About the Humanist Society of Victoria

For the one life we have - Humanist Society of Victoria inc.


The Humanist Society of Victoria (HSV) Inc. is a non-profit body, founded in 1961, which seeks to represent the aspirations and interests of humanists in Victoria, Australia. It is run by volunteers, and in 1990 was incorporated under state law as Association A0020272M. (ABN: 69 630 511 010)


Aims of the Humanist Society of Victoria:

  • To help develop a civil society in which each person may reach his or her potential.
  • To advocate ethical decision-making and responsibility for one’s actions, based on respect for individual autonomy, peaceful coexistence between peoples of differing ways of life, and maintenance of a sustainable environment.
  • To support human rights, civil liberties, secular education and a scientific approach to human problems.

The formally registered statement of purposes may be found here.



The Humanist Society of Victoria meets (in Melbourne normally)

  • to hear speakers on Humanist approaches to life and be informed on topics of current interest and importance
  • to explore ideas with people of like mind and so develop Humanist policies
  • to prepare submissions and lobby on matters of wide community concern
  • to organise projects that further Humanist ideals and assist with the welfare of other community members
  • to issue a monthly newsletter (Victorian Humanist)
Other activities include
  • social gatherings
  • dinners
  • maintaining a Humanist reference library
  • providing counseling services
HSV conducts regular public lectures, featuring guest speakers, aiming to stimulate active, rational debate on a wide range of current social and ethical issues. Speakers have included such personalities as Andrew Wilkie (formerly Office of National Assessments) on the decline of democracy, Dr Max Wallace (Continuing Education, Australian National University) on separating church and state, Dr Rob Sparrow (Human Bioethics, Monash University) on biotechnology and humanism, and Professor Brian Ellis (formerly Philosophy, La Trobe University) on social humanism.
HSV holds regular discussion meetings of members, advertised in the monthly newsletter. Typical subjects of discussion are HSV submissions to be made by the Society to public bodies, presenting the Humanist view on important social questions.
HSV recognizes a need to counter religious influences in schools, and a curriculum of humanist ethics is being compiled.

Committee of Management 2018–19

President: Rod Bower, email: president@vichumanist.org.au
Vice-President: Leslie Allan, mob: 0408 314941; email: vice-president@vichumanist.org.au
Secretary: Stephen Stuart, ph: (03) 9857 8318; email: secretary@vichumanist.org.au
Treasurer: Bogdan Skomra, email: treasurer@vichumanist.org.au
Ordinary Committee Members: Rosslyn Ives, Meg Paul, Catherine Stahel
Membership Secretary: Stephen Stuart, ph: (03) 9857 8318
E-mail: info@vichumanist.org.au


Individual Humanists act as celebrants for secular weddings and officiate for funerals, naming ceremonies and other rites of passage if requested.

The Humanist Societies in each Australian State are affiliated into a national body, the Council of Australian Humanist Societies (CAHS), which

  • meets at an annual Convention
  • co-ordinates Humanist activities nationally
  • publishes the Australian Humanist.
  • maintains contact with other national bodies with similar interests


The Council of Australian Humanist Societies is a member of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), which is a non-governmental organisation accredited to the United Nations. It maintains links with overseas Humanist organisations.

Australian Humanists subscribe to the Minimal Statement of Humanism adopted by IHEU, namely, ‘HUMANISM is a democratic and ethical life stance that affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. Humanism stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethics based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. Humanism is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality.’

The fundamentals of modern Humanism were set out by IHEU in the Amsterdam Declaration of 2002.

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