Welcome to the Humanist Society of Victoria news portal. The Society keeps abreast of what’s happening in the world of secularism and free thought and partners with a range of groups campaigning for a better world. In this section, you can find out about the latest seminars, demonstrations, conventions, awards and a host of other activities related to the Humanist cause. To review the Humanist Society of Victoria public lecture schedule, held monthly, visit our HSV Public Lectures page. If you would like to get involved with Humanist issues, drop us a line at email@example.com or leave us a message on our Contact Us page.
Ex-Religious Support Network
29 Sep 2018 – Following on from Steven Unthank and Lara Kaput’s address to the Humanist Society of Victoria (HSV) in June 2018 on Supporting Survivors of Religion, HSV has now established a support group for people leaving their religion. This group is called Ex-Religious Support Network (ESN) and is set up as a Meetup group at www.meetup.com/Ex-Religious-Support-Network. The lead organizer is HSV committee member, Leslie Allan. The group opened for members on 28 September 2018 and welcomes people coming from all religions, denominations and sects. The Organizer also welcomes offers of support in running the group from other HSV members and members of other freethought organizations. For more information, contact Leslie Allan at firstname.lastname@example.org and download the Ex-Religious Support Network ESN information pamphlet.
Science Talent Search
1 Jun 2018 – HSV has donated $1,000 to Science Teachers’ Association of Victoria to help with the running of the 2018 Science Talent Search. By becoming a Gold Sponsor, HSV will be able to have a one-half page advert about the Society in the 2018 STS Bursary booklet. HSV has also donated $1,000 to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, an action in part motivated by the recent budget cuts made in this body’s annual funding. We encourage members who feel passionate about this charity to make individual donations – either via the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre web site or by snail mail to 214–218 Nicholson St, Footscray, Vic, 3011.
Vale – Val Crohn (9 Dec 1925 – 23 May 2018)
1 Jun 2018 – Val was an active member for many years, attending public lectures and social events. She had a good life, first with her husband, now deceased, and from 1980 teaching physics and general science at Lauriston girls’ school. She was an active member of the Science Teachers’ Association of Victoria, where Rosslyn Ives first met her. However, since moving into a retirement home her involvement ceased. HSV extends sympathy to her children, Phil and Margaret, and their families.
National Humanist Convention
1 May 2018 – This year’s Council of Australian Humanist Societies (CAHS) Convention was held in Adelaide on 13 to 14 April 2018. Rosslyn Ives and Stephen Stuart were our delegates to the 53rd annual general meeting of CAHS, which was chaired by Lyndon Storey as president and acting secretary. HSWA did not participate, as its committee was inactive, but ACTHS was represented. HSV put two motions on notice (see April VH): HSV1, concerning instructional materials on Humanism, was carried; HSV2 was passed in a less strenuous form, ‘That CAHS coordinate and support actions to oppose religious chaplaincy in State schools’. Then a late motion from HSQ, ‘That CAHS act to facilitate co-operation between members of humanist societies with common interests by helping to establish “affinity” groups for interested members; CAHS to develop process for establishing affinity groups’, was received and approved. The public session of the Convention carried the theme, ‘Equality is for everyone’. Invited speakers covered various aspects of social action, particularly strong contributors being Uncle Lewis Yerloburka O’Brien, Chris Schacht and Rodney Croome. At the Convention dinner, Anne Levy AO (AHoY 1986) made the presentation of Australian Humanist of the Year 2018 to Gillian Triggs, the former Human Rights Commissioner, who gave a stirring address in reply.
Vale – Dr Harry Gardner (15 Jan 1927 – 18 Feb 2018)
1 Mar 2018 – Harry Gardner was a long-time and very active HSV member. He was a committee member in the 1970s, serving as President in 1973. At that time, he played a key role in advocating for the removal of religious instruction from state schools. Although humanists were unsuccessful on this matter in the 1970s, experience from that time fed into a further successful campaign in the 2000s. Harry spearheaded this renewed action by creating ethical education lessons, which he promoted with passion and vigour. His activity was undoubtedly influential in leading to the State government removing Special Religious instruction from classroom time and setting up the study area, ‘World Religions and other World Beliefs’, including Humanism. Harry’s work on ethical education earned him the award of Outstanding Humanist Achiever in 2012.
Having been diagnosed with cancer, Harry had a very personal interest in the availability of legalised voluntary euthanasia. So, when the Andrews government signalled its intent to legalise physician-assisted dying, Harry was galvanised into action. During 2017, he personally visited nearly 50 Victorian MPs to argue that they should vote for physician-assisted dying or VAD Bill. His personal approach persuaded quite a few MPs who were wavering to vote ‘yes’.
Humanism in England
1 Mar 2018 – HSV is entering into fraternal communication with North Yorkshire Humanists, following the visit to Melbourne in December by Professor John Adams of Harrogate. We shall swap Humanist news and encourage mutual visits. So, if a Victorian Humanist finds herself in York or Harrogate, she should remember she is among friends and seek them out. Committee will let you know if a visit from North Yorkshire is imminent.