On Wednesday, 15 June 2016 we sent out over 1,200 emails to candidates standing for the 2016 Australian Federal Election. By Monday, 20 June 2016 we received 116 responses.
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Here are the 10 questions that we asked candidates
1. School Chaplaincy:
Declared in July 2014 by the High Court of Australia to be of no benefit to students under s51 (xxiii A) of the Australia’s Constitution, the Commonwealth funded National School Chaplaincy Program costs Australian taxpayers $60m per annum, has been condemned by numerous professional bodies, and is endorsed only by its evangelical parachurch funding recipients and the Australian Christian Lobby.
Should the School Chaplaincy Program be discontinued from December 2016?
2. Comparative Religious Education:
Confessional religious instruction provided by lay volunteers has existed in various state education acts for more than 100 years.
In consideration of Australia’s multicultural society which now includes an extremely broad base of worldviews, philosophies, systems of belief, and positions of non-belief, should all sectarian confessional religious instruction be replaced with a national curriculum based course which encompasses a comprehensive history of human belief and philosophical systems?
Do you wish to protect a woman’s choice to have a safe, legal and accessible abortion?” “4. Voluntary Euthanasia:
Would you support a bill that allowed a terminally or incurably ill person the right to choose the manner and timing of their death, under strict safeguards, by providing humane medical assistance?
5. Prayers in Parliament:
Do you support the end of exclusively Christian prayers at the opening of parliament each day?
6. Blasphemy & Apostasy:
Are you in favour of ensuring that Australia maintains freedom of belief and freedom of expression?
7. Atheist & Apostate Refugees:
Are you in favour of offering humanitarian aid and humanitarian visa priority to atheists and apostates suffering persecution for their beliefs, who are resident in countries that prevent atheists and apostates from accessing UNHCR registration?
8. Charitable Status for Religious Bodies:
Are you in favour of removing ‘advancing religion’ as a purpose, in order to be eligible to be a basic religious charity?
9. Tax Concessions:
Are you in favour of removing religious institutions tax concessions from cults that are identified as a religion?
10. Institutional Child Abuse:
Are you in favour of requiring religious and other institutions that have failed to protect children from abuse to provide compensation?