Religion News Australia

Mar 18 – 24, 2023

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Loud Fence ribbons set to be removed from prominent Ballarat cathedral fence (ABC News)
Mar 20 – Thousands of colourful ribbons tied to the fence of a regional Victorian cathedral as a show of support for survivors of child sexual abuse are set to be removed.


‘Victimhood culture’: King’s School head rails against ‘wokeness’ (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 19 – Headmaster Tony George says children attending non-government schools are being increasingly ridiculed.

Religious schools’ existence ‘in danger’ (The Australian)
Mar 19 – A senior Catholic leader has urged the Albanese government to reject key law reforms, warning they will threaten the existence of religious schools.


I’m an Orthodox female rabbi, but I’ve had to leave my unwelcoming synagogue behind (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 23 – (Opinion: Nomi Kaltmann) I vividly recall the moment I made the decision to stop attending synagogue. It happened in 2023, a few months after welcoming my fourth child.

Candace Owens leaves Daily Wire site amid Israel and antisemitism tensions (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 24 – The far-right commentator Candace Owens left the rightwing Daily Wire website amid tensions over her alleged antisemitism and opposition to US funding of Israel’s war in Gaza.

Religious Violence

Elon Musk replies to post by far-right Austrian linked to Christchurch terrorist after X account restored (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 19 – A far-right Austrian who received donations from and communicated with the Christchurch terrorist before the 2019 attack has had his X account restored, with X owner Elon Musk replying to one of his tweets.

At least 60 killed and scores wounded in Moscow concert hall attack (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 23 – At least 60 people have been killed and 145 wounded in Russia’s worst terror attack in years, as gunmen in combat fatigues opened fire and detonated explosives in a major concert hall on the outskirts of Moscow.

Also: There’s little reason to doubt attack on Moscow venue was by Islamic State (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 23 – (Opinion: Andrew Roth) Speculation about who carried out the shooting at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow has quickly indicated that the terror attack will have outsized political implications in Russia and abroad.


Notre Dame restoration time lapse reveals new spire following devastating fire (ABC News)
Mar 20 – The new spire of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has been fully revealed, as the culmination of a five-year unprecedented international reconstruction effort nears the end.


The difference between a Good Jew and a Bad Jew (The Australian)
Mar 24 – (Opinion: Deborah Wiener) The Good Jew is regularly wheeled out by the ABC and other left-green organisations and media, and religiously begins their commentary with the words ‘as a Jew’.


Anthony Albanese vows he will only proceed with changes with Coalition support (ABC News)
Mar 19 – The prospect of overhauling the nation’s religious protections hangs with the Coalition, after Prime Minster Anthony Albanese told colleagues he would only proceed if he could guarantee bipartisan support.

Also: What is the religious discrimination debate about? (ABC News)
Mar 20 – The debate over LGBT staff and students in religious schools is back this week.

Also: Albanese is looking for a show of faith on the religious discrimination bill  (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 23 – (Opinion: Karen Middleton) It’s taken a couple of years but faith is back in politics. Not literally – let’s not get carried away – but as the subject of debate and in its varied forms: good, bad and religious. This is not a conversation that brings joy. Even those who have restarted the discourse kind of wish it would go away.

Also: Anthony Albanese comments on religious discrimination draft legislation cast into doubt (ABC News)
Mar 23 – There is confusion over just who has seen the federal government’s plans for a religious discrimination act, despite the prime minister insisting his cabinet colleagues had viewed two pieces of draft legislation.

Also: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during question time this week. (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 23 – Crossbench senators have challenged Anthony Albanese to bypass the Coalition to settle years of debate over religious freedom laws and guarantee LGBTQ students are protected at school.

‘Mob rule’: Senator warns attacks on minorities are shredding social fabric (Brisbane Times)
Mar 20 – Liberal senator Dave Sharma says Australia risks lasting damage to its society from a dangerous rise in menacing threats to Jewish Australians and other minorities.

Also: Weak leaders to blame for anti-Semitism: Sharma (The Australian)
Mar 20 – Liberal Senator Dave Sharma attacks Labor for fuelling rise of anti-Semitism, warns of Argentina-like economic collapse and promises a better deal for young voters in his first Senate speech.

Green light for hate-speech ban as PM comes under fire on religious discrimination (The Age, Melbourne)
Mar 20 – The government will bring forward tougher laws on hate speech and “doxxing” in an attempt to separate them from the political storm over religious freedom.


ASIO agents met with Sikh activists as tension peaked over killing of Canadian separatist (ABC News)
Mar 21 – It was early one morning, when Samar Kohli was at work in Sydney, that he got a call on his phone from an unknown number.

Church of Ubuntu loses unfair dismissal case after sacking COVID-vaccinated Byron Bay woman (ABC News)
Mar 21 – During the COVID pandemic, Lainie Chait was hesitant about getting vaccinated.

Hillsong founder Brian Houston loses legal costs bid after being cleared  (The Guardian, Australia)
Mar 23 – The Hillsong founder Brian Houston has failed in a bid to have his legal costs covered after unsuccessfully being prosecuted for allegedly covering up his late father’s child abuse.

Inside the ‘ecosystem’: the Brethren businesses in the sights of the tax office (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 23 – The ATO this week conducted an extraordinary unannounced raid on the politically connected sect known as the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, which preaches a “hatred” for the world.

‘History is made’: Gay conversion banned in NSW after all-night debate (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mar 23 – Gay conversion practices will be banned in NSW after the state’s parliament passed new laws following a marathon debate that stretched into the early hours of Friday morning.

My Easter prayer: Where are you, God? (The Saturday Paper)
Mar 24 – (Opinion: Stan Grant) “Secular modernity reveals that hell is not God’s absence, it is the absence of God’s absence; we have traded Augustine’s God-shaped hole for Nietzsche’s abyss.”