Weekend Wrap for 10 July 2022

Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 10 July 2022, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.

Do you have any news items, campaigns, petitions, webinars or other event notices that could be added to our weekly Wrap? Let us know at wrap@nsl.org.au.

At the National Level

Liberal senator Claire Chandler is continuing to raise funds on the issue of the participation of trans women in female sport, after putting legislation on the issue on the backburner, admitting it does not have enough support to pass in the new parliament. (3 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Guardian

The Navy will remove references to 'theology' as a relevant qualification for new secular wellbeing support roles after the Rationalist Society of Australia sought an explanation in regards to its inclusion in recent job advertisements. (4 Jul 2022)
Read more at the RSA

A bill to overturn a 25-year-old ban on the ACT and the Northern Territory legislating voluntary assisted dying could be brought before federal parliament within weeks. Labor backbenchers Alicia Payne, from Canberra, and Luke Gosling, from Darwin, plan to table legislation at the next parliamentary sitting to remove the Commonwealth veto. (5 Jul 2022)
Read more at ABC News

Olympic supremo John Coates has backed swimming’s controversial transgender policy and said he was “particularly proud” of Cate Campbell’s speech supporting the move in the face of vociferous opposition from some of her fellow athletes. (5 Jul 2022)
Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald

Voluntary assisted dying advocates are hopeful about a new push to restore territory rights after a 27-year fight. Australia's two territories, the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory, are the nation's only jurisdictions where voluntary assisted dying is banned. (9 Jul 2022)
Read more at ABC News

Around the Country

SA: An anti-abortion event in South Australia has had to change location at the last minute because of "violent threats", according to South Australia's Liberal Opposition Leader. Politicians from the Liberal Party, Labor, Family First and SA Best were due to speak at the Enid Lyons List training day. (2 Jul 2022)
Read more at ABC News

SA: A women's leadership group opposed to abortion has accused Greens MLC Tammy Franks and an Adelaide media outlet of "wilfully mischaracterising" an event it held over the weekend as an "anti-abortion rally". The Enid Lyons List is a new organisation aimed at preparing young women to take office and advocate for the protection of human life. (4 Jul 2022)
Read more at ABC News

WA: The Western Australian government has been asked to take legislative action against conversion therapy. The government is currently holding a parliamentary inquiry into the operation of Esther House, a substance abuse facility that has been accused of using suppression and change practices as part of their treatment program. The WA government has published some of the public submissions to the inquiry with many of them asking for laws to be brought in to curb the practice, noting that it often occurs in religious based organisations. (5 Jul 2022)
Read more at Out in Perth
(This coincidentally was published on the same day that 12 members of a religious group in QLD were charged over the death of an eight-year-old girl, after she was allegedly denied medical care for type 1 diabetes for about six days.)

NSW: NSW over-funded more than 200 private schools by almost $100 million last year, after dozens were given hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra state government money above what they were due. (5 Jul 2022)
Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald

SA: As South Australia's abortion reforms finally become law, a group of Adelaide women have shared their experiences with the ABC, and say they hope the changes to the law – which will remove abortion from the state's criminal code and allow people to access them via telehealth – will avoid unnecessary trauma. (6 Jul 2022)
Read more at ABC News

VIC: In response to the recent census data on religious beliefs in Australia, Fiona Patten MP is moving a motion to abandon the mandatory recitation of the Lord’s prayer in Parliament. She is also seeking to abolish the preferential tax treatment that religious bodies and corporations receive. (6 Jul 2022)
Listen at The Wire

QLD: Queensland health authorities are reviewing abortion access across the state in a bid to fix issues still plaguing the patchwork scheme four years on from the procedure’s decriminalisation. Confirmation of the move comes amid heightened public focus on the reforms and a refusal from the state’s LNP Opposition to rule out future attempts to unpick them. (9 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Age

Commentary and Analysis

Stan Grant – The census shows Australians are becoming less religious but why have we chosen to live without God?: "While historically the West was founded on Christianity, the modern West was shaped by the break with God. People were sovereign. Liberalism prized the individual above all. Sociologist Phillip Rieff said we swapped a sacred order for a social order. That accelerated in the 20th century with social revolutions up-ending society and demolishing old ethical and moral boundaries." (3 Jul 2022)
Read more at ABC News

Phillippa CarisbrookePeople like Abe may overtake Christians as the dominant religious group in Australia: "And as the results from the Census showed, non-believers like Mr Middleton could replace Christians as the largest 'religious' cohort in Australia. 'It all came from childhood, with the pressure of religion being forced at school and through parents,' he said. 'Being forced into something did not seem like the right way of going about it to me, along with other things I saw over the years. So, it has always been no religion on the Census for me.'" (4 Jul 2022)
Read more at SBS News

Alastair LawrieMy personal submission to Alex Greenwich's public consultation about what should be included in a NSW Equality Bill: "As I have written previously, LGBTIQ rights in NSW are now the worst of any state or territory in the country – through decades of inaction on law reform by the NSW Government and Parliament, Sydney has become Australia’s capital of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia." (4 Jul 2022)
Read more at alastairlawrie.net

NSW Teachers FederationOpposition to the chaplaincy program to step up: "The campaign to demand that money allocated to the School Chaplaincy Program be re-directed to funding the employment of school counsellors with teaching qualifications and experience will be reinvigorated. 'The School Chaplaincy Program is one of our biggest secular breaches and is a waste of tax payer money,' Eric Pearson Study Grant 2021 recipient Jack Galvin Waight said during his presentation in the afternoon." (6 Jul 2022)
Read more at the NSWTF Blog
(You can also read Galvin Waight's Teaching not preaching: Making our public schools secular, which includes recommendations that the Federation should intensify the campaign for the removal of Special Religious Education (SRE)/Special Education in Ethics.)

Zahra AyubiThere is no one Islamic interpretation on ethics of abortion, but the belief in God’s mercy and compassion is a crucial part of any consideration: "As a scholar of Islamic ethics, I’m often asked, “What does Islam say about abortion?” – a question that has become even more salient since the U.S. Supreme Court reversed 50 years of constitutional protection for the right to get an abortion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling on June 24, 2022." (8 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Conversation

Events and Campaigns

A new petition from the RSA is aiming to build enough momentum before the federal parliament resumes to put the issue of Christian prayer rituals on the agenda of newly elected representatives heading to Canberra. Sign the petition here.

A petition currently running on change.org calls for private schools to pay back their unnecessary Jobkeeper payments. View the petition here.

The Australian Education Union is running a campaign calling for “every school, every child” to receive fair education funding. Support the campaign here.

Funding for public schools has been cut in the latest budget but funding for school chaplains has been assured. A change.org petition is currently calling on the federal government to fund youth workers rather faith-based chaplains in our public schools.

Minister for Human Rights, Tara Cheyne, is running a petition calling on the Australian government to restore the right of Territories to pass laws on VAD. She also recommends people email the Commonwealth Attorney-General with their views, at attorney@ag.gov.au.

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.

The Human Rights for NSW alliance has launched a campaign calling for NSW to pass a Human Rights Act.

That's it for another week!

Until next time, please follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

And if you are able, please consider making a small monthly contribution to the NSL to help us raise the secular profile in Australia. Every dollar helps!