The Secular Party believes that the UN International Convention on the Rights of the Child should be enshrined in legislation so that children receive fair and equitable treatment, without being taken advantage of or being abused. We endorse institutions that support and educate parents in parenting issues including preschools, schools and other organisations that support the family.
The Secular Party believes in equality and opposes discrimination against same-sex couples. The Secular Party also believes that civil marriages and the celebrants who perform them should have equal status with religious marriages and celebrants. It is therefore the policy of the Secular Party that all those authorised to solemnise marriages do so with reference to the fact that “marriage is a voluntary union entered into for life by two people to the exclusion of all others”. It is also our policy that civil celebrants should have a status equal to ministers of religion in relation to witnessing statutory declarations, and in relation to GST exemption.
Personal freedoms should be based on modern secular humanist principles. Only secularism can guarantee religious freedom, and we endorse this freedom. However those who adhere to faith-based morality frequently seek to impose their religious views on the entire population. This occurs in policies concerning areas such as abortion, voluntary euthanasia, stem cell research, drug policy and gay rights.
The Secular Party believes in equal human rights. Same-sex couples should enjoy the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples, in inheritance, and for all ceremonial, financial, legal and medical purposes. Our policies on issues of high moral content, such as abortion and voluntary euthanasia, favour freedom of choice, and are based on rational assessment of the relevant issues.
Death with dignity
It is unethical that in this day and age Australians who are suffering through irreversible injury or disease are prevented from undergoing a peaceful and dignified death in the company of loved ones. Each individual should have control over his or her own destiny. Religious lobby groups have repeatedly blocked appropriate legislation on voluntary euthanasia in various states.
It is the policy of the Secular Party that voluntary euthanasia be legalised, at state and federal levels, in cases where the individual is undergoing unbearable suffering with little or no hope of improvement. It is also the policy of the Secular Party that this legislation should include adequate safeguards to prevent abuse. This would include, but not be limited to, independent and unbiased psychological evaluation, independent and unbiased medical evaluation, a ‘cooling off’ period, and the right of the patient to change his or her mind at any stage of the process.
The Secular Party recognises that equality between men and women is a basic human right. The Secular Party also recognises that equality between men and women is a part of the Australian Values Statement that all migrants to Australia agree to respect. We propose that certain cultural and religious practices that specifically and significantly limit the rights and freedoms of women in Australia be prohibited. This includes situations where women are forced or coerced into wearing garments such as burqas, and where the freedom of movement of women is limited or restricted.
Legislation surrounding abortion law differs from state to state, and is often poorly defined and poorly understood. Religious parliamentarians and lobby groups continue to have undue influence on such legislation, despite cases including but not limited to contraceptive failure, health issues, economic hardship, changed circumstances and rape. Abortion should be a matter solely for women and their medical practitioners.
It is the policy of the Secular Party that abortion be removed from criminal law in all states. Furthermore, it is our policy that all medically approved surgical and medical abortion procedures and medications (such as RU486) and all contraceptives be available under Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
It is the policy of the Secular Party that all hospitals in receipt of government funding offer a full suite of services such as would be expected in any public hospital. In any situation where the life of the woman is at risk, all medical staff must be willing to carry out or assist with termination procedures.
The Secular Party believes that ideally, expression of religious belief should be a private matter for adults. However we endorse the right of adult individuals to wear clothing of their choice.
The Secular Party supports a ban on identity hiding-garments or other items, including burqas and motorcycle helmets, in public places where there are legitimate security and/or safety concerns, or where personal identification is required. The Secular Party supports the right of relevant officials to request that such items be removed.
The Secular Party believes that the religious indoctrination of children in schools violates the rights of the child. The requirement, whether by parents or schools, that children wear religious attire, is a form of indoctrination. The Secular Party therefore opposes this practice. It is the policy of the Secular Party that all forms of religious attire be prohibited in all schools.
Anti-discrimination laws that have been enacted in Australia make exceptions on the grounds of religion. The Secular Party sees it as unjust that religious groups can legally discriminate against others. We propose that these loopholes be removed from anti-discrimination laws.