News Archive 2012

Parents object to religious instruction

4 Aug 2012 – At its annual conference yesterday, 3rd August 2012, Parents Victoria adopted the policy of the Australian Education Union, Victoria branch, with regard to special religious instruction (SRI) in Victorian government schools, and directed its executive to lobby for SRI to be removed from compulsory school hours. The executive had consulted the members in May 2012 and  argued that there was no way of providing SRI for all the different religions in the community, and that schools should not divide children by religion but should treat them all as Australians. Read Full News Item …

Disquiet about religion in schools extends to NZ

24 Jul 2012 – Debate has been stirred in New Zealand. The Anglican leader, Clay Nelson, of Auckland, has pointed out that bible study in school violates freedom of religion. Read the full news item on Fairfax New Zealand Limited: Church leader wants school Bible ban

High Court canes national school chaplaincy

20 Jun 2012 – The High Court bench today delivered its judgment in the school chaplaincy case, which was heard last year. The Government copped a surprising rap over the knuckles. In Williams versus Commonwealth of Australia (HCA 2012/23) Ronald Williams, Australian Humanist of the Year, challenged the constitutional status of the National School Chaplaincy Program. The merits or otherwise of the Program itself were not at issue. Read Full News Item …

Thanks to our pro bono lawyers

7 Jun 2012 – The Society congratulates the solicitors and counsels on their fine presentation of the case of aggrieved parents versus the Victorian Education Department, at VCAT, 1st to 9th March. We wish to thank Melinda Richards and Andrea Tsalamandris from Holding Redlich partner and his Honour, Judge Timothy Ginnane. Read our open letter to the editor of the Law Institute Journal, June issue.

HSV and current Senate inquiries

5 Jun 2012 – Some of our submissions to parliamentary inquiries are made available online, subject only to parliamentary privilege. Recently, we contributed to two current inquiries of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

Report by Stephen Stuart

The road less travelled

19 May 2012 – On 16 April 2012 the University of Melbourne saw Chris Stedman, P. Z. Myers and Leslie Cannold discuss the question, Can believers and atheists work together for the common good? The forum was sponsored by Rationalist Society of Australia, Humanist Society of Victoria, InterAction, Embiggen Books and Global Atheist Convention. Read Full News Item …

IHEU 18th Congress

30 Mar 2012 – Speaking on the Congress theme Humanism and peace on the opening day, 12th August 2011, of the eighteenth World Humanist Congress in Oslo, Crown Prince Haakon said:

Every day we are reminded of our differences and the reasons why there is confrontation and violence in the world. But what is truly needed is the opposite: to emphasise what unites us. Once we realise that every human being has the right to lead a dignified life our differences become less important. On this common ground we can work out how to live with our differences and take advantage of the positive opportunities that resides within them.

The vision of the International Humanist and Ethical Union is ‘a world in which human rights are respected and everyone is able to live a life of dignity’. It is a bold vision, which is not difficult to share regardless of spirituality or religion. But it is also a constant challenge that each and every one of us face on a daily basis in practical life.

SRI discrimination case resumes

6 Mar 2012 – Special religious instruction (SRI) occupies a privileged position in State primary schools and has come in for public criticism on several levels, since 2008, when this Society petitioned for a secular alternative. Some aggrieved parents laid a complaint, that the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development neglected its duty of care for students opted-out from SRI, resulting in instances of humiliation and ostracism. In August 2011, the Department was persuaded to remove some of the regulatory impediments to fair treatment of non-religious children. Nevertheless the damage had been done, and the case of religious discrimination proceeded to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Read Full News Item …