Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 12 September 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
The Jehovah’s Witnesses will join the national redress scheme for child sexual abuse survivors almost ten months after the Morrison government threatened the organisation with stripping its charity status. (ABC News)
Perth legal academic Lorraine Finlay has been named as the newest appointee to the Australian Human Rights Commission, but LGBTIQA+ rights advocates have expressed concern over her selection, citing Commissioner Finlay’s "previous attacks on existing LGBTIQ+ discrimination protections in the name of ‘religious freedom'." (Out in Perth)
The inclusion of the power of employers to punish people who make potentially offensive religious statements outside work hours is emerging as a deal-breaker for supporting the Religious Discrimination Bill for some Christian conservatives. (The Australian; Paywalled)
The second convocation of the Australasian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (ACCCR), a collaboration of 19 member groups across Australia seeking Church reform, has covered discussion of the "deep desire among Australian Catholics for a fresh vision and new directions." (Pearls and irritations)
After Victoria became the first state to agree to a ban on the public display of the swastika and other Nazi symbols, Jewish representatives are now calling for a nationwide ban. (Australian Jewish News)
Around the Country
QLD: Landmark voluntary assisted dying laws are on the brink of being passed in Queensland despite a significant number of MPs remaining undecided about whether to support the significant legislation. The Sunday Mail has revealed the full list of MPs and their voting intentions. (Courier Mail)
NSW: New South Wales Attorney-General, Mark Speakman, announced plans on Tuesday for a religious discrimination bill, bringing the state in line with anti-discrimination protections in most other Australian states and territories. (Star Observer)
NSW: The ACL have welcomed a report on the Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020, prepared by a cross-party Legislative Council committee and released on 6 September 2021, indicating that 55% of public respondents supported the Bill in some form. (ACL)
NSW: The NSW Teachers Federation has condemned One Nation’s "war on trans and gender-diverse students expressed in a biased and misleading report of a NSW parliamentary committee written by One Nation MP Mark Latham." (NSW Teachers Federation)
WA: The upper house of the Western Australian parliament appears set to continue with the recital of a prayer in parliament despite a committee spending the past three months considering ways to modernise proceedings. (Rationalist Society of Australia)
NSW: An extraordinary advertisement in last weekend's Herald effectively accused NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman of a cover-up while proclaiming the innocence of the head of the NSW Coptic Orthodox Church, Bishop Daniel, who is the subject of a major fraud investigation. (SMH)
TAS: More than sixty people from LGBTIQA+ and allied groups gathered in Hobart to defend the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act from attacks by the Australian Christian Lobby, while the ACL was conducting a meeting as part of a national tour. (Out in Perth)
NSW: Fred Nile, the leader of the Christian Democrat Party and an NSW upper house MP, has dis-endorsed Lyle Shelton as his successor, leading him to announce that he will "complete [his] democratically elected term as a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) of NSW until the next State Election in 2023." (Eternity News)
Commentary and Analysis
Trevor Bell, 'Advocatus Diaboli' of the Noosa Temple of Satan, discusses the litigation challenging religious teaching in Queensland schools which he is currently leading, as well as 'the Christian stranglehold over Australia’s government and society.' (RT)
Christian lecturer Chase R. Kuhn writes that for a Christian to deny the right to VAD is not a sign of a lack of compassion and that "suffering has real place and meaning in [the Christian] community." (Sydney Anglicans)
Justine Nolan, Director of the Australian Human Rights Institute, UNSW, writes that "the Morrison government’s handpicked appointment of a new human rights commissioner, Lorraine Finlay, threatens to undermine the independence and legitimacy of the Australian Human Rights Commission itself." (The Conversation)
The Rationalist Society of Australia call on their supporters and other secular-minded Australians to help raise awareness about how religious exemptions from discrimination laws harm and hurt many Australians. (Rationalist Society of Australia)
Events and Advisories
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.