Weekend Wrap for 7 August 2022

Welcome to the NSL Weekend Wrap for 7 August 2022, where you can catch up on the latest secular-related news from around the country.

Do you have any news items, campaigns, petitions, webinars or other event notices that could be added to our weekly Wrap? Let us know at wrap@nsl.org.au.

At the National Level

Two federal Labor backbenchers — Canberra's Alicia Payne and Darwin's Luke Gosling — today introduced a bill to free the territories from the Commonwealth's ban on voluntary assisted dying laws. Their bill will not legalise euthanasia. Rather, it seeks to allow both territories' parliaments to debate euthanasia legislation if they wish to. (1 Aug 2022)
Read more at ABC News

A bill to restore territory rights has passed in the House of Representatives this morning, edging the ACT and Northern Territory closer to being able to set their own laws on voluntary assisted dying. The private member’s bill was introduced by Labor MPs Alicia Payne and Luke Gosling on Monday and aims to overturn a 25-year-old ban on territories legislating on euthanasia. This bill does not legalise voluntary assisted dying, but rather gives the territories the right to vote on it. (3 Aug 2022)
Read more at ABC News

Just.Equal Australia has asked the Federal Labor Government to uphold its previous commitment to appointment an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner. The move comes after Labor voted down a Greens proposal for an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner during debate on the Australian Human Rights Act earlier this week. (4 Aug 2022)
Read more at Out in Perth

The parents behind a petition calling for the federal government to fund youth workers, not faith-based chaplains, in Australia’s public schools say the Albanese government’s proposed changes do not go far enough. Spokesperson Mark Davies said the parents remained concerned that religious-based discrimination would continue in the program as secular providers of youth workers would be unable to compete on a level playing field with well-established religious labour hire firms. (5 Aug 2022)
Read more at the Rationalist Society of Australia

Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher has helped launch a new book on the right to conscientiously object the day after the founder of Victoria’s Reason Party, Fiona Patten, announced she would introduce a bill to target Catholic hospitals who refuse to provide abortions. Archbishop Fisher launched Dr Xavier Symons’ Why Conscience Matters: A Defence of Conscientious Objection in Healthcare at the Australian Catholic University’s North Sydney campus on 2 August. (6 Aug 2022)
Read more at the Catholic Weekly

Labor has used its numbers in the Senate to block a Greens’ inquiry into reform of the Australian Human Rights Commission, including the appointment of an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner. It’s the second time this week there’s been a push to create an LGBTIQA+ Human Rights Commissioner via the parliament. Previously the Greens attempted to add a clause into legislation in the lower house. (6 Aug 2022)
Read more at Out in Perth

Around the Country

TAS: A Tasmanian teacher has had his offer of employment rescinded by a Catholic school in Hobart after the school claimed it was advised the Archbishop could not support his employment due to the teacher's "relationship arrangement". The ABC understands the educator is separated from his wife and is now in a new relationship with a woman. (27 Jul 2022)
Read more at ABC News

VIC: Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance has cancelled plans to illuminate the site in rainbow colours, citing "sustained abuse" and threats directed at its staff. The rainbow plan for Sunday night was set to coincide with the opening of a new exhibition inside the Shrine, called Defending with Pride: Stories of LGBTQ+ Service. (30 Jul 2022)
Read more at ABC News

VIC: Victorian crossbench MP Fiona Patten is looking to compel taxpayer-funded religious hospitals to provide abortions, contraceptive treatment and end-of-life options. The Reason Party leader will introduce a bill into state parliament this week that would remove the right of hospitals that receive any taxpayer funding to refuse to offer reproductive health services and voluntary assisted dying due to "corporate conscientious objection". (1 Aug 2022)
Read more at ABC News

VIC: Another Victorian Liberal pre-selection ahead of the state elections in November has been engulfed in controversy over the candidate’s links to a conservative Christian church with historical links to gay conversion practices. Renee Heath's father, Brian Heath, is a senior pastor at the City Builders Church, which has in the past been accused of reportedly encouraging its members to take part in a now-closed gay conversion therapy program run by Living Waters. (1 Aug 2022)
Read more at the Star Observer

VIC: The Catholic Church is using a controversial legal tactic in a bid to be excused from a civil damages claim lodged in the Victorian Supreme Court involving Cardinal George Pell. In a preliminary hearing in the Victorian Supreme Court on Thursday, the Archdiocese indicated it wanted to rely on what is known as the 'Ellis defence' to be excused from the case. (4 Aug 2022)
Read more at ABC News

VIC: Lawyers acting for the Catholic Church have argued that legislation passed to close a legal loophole that helped the church avoid liability for sex abuse victims does not apply to the father of a former choirboy whom prosecutors had alleged was sexually abused by George Pell. (4 Aug 2022)
Read more at The Age

Commentary and Analysis

Samantha LewisManly's jersey predicament taught sport an important lesson about inclusion, just not the one the club intended: "On Tuesday morning, a few minutes after Manly Sea Eagles head coach Des Hasler apologised for the club's mishandling of their 'inclusion' jersey, captain Daly Cherry-Evans was asked a question. 'Have you ever heard bigoted views from amongst [the] playing group with regard to the LGBTQI community?' They cited only 'religious and cultural reasons' for their decision, which is sometimes seen as a pretext for discriminatory attitudes and behaviours." (30 Jul 2022)
Read more at ABC News

Hemant MehtaAustralia’s Senate should follow Sue Lines’ lead and ditch the Lord’s Prayer: With new leadership changes in Australia, one of the first casualties may be the Christian invocation prayer that opens up sessions of Parliament, at least if new Senate President Sue Lines gets her way. And thank goodness for that. (31 Jul 2022)
Read more at Only Sky

Michelle GrattanView from The Hill: House vote on allowing territories to legalise voluntary assisted dying likely this week: "In 1997, Tony Burke was a high profile organiser mustering support to quash a law that had been passed in the Northern Territory to allow euthanasia. Although not yet in parliament, Burke, who was executive director of Euthanasia No!, worked hand in glove with then Liberal MP Kevin Andrews, sponsor of the private member’s federal bill to vote down the NT law. Now, as leader of the House of Representatives, Burke is responsible for facilitating another private member’s bill, to overturn the Andrews’ one, coming to a vote." (1 Aug 2022)
Read more at The Conversation

Sonia HickeyAustralian Territories Could Be Given the Right to Introduce Euthanasia Laws: "Two Federal Labor backbenchers have introduced a Bill which could end to the Commonwealth’s paternalistic ban on the Territories legalising the right to die within their borders. If passed, the will give the territories greater autonomy in the area of euthanasia as well as others where the Federal Government has exerted paternalistic influence on the jurisdictions – allowing them to better determine their own rules." (1 Aug 2022)
Read more at Sydney Criminal Lawyers

Gregory ClarkMorrison and Japan’s new rightist religions: "The excesses of the so-called Unification Church, born in Korea but which quickly became firmly established in Japan and the United States, led to recent assassination of Japan’s former prime minister, Shinzo Abe, by the son of a woman fleeced by the Church. Now we have a Shintoist outfit which calls itself World Mate and with a subsidiary which calls itself World Support for Development. It was able to lure Scot Morrison from his parliamentary duties in Canberra to join a group of other wannabe, some well-known, world political leaders to talk about ‘How Japan and the Indo-Pacific Region will fare in a Changing World’." (3 Aug 2022)
Read more at Pearls and Irritations

Graham WillettDon’t let a row over rainbow lights fool you. The Shrine has room for all of us: "The recent furore over the proposed rainbow lighting of the Shrine of Remembrance, intended to mark the opening of an exhibition on queers in the military, seems like it ought to tell us something about Australian life. It doesn’t." (3 Aug 2022)
Read more at the SMH

Adam WesselinoffMaking sense of faith in the census: "On 27 July the National Centre for Pastoral Research and Christian Research Australia held a webinar to break down the 2021 Census Data, with former CRA director Professor Philip Hughes analysing some of the major trends. Here are some of the main messages." (4 Aug 2022)
Read more at the Catholic Weekly

Events and Campaigns

Victorians, Fiona Patten's Reason party is calling for you to support the idea that no publicly funded hospital should refuse the right to contraception or abortion. They are hosting a tool which makes it easy for you to email your MPs here. Fiona will be introducing a bill on this topic shortly.

A new petition from the RSA is aiming to build enough momentum before the federal parliament resumes to put the issue of Christian prayer rituals on the agenda of newly elected representatives heading to Canberra. Sign the petition here.

There is a parliamentary petition asking the Tasmanian government to "Pass Laws to Prohibit LGBTIQA+ Conversion Practices". View the petition here. Closes 18 August.

A petition currently running on change.org calls for private schools to pay back their unnecessary Jobkeeper payments. View the petition here.

The Australian Education Union is running a campaign calling for “every school, every child” to receive fair education funding. Support the campaign here.

Funding for public schools has been cut in the latest budget but funding for school chaplains has been assured. A change.org petition is currently calling on the federal government to fund youth workers rather faith-based chaplains in our public schools.

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.

The Human Rights for NSW alliance has launched a campaign calling for NSW to pass a Human Rights Act.

That's it for another week!

Until next time, please follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

And if you are able, please consider making a small monthly contribution to the NSL to help us raise the secular profile in Australia. Every dollar helps!