Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 24 October 2021, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.
At the National Level
A private school linked to the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, a group once described as an “extremist cult” by former prime minister Kevin Rudd, has received an estimated $9 million in JobKeeper payments. (SMH)
The federal Education Minister has pushed for further changes to the national curriculum, labelling a draft as painting a negative view of Western history, saying “It almost erased Christianity from our past, despite it being the single most important influence on our modern development." (The New Daily)
Leaders of several Australian denominations have added their voices to those calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to secure a deal to take a strong emissions reduction target to the upcoming United Nations climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow. (Eternity News)
Prominent euthanasia advocate Rodney Syme, who died this week, has been remembered as compassionate and fearless man who spent decades fighting for the right for terminally ill people dying intolerable deaths to end their own lives. (SMH)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison pledged to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism in a video address last Wednesday night. But the Greens, New Israel Fund and Australian Jewish Democratic Society have all spoken out against its adoption. (Australian Jewish News)
Australia Post has changed the description of one of its mailing destinations from “Palestinian Territory, Occupied” to “Palestinian Territories” after an approach by AJN and others, relaying Jewish community concerns about the name. (Australian Jewish News)
Around the Country
NSW: Voluntary assisted dying will not go to a final vote in NSW until next year after the state government and Labor agreed to send the bill to an upper house inquiry, delaying any potential reform for months. (The Age)
NSW: Catholic Health Australia has stepped up its opposition to NSW’s assisted dying legislation with a campaign calling for better access to palliative care instead of assisted dying. (Catholic Weekly)
QLD: The Queensland Human Rights Commission has elevated concerns about religious-based discrimination in the school chaplaincy program with the state’s education department, confirming that it had held face-to-face discussions with staff from the Queensland Department of Education on the matter. (RSA)
VIC: An online meeting of Victorian Coalition MPs spiralled into a heated argument after some members furiously rejected a shadow minister’s promise that the Opposition Party would not alter the Dan Andrews government’s law banning so-called gay conversion therapy. (SMH)
TAS: Hobart City Council has received criticism from a number of trans rights advocates after it was revealed that Women Speak Tasmania, a group that likens the transgender community to a “cult” and a “social contagion”, have booked Hobart Town Hall for a public forum. (Star Observer)
WA: The Western Australian Supreme Court recently ruled against the parents of a trans boy who were accused of verbally and “emotionally abusing” their child. The parents lost their appeal to regain custody. (Star Observer)
SA: The Australian Christian Lobby report that of the submissions to the Select Committee on the Statures Amendment (Repeal of Sex Work Offences) Bill 2020, 64 were in support of the bill and 75 were against. (ACL)
Commentary and Analysis
Stuart Rees writes that in a surprise move, the NSW Labor Party recently adopted a controversial definition of anti-Semitism without open debate after some last-minute changes to the agenda. (Pearls and Irritations)
Paul Daley says of Dominic Perrottet, We know where [he] stands – but is he pragmatic enough to be popular? The new NSW premier will need to govern from the centre and avoid the pitfalls of ideology, both moral and economic." (The Guardian)
Events and Advisories
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dying With Dignity NSW are petitioning the NSW Parliament to work together to deliver voluntary assisted dying laws.
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.