Weekend Wrap for 27 July 2019

With right-to-die advocate Philip Nitschke touring Australia and debate heating up in Western Australia, there has been plenty of news on voluntary assisted dying in the past week. Plus, this Weekend Wrap also has news and commentary on the federal government’s religious freedom push.

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The National View

Attorney-General Christian Porter has said that religious freedom legislation to be put to parliament would be “orthodox” in following the architecture of existing discrimination bills, while providing avenues for people in similar circumstances to Israel Folau (AFR).

In deciding whether to support government legislation, new Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has said that Labor would decide based on “policy integrity rather than opposition for opposition’s sake”, but insists the party would provide a progressive alternative (The Guardian).

Equality advocates are warning that the government’s religious freedom laws would, in an act of payback for the same-sex marriage plebiscite, re-insert the traditional ‘man/woman’ definition of marriage into federal legislation (The Age).

Led by LGBTIQ activist Rodney Croome and Father Rod Bower, protesters will take to the streets in Sydney in early August against the government’s proposed religious freedom legislation, concerned that the new laws will further entrench discrimination (Sydney Criminal Lawyers).

Philip Nitschke has claimed that police are targeting members of his euthanasia group Exit International over illegally imported euthanasia drugs, with home raids taking place in the past two weeks (7 News).

Around the Country

QLD: Dr Nitschke drew large crowds on the Gold Coast as he unveiled his ‘suicide pod’ and embarked on a national tour of workshops to update people on the latest technologies providing end-of-life options (9 News).

VIC: The state’s Department of Health says the new voluntary assisted dying laws are ‘working’, as the first permit is issued to a terminally ill patient (The Guardian).

WA: Liberals will this weekend debate proposals to put off the state’s proposed voluntary assisted dying legislation, with calls among members for the party to pursue a four-year moratorium on the introduction of the bill to allow time to scrutinise the impact of similar laws, such as those introduced in Victoria (7 News).

Commentary and Analysis

Andre Gadne explores how the Christian right, a coalition mainly comprised of evangelicals and conservative Catholics and Protestants, is aiming to transform Western societies (The Conversation).

Reverend David Baker argues that keeping religious instruction in schools allows children to “explore questions of life, meaning, purpose, how they live with one another, how they care for creation” (Sky News).

Philosophy teacher and ethicist Chris Fotinopoulos urges Queensland’s politicians to follow the lead of their counterparts in Victoria and provide human end-of-life options to prevent the state’s elderly and terminally ill from having to resort to violent means to end their own suffering (Brisbane Times).

Katrina Grace Kelly criticises those who seek to draw parallels between the Folau case and the recent case of a university student in the United Kingdom, and argues that the Folau case carries the risk of alienating Australians from Christianity (The Australian).

A powerful letter to the editor address the creeping theocracy in Australia (AFR).

That's it for another week!

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