Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 5 December 2021, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.
At the National Level
The Australian Christian Lobby has threatened to withdraw its support for the Religious Discrimination bill after the Prime Minister Scott Morrison agreed to ensure protections for LGBTIQA+ students would be fast tracked. (Out in Perth)
A deal on the treatment of gay and lesbian school students could clear the way for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to get his Religious Discrimination Act through the House of Representatives this week, overcoming Labor objections to his signature bill. (The Age)
Labor will aim to sidestep the religious discrimination stoush by reserving its position on the Morrison government bill until after a committee inquiry, but may wave it through the lower house if the government forces a vote. (The Guardian)
Labor, the Greens and crossbenchers have teamed-up in an attempt to delay Scott Morrison’s religious discrimination bill and leave the government only two days in March next year to pass protections for faith groups and individuals. (The Australian)
The Morrison government has struck a deal with some moderate Liberal MPs to support its contentious religious discrimination bill, agreeing to make immediate changes to protect gay students from discrimination in religious schools. (The Australian)
Religious discrimination laws will allow women who need IVF or surrogacy to be refused employment or harassed in their jobs by religious bodies, including the Catholic Church, which oppose such medical procedures, lawyers say. (The Australian)
Moderate Liberal MPs are being urged to pass the religious discrimination bill through the lower house and refer it to a joint parliamentary committee, with senior government figures promising to address concerns over indirect effects on gay staff and students. (The Australian)
Scott Morrison was forced to postpone a vote on his Religious Discrimination Bill in the lower house on Thursday amid concerns that moderate Liberal MPs would join Labor, the Greens and crossbenchers to stall its passage. (The Australian)
Parliament has adjourned for the year, with a whimper and not a bang, after the Morrison government shelved its controversial religious discrimination and national integrity commission bills. (The Guardian)
Labor's Shadow Minister for Education, Tanya Plibersek, says that while Labor has indicated they won’t be opposing the Religious Discrimination Bill in the House of Representatives, they’ll not be giving support to any proposals that see discrimination being allowed against other members of the community. (Out in Perth)
Just.Equal Australia says many LGBTIQ+ Australians will feel betrayed by Labor’s decision not to vote against the Religious Discrimination Bill if the Party fails to have debate on the bill delayed. (Out in Perth)
The Religious Discrimination Bill inquiry should not consider exemptions that allow schools to discriminate against teachers and students for their sexuality, the chair, Anne Webster, has said. (The Guardian)
The Rationalist Society of Australia is urging the Morrison government and the Labor opposition to join forces to provide protections for LGBTIQ students and teachers in religious schools instead of pursuing the divisive Religious Discrimination Bill. (RSA)
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has released a statement calling for an end to so called conversion ‘therapy’ as over half of Australian states have not banned the controversial practice. (Star Observer)
Religious Australians ‘recognise domestic violence as national issue, but not within their faith’. (The West Australian; paywalled)
Around the Country
TAS: A coalition of Tasmanian community organisations has formed to stop the proposed override of the state’s gold-standard Anti-Discrimination by the federal Religious Discrimination Bill. (Out in Perth)
VIC: Victoria’s Parliament on Friday passed long overdue reforms to prohibit religious schools from refusing to hire or sacking teachers and staff for being LGBTQI. Victoria now joins Tasmania, Queensland and the ACT where faith-based schools cannot fire teachers for being gay. (Star Observer)
NSW: Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Religious Discrimination Bill is now facing opposition from the states. After Victoria indicated that they may challenge provisions of the controversial Bill, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has questioned the need for Morrison’s showpiece legislation for the religious right. (Star Observer)
VIC: Proposed legislation that would prohibit religious schools in Victoria from firing or refusing to hire teachers based on gender and sexual identity has been met with a mixed reaction from within the Jewish community. (Australian Jewish News)
Commentary and Analysis
Neil Foster considers the possibility of a change to the provisions of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 which allow religious schools to operate in accordance with their religious commitments. (Law and Religion Australia)
A growing chorus of conservative dissatisfaction with the federal government’s Religious Discrimination Bill has gained another voice in Independent MP Bob Katter, who is concerned the bill may unintentionally expose Christians to complaints of discrimination from Australians professing no religion. (Catholic Weekly)
AJN provides a look at the impact of the Religious Discrimination Bill from the Jewish perspective. (Australian Jewish News)
A reaction to the Religious Discrimination Bill from the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. (Australian Jewish News)
Events and Advisories
Just.Equal are running a campaign against the Religious Discrimination Bill. Use their tool to send emails to Labor MPs urging them to oppose the Bill.
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 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.