Religion News Australia

April 27 – May 12, 2023

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



‘I was drunk on power’ (The Age, Melbourne)
May 11 – How this artist channelled his Pentecostal youth for a powerful new work

Broadway musical depicting anti-Semitism opens in Sydney (The Australian)
May 11 – A musical ‘cautionary tale’ of the impacts of prejudice and racism, the multiple-Tony winning Parade, has opened for a limited run in Sydney near a pro-Palestine encampment.


Protester interrupts Archbishop of Sydney during parliamentary inquiry into transgender legislation (ABC News)
May 1 – A protester has disrupted a NSW parliamentary inquiry into proposed legislation that would make it easier for transgender people to record a sex change on legal documents.


Private school boys suspended after ‘absolutely outrageous’ ranking of female students (Sydney Morning Herald)
May 6 – The boys shared a spreadsheet in a messaging app that ranked female classmates.

Also: Students took ‘respect’ session before ranking scandal (The Australian)
May 6 – Students from a prestigious Melbourne school took part in a session on ‘respectful relationships’ a week before a ‘degrading’ list was discovered, that ranked their female classmates from ‘wifeys’ to ‘unrapeable’.

Also: Students suspended at Melbourne private school over ‘disgraceful’ spreadsheet  (The Guardian, Australia)
May 6 – The Victorian premier says she was “utterly devastated” by a “disgraceful” and “disgusting” spreadsheet compiled by a group of boys at a private school in Melbourne’s east that ranked their female classmates.

Catholic Church

Meet the Vatican Swiss Guards ready to sacrifice their lives for the pope (The Guardian, Australia)
May 6 – With their feathered helmets, ruffled collars and coloured, puffed-sleeve uniforms, the Vatican Swiss Guards are often likened by curious visitors to medieval court jesters.

A dearth of priests suggests the Catholic church should widen recruitment (The Guardian, Australia)
(Opinion: Julian Coman)
Walking down towards the River Nidd in Knaresborough, the pretty North Yorkshire market town where I grew up, it would be easy to pass by St Mary’s Catholic church without noticing it.


Model seeks legal advice after Salvini’s party uses image for anti-Islam poster (The Guardian, Australia)
May 9 – A woman whose photograph was used in a poster campaign by Italy’s far-right League, a member of Giorgia Meloni’s ruling coalition, has said she will consult lawyers, describing the images as “racist”.


‘Ferocious surge’ of anti-Semitism in US (The Australian)
May 9 – US President Joe Biden has warned of a ‘ferocious surge’ in anti-Semitism since the October 7 terrorist attack in Israel.

Religious violence

Canadian police charge three men with the murder of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar (ABC News)
May 4 – Canadian police have arrested and charged three men with the murder of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Not In My Name (ABC News)
May 6 – For Australian-German author and journalist Antony Loewenstein, Gaza was rarely a place to fear as a Jew.


The price of spirituality (ABC News)
May 11 – In Samoa, churches spend millions building cathedrals to connect communities to God.


Iraq criminalises same sex relationships and transgender people with threats of prison (ABC News)
April 28 – Human rights groups have condemned Iraq’s criminalisation of same-sex relationships and transgender people, who already face frequent attacks and discrimination, as an “attack on human rights”.

Sydney teenager accused of planning a terrorist attack allegedly wanting to target Jewish community  (ABC News)
May 1 – A teenager accused of planning a terrorist attack allegedly targeting members of Assyrian and Jewish communities has been refused bail.

Returned ISIS wife Mariam Raad pleads guilty to entering terrorist-controlled region (ABC News)
May 9 – A woman who returned to Australia from Syria in 2022 has pleaded guilty to willingly entering a region controlled by a terrorist organisation.

Sack ASIO boss, probe arrests: Muslim leaders (The Australian)
May 11 – Muslim leaders want Mike Burgess sacked over warnings on Islamic extremism, and say Muslim kids face terror charges due to ‘religious affiliations alone’ | WATCH


‘If I were Jewish on campus, I would be genuinely scared’ (The Australian)
May 9 – The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation is out of the news and quietly succeeding. But children shouting ‘intifada’ on campus shows the Ramsay Centre still has much work to do.

As pro-Palestine encampments grow at Australian campuses so do claims of antisemitism (The Guardian, Australia)
May 11 – Organisers insist they have been largely respectful but a string of accusations is putting universities under pressure to act

A Western Sydney councillor has doubled down on Cumberland’s blanket ban on same-sex parenting books from local libraries despite the policy breaching the state’s library act and possibly contravening anti-discrimination laws.

‘We did not reward Hamas’: Penny Wong defends United Nations vote backing Palestinian statehood (Brisbane Times)
May 11 – In a rare public display of disunity on foreign affairs, Labor MP Josh Burns said Jewish Australians would feel more isolated as a result of the vote.

‘Shameful day’: Aus blasted on Palestine vote (
May 11 – Australia’s decision to join 142 countries to back greater recognition of Palestine at the UN has prompted backlash from a peak Jewish body.


Are Australia’s youth deradicalisation programs enough to counter a wave of online extremism? (ABC News)
May 6 – It happened as the nation was still reeling from a teenager’s alleged terrorist attack on a priest in Sydney mere weeks ago.

Buddha taught us to be happy with less. How does this apply to the climate crisis? (The Guardian, Australia)
May 6 – (Opinion: Bhikkhu Sujato and Nadine Levy) From a Buddhist perspective, everyone can learn to live simply and be happy. There’s no great secret to it. Simplicity is not an aesthetic or a lifestyle choice. It’s how your life expresses itself when you are content. How can this thinking help us navigate the climate crisis?

Parents raised alarm on school radicalisation (The Australian)
May 9 – The Australian has obtained a copy of the email sent to police by the mother of a student who feared for the safety of her son and her family after he was targeted by a prayer room group.