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First ‘Secularism Australia Conference’ being held in Sydney this December

National Secular Lobby Media Release

The first Secularism Australia Conference will bring together high-profile speakers and a number of secular champions for a one-day conference in Sydney this December.

Sponsored by a number of pro-secular organisations, the conference will provide a vision for a truly secular Australia and address the need for secular reform in many policy areas.

The conference will be held on Saturday 2 December at the New South Wales Teachers Federation’s Conference Centre in Surry Hills.

Tickets are now on sale to the general public on our website,, with early-bird rates available until Saturday 7 October.

The line-up of speakers sharing their vision for a truly secular Australia will be:

  • ● Michael Kirby (former High Court Justice)
    Jane Caro (author and commentators)
    David Shoebridge (Senator for New South Wales)
    Fiona Patten (former member of the Victorian Legislative Council)
    Luke Beck (Professor of Constitutional Law)
    Van Badham (writer and commentator)
    Leslie Cannold (public ethicist, Head of Programs at Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership)
    Chrys Stevenson (researcher and writer)
    Chris Schacht (former Senator for South Australia)
    Victor Franco (Councillor at Boroondara Council)
    Collin Acton (former Director-General of Chaplaincy, Royal Australian Navy)
    Ron Williams (secular education advocate, Williams v Commonwealth of Australia)
    Alison Courtice (spokesperson, Queensland Parents for Secular State Schools)
    Craig McPherson (spokesperson, Fairness in Religion in Schools, New South Wales)
    Meredith Doig (President, Rationalist Society of Australia)

Conference spokesperson Michael Dove said the conference aimed to inspire a vision for a truly secular Australia and raise awareness for the need for secular reform in many policy areas, including education, health, the charities sector, the military, and parliamentary practices.

“Australian society is rapidly changing, becoming more multicultural and diverse, and increasingly less religious. Yet our government policies and institutions are failing to reflect this reality by treating all Australians fairly, regardless of religious or non-religious beliefs,” he said.

“We believe there is a real desire in the community for separation of church and state, and a need for Australia to embrace secularism.

“The separation of religion and state is the foundation of secularism. Secularism also seeks to protect the rights of religious believers and non-believers alike and to ensure that freedom of religion is always balanced by the right to be free from religion.”

The event is being sponsored jointly by NSW Teachers Federation, Secular Association of NSW, Humanists Victoria, Rationalist Society of Australia, National Secular Lobby, Plain Reason, and Humanists Australia.

To get regular updates about the conference, sign up for the email subscription on the website.

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  1. Phil Pryor

    As one who has seculared away for years, I wish this conference well, for nothing is now making modern life unfit and unfair more than religion beyond simple faith and goodwill. Righteous, superstitious, fantasist, hardhearted, dense attitudes and behaviour are seen in so many defective leaders and keenly ambitious office holders. Ill will is a sick and sorry slime on life when it creates entrenched unfairness and indecencies of no worthwhile foundation. Some religious prostrated and submissive fanatics wilfully distort all reason in moral and ethical areas, by sheer supremacist and triumphal aggression. It should stop. Go, Secularites.

  2. Clakka

    Agree entirely PP.

    Yay for secularity, and wishing wellness and success to the conference and its organisers and speakers.

  3. GL

    What’s the bet that some in the RRWNJ arena start screaming about not being “fairly” represented in the conference?

  4. leefe

    GL: There are two (that I know of) rusted-on Catholics in that line-up: Van Badham and Michael Kirby. Isn’t that sufficient representation for them?
    Ohh, sorry, I missed the RW and NJ parts of your comment …

  5. New England Cocky

    @ leefe: Perhaps your description of Michael Kirby as ”a RRWNJ” is a little unfair, given his many legal decisions supporting common sense rather than corporations.

  6. leefe


    You need to read the final sentence of my comment. Van Badham is ALP to the core and Michael Kirby, while deeply conservative on some issues, is highly progressive with regard to social matters.

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