‘Liberal MP threatens to derail Berejiklian’s government over abortion bill’

“A New South Wales Liberal MP has threatened to defect to the crossbench, potentially derailing Gladys Berejiklian’s stronghold, if ‘essential amendments’ are not made to the state’s abortion bill…”

– Report from Nine News.

Legal Reflections on The Religious Discrimination Bill

Akos Balogh from The Gospel Coalition Australia spoke with Neil Foster (Associate Professor of Law at the University of Newcastle), about the Morrison Government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill –

“Going into the last election, the Morrison Government committed to implementing most of the recommendations of the Ruddock Review on Religious Freedom. In particular, they promised that they would move quickly on a ‘Religious Discrimination Bill’, and refer issues around the religious exemptions applying in other discrimination legislation (especially, but not solely, related to religious schools) to the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC).

They have now started to keep their promise by releasing, on August 29, an Exposure Draft Religious Discrimination Bill 2019 (‘RD Bill’), along with two other Bills making related and associated amendments. …”

Read the full interview here.

‘Ground-breaking’ winner at NSW Premier’s History Awards

“A book exploring The Bible’s complex influence on Australia’s political and pop culture landscape, from colonisation to the Bra Boys, is among the major winners of this year’s NSW Premier’s History Awards. …”

– Story from The Sydney Morning Herald.

See also:

2019 Winner Judges’ Comments

“Meredith Lake’s The Bible in Australia is a book of remarkable originality. Formidably researched yet carrying its scholarship with an enviable lightness of touch, this is a ground-breaking cultural and social history.”

Protest against the abortion-to-birth bill — Saturday 7th September

The Australian Christian Lobby is encouraging a massive protest against the “abortion-to-birth bill” outside Liberal Party State Council meeting next week.

They write, “This is the first time the party has come together since the election. The Premier and numerous MPs will be in attendance. We need your support to show the tsunami of opposition against the radical abortion-to-birth bill!”

8.00am Saturday 7th September
Outside the Main Foyer
International Convention Centre,
14 Darling Drive, Sydney NSW 2000.

You could consider letting church members know about this on Sunday.

Details at their website.

New Commonwealth Religious Freedom Laws

“The Commonwealth Attorney-General has released Exposure Drafts of a package of Federal Bills designed to improve religious freedom protections under Australian law, along with associated explanatory information. The legislation responds to the recommendations of the Ruddock Panel into Religious Freedom, released late in 2018. Public comment has been invited by 2 October, 2019.

The main item is the Religious Discrimination Bill 2019 (“RDB”), which broadly replicates the existing pattern of anti-discrimination laws enacted by the Commonwealth, but picking up for the first time at the Federal level the “protected characteristics” of “religious belief or activity”. Two ancillary Bills propose consequential amendments to other legislation, add some specific matters to be taken into account in objects clauses for other discrimination laws, and slightly amend or clarify the laws on charities and marriage.

The RDB is a lengthy document (68 clauses over 52 pages), with some complexities that will need to be unpacked. But I would like to offer a brief overview and an initial response, which will be followed up later by more detailed comments about particular issues. I can say, however, that it looks like being a worthwhile and helpful change which in general will further the cause of religious freedom (for both believers and non-believers) in Australia.…”

– Neil Foster, Associate Professor in Law, offers an initial opinion at Law and Religion Australia.

Vocal NSW church leaders join anti-abortion campaigners

“Triumphant anti-abortion campaigners rallied outside the New South Wales Parliament last night, boasting they have the people power to ensure legislation to decriminalise abortion in the state gets voted down.

Their hopes have been buoyed by Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s decision to delay an upper house vote on the bill until next month.

Leaders of Sydney’s Catholic and Anglican churches and the Australian Christian Lobby urged the crowd to pressure MPs to vote the legislation down.”

– Story from ABC Radio’s AM.

Freedom19 Conference

Freedom for Faith’s Freedom19 Conference is planned for Wednesday 4th September at NSW Parliament House in Sydney.

Details and booking here.

‘Choose Life’ written in sky over Sydney as NSW Parliament goes into abortion tailspin

“NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has made an 11th-hour decision to delay a vote in parliament on a bill that would decriminalise abortion, appearing to cave in to the concerns of Liberal colleagues. …”

– Report from ABC News.

Betrayal of the Gospel of Life

“There are so many things that can be said about the passage of the abortion-till-birth bill through the Lower House last week.

We could talk about the ramming through of a Labor-Greens policy under the banner of a Berejiklian-Greenwich government.

We could talk about the ‘lipstick on a pig’ amendments that did nothing to make this evil bill any better.

Or we could talk about the chilling, cackling laughter from MPs that was heard throughout the Parliamentary chamber after the bill passed.

For anyone who heard it, the sound could only be described as demonic.

But I won’t explore those in any detail this week. Instead, I want to talk about two other aspects of last week’s debate that really struck me. …

It wasn’t only the MPs that were betraying the Gospel of Life (and the Gospel more generally) last week. Disgracefully, certain Christian leaders did too…”

– Monica Doumit, Director of Public Affairs and Engagement for the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, writes this opinion-piece for The Catholic Weekly.

The Lethal Corruption of Euthanasia

“Let me take you back 24 years to a moment of great significance during the first great euthanasia debate in Australia. It was a moment that crystallised the concerns of many that the so-called ‘right to die’ would come to be felt by the most vulnerable in our community as a ‘duty to die’.

The year was 1995, just before the Northern Territory passed its euthanasia law. At the height of the debate, our Head of State at the time, Governor-General Bill Hayden, addressed the Royal Australian College of Physicians on the Gold Coast about why he supported euthanasia …”

– Toowoomba GP, and university lecturer in palliative medicine, David van Gend writes in Quadrant.

MPs urged to ‘Care for the most vulnerable’

“Archbishop Glenn Davies has told a State Parliamentary inquiry that the catchcry of new legislation has been ‘decriminalisation’ but skates over the details that it radically extends abortion in New South Wales.

Abortion is not unlawful in New South Wales under certain circumstances because of a precedent set by the ruling of a District Court Judge in 1971.

The new legislation, which allows for abortions up to birth without effective safeguards, has had minor amendments in the state’s Legislative Assembly and now goes to the Upper House for scrutiny and then a vote.

After two weeks of media appearances and joint appeals with other religious leaders, Dr Davies was able to speak directly to the Upper House MPs who form the Social Issues Committee of the Legislative Council. …

The Archbishop also lodged a submission by the Social Issues Committee of the Diocese, which argued against the legislation on several grounds, including its impact on women.”

Read the full report from SydneyAnglicans.net.

Further towards a culture of death?

“Another tragic milestone in our country’s history was put in place on Thursday night as the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, by a vote of 59 to 31, passed legislation to decriminalise the late-term abortion of unborn children. The tragedy lies not just in the vote, but in the arguments put forward in support of the Bill and the reaction of politicians and other advocates once it had been passed.

Of course, this was simply one more step along a road that Australia and the Western world have been travelling for some time. …

While there is still an opportunity we should petition those in the New South Wales Legislative Council not to give their concurrence to this Bill. Yet even more, we need to speak of life and hope in this context of death and fear and extraordinary self-righteousness in which we find ourselves.”

– At Theological Theology, Moore College Principal Dr Mark Thompson writes plainly about the Reproductive Health Care Reform Act 2019.

Pass the link around, and be encouraged to make a submission before 5:00pm Tuesday 13th August 2019.

Opportunity to make a submission concerning the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019

The Standing Committee on Social Issues of the NSW Legislative Council has called for submissions concerning the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019, which passed the Legislative Assembly last week.

Submissions may be made until Close of Business on Tuesday 13 August 2019.

See the Standing Committee on Social Issues web page for the text of the amended bill which was passed, as well as a link to make your own submission.

The Australian Christian Lobby has some suggestions …

“This week, the draft law will be sent to a committee to look in detail at the bill.

The committee has called for written submissions from members of the public. They are due by 5pm on Tuesday 13 August.

Please act TODAY by making a brief, written submission to the Inquiry, calling for the bill to be rejected or failing that, amended.

Here are some points you might like to make …”

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