Weekend Wrap for 6 July 2019

Parliament’s return set the wheels in motion towards the introduction of a religious discrimination act. So, in this Weekend Wrap, there’s plenty of news and analysis to digest on how that issue is going to play.

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The National View

Conservative government members are calling for swift action to introduce religious discrimination legislation and amend other laws such as the Marriage Act, instead of waiting for a government-commissioned report from the Australian Law Reform Commission (The Guardian).

Prime Minister Scott Morrison makes the case that employers should respect the private practices and private beliefs of employees (SBS).

Labor Senator Kristina Keneally says her party "stands ready" to work with the government on a religious discrimination act (SBS).

LGBTIQ advocacy group Just Equal are calling on Labor, the Greens and crossbenchers to oppose any anti-discrimination laws that weaken existing protections from discrimination (AFR; paywalled article).

LGBTIQ rights groups and faith-based groups that support the LGBTIQ community are calling on the Morrison government to listen to not just the loudest voices but also vulnerable community groups in drafting religious discrimination legislation (OUTinPerth).

As MPs and Senators took their places in the new parliament this week, 63 per cent chose to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen with their hand on a religious text, while the rest made an affirmation of allegiance (The Australia; paywalled article).

Around the Country

QLD: The Australian Education Union (AEU) has backed the grassroots push calling on the government to review how religion is presented in Queensland's state schools, with the federal president of the AEU Correna Haythorpe arguing that states schools were not the place for religious indoctrination (The New Daily).

QLD: The Queensland Teachers Union has added its support for a review of religious instruction in the state's schools (Brisbane Times).

Around the World

In an apparent response to moves across Australia to make it a crime for priests to withhold information about abuse heard in confession, the Vatican has reaffirmed its position that no government or law could force clergy to violate the seal “because this duty comes directly from God” (Reuters).

Commentary and Analysis

With the help of a wounded Labor, the government could be about to cross the line when it comes to a separation of church and state, argues James Fitzgerald (Independent Australia).

Political analyst Karen Middleton says the primary thing that binds Prime Minister Scott Morrison and those in his inner circle is their shared Christian faith (7am podcast).

As revealed in Niki Savva’s new book 'Plots and Prayers', Morrison’s fellow Pentecostal Stuart Robert prayed with Morrison that “righteousness would exalt the nation” moments before Morrison was elected leader of the Liberal Party (Sydney Morning Herald).

Melanie Saward shares why Scott Morrison’s Pentecostalism is something for Australians to fear, saying Pentecostal doctrine “allows little room for separation between ideology and other aspects of your life” (Overland).

Dr Jennifer Wilson explains why the religious Right in Australia needs to play the victim (Independent Australia).

Father Frank Brennan says he hasn’t got a problem with employers having the right to limit what their employees can say, including in expressing religious views (Sky News).

If Rugby Australia loses its case against Folau, the “fires of religious discrimination would burn bright for years to come”, sending Australia backwards in terms of tolerance and social maturity, writes Greg Callaghan (Brisbane Times).

Meet the ‘silent Australians’ who donated to the fundraising effort for Folau – many of whom are Christians who are, it is claimed, frustrated by accusations of homophobia and bigotry (ABC).

That's it for another week!

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