Policies of the Victorian Secular Lobby

These are the policies of the Victorian Secular Lobby, endorsed at of the 2014 Annual General Meeting and updated at the Annual General Meeting for 2016, and at a special policy review meeting on December 2016

* The preamble to The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (Westminster) should remove the words in the first sentence "humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God".

Commonwealth of Australia, preamble.

* The Section 116 of the Australian Constitution be expanded to prevent State governments from enacting particular laws restricting, funding, or establishing religions.

See Nick Langdon's presentation on Secularism and the Australian Constitution.

* Religious oaths and affirmations in courts should be replaced with a single secular affirmation for all defendants and witnesses.

Note equivalent UK proposal.

* Religious prayers to officiate the opening of parliaments, council meetings etc., should be abolished. c.f., Order 38 of the House of Representatives Standing Orders and Order 50 of the Senate Standing Orders

Note attempt to change standing orders in Federal Parliament by the Greens.

Status: Status: In progress

* Special acts for churches and the management of church owned property should be abolished. Management and ownership shall be transferred to properly constituted incorporated associations.

Note inability for victims to sue for compensation under current unincorporated structures.

Status: Status: In progress

* Amend Defence Regulations 2002, Chapter 11, so that there is no religious requirement to be an ADF chaplain

The current regulation reads that a person cannot be appointed as a chaplain in the ADF unless “the person is a member of a church or faith group approved by the Religious Advisory Committee to the Services”. See Nick Langdon's presentation on Secularism and the Australian Constitution.

* Religion in schools should be taught as part of history when appropriate. It should part of the general curriculum and taught by qualified teachers. "Special Religious Instruction" should be abolished.

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2013/s3946196.htm
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/inquiry-into-religious-instruction-in-...

Status: In progress

* The Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC) should be re-established.

http://www.standard.net.au/story/1744530/church-lobby-in-win-over-charit...
http://www.probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2014/02/government-should-keep-a...

Status: Success. Legislation did not get through the Senate - not proceeding with abolition

* The National School Chaplaincy program should be abolished with funds redirected to professional psychological services.
http://education.gov.au/national-school-chaplaincy-and-student-welfare-p...
http://www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/APS-Submission-School-Chaplain...

Status: Partial success, NSCP has been modified

http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/principals/health/Pages/nscpchapl...

* "Advancement of religion" should be removed as an automatic charitable purpose.
http://www.acnc.gov.au/ACNC/FTS/Fact_RelChar.aspx
http://www.charitiesnfplaw.com.au/2013/10/02/acnc-and-the-advancement-of...
http://www.cdi.gov.au/report/cdi_chap20.htm

* Religious organisations and service providers should be subject to anti-discrimination laws for all positions except those directly related to the ministrations of religious belief.
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/religious-groups-to-regain-bias-rights...

* Civil law marriages and adoptions should not be subject to religious requirements.
http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Mar...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adoption_in_Australia#Same_sex_couple_adop...

* People should have the right to 'die with dignity' and seek medically-assisted suicide for those who incurably and painfully ill.
http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bid-for-nationa...
http://www.theage.com.au/national/resounding-yes-for-terminally-ill-2012...

* The legal right to reproductive choices should rest with the informed choice of the relevant individuals. Pharmacies, who have a role as a public health service provider, must provide contraception.

Note that some pharmacies have refused on religious grounds.

* As a public health professional, if a medical practitioner will not perform an abortion due to conscientious objection then they must refer the woman to a medical practitioner who will. They must also state that they will not perform a termination of pregnancy in advance.
http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/alra2008209/s8.html

* The Victorian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act should be altered to remove provisions of contempt, ridicule etc, and rather should be based on false claims. Defamation law should be extended so that class actions can be taken,
http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/rarta2001265/s8.html

* The exclusion of divulgement of religious confessions for evidence should be abolished.

Note relevant section of Evidence Act.

* Religious organisations should not be able to claim special exemptions to vaccinations

Note that anti-vaccination groups have been encouraging parents to join a 'fake church'.
http://www.theage.com.au/national/health/antivaccination-group-encourage...

Status: Success

* Hospitals and chemists that receive public funding, must provide treatment or referral to the public./b>

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/catholic-hospital-bars-contraception-advice-20...

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/take-note-this-chemist-disapproves-of-...

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/australian-doctors-can-deny-wome...

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/ethics-classes-tackle-the-tricky-quest...