WA Humanists celebrate a year of achievements

Meredith Doig / 06 September 2014

Congratulations to the Humanist Society of WA for a busy and successful year.

Here is what they’ve achieved, using the 10 Point Plan for a Secular Australia …

Support a secular, pluralistic and democratic Australia
• Government policies should be based on evidence, reason and compassion, and protect the human rights of all Australians
• Everyone should be free to choose and hold their own religious or non-religious worldviews, provided they do not impose such views on others, and provided practices associated with such worldviews do no harm.
• 10 bookclubs and one film night on topics that bear influence on a secular Australia.
• Protest Pastor Adeboye’s visit to Perth (24 Nov)
• Celebrated Darwin Day (16 Feb)
• Alan Needham represented HSWA “Creationism in Crisis” to Unitarian Church (16 Mar)
• Public Astronomy Lecture (31 May)
• Donated $1,000 to Richard Dawkins Foundation
• Gifted clothing to homeless (10 Aug)
• Investigating commemorations for Charles Darwin’s visit to WA 180th anniversary.
• Delegate to World Humanist Congress 2014 (Oxford UK)
• Delegate to World Humanist Day Symposium on The Enlightenment Values (NSW, 20 June)
There must be clear separation between religion and the State
• All Australian constitutions should be reformed to ensure clear separation between religion and the State, and all references to God removed
• Religious references in statutory oaths and pledges should be removed, and parliamentary prayers replaced with non-religious observances
• No laws made by parliaments nor decisions of executive government should privilege or promote religion.
• Founding member of Secular Coalition of Australia (SECOA) with a committee appointed liaison.
• ABS submission on religion question in Census
• Complaint letter to Minister of Police for Police use of Christian symbols, staff.
There must be ‘one law for all’, with no recognition of parallel legal systems
• Religious institutions should not be permitted to exempt themselves from the law of the land. Canon law must not take precedence over Australian law
• Sharia courts should not be officially recognised
• There should be mandatory reporting of serious crimes by all professionals, including religious functionaries.
4 Religious organisations must be subject to the same laws as other organisations
• The ‘advancement of religion’ should be removed from the statutory definition of charity, and religious organisations should not enjoy automatic tax exempt status
• Religious organisations should be subject to anti- discrimination laws in employment and service provision
• Government funding to religious organisations such as schools and hospitals should be subject to rigorous accountability to ensure compliance with anti- discrimination laws and the absence of proselytising.
• Bookclub on ‘Infidel’
• Hosted public Ayaan Hirsi Ali Foundation event, speaker Elizabeth Needham attended by Federal Member of Parliament Hon Alannah MacTiernan
• Written to WA Police Community Liaison and Child Care Australia on female genital mutilation (FGM)
• Passed national motion at CAHS calling on state government action on FGM
• Letters to NSW government Ministers congratulating increases in penalties for FGM on behalf of CAHS
• Bookclub – “Nineteen Eighty-Four”
Education must be strictly secular, not promoting any particular religion
• National and state curricula should include the study of a range of religious and non-religious worldviews, taught by professionally trained teachers
• Government resources should not be used to support particular religious views, programs of religious instruction, or the employment of religious functionaries in educational settings.
• Moved CAHS motion against volunteers in religious instruction timeslot (unsuccessful) – article in Australian Humanist Spring 2014 explaining WA’s position
• Bookclub – “Taking God To School”
• Letters to NSW government Ministers and childcare Australia calling for teacher/student education on FGM
There must be no discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex, sexuality or gender identity
• Australian governments should not impose a religious bias on the definition of marriage, or on the right to adopt.
7 There must be freedom of reproductive choice, with no religious interference
• Termination of pregnancy should be decriminalised in all States and Territories
• Governments should make access to evidence-based sexual and reproductive health information and healthcare services universally available
• Age-appropriate sex and relationships education should be included in national and state curricula.
• Protest letters to UWA for hosting homophobic, misogynist Pastor
• Rallied for government to change laws prohibiting LGBT marriage rights.
• Raised $2,106 for Ayaan Hirsi Ali Foundation against forced marriage, FGM and honour violence
• Attended and marched in the Reclaim the Night Rally for women’s reproductive freedoms
• Letters of commendation to Margaret River Senior High School for the controversial theatre production of “The Laramie Project”
• Bookclub – “Handmaid’s Tale”
Healthcare must be available to all regardless of the religious views of the provider
• Public hospitals must not be allowed to restrict treatment on the basis of religious worldviews
• Private hospitals must not refuse emergency treatment on the basis of religious worldviews.
Children must not suffer because of the religious views of their parents
• Decisions about children’s healthcare should be based on evidence-based medicine, not the religious worldviews of their parents
• No organisation, whether religious or not, should be allowed to restrict children’s education or to isolate them within closed communities.
• Numerous initiatives already stated addressing FGM.
1When facing the end of life, everyone must be guaranteed control over their own bodies, free from religious interference
• ‘Advance directives’ should be given legal force
• Physician-assisted suicide, with appropriate safeguards, should be decriminalised
• Governments should fund non-religious palliative care services.
• Submission to Federal Government on draft Dying with Dignity (Euthanasia) legislation
• Encouraged member submissions



All the more reason.