Weekend Wrap for 8 November 2020

The push for voluntary assisted dying in Tasmania is about to reach a critical moment. The Weekend Wrap is back for another week to keep you informed of secular issues making news around the country.

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 said that faith-based hospitals and aged-care facilities “shouldn’t be able to (stop voluntary assisted dying from occurring at their institutions) in a secular society”, as opponents to his bill scramble to secure a delay and more protections for faith-based groups (The Australian, paywalled).

TAS: In this radio interview, Independent MLC Mike Gaffney says the chances of his voluntary assisted dying bill passing both houses of parliament by the end of the year are “still good” (Tasmania Talks).

QLD: Newly elected members of the state’s Labor government have voiced strong support for passing voluntary assisted dying in the new year (Brisbane Times).

QLD: In this radio interview, Tanya Battel, a campaigner for voluntary assisted dying and a friend of the National Secular Lobby, says the issue was a “vote changer” in the election, with people wanting action from the Labor government (ABC).

NSW: Andrew Denton, the founder of Go Gentle Australia, has been nominated as a New South Wales finalist in the Australian of the Year awards for his advocacy for better end-of-life choices.

WA: Belinda Teh, the face of Western Australia’s campaign for voluntary assisted dying, is a finalist for the state’s Young Australian of the Year for her leadership in the state’s voluntary assisted dying campaign.

NSW: State Treasurer Dominic Perrottet is set to announce a $56 million funding boost to palliative care in this month's budget (SMH).

QLD: Moderate figures in the state Liberal National Party are agitating for a post-election review, as concerns mount about the increased influence of the Christian right leading to poor candidate choices (The Guardian).

TAS: The Anglican Church in Tasmania is looking at selling more of its assets to meet compensation liabilities to be paid to survivors of sexual abuse under the National Redress Scheme (ABC).

SA: The Marshall Government is encouraging South Australians to have their say on plans to reduce discrimination against members of the LGBTIQ+ community by reforming laws to strike a better balance between equality and religious freedom (Mirage News).

SA: Proposed reforms to the state’s abortion laws better reflect the “most current societal attitudes” on women’s reproductive rights and address out-of-date medical opinions, the Law Society of South Australia says (Lawyers Weekly).

SA: Two members of the Upper House have asked the state government to delay debate on the proposed abortion reforms so as to avoid discussing contentious legislation on Remembrance Day (In Daily).

Commentary and Analysis

Allan Hall, former deputy president of the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal, writes that residents of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory should have the right to access voluntary assisted dying (Canberra Times).

Father Brendan Lee writes that the elderly stand to lose the most under voluntary assisted dying laws, with them set to face pressure not to be a burden (Canberra Times).

Mark Bowling of the Catholic Leader news site explores the views of Catholic leaders on how voluntary assisted dying has played out as a political issue in the Queensland election (Catholic Leader).

John Sandeman of Christian news outlet Eternity News reviews some of the submissions to Mark Latham’s proposed anti-discrimination legislation to enhance religious freedom (Eternity News).

Angela Skujins takes a look at South Australia’s proposed abortion decriminalisation legislation and how it will attempt to bring the state’s laws into line with all other Australian states and territories (CityMag).

In supposing that “ultimately, the desire for safety from COVID-19 won the day” in the Queensland election, the Australian Christian Lobby’s Wendy Francis says vulnerable people are now “unsafe” in the face of voluntary assisted dying and abortion laws (ACL)

Susie O'Brien argues that women seeking to terminate their pregnancy should not have to face sneers from male Liberal Party politicians who will never be in the same position (paywalled, Adelaide Advertiser).

That's it for another week!

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