Author Chrys Stevenson will be a guest speaker at the Reality Writes Festival.
Author Chrys Stevenson will be a guest speaker at the Reality Writes Festival. Contributed

Fight religious right, says Chrys

A LEADING member of a national "free thought" umbrella organisation has urged groups fighting for voluntary euthanasia and gay and women's reproductive rights to unite against religious conservatives.

In a speech at the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Queensland's Maroochydore branch yesterday, Chrys Stevenson, of Reason Australia, said the religious right was waging a successful "propaganda" and "misinformation" campaign.

"I'm suggesting that we should look at combining our forces to reclaim a secular government for Australia and fight against religious intrusions into our government and our various government institutions," Ms Anderson said.

"And that (government) policy should be based on creditable evidence and research - not on propaganda from pressure groups."

Ms Stevenson, of Mapleton, stressed that she was not opposed to religion or religious institutions having an input in public debate.

However, she said religious groups often used misinformation and discredited research "to prop up their religious ideology".

"I'll be suggesting to the VESQ that the campaign for voluntary euthanasia takes place within a wider context - the battle for a secular government which makes decisions based on reason and credible evidence and not misinformation and pressure from religious lobbyists," she said.

Ms Stevenson said predictions that legalising euthanasia would negatively affect the quality and availability of palliative care, pose a disproportionate risk to certain vulnerable groups and lead to widespread abuse had consistently been disproved.

Australian Christian Lobby Queensland director Wendy Francis said every sector of society had the right to have a public voice, including in the political sphere.

Ms Francis said she would like to see evidence of religious groups using propaganda and misinformation to push their agendas.

"At the end of the day it is up to individuals to decide whether or not they would support our stance," she said.