Weekend Wrap for 1 June 2019

Now you see it! Now you don’t! Now you see it again! It’s funny how the Morrison government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Act disappeared during the election campaign only to return, if by some miracle, a few days afterward. Amazing!

Welcome back to our Weekend Wrap. We hope it helps you to stay on top of all things related to separation of church and state from around the nation. Share it with your friends to help them stay informed! The Weekend Wrap is also published on our new 'Secular Spotlight' blog.

Please let us know if we’ve missed anything! And feel free to give us some feedback on how we can improve it.

From the Capital

Introducing a ‘religious freedom’ bill into parliament tops Attorney-General Christian Porter’s agenda for the new parliament (West Australian).

Conservative coalition MPs are pushing for bold action on religious freedom, including exemptions for religious beliefs in employment contracts – exemptions that would, for example, have prevented the sacking of Israel Folau (Canberra Times).

Liberal MP Tim Wilson foreshadows the introduction of a religious freedom commissioner to the Human Rights Commission and suggests the government will have to ensure that “everybody’s rights are protected” when legislative changes are made in the name of 'religious freedom' (Q&A, ABC).

The Nationals are in a twist as to whether their drought policy is to ‘pray for rain’ or ‘do something practical’. Great to hear Senator McKenzie publicly support the principle of separation of church and state. We’d love to chat with her further about that! (ABC).

Around the Country

VIC: The Catholic Church’s defence in a Supreme Court case ignores some of the recommendations of the royal commission into institutional responses child sexual abuse, reports Louise Milligan (ABC).

SA: It turns out Pentecostal church members were urged to “vote like your freedom depends on it” in an elective-eve email (ABC).

NSW: Education Minister Sarah Mitchell confirms that school principals have no right to sight Working with Children Checks of SRE scripture instructors. Yes, folks, we have to trust religious organisations to police themselves! (FIRIS).

Commentary and Analysis

Marion Maddox, an expert when it comes to religion in politics, explores the shift among the churches toward wanting to strengthen religious protections, and the balancing act facing the Morrison government (In Daily).

Aram Hosie, of Equality Australia, is fearful that conservative politicians, still hurting from their loss on the same-sex marriage issue, will seek to impose new discriminations upon the LGBTIQ community (OUT in Perth).

Nick Butterly writes that the impact of religion in the federal election will be weighing on the mind of members of the McGowan government in WA, which is pursuing two key policies opposed by conservatives (West Australian).

Nathan Hondros argues that the West Australian government’s decision to extend to religious ministers mandatory reporting requirements when it comes to child abuse is a “cynical waste of time” that "distracts from serious child protection failures” (WAtoday).

NSL in the Media

NSL President Peter Monk talks to Lexology on the state of play for secularism in Australia, what we can expect of a new Morrison government and the controversial census question.

Peter also spoke to Rev. Bill Crews on 2GB about the wastage of federal funding for the National School Chaplaincy Program and the lack of formal monitoring in the program.

We hope our Weekend Wrap can contribute to keeping secular Australians informed on the issues that matter to us. If you come across something that you think we should share in the next edition, send a message to our inbox. The Weekend Wrap is also published on our new 'Secular Spotlight' blog.

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