Terri Butler

Difficult to evaluate. A secular humanist and supports a lot of secular policies such as science funding, SSM and assisted dying.
She appears to have fallen into the trap of progressive authoritarianism


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Secular Index Score



Terri Butler Member for Griffith was much harder to evaluate, she is a secular humanist and supports a lot of secular policies such as science funding, same-sex marriage and assisted dying.

Although she is not religious she appears to have fallen into the trap of progressive authoritarianism –  wanting to enforce equality and speech codes in law. She is the Shadow Assistant minister for equality and supports policies such as gender quotas and opposes the reform of 18C. These are incompatible with principles of fairness (we should be a meritocracy) and liberalism (freedom of speech is the bedrock of our democracy). Strictly speaking, though these views don’t impact her ‘secular’ credentials. This underscores that secularism alone is not enough – we also need politicians committed to liberalism and justice.

Anyway, Butler would get a 7 for her championing of secular policies however due to her support for QLD’s religious vilification laws she is getting a 6. The vilification laws make it unlawful to incite hatred, serious contempt and even “severe ridicule” of a person or group on the basis of their religion. It is easy to see how these could come to act as defacto blasphemy laws if interpreted widely by the courts.

Religion: She claimed in parliament to be “a secular humanist”

Views on Secular topics:
On science funding: In her maiden speech spoke strongly in favour of science funding “Australia should be a nation that respects science, rigour and expertise, and knowledge, skills, experience and evidence, because in elevating and celebrating these things lies Australia’s future—our ability to compete and to cooperate. We owe it to every Australian to fund scientific research not just when it is perceived to have immediate financial benefit, because the nature of scientific research is that we do not know what it will lead to; we do not know what innovations will occur in the future with scientific research… more broadly, we must promote science and reason. We must resist anti-intellectualism.”

On SSM: Has been a strong supporter of marriage equality since entering parliament and co-sponsored a bill to legalise same-sex marriage in 2015. She also strongly opposed a SSM plebiscite but on her Facebook page she makes it clear she will be voting ‘yes’ in the postal vote.

Queensland MPs lead marriage equality charge

Voted very strongly against a same-sex marriage plebiscite

On Abortion: She successfully lobbied the government to cancel the visa of American anti-abortion campaigner Troy Newman, who had previously called for the execution of abortion doctors.

On voluntary assisted-dying: In principle, subject to seeing the details of the bill, she supports legalisation of voluntary assisted dying. (~9 minute mark)

Leftist-authoritarian views:

She supports QLDs religious vilification laws (defacto blasphemy laws).

She strongly believes in gender quotas and affirmative action in politics and business.

On Free Speech: She opposed changes to 18C of the Racial Discrimination act. She was sued by one of the QUT students involved in the Cindy Prior case over comments she made on Q&A accusing them of using the ‘N word’.

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