Secular Scorecard 2013: state of confusion

The major political parties in Australia are full of contradictions about a secular state.church vs state logo in teal edited2

The Labor Party and the Liberal Party have conflicting policies over the need to maintain a separation between religion and politics, according to research conducted by the Rationalist Society of Australia (RSA).

Drawing on published policies, actual practices and public statements by party leaders, the RSA assessed 10 political parties against its 10 point plan for a secular Australia.

Overall, Labor was graded B and the Liberals C. But both Labor and Liberal got an F (fail) in regard to their commitment to separation between religion and the state.  This suggests, at best, a state of confusion within the major parties about the implications of a genuinely secular state.  More likely, it’s simple political pragmatism.

Labor scored a bare C- for its attitude to countering the privileges sought by religious institutions, while the Liberals failed in this respect.

One thing both parties were strongly united on however was the notion of ‘one law for all’, recognising the pre-eminence of Australian law over religious law such as sharia.

Unsurprisingly the Secular Party got an overall A, as did the Greens and the Sex Party.

“The fact these parties get such different ratings shows just how confused they really are about what being a secular state really means” says RSA President Dr Meredith Doig.


Key to the scores
AConsistently positive.
BOccasionally positive. Party may allow a conscience vote, with the assumption that most would support a positive position.
CMixed positive and negative. Actual position uncertain if the party were in power.
FConsistently negative or hostile.
??Not enough information to make a judgement.

ALPLiberal PartyNational PartyAust. GreensDLPFamily FirstSecular PartySex PartyLiberal Dem. PartyShooters & Fishers
1. Overall gradeBCCAFFAAB-??
2. Separation between religion & the stateFFFAFFAA????
3. One law for allAAAA-AC-AAA??
4. Special treatment for religious organisationsC-FC-AFFAAA??
5. Protection of childrenC-C-??AF??A??????
6. Secular educationCC-C-AFFAAC-C
7. Sex and sexualityBFFAFFAAA??
8. Reproductive choicesA-BC-AFFAAB??
9. HealthcareC+C-CAFFAA????
10. Dying with dignityC-C-FAFFAAAF

All the more reason.