Weekend Wrap for 28 November 2021
Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 28 November 2021, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.
At the National Level
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will personally introduce his religious discrimination bill into the federal parliament, even though some of his moderate MPs still "question the need" for the legislation. (ABC News)
Critics of the Religious Discrimination Bill warn it could strengthen the ability for faith-based employers, including schools, hospitals and aged-care providers, to discriminate against employees based on their religious belief, relationship status or sexual identity, if it's at odds with the organisation's ethos. Queer people of faith tell the ABC such discrimination is rife. (ABC News)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s long-awaited religious discrimination bill has finally been released, outlining how the federal government intends to enshrine greater protections for people of faith. (SBS News)
The government has introduced its religious discrimination bill in an attempt to secure extra protections from state-based discrimination laws. Here's a quick look at what's changed in the bill, and what people are saying so far. (ABC News)
Australian Olympic legend Ian Thorpe has joined with Equality Australia to launch a campaign against the Morrison government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill. The campaign includes an open letter signed by over 250 organisations and individuals (including the NSL) calling on the Morrison government “to deliver fair and equal discrimination laws that protect all people in the community equally.” (Star Observer)
Uniting Church Australia has released a formal statement against the Religious Discrimination Bill. (Uniting Church)
Deputy Opposition Leader Richard Marles says the Religious Discrimination Bill should go to committee for full review. (ABC)
The proposed legislation will make life more difficult for Australia's LGBTIQ+ community, according to equal rights advocates, academics and MPs. (SBS News)
Leading religious organisations representing LGBTIQ people of faith have published an open letter to the government calling on them to withdraw the Religious Discrimination bill. Here’s what they had to say. (Out in Perth)
The contentious Religious Discrimination Bill has been released but will it override current anti-discrimination laws? (ABC)
Independent senator Rex Patrick says he does not understand the federal government’s push for religious discrimination legislation after viewing a draft of the controversial act. Senator Patrick said it was "shameful" the government was moving the discrimination legislation before "focusing on things that are really important to Australians", such as a federal anti-corruption body. (AAP)
The federal government’s new Religious Discrimination laws could face a High Court challenge from states whose existing laws would be overwritten. (Out in Perth)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday claimed that his government’s Religious Discrimination Bill will not discriminate against LGBTQI students. (Star Observer)
Just hours after Prime Minister introduced the religious discrimination bill to Parliament, a teacher has echoed calls for Scott Morrison to also ensure gay school teachers and students are protected, telling Q+A she lost her job because she was homosexual. (ABC News)
The Prime Minister has introduced the religious discrimination bill to parliament, but he is being urged by moderate Liberal MPs to also act immediately to ensure gay students and teachers are better protected. (ABC News)
Attorney-General Michaelia Cash has left open the possibility of making further changes to the proposed religious discrimination act, as she defends the controversial statement of belief clause facing widespread criticism, including from moderate Liberals. (The Guardian)
Senator Amanda Stoker has faced tough questioning about the government Religious Discrimination bill, and whether it allows discrimination of teachers or students over their sexuality and gender identity. (Out in Perth)
Liberal senator Eric Abetz has called on his party colleagues to accept compromise and support the Religious Discrimination bill that was introduced into parliament by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday. (Out in Perth)
Independent MP Bob Katter has declared he wants to see the controversial ‘Folau Clause’ put back into the Religious Discrimination bill before it’s passed by the House of Representatives. (Out in Perth)
Faith-based schools that want to reserve the right to discriminate against potential teaching hires will have to set out a public statement of their beliefs, under proposed laws that critics say will entrench the power of religious groups to reject people based on their sexuality or gender. (The Age)
The federal government has moved to avoid another defeat in Parliament by sending a draft law on religious freedom to a joint committee of MPs and senators, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called in Liberal MP Bridget Archer over her surprise move on Thursday to vote against the Coalition on a national integrity commission. (SMH)
The Australian Christian Lobby has indicated that it will be campaigning for many of the provisions dropped from the latest version of the Religious Freedom Bill to be added back in before it is passed by the senate. (Out in Perth)
The AMA has released a position statement calling for an end to discrimination against people who are LGBTQIA+ in the healthcare system, including patients and health care workers. The position statement included a call for all state and territory governments to ban coercive ‘conversion’ practices. (Mirage News - one we missed from last week)
Around the Country
NSW: The state's Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill has passed the Lower House of parliament. (SMH)
TAS: The Tasmanian Government has expressed concern to the federal government that its religious discrimination bill would prevent the state's anti-discrimination tribunal from dealing with certain complaints. (The Examiner)
WA: Spencer Park Primary School in Albany has informed its school community that it would discontinue with scripture classes after the school conducted a survey of parents and guardians. The school launched a survey after parents complained that Christian scripture was taking up valuable learning time. (ABC News)
VIC: Melbourne man Robert Friscic has been awarded a record settlement by the Catholic Church of $3.7 million for historical sexual abuse. (ABC News)
Commentary and Analysis
Neil Foster gives an overview of the new draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill. (Law and Religion Australia)
Constitutional law scholar Dr Luke Beck analyses the new draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill, including some problems with its implementation. (The Conversation)
New Daily Political Editor Josh Butler discusses the latest draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill. (New Daily)
Karen Middleton takes a look at the introduction into parliament of the Religious Discrimination Bill. (The Saturday Paper)
Jaqueline Maley: The Religious Discrimination Bill forces us all to take sides, and it brings into the political realm something which is most often worked out peaceably between people at a community level. (SMH)
Monash University Research Fellow Karinna Saxby writes: "This is not just about words. Research tells us, this has the potential to harm the health and well-being of sexual and gender diverse Australians." (The Conversation)
Elenie Poulos of Macquarie University writes that the new religious discrimination bill will cause damage to Australian society that will be difficult to heal. (The Conversation)
Bilal Rauf, spokesperson for the Australian National Imams Council, writes on the lack of protection against religious discrimination currently in Australia. (Brisbane Times)
Paul Bongiorno on the Religious Discrimination Bill: "The whole exercise is fraught because any idea that freedom of religion does not already exist in Australia is absurd, and all sides of politics in Canberra know it." (New Daily)
Michelle Grattan writes on Scott Morrison giving the Religious Discrimination Bill priority over a national integrity commission. (The Conversation)
Michael Leahy writes that by opposing Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Bill, Catholic bishops’ demonstrate the tension in their church’s teaching on discrimination. (Pearls and Irritations)
The Religious Discrimination Bill being debated in the federal parliament would have serious adverse consequences for LGBTQI people throughout the nation, and particularly LGBTQI Victorians -- Dr Sean Mulcahy & Liam Elphick. (Star Observer)
Trans Student Teacher April Holcombe on the impact of the Religious Discrimination Bill. (Star Observer)
According to Lucy Hamilton, Australian conservatives' obsession with religious freedom is just another US import, and part of a worldwide surge in fascist identity politics. (Pearls and Irritations)
Read a letter from the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils to Attorney General Michaelia Cash on the new Religious Discrimination Bill. (AFIC)
Alastair Lawrie writes on the continued failure of the Liberal government to protect LGBTI school students from discrimination at religious schools.
Read a paper from 'Law and Religion Australia' blog author Neil Foster on Australian "conversion therapy" laws and religious freedom. (Law and Religion Australia)
Tim Costello, Centre for Public Christianity: If Scott Morrison acted on his strong Christian faith, he would phase out coal. (The Guardian)
Events and Advisories
Just.Equal are running a campaign against the Religious Discrimination Bill. Use their tool to send emails to Labor MPs urging them to oppose the Bill.
Watch the RSA webinar featuring Dr Nick Carr and Penny Hackett on 'Advancing the right to die with dignity'.
Sign up to the #DontDivideUs campaign currently being run by a group of pro-secular groups including the NSL, to act against the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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