Weekend Wrap for 12 June 2021
Catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country in the NSL Weekend Wrap for 12 June 2021.
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
Former high court justice Michael Kirby has warned against the “excessive protection” of religious freedom that could diminish the rights of non-believers and minorities, as a report reveals 70% of Australians say religion is not personally important to them. (The Guardian)
Attorney General Michaelia Cash is reportedly ready to start another round of consultations over the government’s long promised ‘religious freedom’ laws. (Out in Perth)
The Rationalist Society of Australia has written to Attorney-General Michaelia Cash seeking a meeting to discuss the Religious Discrimination Bill, as Christian groups ramp up their lobbying efforts. (RSA)
The Sydney Morning Herald reports on a tangled web of QAnon conspiracy theorists, Evangelical Christians and Liberal Party fundraisers, following news earlier this month that ABC management had asked current affairs program Four Corners to delay a program on the supposed connection between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and QAnon supporters. (SMH) Note: the program will now air this coming Monday (New Daily)
Satirical website The Chaser has come under fire for a series of anti-Israel articles, the most recent of which was entitled “Netanyahu steps down as leader of Israel to spend more time murdering children”. (Australian Jewish News)
Around the Country
SA: After 17 attempts over 26 years, a bill to legalise euthanasia has passed South Australia's Lower House for the first time and is now all but certain to become law. (ABC News)
QLD: Stretton MP Duncan Pegg has died following a battle with cancer. In his last speech to the House, he urged politicians to visit with terminally-ill patients as they wrestled with the upcoming voluntary assisted dying vote, which he said he was disappointed to miss. (Courier Mail)
QLD: A network of Catholic hospitals and aged care services has stepped up a campaign demanding access to quality palliative care for all Queenslanders before euthanasia is potentially made legal in the state. (Catholic Leader)
NSW: A decision made last month to place Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust into administration and amalgamate it into a government one named OneCrown has been reversed following a petition and a meeting between Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher and the Deputy Premier. (Catholic Weekly)
SA: Comments by South Australian Liberal MP Nicolle Flint against her party's state executive highlight the growing divide within moderate and conservative elements within the party over issues such as voluntary assisted dying and abortion. (ABC News)
WA: Gosnells deputy mayor Peter Abetz will lead a presentation at a regional West Australian church on Saturday that has been labelled ‘gay conversion therapy’. The former state Liberal MP has enlisted ‘reformed’ gay man James Parker to speak at Geraldton Anglican Cathedral after similar presentations in Albany last week drew condemnation from the state government and advocates and renewed pressure for the controversial practice to be outlawed in WA. (SMH)
TAS: A years-old policy that has successfully supported young people of diverse sexuality and gender in Tasmanian schools is being criticized by the newly formed group Keep Gender Ideology Out of Schools. (The Advocate)
NSW: Fred Nile's Australian Christian Democratic Party has been forced into receivership and an administrator has been appointed "as a result of the board forming a view that the association was likely to become insolvent". (Eternity News)
QLD: A motion passed by the Queensland branch of the ALP panning Israel’s “systematic injustices meted out to the Palestinian people” has drawn condemnation from leading Labor politicians and from the Jewish community. (Australian Jewish News)
WA: The Safe Access Bill will have a profoundly detrimental effect on the safety of distressed mothers, according to the Coalition for the Defence of Human Life, which will be holding a rally against abortion on June 16. (Familyvoice Australia)
QLD: A e-petition launched by Sunshine Coast man Tony Magrathea in January and now tabled in Queensland Parliament, calling for an end to religious prayers at the start of parliamentary business, has been countered with a petition from the Australian Christian Lobby. (Catholic Leader)
Commentary and Analysis
Kieran Tapsell writes on the failings of the Vatican's internal disciplinary system and the outcomes of the recommendations delivered in 2017 by the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. (Pearls and Irritations)
Dr Julia Baird comments on a report commissioned by the Anglican church, which found that those who went to church regularly were more likely to have been in an abusive relationship than those who did not. And, crucially, that perpetrators used scriptural teachings on the sanctity of marriage, forgiveness, the submission of women and headship of men to justify abuse. (SMH)
Jacqueline Ullman writes that 9 in 10 LGBTQ+ students say they hear homophobic language at school, and 1 in 3 hear it almost every day, and that if passed in its current form, the NSW Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 would make offering targeted, requested support to gender and sexuality diverse (often known as LGBTQ+) students grounds for revoking teachers’ accreditation. (The Conversation)
Tim Costello, senior fellow of the Centre for Public Christianity, writes that a bounty of state support for Christian religious freedom, as evident in the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill, may actually be detrimental to the strength of Christian faith in Australia. (Eternity News)
An in-depth look at whether employees be ordered to support religiously controversial views in company email signatures, prompted by a Victorian council requiring its employees to add a "rainbow flag" graphic to their emails. (Law and Religion Australia)
That's it for another week!
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