Weekend Wrap for 30 October 2022

Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 30 October 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

Catholic Social Services Australia has received an extra $560 million in funding in the 2022 federal budget. The four-year funding commitment will help meet the rising cost of providing community programs and wage increases. (24 Oct 2022)
Read more at the Catholic Leader

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation will receive an additional $83.7m over four years to restore funding it lost as a result of the former Coalition government’s freeze on annual funding increases. The ABC and SBS will also now move to five-year funding agreements from July 2023 instead of the current triennial arrangements, giving both broadcasters much greater certainty in planning their programming and staffing. (25 Oct 2022)
Read more at The Guardian

The Anthony Albanese government has introduced a new bill that would protect trans, gender diverse and intersex people from discrimination at the workplace. The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill 2022, was introduced in Parliament by Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke, with the aim of “promoting job security, helping close the gender pay gap, modernising the workplace bargaining system and getting wages moving”. (27 Oct 2022)
Read more at the Star Observer

Australia’s national men’s football team, the Socceroos, have become the first team at the FIFA World Cup to release a collective statement of protest against Qatar’s human rights record. In a video message, Socceroos players called for “effective remedy” for migrant workers and the decriminalisation of same-sex relationships. (27 Oct 2022)
Read more at the Star Observer

The Senate on Thursday passed the Australian Human Rights Commission Legislation Amendment (Selection and Appointment) Bill 2022. The Anthony Albanese government said that the bill would ensure that appointments of human rights commissioners are transparent and merit-based. An amendment to the Bill by the Greens, seeking the appointment of a LGBTQI Human Rights commissioner, was voted down by Labor and Liberal senators. (28 Oct 2022)
Read more at the Star Observer

Around the Country

TAS: Opposition to a planned biblical reading about marriage at a girls' school graduation mass shows society is becoming "increasingly hostile to Christian beliefs", according to Tasmania's Catholic archbishop — who likened it to the Essendon saga over Andrew Thorburn's resignation. (24 Oct 2022)
Read more at ABC News

TAS: The Tasmanian Parliament appears set to continue imposing Christian worship at the opening of daily proceedings, despite 50 per cent of Tasmanians saying they are not religious. In a letter to the Rationalist Society of Australia, Acting Premier Michael Ferguson defended the parliament’s current model of inviting members to either stand in silence or join in the recital of the Lord’s Prayer. (24 Oct 2022)
Read more at the Rationalist Society of Australia

VIC: The discussion to fly the LGBTQI rainbow Pride flag over a Victorian regional shire headquarters became controversial after a councillor compared it to a Nazi symbol. Yarran Ward Councillor Garner Smith called the petition from Victorian Pride Lobby to fly the flag “a political minefield” and suggested that petitions to fly flags could equally apply to "the Nazi flag" and should not be engaged with. (24 Oct 2022)
Read more at the Star Observer

VIC: Religious leaders say they are frustrated the Victorian government has stalled on a promised education campaign about the ancient meaning of the swastika, weeks before it becomes a criminal offence to publicly display the Nazi symbol. The laws will not be applied to faith communities who use similar-looking religious swastikas, but some fear they will wrongly be accused of supporting Nazi ideology. (26 Oct 2022)
Read more at ABC News

Commentary and Analysis

Rob BaillieuModerate Liberals in Victoria have learned nothing. The state needs a Matt Kean.
"Once again, Victorian Liberals have failed the test of leadership. This week, the state’s opposition leader, Matthew Guy, promised to amend the Equal Opportunity Act to allow religious institutions to discriminate based on their faith. In practice, this will allow discrimination on the basis of gender and sexuality. The lack of resistance to the policy by anyone in the Victorian Liberal party is heartbreaking and politically isolates the LGBTQ+ community." (23 Oct 2022)
Read more at The Guardian

Stan van HooftIs opposition to abortion and homosexuality really a ‘religious view’?
"Religious people believe that there is more to life than the material and historical world in which we live. But the paradigmatic example of a religious view would be the belief that God exists. This leads to a variety of further beliefs which influence how people live their lives. For example, there may be a belief that whatever happens is ordained or willed by God and therefore serves some purpose. There may also be beliefs about what happens to us after we die, with God playing a central role in our eternal destiny. Views that condemn abortion and homosexual acts do not obviously fit into this paradigm." (23 Oct 2022)
Read more at Pearls & Irritations

Lucy HamiltonNews Corp is normalising fascistic politics.
"[News Corp’s James Morrow] selected a number of positions held by Meloni (and De Santis) to celebrate as goals for Australian politicians. In particular, he selected: family, national identity, religious identity and gender identity. Meloni and De Santis want national identity to be as close to monotone as possible: patriotic and uncritically supportive of a mythical nation that never existed in the way their nostalgia recreates it. In this lens, religious identity is intricately tied to that mythical national identity. Their nations are white Christian nations, they assert, whatever other versions of history will say. Anyone with a contrary story should remain invisible. There is little ambiguity in the fascist politics evoked by these dogwhistle terms." (23 Oct 2022)
Read more at Pearls & Irritations

Garry DeverellHow the churches can reckon with their colonial legacy.
"The questions then arise: How are you settler Christians, you immigrant Christian communities — you who have empowered and enriched yourselves at the expense of Indigenous people — going to let that power go? How are you going to redress the balance? How will you take the power you acquired by genocide and ecocide and return it to those you wronged, and continue to wrong?" (24 Oct 2022)
Read more at ABC Religion & Ethics

Peter WertheimLabor’s decision to reverse Australia’s recognition of West Jerusalem represents a failure of policy and process.
"While a number of people within the government privately conceded that the policy reversal was problematic in substance, and that the process that led to it was indefensible, officially the government attempted to justify itself. It attempted to deflect attention away from the shortcomings of its processes by reviving its criticism of the previous Coalition government’s “decision to play politics” in December 2018, when it had recognised West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, following the announcement of its intentions to that effect in the lead-up to the by-election for the seat of Wentworth, with its large Jewish constituency." (25 Oct 2022)
Read more at ABC Religion & Ethics

Monica DoumitWhen suborning conscience is the goal.
"Does anyone doubt there will be submission after submission to this inquiry suggesting that allowing health professionals to conscientiously object to providing abortions or dispensing contraception is denying women “reproductive healthcare”? Or that the solution proposed will be to force doctors, nurses and pharmacists to participate in abortion or prescribe or provide contraception as a condition of their registration? Or to require religious hospitals to provide abortions as a condition of receiving federal funding?" (26 Oct 2022)
Read more at the Catholic Weekly

Dr Lee DuffieldDemocracy in danger: The rise of Right-wing demagogues.
"The successes of the “Teal” women’s group in the Australian Federal Election this year showed non-ideological Liberal voters at last getting alarmed about the way their old “moderate” party has gone — so many of their elected members and officials acting only like corporate lobbyists or espousing dicta of extremism and intolerance." (27 Oct 2022)
Read more at Independent Australia

Shibu ThomasOut gay Sydney MP Alex Greenwich reflects on a decade in NSW parliament, Oxford Street and his Equality Bill.
"Over the past decade, Greenwich has stood up for LGBTQI rights and pushed significant law reforms through NSW Parliament. In 2019, he introduced a bill to decriminalise abortion, which was passed by the NSW Parliament the same year. In May 2022, the voluntary assisted dying bill, spearheaded by Greenwich, became law in the state. Both bills had bipartisan support of MPs." (27 Oct 2022)
Read more at the Star Observer

Reb HalabiBy reversing the Coalition’s decision on West Jerusalem, Labor has put peace back on the table.
"The Albanese Labor government has rescinded the previous Coalition government’s recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Although East Jerusalem is within the Palestinian Occupied Territories, it is under Israeli control. Jerusalem is the last issue to be discussed when a two-state solution is reached and Jerusalem, ideally, would be shared. Jerusalem is the holy site of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, making for a cauldron of sacred yet ill feelings among the three faiths. And herein lies the problem." (28 Oct 2022)
Read more at ABC Religion & Ethics

Lucy HamiltonThe IPA launches campaign to harass teachers. Why???
"[Bella] D’Ambrera is the director of the Foundations of Western Civilisation Program at the IPA. This program’s focus is an Orbanist dogwhistle, a polite version of the Great Replacement conspiracy that says Elites (Jewish people for the hardcore devotees) are consciously destroying western civilisation by importing people of colour and inculcating shame about the only truly worthwhile civilisation to have existed. Orban’s utter loathing of diversity – cultural and personal – is clearly visible throughout the IPA’s work." (28 Oct 2022)
Read more at Pearls & Irritations

Ben Schneiders, Tom Steinfort and Natalie ClancyMormon church invests billions of dollars while grossly overstating its charitable giving.
"The global Mormon church has overstated the amount it gives in charity by more than $US1 billion ($1.56 billion), apparently to make itself appear more generous than it actually is, and the US-based church is now under scrutiny over an alleged international tax minimisation scheme that involves Australia-based church entities. ... 'The Mormon church will have you believe that it’s a religion that dabbles in business, but the evidence clearly shows that they are a business dabbling in religion,' said former Mormon and whistleblower Ryan McKnight." (29 Oct 2022)
Read more at The Age

Si Gladman‘Infiltrate, Impact, Impel’: Raising up Christians for the Liberal Party.
Upon signing up as a member of the Liberal Party in Victoria, some churchgoers have been handed a one-page document with the title ‘Political Participation for Godly good’, according to a Liberal Party member. The document provides a flowchart matrix to guide new members on how they can participate in their local branch meetings, known as State Electorate Convention and Federal Electorate Convention meetings. It also details how they can influence the party’s State Council and State Assembly. In the top right-hand corner appears the italicised motto: Infiltrate, Impact, Impel." (29 Oct 2022)
Read more at Rationale Magazine

Events and Campaigns

Catch up on the latest RSA webinar on prayers in parliament and councils.

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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