Weekend Wrap for 3 April 2022

Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 3 April 2022, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.

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

Rights organisation Just.Equal Australia has written to Labor’s Shadow Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, asking him to clarify Opposition policy on LGBTQ+ teachers in faith-based schools. Spokesperson Rodney Croome said Labor’s stance during the Religious Discrimination Bill debate was at times vague, contradictory and discriminatory. (29 Mar 2022)
Read more at Out in Perth

In her exit speech, outgoing NSW Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells has called out Prime Minister Scott Morrison's use of religion as a "marketing advantage". (30 Mar 2022)
Read more at Crikey

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia has welcomed many measures in the 2022-23 Budget but warns LGBTIQ+ communities are being left behind. Of the recommendations made in LHA’s pre-budget submission, none were funded in the 2022-23 Budget. (30 Mar 2022)
Read more at Out in Perth

Far-right conservative MP George Christensen has retired from politics. Aside from his anti-vaccination views, Christensen hit the headlines with his anti-Muslim comments and his support for the original draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill, saying that "the rights of Christians are certainly lesser than others" in Australia. (31 Mar 2022)
Read more at The Age

Around the Country

QLD: Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools (QPSSS) says that the Queensland parliament needs to investigate the appropriateness of religious groups using their access to public schools through the Religious Instruction (RI) program to “harvest children for the Lord”. (27 Mar 2022)
Read more at the Rationalist Society of Australia

NSW: Rev. Bill Crews spoke to Shayne Higgson from Dying with Dignity about the opponents in the upper house in passing NSW assisted dying laws. Shayne Higgson believes delaying tactics could go on for the rest of the year. NSW is the only state in Australia that has not legalised voluntary assisted dying. (27 Mar 2022)
Hear more at Radio 2GB

NSW: Founder and 40-year MP for the Christian Democratic Party, Fred Nile, has issued a statement confirming that the party has ceased to exist. (29 Mar 2022)
Read more at Eternity News

QLD: Gold Coast ratepayers have questioned the appropriateness of Mayor Tom Tate, an evangelical Christian, using council funds to appoint Pastor Sue Baynes as his ‘spiritual advisor’. Ms Baynes is an adherent of the Christian fundamentalist Seven Mountains Mandate, which seeks to achieve Christian control of the major institutions of society. (30 Mar 2022)
Read more at the Rationalist Society of Australia

QLD: A leaked document reveals that Brisbane religious school Citipointe Christian college restricted its school counsellors from providing any support to students on matters of sexuality or gender identity last month, amid the uproar about the school's new discriminatory enrolment contracts, and blamed new state legislation for the introduction of the contract. (30 Mar 2022)
Read more at The Guardian

QLD: The principal of Citipointe Christian College, the school thrust into the spotlight after a contract emerged demanding students and families denounce homosexuality and that students identify by birth gender, has formally resigned. (31 Mar 2022)
Read more at ABC News

NSW: With debate on Independent MP Alex Greenwich’s “voluntary assisted dying” legislation coming to a head in the NSW Upper House, Catholic aged care providers are concerned they will be forced to allow euthanasia on premises without conscience protections. (31 Mar 2022)
Read more at The Catholic Weekly

QLD: Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate's spiritual adviser once told followers at a religious function that he supported a template to transform the Gold Coast "to look like the Kingdom of God". (1 Apr 2022)
Read more at ABC News

QLD: ABC Radio Gold Coast interviewed RSA president Meredith Doig about the controversy over Mayor Tom Tate’s appointment of a spiritual advisor who supports the Seven Mountains Mandate. (1 Apr 2022)
Hear more at the ABC (from 4:14)

Commentary and Analysis

David Hardaker: "Scott Morrison’s desperation to distance himself from Hillsong founder Brian Houston and the pastor’s moral transgressions shows how treacherous Morrison is prepared to be — and what dark new territory he will go to — to save his political skin. Yet Australia’s political commentariat has all but ignored Morrison’s reaction and the ugly truths it has shown about the prime minister’s character." (28 Mar 2022)
Read more at Crikey

Anthony Klan: "Investigations reveal the [Anglican] church is using money from Anglicare Sydney, one of the nation’s biggest aged care operators, to pay child sex abuse claims and cover associated liabilities worth over $39 million — protecting the Church itself from exposure." (29 Mar 2022)
Read more at Independent Australia

Gary Nunn on NSW's Downing Centre court complex and why it needs a name change: "We immortalise the minister who created ... what’s believed to be the world’s only known prison specifically for gay men: Cooma jail in country NSW." (30 Mar 2022)
Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald

Richard Lugg on NSW's VAD legislation: "Those who are familiar with the assisted dying debate will recognise that what has inspired this soubriquet of the ‘chewing gum argument’ is the persistent proposition put forward by opponents of assisted dying that we should not legislate to introduce it until every effort has been made to extend and improve the coverage of palliative care services for the whole population." (30 Mar 2022)
Read more at Rationale Magazine

Nick Hawkes considers religion vs atheism in the euthanasia argument: "Atheism has cast a dark shadow over the euthanasia debate. ... It can readily be seen that without God, people have no inherent value." (1 Apr 2022)
Read more at Eternity News

Karen Middleton looks at Scott Morrison's use of religion, race, and suggestions of impropriety to discredit an opponent in his Cook preselection 15 years ago: "Scott Morrison looked like losing a preselection contest for the seat of Cook in the Sutherland Shire when he allegedly told key party members that a popular rival was rumoured to be “a Moslem” who would damage the party’s chances." (2 Apr 2022)
Read more at The Saturday Paper

Events and Campaigns

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 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.

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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