The Secular Agenda
Secular policy and values are based on the principle of there being a separation between Church and State.
The 2016 Census showed 30.1% of Australians have "No Religion". However, to that 30.1% can be added the 20% who no longer practice their childhood religion but continue to tick the box at each Census – through sheer force of habit.
This is compounded by the ‘closed’ Census question 19; “What is the person’s religion?”, which wrongly assumes we all have one!
A national Ipsos poll in 2016 showed 78% of people supported the survey question: "How important do you think it is to separate personal religious beliefs from the business of government?" This principle is embedded in Section 116 of our Constitution.
Australians are clearly less religious than our parliaments, which are consistently negative towards the secular issues below.
- legalise marriage equality for all same-sex couples. Passed 7.12.17, only with a promise of new Religious Freedom laws.
- legalise Voluntary Euthanasia in Victoria: passed 29.11.17. Support VE campaigns in all other states and territories.
- lobby for the mandatory reporting of all child abuse by any personnel in religious and other institutions.
- erase remaining abortion laws and provide legal protection for women, their clinicians, the clinics and their staff.
- remove tax exemptions to "for-profit" Church businesses, their non-charitable properties, investments, and assets.
- remove prayers, religious icons and rituals from all "secular" public institutions, including all tiers of government.
- remove single-faith religious instruction from schools; promote and teach "philosophical ethics" and "critical thinking".
- prioritise government funding for public schools and the principles of "religion-neutral" secular education.
- withhold funding from schools that continue to teach creationism over science and human evolution.
- abolish the National School Chaplaincy Program and replace chaplains with experienced professional counsellors.
- lobby for the full separation of Church and State; Church and Medicine; Church and Science.
- ban the religious practice of genital mutilation inflicted on both girls and boys.
- legislate against Church hospitals banning clinical procedures, based on religious grounds.
- prohibit the fundamentalist religious indoctrination of children in home-schooling.
- abolish existing blasphemy laws; still common law in all states and territories, except Qld and WA.
- endorse the full UDHR definition of "Freedom of Religion and Belief" which includes the right to express non-belief.
- repeal employment laws that allow religious institutions to discriminate in employment for non-religious positions.
- lobby to change the ‘closed’ Census question – “What is the person’s religion?” – to an unbiased ‘open’ question.
- promote the selection of Rationalists for boards/panels, with views based on "ethics", not Church leaders who claim to be society's "moral voice".
- remove religious bias from all government and legal documentation.
- lobby for a stronger voice on all secular issues, with better access to mainstream print and electronic media.
Please advise the National Secular Lobby of other issues that need to be addressed.