Weekend Wrap for 17 July 2022

Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 17 July 2022, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.

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

Territory leaders have unanimously urged their federal counterparts to pass a bill restoring their rights to make laws on voluntary assisted dying. The call came as federal politicians considered their position on the issue, before Labor backbenchers introduce the legislation into parliament when it resumes later this month. (11 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Guardian

Eleven private schools across Australia have been accused by human rights lawyers of exposing students to potential discrimination, after enrolment forms demanded prospective families support beliefs denouncing homosexuality and diverse gender identity. It comes after former students and parents of Brisbane's Citipointe Christian College referred the school to Queensland's Human Rights Commission in May. (12 Jul 2022)
Read more at ABC News

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says he'll wait to see the details of a bill that would restore rights to territories to legislate on euthanasia before publicly throwing his support behind it. But the veteran Labor leader added he believes all Australians, regardless of where they live in the country, should have the same rights. (12 Jul 2022)
Read more at the Canberra Times

The father of a former choirboy who prosecutors had alleged was sexually abused by George Pell in Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral has launched civil action in an attempt to sue the cardinal and the Catholic Church. In 2018, Pell was found guilty by a County Court jury of abusing two teenage choirboys in December 1996. However, those convictions were quashed by the High Court in 2020 and Pell was released from prison after spending more than a year in custody. (13 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Age

Katherine Deves has confirmed that senior Liberal party members have encouraged her to run for a spot in the senate at the next federal election. Deves was selected by former Prime Minister Scott Morrison as the party’s candidate for the Sydney seat of Warringah at the last election. She failed to attract enough votes to replace the incumbent member, independent MP Zali Steggall. (15 Jul 2022)
Read more at Out in Perth

Around the Country

WA: A dedicated young teacher says he was forced to quit his job at a Catholic school after kids taking part in a cruel online bullying trend used TikTok to out him as gay. The conditions of employment for all teachers in Catholic schools say they must follow “a manner of life” and stated beliefs in keeping with Catholic Church teachings — which includes not publicly revealing themselves as a practising homosexual. (8 Jul 2022)
Read more at The West Australian

QLD: Queensland health authorities are reviewing abortion access across the state in a bid to fix issues still plaguing the patchwork scheme four years on from the procedure’s decriminalisation. Confirmation of the move comes amid heightened public focus on the reforms and a refusal from the state’s LNP Opposition to rule out future attempts to unpick them. (9 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Age

VIC: The ousted convener of the Victorian Greens, who was accused of holding anti-trans views, says she has withdrawn from an internal election to spare her party further pain. Unionist Linda Gale was elected to the organisational leadership position in June. After a social media-driven backlash to a 2019 paper in which she argued the rights of trans women may infringe on those of people born female, Victorian Greens parliamentary leader Samantha Ratnam used her power to overturn the result. (10 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Age

WA: Advocacy group Just Equal has again called on the McGowan Government to change the law and stop discrimination against LGBTIQ+ teachers in faith schools. The call comes after it was reported in The West Australian that another teacher has lost his job following homophobic harassment at a church school. (11 Jul 2022)
Read more at Out in Perth

SA: New Health Minister Chris Picton yesterday announced the implementation of voluntary assisted dying would be brought forward from March to January next year. But a terminally ill South Australian has implored the state's Health Minister to bring forward the rollout date further. "For a lot of terminally ill patients, people and their families who've been waiting, it's been agonising," she said. (12 Jul 2022)
Read more at ABC News

Commentary and Analysis

Leslie CannoldAustralia is not immune to repressive abortion laws: "Some misinformed rubbish has been said about abortion in the past week, as the Australian media, public and politicians react to the sudden loss of American women's constitutional right to abortion. According to one academic featured on the ABC, it was 'highly unlikely that abortion laws in Australia would be reconfigured in the way they are in the US ... we are a broadly pro-choice country. Most polling puts us at about 80% or more support for abortion.'" (8 Jul 2022)
Read more at Crikey (Paywalled)

Brian MorrisEnraged evangelists subvert Christianity: "It’s not 'conservativism' that seeks to wind back abortion rights for women, or same-sex marriage, or voluntary assisted dying – it’s 'religionism'. And it is the resurgence of puritanical fundamentalism (within various Christian denominations) that is subverting the progressive worldview of 'enlightened religious moderates'." (10 Jul 2022)
Read more at the AIMN

Nilay SaiyaWhy Christian nationalism is a global problem: "At its core, Christian nationalism is a political ideology that advocates for the fusion of a particular form of Christianity and a country’s civic and political life, and for a privileged place for Christianity in the public realm. This theology is at once both descriptive and prescriptive: Christian nationalists believe that their countries are defined by Christianity and that their governments and citizens should take steps to keep it that way. In the case of the Capitol insurrection, the rioters were literally trying to take back their country for God." (11 Jul 2022)
Read more at ABC Religion & Ethics

Paul Heywood-SmithSouth Australia and antisemitism: "On Wednesday last, 6 July, an event occurred in South Australia which I expect has not received much airplay in other States. That event gives a pretty clear indication that my fears that the ALP would so “tow the line” were well founded. The event to which I refer was a vote in the Legislative Council upon a motion put forward by One Nation MLC Sarah Game, to officially adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism. Readers may be aware that this definition, advanced by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, has received criticism worldwide as having the effect of, and intending to, censor criticism of Zionism and of Israel and its policies appertaining to Palestinians." (12 Jul 2022)
Read more at Pearls and Irritations

Kate Gleeson, Robert Ross and Shaun WilsonAustralians reject discrimination that is based on religious belief: new research: "Since the change of government at the May federal election, the fate of the contentious religious discrimination legislation remains unclear. There is bipartisan consensus that Commonwealth legislation should protect individuals of different faiths from discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere. But Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has not committed to a timeline to enact any new legislation. His government has also stepped away from controversial areas of this policy promoted under the Morrison government that focused on 'religious freedoms'. The new government may be closer to the public mood." (15 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Conversation

Sophie Black'It was very traumatic for her': how conscientious objection hinders women’s access to abortion: "For women in certain parts of Queensland seeking an abortion, Nicole Huig knows how much can’t be taken for granted. If you live on the wrong side of the river or town, she says, “your access is completely different”. But cost and postcode aren’t the only barriers. Huig says conscientious objection (CO) – the legal right of doctors to refuse to perform abortion – has created real and widespread access issues for women across the state. And for one woman, it had particularly catastrophic consequences. (16 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Guardian

Events and Campaigns

A new petition from the RSA is aiming to build enough momentum before the federal parliament resumes to put the issue of Christian prayer rituals on the agenda of newly elected representatives heading to Canberra. Sign the petition here.

A petition currently running on change.org calls for private schools to pay back their unnecessary Jobkeeper payments. View the petition 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.

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 attorney@ag.gov.au.

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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