Weekend Wrap for 19 December 2021

Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 19 December 2021, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.

This is our last Wrap for 2021 before we take a break over the Christmas and New Year period. We hope you'll re-join us again in a few weeks' time.

In the mean time, we will continue to be active on social media.

Don't forget to make submissions to the two parliamentary inquiries on the Religious Discrimination Bill!

The NSL is part of the #DontDivideUs campaign against the Religious Discrimination Bill. Learn more about the campaign here and please consider making a donation to support it if you are able.

At the National Level

Religious Australians will be given greater freedom of speech than non-religious expressions of conscience under the Coalition’s bill, leading academic Prof George Williams has warned. (The Guardian)

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash has cast doubt on any deals with moderate Liberals to fast-track protections for gay students alongside the religious discrimination bill, and instead re-committed to a year-long review process. (The Age)

The headmaster at Melbourne’s Bialik College, a Jewish co-ed day school in Hawthorn, believes the arguments made by faith groups in favour of keeping the laws carry echoes of the arguments made during America’s segregationist Jim Crow and civil rights era, saying that "History won’t judge [them] kindly". (The Age)

Michaelia Cash appears to have reneged on a deal with Liberal moderates on religious discrimination, revealing broad protections for LGBTQ+ students will have to wait for 12 months. (The Guardian)

Just.Equal Australia and PFLAG Australia have called on supporters of LGBTIQ+ equality to join the campaign against the Religious Discrimination Bill by sending submissions to the two current inquiries into the Bill. The two groups have partnered to establish the Equality not Discrimination campaign website that allows opponents of the Religious Discrimination bill to send an email to both inquiries with the click of a button. (Out in Perth)

Eternity News reports on the appearance of Attorney-General Michaelia Cash in a Family Voice Australia webinar, and some of the statements she made on the Religious Discrimination Bill. (Eternity News)

Researchers find that religious Australians ‘recognise domestic violence as national issue, but not within their faith’, as national campaigns may fail to 'translate to acceptance of DV as an issue closer to home’. (The West Australian)

Around the Country

NSW: NSW schools across the public, independent and Catholic systems run dozens of mental health programs without any clear evidence they are effective, a new study shows. (SMH)

NSW: Catholic Weekly reports that around 50 religious leaders who gathered at Western Sydney University for the “Faith Leaders Climate Summit” with Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese were treated to a “soft campaign pitch to religious communities". (Catholic Weekly)

TASEquality advocates have called on party leaders to explain their stance on Tasmania’s “gold-standard” anti-discrimination protections. The Morrison Government’s Religious Discrimination Bill will override existing discrimination protections for many Tasmanians, and Labor leader Albanese has not committed his party to voting down this potential override of state legislation. (Out in Perth)

VIC: Victor Franco, a non-religious councillor in Boroondara who believes religion should be separate from the business of government is refusing to stand for the recital of Christian prayers at the opening of council meetings. (RSA)

WA: Former Anglican Church Archbishop of Perth Roger Herft has been defrocked following an internal inquiry which determined he had failed to address child sex abuse claims against priests under his watch when he was the Bishop of Newcastle. (SMH)

NSW: New South Wales this week became the first state or territory in Australia to officially adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. (AJN)

NSW: Excluding religious perspectives from the discussion over euthanasia is “rejecting the views of one of the chief providers of end-of-life care”, Archbishop Anthony Fisher told the NSW Standing Committee on Law and Justice. (Catholic Weekly)

Commentary and Analysis

Events and Advisories

Equality Australia are urging people to sign "The Peoples' Submission" against the Religious Discrimination Bill.

Just.Equal and PFLAG Australia are running a joint campaign against the Religious Discrimination Bill, including offering a tool to ease the task of making submissions to both parliamentary inquiries.

Just.Equal are running a campaign against the Religious Discrimination Bill. Use their tool to send emails to Labor MPs urging them to oppose the Bill.

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.

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!

Until next time, please follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

Don't forget to add your voice to the #DontDivideUs campaign against the Religious Discrimination Bill.

And if you are able, please consider making a small monthly contribution to the NSL to help us raise the secular profile in Australia. Every dollar helps!