Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 26 September 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
Two online petitions opposing COVID-19 rules on religious grounds have garnered signatures from more than a thousand religious leaders from Hillsong, Baptist, Lutheran and other churches, as well as contributions from right-wing politicians such as George Christensen and Mark Latham. (The Guardian)
Regional Australians will have better access to voluntary euthanasia under a Queensland-led push to overhaul commonwealth law that bans doctors from “inciting or counselling” suicide over the phone or internet. (The Australian; Paywalled)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated in a letter to the Rationalist Society of Australia that his proposed Religious Discrimination Bill would seek to provide the same protections for religious belief and activity as other attributes, such as race, age and sex. (RSA)
Around the Country
NSW: The NSW Supreme Court has rejected an attempt by the Catholic church to stop a sexual abuse survivor suing it over the childhood abuse she suffered at the hands of a parish priest, despite its own records showing it knew the man was a paedophile but did nothing other than move him from parish to parish. (The Guardian)
WA: The former Anglican Archbishop of Perth Roger Herft elected not to appear in front of a church standards board which could defrock the priest over findings from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse. (WA Today)
VIC: The Melbourne diocese of the Anglican church received almost $16m in jobkeeper subsidies in 2020, enough to clear its estimated sexual abuse compensation bill of $14.3m, accounts filed with the charities regulator show. (The Guardian)
QLD: Queensland's members of parliament voted emphatically to legalise euthanasia last week, reflecting public opinion, but "without heeding Church, medical and ethical advice that it signals a life-or-death societal shift". (The Catholic Leader)
QLD: The Rationalist Society of Australia is seeking ministerial support from within the Queensland government to see that religious-based discrimination is finally removed from the chaplaincy program in the public school system. (RSA)
Commentary and Analysis
Paul Gregoire writes on the amendments to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 being introduced in NSW, so that religion will be an attribute protected against discriminatory behaviour -- and the fact that these laws are being modelled upon a piece of legislation drafted by One Nation Party NSW leader Mark Latham. (Sydney Criminal Lawyers)
Events and Advisories
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.