The Queensland Premier has put the voluntary assisted dying issue centre stage for the state election. Catch up on that and more news and views on secular matters from the past week in the latest Weekend Wrap.
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
In an address to the National Prayer Breakfast, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that this year he had discovered “what a big faith Australians have” (Eternity News).
Cardinal George Pell met with Pope Francis in a “very warm and cordial” meeting for 30 minutes at the Vatican, just days after Pell’s return (Catholic Weekly).
Volunteers for the Australian Christian Lobby have made thousands of phone calls to Queenslanders to urge them to support pro-life candidates at the upcoming state election, while also “leaving messages” with Dan Andrews’ office demanding the re-opening of churches in parts of Victoria (ACL).
The Federal Court has dismissed former federal Labor MP Melissa Parke's defamation case against federal Liberal MP Dave Sharma, which she launched after he accused her of antisemitism (Australian Jewish News).
Around the Country
QLD: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has pledged that voluntary assisted dying legislation would be introduced into the state parliament in February if Labor were re-elected (News).
QLD: An LNP candidate running in a marginal seat has flagged her intention to exercise her conscience vote on voluntary assisted dying if elected to parliament, having watched someone close to her die a “very long painful death” (Townsville Bulletin, paywalled).
TAS: Speaking on radio, Independent MLC Mike Gaffney said he remained confident that the state parliament would reach consensus on his proposed voluntary assisted dying legislation, despite the bill making slow progress in the committee stage (Tasmania Talks).
VIC: Members of an Orthodox Jewish group have confronted a man who filmed them leaving their religious gathering in Melbourne, with the man accusing them of breaking COVID-19 restrictions (Australian Jewish News).
VIC: More than 10,000 people have signed a petition organised by lay Catholics calling for Premier Daniel Andrews “to end discrimination” against them in the state’s plan for reopening after the lockdown (Catholic Weekly).
SA: The Liberal government has introduced to parliament a bill to remove abortion from criminal law and treat it only as a health issue, which would bring South Australian abortion laws into line with the rest of Australia (SBS).
SA: The Australian Christian Lobby is encouraging members of the state parliament to exercise their conscience and oppose what it describes as an “abortion-to-birth” bill.
SA: Catholic Church leaders have expressed their concern over the Termination of Pregnancy Bill introduced to the state’s parliament, arguing that the removal of current safeguards would further increase the rate of abortion on demand (CathNews).
QLD: The Catholic education sector has welcomed an election commitment by the Palaszczuk government to provide a share of $180 million additional funds destined for capital projects in non-government schools (CathNews).
WA: In a letter to Premier Mark McGowan, the Australian Christian Lobby has argued that LotteryWest’s decision to reject Margaret Court’s application for funding based on the pastor’s biblical views of marriage was in breach of the Equal Opportunity Act (ACL).
Commentary and Analysis
Associate editor of the Courier-Mail Kylie Lang writes that Queensland’s politicians need to stop stalling on voluntary assisted dying and give terminally ill people the right to die with dignity (Courier-Mail, paywalled).
Ben Smee takes a look at the divide in the Queensland Liberal-National Party and why pressure from religious conservatives is forcing Deb Frecklington into silence on issues such as abortion (The Guardian).
NSL ambassador David Zyngier joins Mandie Shean on ABC Sydney to discuss the Chaplaincy Program (NSL/ABC Radio).