Weekend Wrap for 6 September 2020

Victorian member of parliament Fiona Patten is taking on religious privilege in the hiring of chaplains in public schools. Catch up on that and much more in this wrap of secular news from the past week.

Don’t forget that the Weekend Wrap, which aims to help secular-minded Australians keep abreast of the latest news on current issues, is also published on our Facebook page!

At the National Level

Around the Country

TAS: Independent MLC Mike Gaffney has rejected claims of an anti-voluntary assisted dying group that is spreading “numerous inaccuracies and misinterpretations” in an advertising campaign aimed at swaying Tasmanian public opinion against the Gaffney’s proposed law (The Advocate).

TAS: An Australian Christian Lobby delegation has urged government ministers and numerous members of the state parliament not to support the proposed voluntary assisted dying until there is adequate palliative care treatment available in Tasmania (ACL).

VIC: The release of figures showing that 124 terminally-ill Victorians have utilised the state’s voluntary assisted dying law in the past 12 months has added momentum to calls for the scrapping of federal restrictions that prevent doctors from providing consultations on the end-of-life option via the phone or teleconference (SMH).

VIC: Catholic media have described the figures on the number of people accessing voluntary assisted dying as representing an “explosion” of “suicide deaths”, with Melbourne’s Archbishop Peter Comensoli adding that the numbers were “heartbreaking” (Catholic Weekly).

QLD: The Noosa Shire Council has confirmed that the planned Satanic Black Mass will go ahead at one of its venues at Halloween, despite a Christian petition of 35,000-plus signatures urging that the event be cancelled (Noosa News).

VIC: Reason Party leader Fiona Patten introduced a bill to prevent religious discrimination in the hiring of chaplains in public school system, with the current practice preventing qualified psychologists and youth workers from being hired if they are not religious: https://bit.ly/3lWvPJm
Watch Fiona’s speech in parliament here.

VIC: The Australian Christian Lobby has labelled Fiona Patten’s proposed legislative amendment as a “brazen attack on Christian chaplains” and discriminatory (ACL).

NSW: Sydney Anglicans and a number of religious schools have declared their support for Mark Latham’s ‘religious freedom’ bill which would make it unlawful for a person to be discriminated against on the basis of their religion and protect statements of belief made outside the workplace (SMH).

WA: Following the action of others states and territories to outlaw gay conversion practices, the Greens and survivor groups are stepping up their calls for Western Australia to do likewise (Out in Perth).

WA: The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the commitment of “a number” of Perth mayoral aspirants to “resurrect” the city’s Nativity event (ACL).

ACT: The Australian Christian Lobby has revealed that it orchestrated an email campaign that deluged politicians in the territory with 10,000 emails and 1,000 calls to pressure them from supporting the Barr government’s gay conversion law (ACL).

SA: The Australian Christian Lobby is urging Christians in the state to contact their local MPs to pressure them to allow for silent prayer in proposed exclusion zones around abortion clinics (ACL).

Commentary and Analysis

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