western Australia Law Review, the Journal of Social Inclusion, Law in Context, the Western Australian Jurist, and the Australian Catholic Historical Society Journal.
- Fellowship of a Learned Academy or Membership of AIATSIS
- Reference year
- Accepted Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, which recognises quality, expertise and innovation in tertiary education.
- Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
- Reference year
- Dr Deagon's PhD Thesis 'The Contours of Truth: Using Christian Theology and Philosophy to Construct a Jurisprudence of Truth' was awarded the Chancellor's Medal for outstanding excellence in the Doctor of Philosophy by Griffith University. The award recognises the highest ranking PhD theses in the University and the top ranked thesis in the Arts, Education and Law Group.