Religious leaders will use a “milestone” faith council to push New South Wales Premier Chris Minns for stronger protections for religious freedom, amendments to euthanasia laws and better outcomes for their communities. Source: The Australian.
The 16-member NSW Faith Affairs Council will be the most influential in state history and will directly advise Multiculturalism Minister Steve Kamper on faith-based matters, programs and policy.
It comes as faith leaders across the country claim they have been marginalised by other Labor state governments from the running of religious schools and hospitals to anti-discrimination laws for gay and trans people.
They have also expressed concerns over upcoming bills in the NSW Parliament, such as one requiring religious-run aged-care homes to allow euthanasia on the premises.
Mr Kamper said although purely advisory, the new council showed the Government’s commitment to “harmony” and “collaboration”.
“The Faith Affairs Council is nation-leading, it is a unique opportunity for us to work collaboratively with multi-faith groups to promote harmony across communities,” he said.
A Multicultural NSW spokesman said the council would act as a “formal consultative mechanism” for the Government.
Sydney Archdiocese’s engagement director Monica Doumit said the council would be a “positive contributor” to religious communities but also the state at large.
“We’ve seen legislation in recent years that’s directly impacted religious freedoms,” she said.
“There’s a lot that unites differing faiths and groups, and this will allow us to come together with the Government, in the spirit of goodwill, in the hope of providing solutions.”
The nomination process for the Faith Affairs Council closes in late September and the body will be established soon after.
NSW government to establish ‘milestone’ advisory faith council in bridge to religious leaders (By Alexi Demetriadi, The Australian)