Weekend Wrap for 31 July 2022

Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 31 July 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

Abortion provider MSI Australia is lobbying for new Medicare items to enable it to end out-of-pocket costs, as the federal government vows to improve access to reproductive services. MSI managing director Jamal Hakim said access to abortion was “a postcode lottery” and called for a review of Medicare item numbers and a national abortion access taskforce. (24 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Age

A bill to overturn a federal ban on the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory passing voluntary assisted dying laws will be introduced to parliament next week, setting up the first conscience vote of the new government. The private member’s bill to restore territory rights was agreed to in the Labor caucus room on Monday ahead of federal parliament resuming on Tuesday. (25 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Guardian

Government Services Minister Bill Shorten has defended reversing a trial of consent forms that used gender-neutral language, saying he was trying to shut down an ugly culture war erupting over the issue. “There are many people who feel the word ‘mother’ is special and worthy and there are others who feel their identity is not included – each has a legitimate point of view," Shorten said. "We just need to be better at not having to have one view at the expense of the other." (25 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Age

Labor women’s caucus chair, Sharon Claydon, has vowed to work across party lines to ensure all women can access safe and affordable abortions. While Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has ruled out forcing state hospitals to provide abortions, Claydon said there were “things that sit squarely in the federal sphere that we can get to work on” and calls for Medicare to fully cover the cost of terminations were “worthy of looking at”. (27 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Age

Australia’s newest out gay member of Parliament Stephen Bates had a powerful message in his maiden speech on Wednesday – representation matters. Bates is one of the eight out members in the House of Representatives and the Senate in Australia’s new Parliament. “It is my duty as the member for Brisbane to fight for my community and make sure no one is left behind,” affirmed Bates. “I am so proud to have been elected by a diverse and vibrant community to be their representative in this Parliament." (27 Jul 2022)
Read more at the Star Observer

Scott Morrison skipped the first sitting week of the new parliament to speak at the 'World Opinion Leaders Summit', fuelling speculation about speaking fees he may be earning and adding to the expectation that he will quit politics during this term. The man hosting Scott Morrison’s Tokyo address is a Japanese sect leader who has published more than 220 self-help books and claims to have 50,000 devout followers, and whose political influence reaches across Australia, Asia and Europe. He leads the Shinto-based religion World Mate, a sect formerly known as Powerful Cosmo Mate, which settled sexual harassment allegations and had a tax evasion claim dismissed in the 1990s. (28 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Age

Labor’s Senate leadership team says the reading of the Lord’s Prayer at the start of each sitting day should continue, contradicting their colleague and the chamber’s new president, Sue Lines, who declared she’d like it "gone". Senator Lines sparked an outcry on Thursday after telling The Australian that as an atheist, she did not want to say the prayer, which has been read by presiding officers since 1901. (28 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Australian

A Senate leader has drawn the fire of of commentator over her 'idiotic' and 'silly' moves to scrap the tradition of reciting the Lord's Prayer in the parliamentary chamber. The argument to get rid of the prayer 'represents the worst and most nauseating aspects of the upper-middle-class left', commentator Joe Hildebrand told Seven's Sunrise program. (28 Jul 2022)
Read more at the Daily Mail

Conservative action groups are mobilising supporters against a government push to allow territories to make their own laws on euthanasia, raising concerns around potential impacts on Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory. The Australian Christian Lobby is flooding federal MPs with emails in a campaign to block a private member’s bill to be introduced next week, but territories minister Kristy McBain says she’s confident it will pass parliament. (29 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Guardian

Assistant Minister for the Republic Matt Thistlethwaite says requiring Australian MPs to swear allegiance to the Queen is ridiculous and shows why another republic referendum is needed. The 47th parliament, sworn in on Tuesday, is Australia’s most culturally diverse due to the fact it has more MPs from non-European backgrounds than ever before. Thistlethwaite said MPs should be pledging to serve the Australian people who elected them and not the British royal family. (29 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Age

Around the Country

VIC: The Victorian Liberal Party has preselected a sceptic of ambitious climate change targets, as well as a candidate who argues “transgenderism” exists only in the minds of believers, threatening Opposition Leader Matthew Guy’s push to present a more progressive face at November’s state election. (24 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Age

WA: A Perth primary school’s state-first decision to resist religious discrimination in chaplain hiring has opened a can of worms. The WA government between March and June also updated its website; chaplains “may be of any faith” was changed to “any or no faith”. But can they in reality? (25 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Age

SA: Laws allowing survivors of child abuse to sue institutions for compensation will come into effect in South Australia on Monday. SA Attorney-General Kyam Maher told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning the laws would come into effect on Monday, two months earlier than estimated. (28 Jul 2022)
Read more at ABC News

VIC: A former member of parliament has resigned from the Victorian Liberal Party, claiming it has “squandered the opportunity for renewal” by preselecting an anti-abortion candidate to run for the upper house. Melton City councillor Moira Deeming was preselected by local members on Saturday to replace conservative MP Bernie Finn in the top position of the western metropolitan district, despite being rejected as a candidate for the federal election over concerns she would generate too much controversy, as revealed by The Age on Thursday. (28 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Age

VIC: A government minister has criticised Victoria’s opposition leader for staying silent over what he says were “deeply transphobic” past comments by a controversial new Liberal candidate. Melton City councillor Moira Deeming was picked to replace conservative MP Bernie Finn on the party’s upper house ticket last week. (29 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Age

Commentary and Analysis

Dr Binoy KampmarkRefusing to fade into obscurity, former PM Scott Morrison's path of Pentecostal psychopathy continues: "The minds of defeated prime ministers are rarely pretty. In some cases, they are damnably awful places, where ruins accumulate and dust gathers in wretchedness. ... This may well have been the case with Scott Morrison, the accidental of Australia’s prime ministers. ... Put out to lean, undernourished pasture, there was little reason to expect him to slide into respectable obscurity. The lecture circuit beckoned and his debut came in his 14 July address to the Asian Leadership Conference in Seoul." (26 Jul 2022)
Read more at Independent Australia

Jioji Ravulo – Don’t blame Pacific Island cultures for queer fear. Blame colonisation: "Six of the seven players refusing to wear the Manly Sea Eagles rainbow jersey in their match on Thursday night are from a Pasifika heritage. ... From a wider community perspective, we may view Pasifika cultures as being homophobic — full of fear for the queer. But this was taught to us by white, Western attitudes brought with colonisation. ... From various written accounts by missionaries, they were appalled with how comfortable we were with our nakedness. They saw our nudity as lewd and forced us to cover up. They saw men expressing affection for other men as morally corrupt and dangerous." (27 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Age

David HardakerIt’s karma: Tony Burke’s opposition to voluntary assisted dying has come back to bite him: "The ALP's leader of the house has to shepherd voluntary assisted dying legislation through the Parliament, going against his long-held views. In the new vibe Parliament of 2022, the likely passage of a bill to give territories the right to legislate on voluntary assisted dying represents perhaps the clearest break from the politics of old. (28 Jul 2022)
Read more at Crikey (paywalled)

Chris Bonnor and Tom Greenwell – Waiting for Gonski: a response to Trevor Cobbold: "Trevor Cobbold’s recent review of Waiting for Gonski, how Australia failed its schools, will resonate with many. He is generous in his praise, forthright in his criticisms, and remains focused on his preferred policy options for the future. But his critique side-steps the big problems facing Australia’s schools, and he fails to recognise the key ingredients in any solution to the inequality (and ineffectiveness) of Australia’s school system." (28 Jul 2022)
Read more at Pearls and Irritations

Gina Louise HawkesThe Manly pride jersey furore is not as simple as a choice between inclusivity and homophobia: "'Muscular Christianity' is the belief that by participating in sports, young men would become imbued with positive character traits enabling them to be as capable in the classroom or workforce as they were on the field. The concept migrated to the Pacific through British colonialists, particularly the British school boy system and its use of sports to create the 'good' Christian. ... This combination of muscular Christianity, sports, and the moralisation of gender meant that to be a 'good' man was to be not only strong and disciplined, but heterosexual and God-fearing." (29 Jul 2022)
Read more at The Conversation

Jack Galvin WaightWebinar: Making our public schools secular: "The groundswell of public opinion against scripture and government funded-chaplaincy and religious schools I think needs to become a people-power movement. As always, grassroots community organisation is the key to success. As is framing the debate in our own terms. If we can achieve an understanding that secularism protects all faiths and is a framework for ensuring equality, then the question has to be asked: what actually is anti-secular? And there are real shared values and understanding that inclusion is good for our society and that extremism is not. … embracing this secularism has never been so important. We can no longer afford to be silent. We need to be really loud and proud about our secular beliefs." (29 Jul 2022)
Watch the full webinar at the RSA

Cam WilsonA Christian charity is promoting ‘abortion reversals’. Experts say they’re not safe: "Genesis Pregnancy Support promises to connect people with a doctor to provide a medical abortion reversal, a procedure that experts say is ineffective and unsafe. Proponents of the abortion reversal treatment such as Genesis Pregnancy Support say it’s possible to counteract the effects of a medical abortion and “save” a pregnancy by giving patients a dose of hormone progesterone soon after they have taken the first abortion pill (mifepristone)." (29 Jul 2022)
Read more at Crikey

Events and Campaigns

Victorians, Fiona Patten's Reason party is calling for you to support the idea that no publicly funded hospital should refuse the right to contraception or abortion. They are hosting a tool which makes it easy for you to email your MPs here. Fiona will be introducing a bill on this topic shortly.

There is a parliamentary petition asking the Tasmanian government to "Pass Laws to Prohibit LGBTIQA+ Conversion Practices". View the petition here. Closes 18 August.

A new petition from the RSA is aiming to build enough momentum before the federal parliament resumes to put the issue of Christian prayer rituals on the agenda of newly elected representatives heading to Canberra. Sign the petition here.

A petition currently running on change.org calls for private schools to pay back their unnecessary Jobkeeper payments. View the petition 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.

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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