Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 25 July 2021, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.
Don’t forget that the Weekend Wrap, which aims to help secular-minded Australians keep abreast of the latest news on current issues, is also published on our Facebook page!
At the National Level
A group of Liberal MPs has warned Attorney-General Michaelia Cash that several parts of the draft Religious Discrimination Bill are unacceptable to them, including the so-called “Israel Folau law” that would give legal protection to “statements of belief” made in the name of religion. (The Age)
Liberal MP Dave Sharma says that while he supports a law that protects people from discrimination on the basis of their religious beliefs, it cannot be at the expense of the LGBTQI+ community. (Star Observer)
Leading Australian charities, including several faith-based groups, have asked the United Nations to urgently intervene against plans by the Morrison government to shut down organisations engaging in advocacy. (AFR)
Doctors who give advice on voluntary assisted dying to terminally ill patients over the phone or internet may remain at risk of federal prosecution unless the Commonwealth amends its legislation which prohibits “inciting or counselling” suicide over the phone or internet. (The Australian)
Suicide prevention advocates have rejected the idea that Christian TV is stopping suicides in areas of outback Australia, after the company claimed that "there has not been one suicide in any community that we have installed." (ABC News)
Around the Country
NSW: MPs from across the political divide, including the Nationals, Labor, Greens and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, have confirmed they will support a voluntary assisted dying bill when it is introduced to NSW Parliament. (SMH)
NSW: A draft bill to legalise euthanasia in NSW could spark a civil war in the coalition when parliament returns. Conservative Liberals have demanded Premier Gladys Berejiklian rule out a conscience vote on the issue. (Daily Telegraph)
NSW: MPs opposed to voluntary euthanasia say they are not satisfied with the “conservative” safeguards in Alex Greenwich’s bill and have warned its passage is not a fait accompli, vowing to marshall a wall of opposition across suburban Sydney. (The Age)
QLD: Christian extremists have succeeded in blocking free speech and religious freedom, with the Noosa council rejecting the Noosa Temple of Satan's application to use a council-owned venue for their upcoming Black Mass, due to security concerns. (Noosa Temple of Satan)
QLD: A March for Life in Brisbane on August 28 aims to rally public opposition against euthanasia just days before Queensland’s parliament starts debating a Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill. Cherish Life is organising the event as a final push to persuade Queensland MPs against supporting the Bill. (The Catholic Leader)
QLD: The Noosa Temple of Satan has challenged a Queensland Education Department decision in the Supreme Court after being refused access into Queensland state schools to teach religious instruction classes. (Brisbane Times)
NSW: Survivors of institutional child abuse will be able to overturn unfair settlements and pursue much higher child abuse compensation under new laws before the NSW parliament. (Stacks Law - one we missed from last week)
WA: Federal Assistant Attorney General Amanda Stoker has described the WA government’s approach to the Australian Christian Lobby as “enormously dangerous”. The lobby group had been denied access to government operated venues for it’s The Truth of It national tour, until the Perth Theatre Trust reversed it’s decision and allowed the events to proceed. (Out in Perth)
QLD: The Noosa Temple of Satan have launched a petition taking aim at the Australian Parliament’s "exclusionary" opening Christian prayers, ahead of the Morrison Government introducing the Religious Discrimination Bill. (Q News)
VIC: A bid by Boroondara councillor Victor Franco to dump the prayer from their council meetings was rejected last month, with one councillor saying the municipality was “a largely Christian community”. However, other councillors have stated that the prayer is "uncomfortable for non-religious residents, as well as being divisive, disrespectful and probably illegal." (Herald Sun)
Commentary and Analysis
Christopher Hartney, Lecturer of Religion at the University of Sydney, posits that universities are killing the critical study of religion, and it will only make campuses more religious. (The Conversation)
Events and Advisories
Sign up to the Census21 - Not Religious? Mark 'No Religion' campaign (in which the NSL is involved) to learn more about the census's role in inflating the religiosity figure in Australia.
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 Noosa Temple of Satan is currently running a federal parliamentary petition to remove Christian prayers from parliament. The practice of reciting an exclusively Christian prayer discriminates against non-Christians. Related article
The Rationalist Society of Australia are running a webinar with Michael Dove, leader of the Census21 campaign, on 28th July, to present on how Aussies will have greater freedom in answering the religion question at next month’s census.