Weekend Wrap for 12 December 2021
Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 12 December 2021, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.
The NSL is part of the #DontDivideUs campaign against the Religious Discrimination Bill. Learn more about the campaign here and please consider making a donation to support it if you are able.
At the National Level
The Senate has ordered a second inquiry into the Religious Discrimination Bill, by the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, which will run simultaneously to the investigation being conducted by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights. Both inquiries will hand down their reports at the same time, 4th February 2022. (Out in Perth)
Labor has committed to making protections for gay teachers and students a key focus during the looming election campaign while senior opposition frontbencher Kristina Keneally has raised concerns the proposed religious discrimination laws will become a political football. (The Age)
Anthony Albanese has called for the “grassroots mobilisation” of people of faith to tackle the climate crisis, appealing to a common “care for creation” across all religious groups. (The Guardian)
Just.Equal Australia has called on Liberal and Labor members who voted for marriage equality four years ago today not to betray the LGBTIQ+ community by voting for the Religious Discrimination Bill. (Out in Perth)
Labor is intensifying its attempts to court Christian votes in the lead-up to the 2022 Federal election, with Senator Kristina Keneally appearing at an online forum to address the question, “Does Christianity have a future under Labor?” (Catholic Weekly)
The government's religious discrimination bill would effectively "legislate bigotry" by providing a cloak for sexist, racist or homophobic statements, a legal group has warned. (Canberra Times)
Labor’s Senator Kristina Keneally says religious based schools should be able to make choices about all their staff members, arguing that all employees of a religious school play a part in creating the community of those institutions. (Out in Perth)
The federal government will commission an independent review of the $61.4 million-a-year school chaplaincy scheme, as chaplains defend their role as preventative mental health workers while backing calls for more school psychologists. (WA Today)
Conservative columnist Caleb Bond has added his voice to those saying the federal government’s Religious Discrimination Bill is a complete waste of time and "doesn't need to exist". (Out in Perth)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has slammed Queensland Nationals MP George Christensen for laughing at a comment comparing Australia’s COVID-19 quarantine facilities with the Holocaust. (Australian Jewish News)
Attorney-General Michaelia Cash has pulled out of an online forum hosted by Family Voice Australia at which she would have discussed the government’s Religious Discrimination bill. (Out in Perth)
Around the Country
VIC: Victoria’s Attorney-General Jacqueline Symes has promised the local LGBTIQA+ communities that the Andrews government ‘has their back’, vowing to fight any challenge to the state’s recently added protection for LGBTIQA+ students and teachers. (Out in Perth)
WA: The Rationalist Society of Australia has asked the Western Australian government to move Special Religious Education (SRE) out of class time in public schools and make it an ‘opt-in’ proposition for parents. (RSA)
VIC/NSW: The Liberal Party is seeking to shore up Jewish community support in key vulnerable federal seats in Sydney and Melbourne, with a heavily funded online attack ad against Labor over Israel. (The Saturday Paper)
NSW: LGBTQI activists rallied in Oxford Street’s Taylor Square last Sunday, against the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill, in an event organised by Community Action for Rainbow Rights (CARR). (Star Observer)
TAS: A heritage-listed church and community hall on prime waterfront land in one of Tasmania's most expensive suburbs has been sold for $4.6 million to raise funds for the redress scheme for victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the clergy.
Commentary and Analysis
Andrew P. Street on the Religious Discrimination Bill: "The legacy of the No campaign is a Bill that has become an albatross around the PM’s neck, as it’s impossible to find a version which protects LGBTIQ folks enough to be supported by moderates while still being punitively homophobic enough to satisfy those still furious about marriage equality." (The Big Smoke)
Teacher, Daisy Turnbull: "I am a pretty haphazard member of a local Anglican church in Sydney. I went to a Catholic school, I loved my schooling. I have a masters in theological studies. But I am also a single mother. That may rule me out of jobs at religious schools where their written policies make clear the school frowns on divorce or relationships outside of marriage..." (SMH)
Si Gladman writes on Living Hope SA, which provides pastoral support for Christians “who are struggling with same-sex attraction” and for their families, who experience a “great cost” for having members who identify as LGBTIQ. (Rationale Magazine)
Jasmine Yuen of the ACL claims that the Victorian Andrews Government has continually "declared war on faith communities by dismantling their religious freedom." (Australian Christian Lobby)
Wendy Francis of the ACL writes that passing laws to allow single men access to surrogacy is "potentially a human rights violation". (Australian Christian Lobby)
Events and Advisories
Just.Equal are running a campaign against the Religious Discrimination Bill. Use their tool to send emails to Labor MPs urging them to oppose the Bill.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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!
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