Catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country in the NSL Weekend Wrap for 6 June 2021.
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At the National Level
The Morrison government has placed religious freedom back on the political agenda, as Attorney-General Michaelia Cash restarts meetings with key stakeholders and church groups embark on a lobbying blitz to shape and enact the laws before the election. (SMH)
A Labor senator has accused the Morrison government of a ‘cover-up’ for failing to disclose details of the groups it has been consulting with on the development of the new Religious Discrimination Bill since late last year. (Rationalist Society of Australia)
Australian media companies will be forced to pay more than $1 million in fines after publishing details of Cardinal George Pell’s child sexual abuse convictions in breach of court orders. (The New Daily)
Conservative religious group Familyvoice Australia has told MPs across Australia that they must “get their act together” to protect more young people from the harms of gender intervention. (Familyvoice Australia)
Around the Country
NSW: Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Town Hall in Sydney on Saturday to make their opposition to Mark Latham's “transphobic” law reforms heard, and to raise awareness about the threat the changes pose to trans and gender diverse people. (Star Observer)
VIC: Shocking new figures from the Commission for Children and Young People show that there have been four times as many reports of sexual misconduct in religious and independent schools as there have been in state schools, despite the state system educating twice as many students. (Herald Sun)
WA: The Australian Christian Lobby’s State Director Peter Abetz (brother of Liberal party Senator Eric Abetz) has defended the ‘Real Lives’ program that it conducts in association with ‘ex-gay’ organisation True Identity, described by some as including elements of gay conversion therapy. (Out in Perth)
WA: WA’s appointment of a five member board to monitor and advise on voluntary assisted dying laws will mean that from July 1 an end of life option will be available to eligible people in the state. (The Mandarin)
QLD: A Labor MP has become the first to publicly speak out against Voluntary Assisted Dying laws as he told an impassioned State Conference debate they would have “serious unintended consequences” for the terminally-ill. (Courier Mail)
QLD: A network of hundreds of hospitals and aged care services are mobilising the religious community to write directly to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to demand action over Queensland‘s “vastly underfunded” palliative care services. (Courier Mail)
QLD: Catholic Health Australia has stepped up its advocacy and media efforts around the controversial issue of assisted suicide with the launch of an advertisement and a website to promote better-funded palliative care in Queensland. (CHA)
VIC: Boroondara Councillor Victor Franco is calling on the public to help him replace exclusionary Christian prayers with something more inclusive to open their council meetings. (Rationalist Society of Australia)
Commentary and Analysis
Electing candidates from churches like Scott Morrison's Pentecostal Church and packing them into parliament is damaging to a viable democracy, writes NSL director Brian Morris. (Independent Australia)
According to Law professor Paula Gerber, a key indicator of the degree of protection afforded to LGBTI people by countries is "a common narrative that emphasises the importance of traditional values, often relying on religious moral values." (Monash University)
Rick Sarre, Emeritus Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, University of South Australia, explains why Australian media outlets been fined more than $1 million for their reporting on Cardinal George Pell. (The Conversation)