Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 3 October 2021, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.
Don’t forget that the Weekend Wrap, which aims to help secular-minded Australians keep abreast of the latest news on current issues, is also published on our Facebook page!
At the National Level
The Air Force's chaplaincy is facing a major inquiry over allegations female staff and LGBT chaplains suffered instances of bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment by other officers, including having packaging for a gynaecological instrument kept as "a joke" in a meeting area. (ABC News)
just.equal Australia has called on the Federal Liberal Government to follow the lead of Victoria’s Liberal Opposition and affirm Victoria’s landmark law against conversion practices will not be weakened. The call comes in response to religious leaders who have urged the federal government to use the Religious Discrimination Bill to override the Victorian law in the name of “religious freedom”. (Out in Perth)
The Catholic Church in Australia is about to confront its demons at a historic gathering that will chart a future for a diminished institution bruised by the damning findings of the sex abuse royal commission. (The West Australian)
Conservative senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, who wants to see positive religious rights enacted into law is warning of electoral backlash if the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill fails to meet religious leaders’ expectations. (RSA)
Around the Country
NSW: A senior NSW Liberal Minister says he is willing to resign from the frontbench if his party's MPs are not given a conscience vote on an upcoming bill to legalise voluntary assisted dying in the state. (ABC News)
NSW: Attitudes among NSW politicians towards a conscience vote on VAD range from an unwillingness to legislate on "state-sanctioned murder" to a desire to recognise the community’s view and give choices to those who are suffering. (SMH)
VIC: The Victorian opposition has given an “iron clad guarantee” it will not amend new laws banning gay conversion therapy, declaring the new leadership team was “absolutely” committed to supporting the state’s queer community. (SMH)
ACT: A bill to restore the Northern Territory's right to legislate on voluntary euthanasia should be broadened to include the ACT to avoid creating a fresh form of discrimination against Canberrans, legal experts have told a parliamentary inquiry. (Canberra Times)
ACT: The federal ban on the ACT and Northern Territory legislating on voluntary assisted dying will be turned into a battleground issue at the next election, Chief Minister Andrew Barr has warned. (Canberra Times)
VIC: The Rationalist Society of Australia (RSA) has applauded Victorian Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes for her government’s plan to stop faith-based institutions from sacking staff on the basis of their marital status, parental status or sexuality. (RSA)
WA: The Western Australian Law Reform Commission has finally released its Discussion Paper which reviews the state’s Equal Opportunity Act (1984), following up on a pledge made back in 2018 to review the legislation. (Out in Perth)
VIC: Six students from Westbourne Grammar in Melbourne’s west have fought for compulsory LGBTQIA+ education in primary schools, with their bill being passed in the YMCA Victorian Youth Parliament last week (meaning it will be handed onto the Minister for Youth for consideration). (Star Observer)
Commentary and Analysis
Eternity News has put a series of questions to the Victorian Attorney-General’s department in order to explore the ramifications of Victoria's plans to narrow religious exemptions to anti-discrimination laws. (Eternity News)
Fiona Newton, former Teenage Fundamentalist and co-author of the petition to stop Hillsong evangelising in public schools talks about her own past and why she thinks Hillsong deserves no place in the public education system. (I was a Teenage Fundamentalist)
Enqi Weng from Deakin University and Alexandra Wake from RMIT posit that reporting on issues relating to religion in Australia is being reduced in quality and accuracy due to a lack of religious literacy by journalists. (The Conversation)
The Australian Christian Lobby's Peter Abetz expresses concerns at a Discussion Paper released by the Law Reform Commission (LRC) on the review of the Western Australian Equal Opportunity Act 1984, ordered by the Attorney General last year. (ACL)
Events and Advisories
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.
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.
Dying With Dignity NSW are petitioning the NSW Parliament to work together to deliver voluntary assisted dying laws in 2021.
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.