Scott Morrison says he will fight back against discrimination and mockery of Christians and other religious groups in 2018, in comments that position him as one of the leading religious conservatives in the Turnbull government.
Mr Morrison also promised to play a leading role next year in the debate about enshrining further "protections" for religious freedom in law, which will be informed by a review currently being led by former Attorney-General Philip Ruddock.
The Treasurer said he had made a conscious decision to "call out" discrimination and to stand up for people of faith.
Before Malcolm Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott as Prime Minister in 2015, Mr Morrison had been seen as the man most likely to be the next conservative leader of the Liberal Party.
Mr Morrison's switch to Mr Turnbull cost him allies in the party room and Peter Dutton has gone past him as the leading conservative; Mr Morrison's vocal public advocacy for greater religious protections in the same-sex marriage bill was seen in some quarters as a move to mend fences with conservative colleagues.
Aside from his maiden speech a decade ago, in which spoke openly about the importance of his deep personal faith, Mr Morrison has rarely discussed his religious views in public life.
But in a year-ending interview with Fairfax Media, he declared that "it all starts when you allow religious freedoms [to be eroded], mockery to be made of your faith or your religious festivals - it always starts innocently and it's always said it is just a joke - just like most discrimination does".
"And I'm just gonna call that out. With what I've seen happen in the last year, I've just taken the decision more recently, I'm just not going to put up with that any more, I don't think my colleagues are either."
"Where I think people are being offensive to religion in this country - whichever religion that might be, but particularly the one I and many other Christians subscribe to - well, we will just call it out and we will demand the same respect that people should provide to all religions."
Mr Morrison side-stepped questions about whether he carried the "leadership baton in his knapsack" - that is, whether he wanted to lead the Liberal Party one day - and declared his interventions in the debate were "nothing to do with any of that, I was just being myself".
"If others are making those judgments, good for them, but for me it wasn't about that."
On the Ruddock review of protections for religious freedoms, which will be finalised in March 2018, Mr Morrison said he would " play a role in that process as a senior member of government".
The Sydney MP also opened up about what it meant to receive the thanks of Christian groups, such as at a recent meeting with Maronite Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay, "who were pleased someone stood up for them, and spoke with them, and understood their point, and didn't forsake them".
"I'm always reluctant to talk about the religion issue, but when it is front and centre in a debate like that [same-sex marriage] then obviously, you can't avoid it. I did again this week with Nick McKim."
Mr Morrison recently took the Greens Senator McKim to task for mocking Christmas, after he and fellow Green Peter Whish-Wilson posted an image on social media that stated "merry non-denominational seasonal festivity".
The Treasurer also claimed credit for being the "principal proponent of the plebiscite", which helped resolve the internal impasse within the Coalition over same-sex marriage.
with Tara Hayes