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 that 30.1% of the population have "No Religion".  This will be a catalyst to press more successfully for secular progress.  But added to this 30.1% is the 20% of non-practicing Christians (and others) who have abandoned their childhood religion but continue to mark it at each Census, by sheer force of habit.  We respect the right to hold a religion, but equally to abstain.

In addition, a national Ipsos poll in 2016 showed that 78% of Australians 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.

A public majority now support most of the secular issues below.  All are consistently rejected by state and federal parliaments, primarily on religious grounds. This list is not exhaustive, but includes:

  • legalise marriage equality for all same-sex couples: passed 7.12.17.
  • 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.

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