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
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)
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)
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)
Around the Country
NSW: Sydney MP Alex Greenwich says his voluntary assisted dying bill has the support to pass the lower house as Treasurer Matt Kean commits to voting for it despite his strong Catholic faith. (The Age)
VIC: The Catholic school system is urging families to lobby against the Victorian government’s plans to prohibit faith-based schools from sacking or refusing to hire teachers or enrol students based on their sexuality or gender identity. (SMH)
WA: The state government has intervened in the case of independent Catholic Divine Mercy College after its principal stated he would rather close the school down than comply with the state's vaccine mandate. (The Mercury)
Commentary and Analysis
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)
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 email@example.com.
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.