Religion News Australia

January 31 – February 7, 2021

Religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Philip Wilson, former Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide, farewelled at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral (ABC News)
Feb 4 – Former Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson has been farewelled at a funeral at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral.

Whiff of evil’ in Pell’s war (The Australian)
Feb 7 – (Opinion: Gerard Windsor) As well as revealing the off-duty human being, George Pell’s Prison Journal shows him to be a warrior Prince who waged war even in jail.


More leave, smaller class sizes: Catholic teachers call for better deal (The Age, Melbourne)
Feb 6 – Victoria’s 25,000 Catholic school teachers and staff have demanded the right to take protected industrial action in a push for more leave, smaller class sizes and less teaching time.

Religious Violence

Uyghur advocates speak out after horrifying accounts of rape and torture in Xinjiang camps in China (ABC News)
Feb 3 – Uyghur advocacy groups have renewed calls for the international community to take action after the BBC published horrifying new accounts of rape and torture in China’s network of internment camps in Xinjiang.

Also: ‘Horrific abuses’: Uighur report reveals first-hand accounts of torture (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 3 – Australian Liberal and Labor senators have accused the Chinese Communist Party of unspeakable human rights abuses after first-hand accounts of systematic rape, sexual abuse and torture in Uighur detention camps in China were aired by the BBC.

Also: US and Australia leaders ‘deeply disturbed’ by reports of systematic rape of Muslims in China camps (ABC News)
Feb 5 – The United States is “deeply disturbed” by reports of systematic rape and sexual abuse against women in internment camps for ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region.


‘Love you to infinity and beyond’: Jailhouse letters revealed  (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 3 – Secret jailhouse letters traded between a convicted terrorist and a Melbourne woman accused of recruiting for Islamic State have been read aloud in court as one of the women fights to be released back into the community.

Muslim women on breaking down misconceptions and why wearing a hijab is empowering (ABC News)
Feb 6 – Sara Awamleh says wearing a hijab makes her feel empowered.


Liberal candidate under fire over husband’s beliefs says ‘faith should not be subject of interrogation’ (
Jan 31 – The West Australian Liberal Party candidate that Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup blocked from answering questions about whether she shared the same views on homosexuality as her pastor husband says her faith should not be the subject of constant interrogation.

Liberal rift deepens over bill banning gay conversion therapy (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 1 – A decision by the shadow cabinet of the Liberal Party to ultimately support a bill banning gay conversion therapy has exposed divisions in the Victorian opposition.

Also: Conversion bill debate reveals Church’s hypocrisy (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 2 – (Opinion: Daniel Comensoli) I feel uncomfortable writing this; and wondered whether it was even worth it.

Also: Doctors fear conversion therapy ban will deny treatment to vulnerable patients (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 2 – Doctors and psychiatrists want the Andrews government to make changes to its plan to ban gay conversion therapy, due to concerns it will discourage some practitioners from treating vulnerable patients.

Also: Here is what we know about Victoria’s gay conversion bill (ABC News)
Feb 4 – A bill banning LGBTIQ+ conversion practices looks set to pass the Victorian Upper House today despite concerns from the Opposition, religious leaders, and health professionals who believe the law may have “unintended consequences”.

Also: What are the proposed laws on gay conversion therapy? (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 4 – Anew law banning gay conversion practices is being debated today in Victoria’s Parliament.

Also: Gay conversion therapy banned in Victoria after marathon debate (Brisbane Times)
Feb 5 – Gay conversion therapy has been outlawed in Victoria following a marathon debate in the upper house on Thursday.

Also: Victoria bans gay conversion practices after 12-hour debate (The Guardian, Australia)
Feb 5 – Gay conversion practices have been banned in Victoria following a lengthy debate in parliament overnight, during which two Liberal MPs broke with party ranks to vote against the bill.


Folau to agree to social media conditions as part of $1m Dragons offer (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 2 – Israel Folau has indicated to St George Illawarra officials he would agree to conditions limiting his ability to publicly express his religious beliefs if the NRL was to register a two-year, $1 million deal to join the Dragons.

Also: They may be bigots, but here’s why we can’t gag Israel Folau or Margaret Court (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 3 – (Opinion: Pru Goward) He’s baaack! Just as we had gotten used to the idea that a so-called religious bigot had been awarded Australia’s highest honour for being Australia’s greatest ever tennis player of any gender, another religious figure, with a similar antipathy for homosexuals as Margaret Court AC, is in the news.

‘I’m on the ‘strayed sheep’ list’ (The Australian)
Feb 6 – Poh Ling Yeow on travelling the Outback, working with two ex-husbands — and why the Mormons are still trying to get her back.