Weekend Wrap for 1 August 2021
Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 1 August 2021, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.
Don’t forget that the Weekend Wrap, which aims to help secular-minded Australians keep abreast of the latest news on current issues, is also published on our Facebook page!
At the National Level
Attorney-General Michaelia Cash is facing an uphill battle to develop long promised religious freedom legislation, as members of her own party warn they will not accept proposed elements of the bill. (Out in Perth)
The Sydney-based co-founders of the global Pentecostal Christian church Hillsong preached in person at a service in Mexico on Monday and have been based in the United States for several months, despite the Australian border being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (SMH)
A demographer at the Australian National University says it is common for people to respond to the census question on religion according to the religion of their family upbringing rather than their current beliefs or practices. (SMH)
The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils has put out an open letter underlining the importance of accurate census responses. (AFIC)
Around the Country
WA: The first person has used Western Australia's new voluntary assisted dying laws to end their life in what Premier Mark McGowan says is a historic moment for the state. (ABC News)
ACT: The Canberra Times has launched an "Our Right to Decide" campaign to restore Territory rights to legislate on assisted dying. (Canberra Times)
VIC: The first of Kevin O’Donnell’s victims to report the paedophile priest to police has received a landmark settlement that assists other victims who are seeking compensation from the Catholic Church. (The Age)
SA: Former Labor ministers Tom Kenyon and Jack Snelling will relaunch Family First as a political party and quit the ALP over “moves to restrict religious freedom”. (Daily Telegraph)
WA: The Rationalist Society has called on Western Australian councils to stop funding discriminatory chaplaincy roles. (Rationalist Society)
QLD: A Right to Information application by the Noosa Temple of Satan has revealed lobbying directed at Education Minister Grace Grace by multiple religious groups, including "multi-faith groups", pushing against Satanist inclusion in state school religious instruction. (Noosa Temple of Satan)
NSW: Churches, mosques and community centres will be used as pop-up vaccination clinics in Sydney’s COVID-19 hotspots, as the worsening crisis triggers the suspension of all non-urgent surgery in hospitals across the city. (SMH)
NSW: A pause in the Religious Education curriculum in the Diocese of Parramatta has been met with mixed responses. (Catholic Weekly)
VIC: Boroondara Council has voted against the tide of public opinion and will continue to include Christian prayers as part of its meetings. (Rationalist Society)
Commentary and Analysis
Brian Morris (of Plain Reason and the NSL) speaks on ABC Central Victoria on why census question 23, on Religious Affiliation, is biased and greatly inflates the level of religious belief reported in Australia. (Plain Reason)
Human rights lawyer and writer Duncan Fine writes on a push by the Reason party to remove the Lord's Prayer from Victorian parliament sessions and replace it with a more inclusive statement. (SMH)
Activist Rodney Croome of just.equal writes on how it may be possible to defeat the 'religious privilege bill'. (Out in Perth)
Martyn Iles of the Australian Christian Lobby spoke out against Satanists being allowed to participate in religious education at schools, saying that "not all religions are equal". (Noosa Temple of Satan)
In this episode of 3CR's InYaFace, Reverend Josephine Inkpin talks about One Nation's bills in NSW and the Australian Government's Religious Discrimination Bill, while Monash University Associate Law Lecturer and Victorian Pride Lobby board member Liam Elphick discusses the Lobby's campaigns, anti-discrimination law in Victoria and the federal Religious Discrimination Bill. (3CR Radio)
Oncologist Dr Phillip Parente reflects on balancing his faith with his involvement with Victoria's voluntary assisted dying scheme. (AusDoc)
Mary-Anne Cosgrove, chair of Humanists Australia, speaks about her experiences and her wish for assisted dying laws in the ACT.
A gay conversion survivor details his experiences and says that there is dishonesty in labelling such practices as "therapies". Conversion practices are now outlawed in three Australian jurisdictions. (Star Observer)
Family Voice Australia again draw a link between COVID and VAD and wonder why we don't universally try to prevent end of life. (FVA)
Monica Doumit of Catholic Weekly writes on assisted dying legislation that "Only a fanatic would push legalised killing right now." (Catholic Weekly)
Events and Advisories
Sign up to the Census21 - Not Religious? Mark 'No Religion' campaign (in which the NSL is involved) to learn more about the census's role in inflating the religiosity figure in Australia.
Sign up to the #DontDivideUs campaign, currently being run by a group of pro-secular groups including the NSL, to act against the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill.
The Noosa Temple of Satan is currently running a federal parliamentary petition to remove Christian prayers from parliament. The practice of reciting an exclusively Christian prayer discriminates against non-Christians. Related article
Leader of the Reason party and NSL ambassador Fiona Patten has launched a campaign to remove the sectarian prayer from Victorian parliament.
The Human Rights for NSW alliance has launched a campaign calling for NSW to pass a Human Rights Act.
Dying With Dignity NSW has a tool that makes it easy for people to contact their federal MPs and senators to request help in repealing the "Andrews Bill", the 1997 legislation which denies the Territories the right to pass legislation on Voluntary Assisted Dying.
DwD NSW are also petitioning the NSW Parliament to work together to deliver voluntary assisted dying laws in 2021.
Visit the #QLD4VAD website to learn more about the campaign to introduce VAD laws into Queensland.
That's it for another week!
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