Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 31 October 2021, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.
At the National Level
The Australian Christian Lobby's Martyn Iles has publicly boasted that the upcoming Religious Discrimination Bill will include a so-called "Folau clause," protecting statements of faith made outside the workplace from employers (in some cases.) (SMH)
National LGBTIQ+ advocacy organisation Just.Equal Australia has written to leading members of both major parties urging them to support a parliamentary inquiry into the Religious Discrimination Bill when it is introduced by Attorney-General, Michaelia Cash. (Out in Perth)
LGBTIQ advocates have slammed Attorney-General Michaelia Cash’s suggestion the next draft of the controversial Religious Discrimination Bill should dodge a parliamentary inquiry before its passage. (Q News)
The government has released a new national strategy to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse. A comprehensive national strategy of this nature was one of the 409 recommendations handed down by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. (The Conversation)
Around the Country
WA: Current exceptions to anti-discrimination laws in Western Australia are allowing religious institutions to harm the fundamental rights and freedoms of others, the Rationalist Society of Australia has warned. (RSA)
VIC: The Victorian Government’s bill to amend their Equal Opportunity Act will dramatically reduce the ability of Christian schools to hire staff of faith, showing that the government is "out of touch with faith communities," according to Christian Schools associations. (Eternity News)
Commentary and Analysis
Neil Foster analyses Victoria's Equal Opportunity (Religious Exceptions) Amendment Bill 2021. (Law and Religion Australia)
Commenting in a Rationalist Society of Australia webinar, Rev. Dr Elenie Poulos and Professor Marion Maddox opined that the prevailing ‘religious freedom’ discourse in Australia is being wielded by hard-Right politicians, ‘culture warriors’ and the Christian Right to legitimise laws that discriminate against LGBTIQ people and others. (RSA)
Murray Campbell, Pastor of Mentone Baptist Church, writes that "no Government in Australia in contemporary history has introduced as many policies targeting religious freedom as has this Victorian Government." (murraycampbell.net)
Events and Advisories
Watch a reply of the Rationalist Society of Australia webinar featuring Rev. Dr Elenie Poulos and Professor Marion Maddox, "Unpacking the religious freedom agenda".
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 are petitioning the NSW Parliament to work together to deliver voluntary assisted dying laws.
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.