In a week dominated by news from Ukraine, we welcome you to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 27 February 2022, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.
At the National Level
Australia has recorded its most significant shift in school enrolments since 2008 — with 6,388 fewer Australian students in the public system in 2021 — meaning there will be less funding for state schools while private (mostly religious) schools will see a windfall. (23 Feb 2022)
Read more at ABC News
Author, columnist and NSL ambassador Jane Caro is running for the Senate at the forthcoming Federal election as a candidate for the Reason Party, on a platform of 'evidence-based, secular government policy'. (25 Feb 2022)
Read more at Women's Agenda
Around the Country
NSW: The Rationalist Society of Australia state that the people of New South Wales deserve to have the same access to voluntary assisted dying (VAD) laws as Australians in other states. (20 Feb 2022)
Read more at the RSA
NSW: The state is one step closer to banning the Nazi swastika, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) CEO Darren Bark declared, after a parliamentary committee recommended a bill to outlaw the Nazi symbol proceed for debate. (22 Feb 2022)
Read more at The Australian Jewish News
NSW: Fred Nile's Christian Democratic Party (CDP) has found an unlikely saviour in John Ferguson, a lawyer who may have found a way forward for the Party. The Party has been described as “incapable of governing itself’” by two judges of the NSW Supreme Court during a series of hearings since May last year. (23 Feb 2022)
Read more at Eternity News
NSW: One Nation MP Mark Latham's attempts to bring in a Religious Freedom bill in New South Wales came to a sudden halt this week when he failed to garner any support for it. The Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms and Equity) Bill failed to get enough support for a second reading, being voted down 29-4. (26 Feb 2022)
Read more at Out in Perth
Commentary and Analysis
Julian Leeser: A supporter of the proposed Religious Discrimination laws, Liberal backbencher Julian Leeser explains his position. (20 Feb 2022)
Read more at The Catholic Weekly
Bilal Cleland: "Australia's Muslim community has endured much vilification over the years, continued in Scott Morrison's Religious Discrimination Bill." (21 Feb 2022)
Read more at Independent Australia
Rodney Croome: "What a relief it was when the Morrison government withdrew its appalling Religious Discrimination Bill. If the Bill had gone through the Senate in the same shape it came out of the Lower House it would have been a disaster for Tasmania." (22 Feb 2022)
Read more at The Advocate
John Sandeman: "Most schools (religious included) want to make all students welcome. Hanging on to an expansive set of rights for schools to only have Christian students or Christian-like students might not have been a sensible 'hill to die on'." (22 Feb 2022)
Read more at Eternity News
Rev Josephine Inkpin, the first transgender minister appointed in a mainstream church, speaks to The Guardian's Full Story. As debate over the religious discrimination bill – and the right for religious schools to expel transgender kids – reaches fever pitch, Rev Inkpin speaks to Laura Murphy-Oates about breaking ground, hope and why the battle for inclusion isn’t over. (23 Feb 2022)
Listen at The Guardian
Peter FitzSimons: On Liberal Tasmanian senator Claire Chandler's trans sports bill: "For me, Prime Minister Morrison and Senator Chandler’s move feels much like the ludicrous Religious Discrimination bill did – throwing red meat to their political base to fire them up, rather than actually setting out to solve a serious problem." (23 Feb 2022)
Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald
Dawn Lo: Religion vs. human rights: Should the law put one before the other? An international human rights expert addresses whether an amendment to the Sex Discrimination Act is a threat to religious freedom. (25 Feb 2022)
Read more at the UNSW Newsroom
Events and Campaigns
In this RSA webinar, educational psychologist Dr Marilyn Campbell from the Queensland University of Technology speaks about mental health provisions for children in schools and the role that religious school chaplains plays in it.
Watch the online launch of the new Fusion party, formed by a merger of the Secular Party, Science Party, Pirate Party, Australian Climate Change Justice Party and Vote Planet.
A change.org petition is currently calling on the federal government to fund youth workers rather faith-based chaplains in our public schools.
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.