Weekend Wrap for 27 March 2022

Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 27 March 2022, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.

Do you have any campaigns, petitions, webinars or other event notices that could be added to our "Events and Campaigns" segment? Let us know at wrap@nsl.org.au.

At the National Level

The interim global leader of Hillsong Church has apologised to two complainants after the church’s Australian founder, Brian Houston, was found to have engaged in behaviour that breached its moral code of conduct for pastors. (20 Mar 2022)
Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils has welcomed the Biden administration's declaration on Rohingya genocide and calls on Scott Morrison to follow suit for Australia. (22 Mar 2022)
Read more at the AFIC

The founder of global megachurch Hillsong, Brian Houston, has resigned after an internal investigation found he behaved inappropriately towards two women. (23 Mar 2022)
Watch at ABC News

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was “shocked and disappointed” that Hillsong global senior pastor Brian Houston had resigned from the church after he was found to have breached its moral code, but said he had not been a member of the church for 15 years. (24 Mar 2022)
Read more at The Age

Prime Minister Scott Morrison joins the growing chorus of Hillsong Church allies to distance themselves from founder Brian Houston following the announcement of his resignation. (24 Mar 2022)
Read more at ABC News

Senior Labor frontbencher and leading progressive Tanya Plibersek has described her Catholic upbringing as an influential force on her politics and said the party’s religious roots in social justice will guide a Labor government. (24 Mar 2022)
Read more at The Age

Compass: Beyond the Bill. The federal government’s contentious Religious Discrimination Bill is now suspended indefinitely, but the problem of competing freedoms remains. In this episode, Compass reveals the personal stories of those still affected - the human cost of the political warfare. (25 Mar 2022)
Watch at ABC

Around the Country

VIC: Melbourne City Council is looking for the “best way to consult LGBTQI communities on Council policies, plans and programs”. A motion at the council meeting also asked the management management to provide councillors with a briefing paper “about the purpose, scope and timing for a potential action plan addressing LGBTQI communities”. (20 Mar 2022)
Read more at the Star Observer

NSW: Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich’s push to legalise voluntary assisted dying could languish for months in the upper house as concerns rise that opponents will use delaying tactics to stall the laws from being debated. (21 Mar 2022)
Read more at The Age

QLD: LGBTQI advocacy group Just.Equal has said that schools should be stripped of public funding. “There comes a limit where taxpayers should no longer be expected to fund bigotry, and Citipointe has reached that limit.” (21 Mar 2022)
Read more at the Star Observer
Just.Equal's statement

SA: Federal Member for Barker, Tony Pasin, has suggested that amongst the reasons for the Liberal party's defeat in the recent state election were "decriminalising abortion" and the decision to "exclude Christians from the Liberal Party" (referring to a move to deny some applications from Pentecostal Christians to join the party in 2021). (21 Mar 2022)
Read more at ABC News

SA: The future of a club for pagans, witches and Satanists at the University of Adelaide is up in the air after a meeting on its registration was delayed by the body that decides on funding. "They tabled it on the basis that they are awaiting written complaints that don't exist yet," club president Ashley Towner says. (23 Mar 2022)
Read more at ABC News

QLD: Brisbane’s Citipointe Christian College is back in the news after it was revealed the school has introduced new employment contracts for teachers that warns them against being openly homosexual, having non-monogamous relationships or conducting intimate acts outside of marriage. (24 Mar 2022)
Read more at Out in Perth

NSW: The NSW Legislative Council has become the first house of parliament in Australia to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. (24 Mar 2022)
Read more at the Australian Jewish News

Commentary and Analysis

Adam Carey on Victorian Deputy Premier James Merlino: "...many of his fiercest fights have been against religious groups seeking to influence what is – or is not – taught in Victorian schools. David Zyngier, an associate professor in education at Southern Cross University and Greens councillor in Glen Eira [and NSL ambassador!], credits Merlino for banning faith groups from delivering religious instruction in class time. (22 Mar 2022)
Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald

Peter Rosengren: "This week the moral foundations of the State of New South Wales hang in the balance. The NSW Legislative Council continues to consider whether to legalise the killing of citizens of this state who express a desire to end their lives." (23 Mar 2022)
Read more at The Catholic Weekly

Adam Wesselinoff: "With the NSW debate over “voluntary assisted dying” returning to Parliament this week, a decision of the UK House of Lords to reject an attempt to legalise euthanasia in England and Wales comes as a ray of hope for anti-euthanasia advocates." (23 Mar 2022)
Read more at The Catholic Weekly

Bernard Keane: "For years Scott Morrison has publicly praised Brian Houston and cultivated links with Hillsong. Now that the Pentecostalist leader has been forced out in disgrace, the PM has nowhere to hide." (24 Mar 2022)
Read more at Crikey

John Sandeman: Only a truly independent investigation into Brian Houston’s behaviour will get to the truth at Hillsong. "The resignation of founder Brian Houston will not bring an end to the need for further investigations at Hillsong Church." (24 Mar 2022)
Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald

Events and Campaigns

The NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Bill still needs to pass the Upper House. Two Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MPs voted NO to the 2017 VAD Bill, which lost by just one vote. Send them a message asking for their support.

Just.Equal are running a survey in an attempt to find out the election priorities of LGBTIQA+ Australians and their allies for the upcoming federal election.

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 attorney@ag.gov.au.

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 Human Rights for NSW alliance has launched a campaign calling for NSW to pass a Human Rights Act.

That's it for another week!

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