Weekend Wrap for 21 August 2022

In a week of news dominated by revelations of Scott Morrison's multiple secret ministry appointments and the splitting of the Anglican Church in Australia, we acknowledge the passing of VAD activist Tanya Battel and welcome you to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 21 August 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

A man who was sexually abused at a Christian Brothers school in the 1970s says his bid for compensation was almost thwarted by lawyers for the religious order, who incorrectly claimed two key witnesses in the case were dead. Even though the institution was the defendant in the matter and would be required to pay if his case succeeded, he was forced to trust that the Christian Brothers, and their legal team, would make the utmost effort to find the witnesses. The case raises a 'fundamental flaw' in historical abuse redress. (13 Aug 2022)
Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald

Australia’s Anglican church has split, and conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage have launched a breakaway movement led by former Sydney archbishop Glenn Davies aiming to lure Anglicans who are unhappy with progressive bishops. The Diocese of the Southern Cross was formally launched in Canberra on Sunday. The first service was led by a rebel minister who resigned from the liberal Brisbane Archdiocese because he “cannot go along with same-sex blessings”. (17 Aug 2022)
Read more at The Age

Progressive Anglicans say they are “devastated” by a historic split in their church triggered by intractable divisions over same-sex marriage, and question whether a breakaway group can still consider itself Anglican. Peter Stuart, the Bishop of Newcastle, apologised to the LGBTQI community. “I am sorry for the pain that you endure too often when Anglicans speak,” he said. North Queensland Bishop Keith Joseph described the split as an “error”. (18 Aug 2022)
Read more at The Age

Around the Country

WA: TransFolk of WA have received $300,000 in funding to deliver support services for transgender, non-binary and gender diverse young people. Announcing the funding the government highlighted that transgender, non-binary and gender diverse young people are at greater risk of mental health issues, including self-harm and suicide, than their cis-gendered youth. (15 Aug 2022)
Read more at Out in Perth

VIC: Reason Party leader Fiona Patten and a moderate Liberal fear a group of new religious conservative candidates likely to be elected at the November state election could block expanded reproductive rights for women and potentially wind back euthanasia laws. (17 Aug 2022)
Read more at The Age

NSW: Yeshiva College, a Jewish school in Sydney, is being forced to shut down because an inspector found it to be non-compliant with some of its registration requirements, including those in relation to governance, curriculum and child protection standards. Yeshiva Bondi was one of the Chabad institutions whose history of failing to protect children from sexual abuse was laid bare at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. (17 Aug 2022)
Read more at The Jerusalem Post

WA: Western Australia’s anti-discrimination laws are set for a major overhaul with McGowan Government announcing it will broadly support a raft of recommendations for change. In 2019, the Attorney General asked the LRCWA to provide advice and recommendations to Government on possible amendments to enhance and update the Act. The Law Reform Commission of Western Australia’s (LRCWA) final report makes 163 recommendations to make the State’s anti-discrimination laws fair and effective. (17 Aug 2022)
Read more at Out in Perth

VIC: A Melbourne secondary school is refusing to screen a year 12 student’s film about same-sex attraction because it is not in line with Catholic values. Paul Allwood said his daughter, Tayler, was distraught that the film she had “poured her heart and soul into” would not be shown in its entirety at an end-of-year school function. (18 Aug 2022)
Read more at The Age

Commentary and Analysis

Kim RubensteinIt’s time to give the ACT and NT stronger voices in parliament: "With more independents, women, Indigenous Australians and MPs from a multicultural background than ever before, federal parliament seems ready to deal with issues that have been lying dormant for years. And one of these – highlighted by the heavily contested Senate race in the national capital in May – is the right of the ACT (and the Northern Territory) to enact their own voluntary assisted dying legislation." (15 Aug 2022)
Read more at The Conversation

David HardakerHillsong whistleblower: more secrets emerge from the Till on the Hill: "Whistleblower Natalie Moses has filed court documents involving the flow of millions of dollars between Hillsong Church entities." (15 Aug 2022)
Read more at Crikey (Paywalled)

Steve Offner, Kiki Paul and Andrew Denton – Vale Tanya Battel: "Tanya Battel – once, rightly, dubbed a ‘superstar VAD advocate’ – ended her life, on her own terms, in Switzerland, last week. The roll call of those who have made Voluntary Assisted Dying possible across Australia is long and filled with names worthy of note. But a special place is reserved for those who campaigned as they were dying, even when they knew that the law they were fighting for was unlikely to benefit them. Tanya sits at the very forefront of that group." (17 Aug 2022)
Read more at Go Gentle Australia

Paul GregoireReason Party’s Fiona Patten on Public Religious Hospitals Denying Abortion in Victoria, Which Andrews Will Continue: "The Victorian government voted down Reason MLC Fiona Patten’s legislation that aimed to prevent denominational hospitals, or publicly funded Catholic hospitals, from denying patients certain legally sanctioned procedures due to the religious doctrine the institution adheres to. The Health Legislation Amendment (Conscientious Objection) Bill 2022 had sought to prevent publicly funded religious hospitals from placing blanket bans on the provision of certain procedures and services, and it came up for debate in the Victoria upper house on Wednesday." (17 Aug 2022)
Read more at Sydney Criminal Lawyers

Matthew AnsteyAnglican schism: how dare these fundamentalist defectors question our faith: "This week, in an unprecedented act of schism, a disaffected group of Anglicans has departed to form a new “diocese of the Southern Cross”. The diocese, part of “a family of new Anglican churches”, will be under the leadership of Bishop Glenn Davies, previously archbishop of the Sydney Anglican Diocese." (18 Aug 2022)
Read more at The Age

Renae BarkerHow same-sex marriage finally fractured the Australian Anglican Church: What’s behind the creation of the Diocese of the Southern Cross?: "What’s going on? This is the questions that I have been asked time and time again this week as news of the split within the Australian Anglican Church reached Anglicans and non-Anglicans alike. The creation of the Diocese of the Southern Cross, led by those that oppose the blessing of same-sex marriages, has caused confusion and distress across the Church and beyond." (19 Aug 2022)
Read more at ABC Religion & Ethics

Sonia HickeyAnglican Church Accused of Using Taxpayer Funds to Pay Child Sexual Abuse Claims: "The Anglican Church has been accused of using taxpayer funds earmarked for aged care to meet its legal liability for historical child sexual abuse. In 2016, the Anglican Church Sydney Diocese shifted all of its historical child sex abuse liabilities into Anglicare as part of an internal restructure, when it created Anglicare Sydney by merging two entities – Anglican Retirement Villages and the Sydney Anglican Home Mission Society. The Church’s stated reason for the move was that it would provide the organisation with more “scale” in the aged care sector. However, the effect also enable the organisation to shift millions of dollars in liability for historical child sexual abuse away from Church and to the Aged Care arm of the organisation." (19 Aug 2022)
Read more at Sydney Criminal Lawyers

Jordan Baker‘It’s a sin’: How sex and women split the Anglican church: "Anglicanism owes its beginnings, in part, to a schism over marriage between Henry VIII and the Catholic Pope. Marriage has now split the modern church. Some, like Palmer, believe the Bible is clear that a godly union can only be between a man and a woman, and there should be abstinence outside it. Others disagree, saying the scriptures are far from definitive. Many Australian dioceses are erring on the side of theological caution, and not blessing same-sex unions. The debate has caused deep distress for gay Christians who want their love acknowledged." (19 Aug 2022)
Read more at The Age

Jason Fang'Forget about your worries or dying': As Christianity rapidly declines, these religions are growing faster than ever.: "According to the ABS, more than 2.5 million people — roughly 10 per cent of the population in 2021 — now report an affiliation with a minority religion. That’s an increase of 3.5 per cent over the last 25 years. Christianity, meanwhile, has dropped by more than 26 per cent in the same period, despite remaining the dominant religion." (20 Aug 2022)
Read more at ABC News

George BrowningThe Anglican breakaway ‘cult’ – a swan that quacks like a duck must be a duck: "In contemporary English, a cult is generally understood to mean a group committed to a particular or singular personality, ideology, or goal; one that distinguishes them from mainstream practice or belief. The recently announced ʹDiocese of the Southern Crossʹ sadly fits this description, notwithstanding their cries to the contrary and their claim to be ʹAnglicanʹ. Given the respect in which I have previously held its main instigator, Bishop Glen Davies, it grieves me to say so, knowing as I do that ʹcultʹ carries with it pejorative connotations." (20 Aug 2022)
Read more at Pearls and Irritations

Santilla ChingaipeThe rise of far-right Hindu nationalism in Australia: "Far-right Indian nationalism is spilling into Australia, with sections of the Indian diaspora responsible for hate crimes against Sikhs and Muslims. Political leaders are being asked to be more aware of the danger." (20 Aug 2022)
Read more at The Saturday Paper

Events and Campaigns

Humanists Australia have launched a Change.org petition calling for full separation of church and state in Australia. View and sign here.

The RSA will be hosting a webinar with Michael Dove, spokesperson for the ‘Census21 – Not Religious?’ campaign, and Neil Francis, author of the ‘Religiosity in Australia’ research series. Learn more and register here.

Victorians, Fiona Patten's Reason party is calling for you to support the idea that no publicly funded hospital should refuse the right to contraception or abortion. They are hosting a tool which makes it easy for you to email your MPs here.

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.

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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