Religion News Australia

February 6 – 13, 2022

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Ex-groundskeeper sues Ivanhoe Grammar alleging sexually charged bullying (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 11 – A Melbourne private school faces court action from a former groundskeeper who claimed his boss engaged in sexually charged bullying involving sex toys, pornography and women’s underwear.


Father Stu: the Catholic drama aiming to redeem Mel Gibson and Mark Wahlberg (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 12 – Like it or not, Mel Gibson’s professional rehabilitation is gaining momentum.


Citipointe under probe as logos taken off buses to protect students from bullies (Brisbane Times)
Feb 7 – Embattled Citipointe Christian College will still be investigated, Education Minister Grace Grace says, despite the school withdrawing its enrolment contract and its principal stepping down.

Citipointe churchgoers give standing ovation for under-fire principal (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 7 – The head of Brisbane’s Citipointe megachurch has told worshippers to lobby MPs about proposed religious freedom and sexual discrimination laws, after the church school’s failed attempt to introduce enrolment contracts with anti-gay and anti-trans provisions.

Sydney private school lists same-sex relationships along with abusive relationships  (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 7 – The principal of a private Sydney school has defended its “statement of faith” that lists same-sex relationships and transgender identity alongside abusive relationships as “not acceptable to God”, saying critics had taken it out of context.

Death threats, vandalism at college as Brisbane mayor pleads for tolerance (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 8 – Death threats have been sent and vandals have targeted a religious Brisbane college, leading to the lord mayor pleading for tolerance, as the Prime Minister looks to push through an anti-discrimination bill.


Taliban elite send daughters overseas for ‘good education’ (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 8 – London: Taliban officials are sending their daughters to school despite keeping classrooms closed to female students.

Indian state’s hijab ban in school sparks religious freedom furore (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 11 – Bengaluru: A request by a group of high school girls to wear the hijab in class has snowballed into dulling protests between Hindu and Muslim students in India, deepening religious polarisation as regional elections approach.


Keeping the faith, quietly: Inside Muslim Indonesia’s hidden Jewish community (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 7 – Singapore/Jakarta: In Tondano, near the north-east tip of the island of Sulawesi, south-east Asia’s first Holocaust museum was unveiled last month.

Religious Violence

Taliban sniper becomes Afghan mayor (The Australian)
Feb 11 – Strolling through the town of Maymana, the new mayor appears to inspire goodwill from Afghan constituents. But Damullah Mohibullah Mowaffaq has a reputation as one of the top Taliban snipers.

Taliban have detained 29 women and their families in Kabul, says US envoy (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 13 – The Taliban have detained 29 women and their families in Kabul, a senior US diplomat said on Saturday, adding to concerns about rising numbers of people seized and held indefinitely in Afghanistan.


Having a laugh in church? God forbid (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 7 – (Opinion: David Mitchell) The news that Newcastle Cathedral is going to host monthly comedy nights, complete with “full bar” and merchandise outlet, has annoyed a former chaplain to the Queen.


What it felt like the first time I wore a hijab to school (ABC News)
Feb 9 – It took Zara years to build up the courage to wear a hijab at school.


Moderate Liberals threaten to cross floor to oppose religious discrimination bill they say goes too far (ABC News)
Feb 7 – Moderate Liberals are threatening to sink a religious discrimination bill that they fear goes too far in enshrining protections for religious beliefs that may infringe on existing discrimination laws.

Morrison to put his religion bill to the test (The Australian)
Feb 7 – Scott Morrison’s authority will be put to the test in the first ­parliamentary sitting week of the election year as Coalition MPs threaten to derail his agenda.

Gay students protected, but trans students could still be expelled (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 8 – Faith-based schools would not be able to expel gay students, but would retain the right to expel transgender students under draft amendments to a contentious religious discrimination bill package that moderate Liberals say they cannot support.

Prime Minister, step into my son’s heels: Labor MP (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 9 – (Opinion)  Federal Labor frontbencher Stephen Jones has revealed the suicide of his gay nephew and fears for his own high-heel wearing son’s safety in a powerful intervention during debate on the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill.

‘Think about our team’: PM pressures moderates as party backs religious laws (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 9 – Prime Minister Scott Morrison has secured party room support for a contentious religious discrimination bill package despite moderate Liberals’ concerns, forcing Labor to decide whether to back laws that protect gay students from expulsion but not transgender students.

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash says protecting trans students poses risk to religious schools’ ethos (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 9 – Attorney-General Michaelia Cash says a move to immediately strip church schools of the ability to discriminate against transgender students would raise complications over bathrooms and uniform requirements, and risk eroding the ethos of single-sex religious schools.

Religious discrimination bill contorts equality principle (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 9 – (Opinion: Edward Santow) Some human rights reform is exceptionally hard.

Go back to basics on proposed religious discrimination law (Brisbane Times)
Feb 9 – (Opinion: Kuranda Seyit) The proposed Religious Discrimination Act has raised more questions and potential problems than it has provided solutions.

Five Liberals cross the floor as contentious religious discrimination bill passes Posted 12h ago (ABC News)
Feb 10 – The government’s contentious religious discrimination bill has passed through parliament’s lower house after a marathon all-night debate, but its future remains unclear.

Government shelves religious freedom bill indefinitely, leaving election promise hanging in uncertainty (ABC News)
Feb 10 – The government has indefinitely shelved its bid to overhaul religious freedom laws, leaving one of the Coalition’s central 2019 election commitments hanging in uncertainty.

Labor MP’s son Paddy Quilter-Jones moved by father’s speech in religious discrimination bill debate  (ABC News)
Feb 10 – Fourteen-year-old Paddy Quilter-Jones doesn’t feel the need to identify as a gender, choosing to be “just Paddy” instead.

The government lost a dramatic showdown on religious discrimination laws overnight (ABC News)
Feb 10 – The government suffered a major defeat on the floor of the House of Representatives overnight as MPs debated its contentious religious discrimination laws in a sitting which lasted until dawn was breaking over Canberra.

There’s a solution to the discrimination bill balancing act – but it comes at a price (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 10 – (Opinion: Waleed Aly) There’s a point in Labor’s statement outlining its amendments to the religious discrimination bill that captures why this whole episode has been such a mess.

Coalition pushing for inquiry instead of pushing through religious laws (Brisbane Times)
Feb 11 – The federal government will push for a Senate inquiry into key parts of its religious discrimination bills in a decision that avoids a vote in the upper house after NSW Liberal senator Andrew Bragg told the government he was prepared to cross the floor to protect the rights of transgender children.

Parents and transgender teachers react to religious discrimination bill debate (ABC News)
Feb 11 – The rights of transgender and gender diverse people are under the spotlight again thanks to the government’s proposed religious discrimination laws.

Leaders to take religion battle to polls (The Australian)
Feb 11 – Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese have set up an election clash over religious freedoms.

Calls for Warren Entsch to do more to support LGBTQI kids after religious discrimination law stance (ABC News)
Feb 12 – Nine-year-old Stevie Browne says he’s never worried about being himself at school until now.

‘Kill the bill’: Protesters in Sydney rally against shelved Religious Discrimination Bill (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 12 – Several hundred people braved the rain to protest the government’s Religious Discrimination Bill in a rally at Sydney’s Town Hall on Saturday afternoon.

How in God’s name did we get here? (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 12 – (Opinion: Chip Le Grand) The moment the Religious Discrimination Bill died there was no public outpouring of grief.

‘Totally shafted’: Veteran Liberal says MPs misled Morrison on religious laws (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 12 – The federal government is engulfed in a new dispute over religious freedom after Liberal backbencher Warren Entsch claimed some of his colleagues misled Prime Minister Scott Morrison when they crossed the floor in Parliament this week to prevent schools expelling transgender students.

As a father, my duty was to Paddy. As an MP, it was to all families with LGBTQI kids (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 12 – (Opinion: Stephen Jones) When Paddy was born, like many Australian dads I pictured a future of footy-kicking in the backyard.

Religious freedom tumbles into divide (The Australian)
Feb 12 – (Opinion: Paul Kelly) The government’s discrimination bill is dead this term, but the issue isn’t.

Australian religious groups say shelving of discrimination bill ‘disappointing’ and ‘confusing’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 12 – Religious groups have expressed disappointment at the federal government’s decision to shelve controversial religious discrimination laws, claiming parliament lost sight of the original intent of the legislation.

Religious discrimination revolt: historical data shows scale of rebellion (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 12 – The Morrison government has faced one of the biggest parliamentary revolts in decades.

Australia’s debate about religious discrimination exposes political fault lines  (ABC News)
Feb 13 – (Opinion: Stan Grant) Does Australia have a God problem?