Weekend Wrap for 27 November 2022

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

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Do you have any news items, campaigns, petitions, webinars or other event notices that could be added to our weekly Wrap? Let us know at wrap@nsl.org.au.

At the National Level

Two years after her 'anti-trans' education bill, the Australian Education Legislation Amendment (Prohibiting the Indoctrination of Children) Bill 2020, was rejected by a Parliamentary Committee, Pauline Hanson is again trying to revive the legislation. Hanson, who sought to equate teaching about LGBTQI issues to “paedophiles grooming children”, was slammed by Greens senators as a “peddler of sad and hateful politics”. Greens Senator Allman-Payne, who was a state secondary school teacher for around 30 years, said she would stand up against Hanson’s hate and bigotry. (23 Nov 2022)
Read more at the Star Observer

Around the Country

NSW: A survivor of alleged clergy abuse has won the right to appeal to the high court against a decision to throw out her case because the alleged paedophile priest had died. The high court agreed to hear an appeal from a woman who alleges she was abused when she was 14 by Lismore priest Father Clarence Anderson. Anderson died before she lodged civil action and the NSW court of appeal ruled that his death rendered the Catholic church unable to properly defend the claim or receive a fair trial. The decision has had widespread ramifications for other cases of clergy abuse, where the priest or church member has died. (18 Nov 2022)
Read more at The Guardian

WA: Labor MLC Peter Foster has highlighted Transgender Awareness Week to his colleagues in the Western Australian Legislative Council. Speaking in parliament, Foster highlighted that Western Australians who are transgender still experience suffer high rates of violence, homelessness, poverty,
sexual assault and healthcare discrimination. (19 Nov 2022)
Read more at Out in Perth

VIC: The Liberal Party’s candidate for Narre Warren North says Australia should not recognise First Nations people because “we won this land fair and square”, that waste from nuclear energy should be dumped in Alice Springs, and that he would vote to ban abortion. Dragan’s comments will increase pressure on Opposition Leader Matthew Guy, who has been attempting to distance himself from the ultra-conservative views of several candidates preselected by the party to stand at this Saturday’s state election. (20 Nov 2022)
Read more at The Age

VIC: Liberal leader Matthew Guy was hoping for a reset to mark the final week of the Victorian election campaign after revelations on Thursday that the electoral commission referred the opposition leader and his former chief of staff to the state’s corruption watchdog. But Guy spent most of a 30-minute press conference fielding questions about Renee Heath, the Liberal candidate for Eastern Victoria who has links to a global network of ultra-conservative churches; and Timothy Dragan, the candidate for Narre Warren North who has come under fire for comments he made about Aboriginal Australians and abortion. (20 Nov 2022)
Read more at The Age

NT: Anti-discrimination laws in the Northern Territory are set to be substantially changed for the first time in three decades. A bill to amend the Northern Territory's Anti-Discrimination Act is due to return to parliament from today, with the government seeking to expand the list of categories protected under legislation and limit religious institutions' ability to discriminate in their hiring decisions. While the proposed amendments are backed by members of the LGBT community, some religious groups believe they go too far and could even lead to "reverse discrimination". So what exactly could change? Who supports and opposes the bill? And how do the proposed laws compare nationally? (22 Nov 2022)
Read more at ABC News

NT: The Albanese government has fast-tracked a final vote on the territory rights bill in a bid to shore up its chances of passing industrial relations law changes this year. The Senate has approved a plan for two extra sitting days this Friday and next and a final conscience vote on the bill to restore territories’ ability to legalise voluntary assisted dying on Thursday 1 December – a key demand of crossbench senator David Pocock. (22 Nov 2022)
Read more at The Guardian

NT: Around 300 "concerned citizens, churches, ministers, faith leaders, school representatives, students, parents and families" met to engage in a peaceful prayer rally at the Parliamentary Forecourt in Darwin on Monday. The rally was organised to stand up against the Anti-Discrimination Amendment Act 2022 ahead of the discussion. (22 Nov 2022)
Read more at the Australian Christian Lobby

ACT: Under new laws which passed the ACT Legislative Assembly this week, child abuse survivors will be able to have past “unjust” settlements set aside so they can receive fair and proper compensation. It’s believed thousands of people could be impacted by the change, which was recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. (23 Nov 2022)
Read more at Riotact

NSW: Teacher shortages and schools wrecked by natural disasters were among the issues raised with NSW shadow education minister Prue Car at a forum held by the Catholic Council of School Parents NSW/ACT on 18 November. “As a matter of urgency, even before you think about the next government, I think there needs to be a request to the government to rebuild the school, even though it’s a Catholic school,” Ms Car said. (23 Nov 2022)
Read more at the Catholic Weekly

NT: A suite of amendments to the Northern Territory's anti-discrimination laws have been passed by parliament overnight, after hours of fierce debate and despite a strong backlash from religious groups. It marks the first time the legislation has been substantially overhauled since the original act was passed 30 years ago. The changes include the contentious removal of a clause that previously allowed religious groups to discriminate against a person on the basis of their religious beliefs or sexuality, and an expansion of personal attributes protected under the legislation. (23 Nov 2022)
Read more at ABC News

NT: The Northern Territory's LGBT community is celebrating the most extensive overhaul of anti-discrimination laws in three decades as a "huge stride" towards equality. A bill amending the territory's Anti-Discrimination Act passed parliament just before midnight on Tuesday, despite members of the territory's Country Liberal Party (CLP) voting against it. (24 Nov 2022)
Read more at ABC News

VIC: Victoria’s Daniel Andrews-led Labor government has committed to investing over $22.2 million to support LGBTQI community organisations, pride events and health services if re-elected. In the leadup to the state elections, the Andrews government has pitted its equality policies against Matt Guy-led Liberals’ support for anti-LGBTQI candidates and changing Victoria’s anti-discrimination laws. (24 Nov 2022)
Read more at the Star Observer

NT: Politicians from both sides of politics have slammed Northern Territory Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price for voting against a bill which would allow the NT government to make laws about euthanasia. The Country Liberal Party (CLP) senator has swung against her own party's long-held policy platform to cast a preliminary vote against the Territory Rights bill in federal parliament. (25 Nov 2022)
Read more at ABC News

Commentary and Analysis

Charlotte Grieve, Nick McKenzie and Clair WeaverInside City Builders, the Pentecostal sect with lofty political goals.
"The investigation has revealed this is part of a broader, decade-long campaign by ultra-conservative church groups to sign up followers to the Victorian Coalition and win control of safe seats. ... City Builders follows a branch of Pentecostal Christianity that believes in physical displays of spirituality, such as exorcisms and speaking in tongues, which some ex-members say were weaponised and left them traumatised. It also teaches dominionism, a Christian theology which seeks to “take over” and “conquer” the seven “mountains” of society: the family, religion, arts and entertainment, news, education, business and government – language the church insists is metaphorical." (20 Nov 2022)
Read more at The Age

Mark KennyVictorian Liberals embarrassed by extremists within: how does this keep happening?
"Days out from the November 26 poll, the Liberal Party led by Matthew Guy (for the second time) has been rocked by revelations that some of its endorsed candidates hold extreme racist, anti-gay and anti-abortion positions, and would cross the floor against climate targets. Personal convictions include opposition to: abortion, the constitutional enshrinement of the Voice to Parliament, and even kindergarten. Most of these convictions, which are seriously out of step with community attitudes and official Liberal Party policy, appear to originate from the dogma of ultra-conservative Christian churches." (21 Nov 2022)
Read more at The Conversation

Matteo VerganiUS LGBT nightclub shooting shows why Australia must reform hate crime laws.
"The stark difference between the NSW murders and the Colorado Springs attack is the suspect in Colorado can be charged and prosecuted under the state’s bias-motivated crime law amended last year. These crimes are defined as intimidation, harassment or physical harm that’s motivated at least partly by bias against a person’s race, religion, nationality, age, disability or sexual orientation. ... But in Australia, the victims and their families would have little such recourse. This is because the legislative framework for a substantive hate crime offence doesn’t exist, and this hinders our ability to tackle hate crimes effectively." (23 Nov 2022)
Read more at The Conversation

Lucy HamiltonVictorian Elections: Liberals under siege from extremist religious groups.
"The Liberal Party in Victoria is caught in a trap. It pitches itself as the moderate old party of its forebears. Unfortunately, too many of the moderates who ran it or voted for it are disenchanted both by shambolic efforts in the state, and by its damaged federal reflection. Around the state, branches are under siege by extremist religious groups, mostly Pentecostal but also Mormon. The state’s governing body is also gradually filling with these members. Opposition leader Matthew Guy pushed Eastern Victoria candidate City Builder Renee Heath out of the Liberal fold last week, but there are others in this election with similar views from which he cannot separate the party." (23 Nov 2022)
Read more at Pearls & Irritations

Tony WrightFaith no more: Fewer Christians, but religion still haunts politics.
"The long and uneasy relationship between religion and major-party politics has returned with a vengeance in Victoria, despite a precipitous drop in Christian adherence in every age group and every electorate in the state. Liberal leader Matthew Guy is experiencing the latest pain amid revelations of Liberal branch stacking by Pentecostal church groups in Gippsland and the controversial teachings of the ultra-conservative City Builders Church, to which one of Guy’s high-profile candidates is linked." (24 Nov 2022)
Read more at The Age

Rodney CroomeMisinformation targeting conversion practices ban.
"In the last few weeks we have heard that legislation against conversion practices will criminalise parents, priests and health practitioners who talk to those in their care about sexuality and gender. We have also heard that there should only be a ban on "coercive practices", that free speech is at stake and that the issue is 'complex'. None of this is true." (24 Nov 2022)
Read more at The Examiner

Events and Campaigns

Per a media release from the WA government, the McGowan Government has opened a four-week consultation period to provide input on the modernisation of Western Australia's abortion laws. Public consultation has opened and will allow women and other stakeholders to have their say on key issues via an online survey or emailed submissions. Submissions close 17 December 2022.
Read more at the WA Government Media Statements website

There's currently an e-petition addressed to the Tasmanian House of Assembly calling upon them to pass paws to prohibit LGBTIQA+ conversion practices. Read and sign here.

Have you faced discrimination at a religious school or organisation? Equality Australia wants to know!

The Bill to overturn the ban on NT/ACT's ability to pass VAD laws is still being debated. Ask your state Senators to support territory rights!

Humanists Australia have launched a Change.org petition calling for full separation of church and state in Australia. View and sign here.

The Australian Education Union is running a campaign calling for “every school, every child” to receive fair education funding. Support the campaign here.

Funding for public schools has been cut in the latest budget but funding for school chaplains has been assured. A change.org petition is currently calling on the federal government to fund youth workers rather faith-based chaplains in our public schools.

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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