Weekend Wrap for 16 November 2019

The Morrison government’s religious freedom agenda continues to attract waves of community criticism, including from a former High Court judge. This is the latest edition of our Weekend Wrap, bringing you some of the news from the past week.

Don’t forget that the Weekend Wrap, which aims to help secular-minded Australians keep abreast of news, is also published on our Facebook page!

The National View

Former High Court Justice Michael Kirby has labelled the draft Religious Discrimination Bill as an "unbalanced law that will sustain nastiness and hostility that we can well do without" (The Guardian).

Institute of Public Affairs executive director John Roskam has slammed the draft Religious Discrimination Bill, saying it will “blur the distinction ­between church and state” by inviting “secular courts to define what is considered a ‘reasonable’ and ‘good faith’ religious practice” (The Australian).

Equality Australia fears the the proposed religious freedom bill will impede LGBTIQ+ Australians from having "access to quality healthcare without judgement" (SBS).

The overwhelming majority of the LGBTIQ+ community believes the religious freedom campaign is about taking away their rights, a new survey shows (Star Observer).

The Australian Christian Lobby has vowed to mobilise an army of volunteers to stand up on moral issues, with Martyn Iles telling an audience that a new political climate means politicians are eager to appease Christians (Sunshine Coast Daily).

The High Court has agreed to hear appeal arguments from Cardinal George Pell as he seeks to overturn his conviction on historical child sexual abuse offences (The Guardian).

The lawyers behind the David-versus-Goliath struggle against the Catholic Church to bring justice to abuse survivors reveal the personal stories that drove them (ABC).

Around the Country

QLD: Pro-euthanasia doctors have confronted Queensland’s top ­religious leaders over the right to die, arguing that law reform won’t compromise palliative care for the terminally ill or efforts to curb the suicide rate (The Australian).

ACT: Students of faith will be "isolated" and "punished" as a result of the ACT government's incoming school chaplains ban, opposition backbencher Elizabeth Kikkert has claimed (Canberra TImes).

Commentary and Analysis

In this letter to the editor, Australian Education Union’s Glenn Fowler applauds the ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry for removing religious chaplains from public schools (Canberra Times).

Labor should be ready to publicly identify closer with Christian values so to show its religious bone fides and not be cowed by the religious right, writes Allan Patience (John Menedue blog).

That's it for another week!

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