Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 17 October 2021, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.
At the National Level
An international definition of antisemitism is to be formally endorsed by the Australian government, which will, according to some Jewish advocacy groups, help stop hate speech and violence. (The Guardian)
Public backlash and government intervention has led the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils to cancel plans to host two members of the Taliban in an online forum for the Australian Muslim community. (The West Australian)
The recent growth in adults walking away from their childhood faith and raising their own children without religion will drive the continued decline in religion over the long term, says a new report into religiosity in Australia. (RSA)
A private school linked to the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, a group once described as an “extremist cult” by former prime minister Kevin Rudd, has received an estimated $9 million in JobKeeper payments. (SMH)
Around the Country
WA: The McGowan Government has passed legislation to extend mandatory reporting requirements to ministers of religion, early childhood workers, out-of-home care workers, registered psychologists, school counsellors and youth justice workers. (WA Government)
NSW: Liberal MP and VAD bill co-sponsor Leslie Williams says that the multi partisan support across parliament for the NSW VAD legislation was an acknowledgement that it was a human rights issue that transcended politics. (ABC News)
NSW: In the face of legalised VAD, it's reported that data from the National Coronial Information System shows that in 2019 there were 495 deaths reported to the NSW Coroner where a person died as a result of an act of intentional self-harm. (SMH)
NSW: Australia’s largest Catholic health and aged care organisation is lobbying NSW MPs to oppose voluntary assisted dying, with a concerted push to stop NSW becoming the final state in the country to legalise euthanasia. (SMH)
VIC: The Rationalist Society of Australia is urging the Andrews government to commit to providing “secular” and “qualified” youth workers for Victorian schoolchildren in addition to its pledge to boost mental health services. (RSA)
SA: The ACL's Christopher Brohier noted that proposed changes to the Equal Opportunity Act in South Australia, which would potentially have affected the airing of religious-based views on gender, have been shelved. (ACL)
Commentary and Analysis
Austin Stevenson opines that if Christians come to be seen as people who think the rules don’t apply to them, or as people for whom the well-being of the wider community is irrelevant, tolerance for their beliefs is likely to wane. (ABC)
Events and Advisories
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up to the #DontDivideUs campaign currently being run by a group of pro-secular groups including the NSL, to act against the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill.
Dying With Dignity NSW are petitioning the NSW Parliament to work together to deliver voluntary assisted dying laws in 2021.
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.