Weekend Wrap for 21 November 2021

Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 21 November 2021, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.

At the National Level

Religious discrimination laws edge closer as the Morrison government is expected to bring its religious discrimination laws to parliament as early as next week. (Perth Now)

A divisive draft law to enshrine religious freedom has been scaled back to prevent a backlash over a so-called “Folau clause” that sought to give people more right to offend others when making claims on the basis of their faith. (SMH)

The Coalition has radically revised its proposed religious discrimination bill, scrapping the so-called Folau clause and removing the ability for health providers to refuse treatment on the basis of “conscientious objection”. (The Guardian)

Attorney General Michaelia Cash has requested “detailed drafting” from the Australian Law Reform Commission to ensure children are not discriminated against in faith-based schools, as the government pushes ahead with its revised religious discrimination laws. (The Guardian)

Doctors have called for a halt to draft federal laws to enshrine religious freedom out of concern the changes would curb access to health services for women and compound discrimination against gay and lesbian Australians. (SMH)

A long-promised religious discrimination bill is back on the agenda but government MPs are uncertain whether it will get through their party room, let alone Parliament. (SMH)

Moderates and conservatives are still threatening to cross the floor over compromise draft legislation after Michaelia Cash briefs government MPs. (The Guardian)

The Coalition’s religious discrimination bill could strip states of the power to regulate religious institutions’ hiring practices, equality advocates and the Independent Education Union have warned. (The Guardian)

Education minister says revised bill protects ‘critical right’ of schools to employ people of same religion. (The Guardian)

The Australian Christian Lobby’s National Director for politics, Wendy Francis, says the Morrison government has taken “a better than nothing” approach to the Religious Discrimination Bill. (Eternity News)

The LGBTI community in Australia is "looking on with concern" as the government gets ready to unveil its Religious Discrimination Bill in Parliament next week. (Star Observer)

Around the Country

Commentary and Analysis

Michelle Grattan writes on Scott Morrison prioritising the Religious Discrimination Bill over a national integrity commission. (The Conversation)

David Marr: The church has always been in the business of shame – now it wants a law to protect its nastiness. (The Guardian)

Josh Butler gives a round-up on the Religious Discrimination Bill: What is the RDB and why are both sides angry about it? (New Daily)

David Crowe considers the secrecy around the upcoming Religious Discrimination Bill. (SMH)

Alastair Lawrie, policy manager at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, writes that despite the removal of the "Folau clause", the RDB still undermines the rights of many. (SMH)

Mark Sneddon writes that Victoria will severely limit the freedoms of religious bodies and education institutions by reducing the scope of "good discrimination". (Eternity News)

Ed Raftery on NSW's VAD debate: "I’m 95 today - and I don’t need a youngster like our Premier telling me how I may die." (SMH)

Michael MacKay accuses NSW politicians of ignoring the long-term effects of One Nation's Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill on LGBTI kids. (Star Observer)

John Steenhof from the Christian legal organisation Human Rights Law Alliance writes that the RDB is a "largely unremarkable bill will extend protection to religious belief that other attributes such as sex, race and sexuality have enjoyed for many decades." (SMH)

An editorial from Catholic Weekly looks at the VAD laws currently before NSW parliament.

Thorwald Lorenzen writes that the move by Baptists in NSW/ACT to disassociate churches and pastors who welcome married gay people is based on a misuse of scripture. (Pearls and Irritations)

Events and Advisories

Sign up for a webinar presented by the Rationalist Society of Australia on 24 November -- guest speakers Dr Nick Carr and Penny Hackett will present on the journey of reform since the Victorian parliament legalised VAD in 2017 and on the path ahead, with final hurdles remaining in New South Wales and the territories.

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.

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