Weekend Wrap for 13 November 2022

Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 13 November 2022, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.

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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

The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed Liberal leader Peter Dutton’s promise to reform Australia’s education system and remove “radical gender theory” from schools. The Opposition leader made the comment during his Budget Reply speech late last month. Speaking about Australia’s education system, the Leader of the Opposition said there was too much ideological content. (6 Nov 2022)
Read more at Out in Perth

Australia has launched a historic inquiry into its anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQI students and staff in faith-based schools. Last week Attorney General Mark Dreyfus set out the terms of reference for the Australian Law Reform Commission and NSW Supreme Court judge Justice Stephen Rothman was appointed to head the inquiry. One in three students and almost two in five school employees in Australia are employed in non-government schools, “most of which are religiously affiliated”, according to LGBTQI advocacy group Equality Australia. (7 Nov 2022)
Read more at the Star Observer

National LGBTIQ+ group, Equality Australia, has welcomed action by the federal crossbench aiming at strengthening discrimination protections for LGBTIQ+ people via the Respect@Work reforms. Independent Allegra Spender moved amendments to ensure people who experienced hostile workplace environments that are homophobic, transphobic or discriminatory towards intersex people would receive the same level of protection as people who experience workplaces that are sexist. (7 Nov 2022)
Read more at Out in Perth

Extra staff will be hired to handle applications to the National Redress Scheme for victims of child sexual abuse as the program buckles under the weight of a huge backlog in cases. Since July 2018, more than 20,000 applications for financial support have been made but only around 11,000 have been finalised. (8 Nov 2022)
Read more at ABC News

The creation of LGB Alliance has promoted constructive debate on “difficult and problematic issues” of sex and gender, the Charity Commission told a court on Monday, during final arguments over whether the gay rights group should have been given charitable status. Iain Steele, counsel for the commission, said there was a public benefit inherent in having charities with different world views, encouraging debate in this “evolving” area of diversity and equality. (8 Nov 2022)
Read more at The Guardian

The Army and Air Force could follow the Navy’s lead and introduce secular roles to its chaplaincy branch to help meet the wellbeing needs of non-religious personnel, it has been revealed at Senate estimates in Canberra. Greens Senator David Shoebridge quizzed top officials about the appropriateness of the Australian Defence Force relying on religious-based chaplaincy as its primary support for a mostly non-religious workforce. (10 Nov 2022)
Read more at the Rationalist Society of Australia

The ABC set to screen a two-part documentary on controversial rugby player Israel Folau. Screening over two consecutive Monday nights beginning on 21st November, the documentary is described as one that will “take audiences inside the clash of culture, faith and football.” (12 Nov 2022)
Read more at Out in Perth

Around the Country

VIC: A roadmap outlining how the religious right can "infiltrate" the Liberal Party with "Good Godly" candidates has been linked to a controversial former Liberal candidate and current member of the party's state assembly in Victoria. The roadmap, a version of which has been circulating online and on Twitter without attribution, shows a comprehensive strategy to gain control of Liberal Party branches and influence the choice of candidates. (7 Nov 2022)
Read more at ABC News

SA: New research from public policy think tank The Australia Institute shows that two thirds of South Australian voters support the removal of Christian prayers from the opening of Parliamentary sittings. (7 Nov 2022)
Read more at the Australia Institute

VIC: Dozens of female staff at one of Melbourne’s most prestigious Catholic boys’ schools have made allegations of sexual harassment at work by male colleagues and students. A July 2021 independent review of the school’s culture found that “sexism and misogyny” at the school were “still clearly an issue”. The school has been plagued by misogyny, homophobia and transphobia in recent years. (8 Nov 2022)
Read more at The Age

VIC: A public debate in the marginal seat of Melton veered into some left-field territory, including reports about the growing influence of religious factions in the Liberal Party. The Liberal candidate denied that the party had been "infiltrated" and also said that he voted against voluntary assisted dying on conscience. (9 Nov 2022)
Read more at The Age

NSW: Australian anti-LGBTQI group Binary has targeted out gay Sydney MP Alex Greenwich’s proposed Equality Bill in a series of misleading ads on social media and on its website. Binary, which was known as the anti-marriage equality group Marriage Alliance in its previous avatar, falsely claimed that if the bill is passed by NSW Parliament, parents would be jailed “for daring to protect their children from gender transitioning”. In October 2022, the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) had named Binary in its list of ‘far-right and extremist groups’ in Australia. (9 Nov 2022)
Read more at the Star Observer

WA: Ministers of religion in WA are now legally required to report information about child sexual abuse, including information gained in the sacrament of Confession. The changes are part of new laws introduced by the McGowan Government that which came into effect on 1 November. (10 Nov 2022)
Read more at the Catholic Weekly

TAS: A targeted campaign is being run in Tasmania against plans to ban conversion therapy, including a Liberal MP hosting an upcoming event in Parliament House questioning the move. Survivors of conversion therapies, and LGBTIQA+ groups, argue the campaign fundamentally misrepresents the proposed laws, which would see Tasmania join Victoria, Queensland and the ACT in banning the practices. Liberal backbencher Lara Alexander will host a Free Speech Alliance event in Parliament House on November 23 titled, Conversion therapy laws – risks and harms? (11 Nov 2022)
Read more at ABC News

TAS: Parliament House in Tasmania held a forum that had over 120 attendees listening and learning about why LGBTQ+ conversion should be banned in the state. The forum, ‘Ending Conversion Practices: An experts forum on the path forward’ was hosted by Independent Member for Clark, Kristie Johnson and presented a wide array of medical, faith-based, social, legislative and survivor perspectives. The aim was to educate as to why it was important to enact legislation to protect the LGBTQ+ community from what is deemed unethical, damaging and ineffective practices. (12 Nov 2022)
Read more at the Star Observer

Commentary and Analysis

Neil Foster – ALRC inquiry into Religious Educational Institutions and Anti-Discrimination Laws.
"The Commonwealth Attorney-General has announced that the Australian Law Reform Commission will be conducting an inquiry into the general area of “Religious Educational Institutions and Anti-Discrimination Laws”. Detailed information about the inquiry can be seen at their home page. ... Readers may recall that the ALRC had previously been given a wider inquiry by the former government. ... This new inquiry, while narrower in terms of being limited to religious educational institutions, comes with a number of assumptions that some may find problematic." (7 Nov 2022)
Read more at Law and Religion Australia

Nevena SpirovskaTransgender Awareness Week: When actions speak louder than words.
"While Transgender Awareness Week has its roots in trans communities and has gone on to be embraced by the broader LGBTIQA+ community, it is now observed in many workplaces across the social services sector and beyond. The week is significant not only because it raises the visibility of trans and gender diverse people in our own lives, as well as nationally and globally, but also because it promotes connection to the issues affecting trans and gender diverse communities, amplifies trans people’s voices and experiences, and importantly, brings attention to issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence inflicted on trans and gender diverse people." (7 Nov 2022)
Read more at Pro Bono Australia

Si GladmanRaised in her father’s church.
"Having left the church, in a dramatic and painful way, with her then husband Patrick McIvor in 2016, Clare used the blog as a way of processing her lifetime experience of having been deeply involved in what had transformed from a “run-of-the-mill” evangelical church to something she believed to be “more extreme right”. The church that Clare and Patrick left behind was City Builders Church, located in the town of Sale in Victoria’s east. Clare’s father, Brian, was – and still is – the church’s pastor. City Builders Church has been in the public spotlight recently, with allegations from Liberal Party members that the church had joined with Pentecostal allies to take over local party branches in the state’s east." (8 Nov 2022)
Read more at Rationale Magazine

Andrew WebsterThe NRL isn’t ready for a Pride Round. It might never be.
"...the simple truth is rugby league is not ready for a Pride Round. It might never be. A jumper with some subtle rainbow piping divided a club, ruined a season and ended in a coach being sacked. What would happen to the game if a Pride Round was forced on it? I’ll take a swing: it would tear it in three, just like the Israel Folau issue and the time former chief executive Todd Greenberg said the game supported same-sex marriage." (9 Nov 2022)
Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald

RMIT ABC Fact CheckWe looked into Binary Australia's claim that Daniel Andrews can transition children without parental consent. Here's what we found.
"CheckMate is a weekly newsletter from RMIT FactLab which recaps the latest in the world of fact checking and misinformation. This week, CheckMate debunks a claim that Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is allowing school children to access gender-affirming medical treatment without their parents' consent. An anti-transgender activist group, Binary Australia, has incorrectly claimed that it is Victorian government policy to allow school children access to gender-affirming medical treatment without parental consent." (11 Nov 2022)
Read more at ABC News

Matthew AbrahamGod help us: Why niche politicians love a religious war.
"The topic of parliamentary prayers is what the Americans call an “inside the Beltway” issue – a reference to the Capital Beltway, the highway that encircles Washington DC. It’s of no consequence beyond the granite walls of the North Terrace citadel. But this sort of thing goes down well with the Godless, rusted-on, tie-dyed Greens faithful. They love slapping the happy clappers. And it dog whistles to the increasing number of voters who have switched from the major parties to the Greens, in the mistaken belief they’re a harmless, moderate and happy little political party." (11 Nov 2022)
Read more at InDaily

Monica DoumitMinister’s tactic: Your money or your faith.
"Last week, Minister Grace announced an ‘independent review’ of the framework that governs the accreditation of non-state schools in Queensland, with the possibility of strengthening the powers of the Board. ... No doubt, the review will recommend that the Board be given the power to remove or reduce government funding from schools that persist in teaching an orthodox Christian perspective on life and marriage, gender and sexuality, and even threaten the removal of their accreditation as schools altogether. Schools will then be given a choice: lose your funding or water down the moral teachings to a level that suits the Board." (11 Nov 2022)
Read more at the Catholic Weekly

Events and Campaigns

The Census21 campaign are urging members of the public to make a submission to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ review of the Australian Standard for the Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG) and Religious Affiliation Standard (RAS). Read the Census21 submission here.

Catch up on the latest RSA webinar on prayers in parliament and councils.

Have you faced discrimination at a religious school or organisation? Equality Australia wants to know!

The Bill to overturn the ban on NT/ACT's ability to pass VAD laws is still being debated. Ask your state Senators to support territory rights!

Humanists Australia have launched a Change.org petition calling for full separation of church and state in Australia. View and sign 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.

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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