Humanist Society of South Australia Inc.

Incorporated as a non-profit Association 
First published 11 June 1997                Last updated 7th January 2009



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Council of Australian Humanist Societies Annual Convention 2009


"We Humanists, Atheists, Free Thinkers,  Skeptics, Rationalists, have checked out the Science, the History, the Reality of this planet and universe and have come to the conclusion that THERE IS NO GOD. - No good arguing about it. Accept it. The real question is what should us biological units do about it?"   The following articles have been written with this idea in mind. Your contributions will be welcome.

Discussion Evening Programme

PUBLIC DISCUSSION EVENINGS are held at the Eastwood Community Centre, 95 Glen Osmond Rd. Eastwood, in Adelaide, South Australia. These meetings are usually held on the 2nd Friday of the month at 8 p.m. Admission is $2.00 to pay the hall hire. Our Speakers cover a wide range of subjects and plenty of opportunity is given for questions. At the end of the meeting you are invited to have a cuppa and a chat with the members and the speaker.

If you do not have a current programme you should ring the President, 8255 9508 to make sure there have been no changes in the date or the venue.
SOCIAL MEETINGS, these are held monthly and may consist of an outing or a social gathering at a members home. They are run on the basis of "BYO everything". If you would like an invitation to one of these socials ring 8255 9508

Friday 13th February 8.00 p.m.      95 Glen Osmond Road, Eastwood

LIFE'S FUNNY ! from Banking to Marriage Celebrant

Speaker: Pamela Schultz

Friday 13th March 8.00 p.m.           95 Glen Osmond Road, Eastwood



To be followed by speaker to be announced

  All are welcome to discussion meetings.

Admission $2.00 at the door.              Stay for a chat with tea/coffee afterwards.

ENQUIRIES  (08) 8255 9508 

Please Note. Members of the Public are welcome at the above discussion meetings without obligation.  

Australian Humanists Conventions

Are held annually, usually close to Easter, where delegates from each State Society meet and vote both on procedural matters and on matters of social reform usually addressed to government. Such resolutions are moved by all States who hold meetings to instruct their delegates how to vote. The Host State arranges for a dinner, the theme of the Convention and for Speakers on the Sunday where the public is invited. Each year the Convention moves to another State but due to the distance we have only once held a convention in Western Australia.

Friday 8th May to Sunday 10th May

Theme: "Human Rights and a Civil Society"

VENUE: ADELAIDE INTERNATIONAL MOTEL,  521 Anzac Highway, North Glenelg.

Hotel Bookings $100 per night. Book now on 08 8294 2155, mention Humanist Convention to retain current rate.

Friday 6-9 p.m. Welcome Party
Saturday 9 a.m.
Business Sessions 6.30 for 7.00 p.m. Dinner
Sunday 10 a.m. - 1.00 p.m. Convention Forum
Fees and details of program to be advised

CALL FOR PAPERS - for presentation on Sunday 10th. Closing date 28th February. 15 to 20 minutes in length. Please send 300 word summary to GPO Box 177 Adelaide 5001 or by email    Enquiries 08 8255 9508

CONVENTION 2004 took place in Sydney on May 1st and 2nd. The following announcement of the election of Professor Peter Singer as Australian Humanist of the Year and a brief report of the proceedings follows.


Photo by Marion Singer

The Council of Australian Humanist Societies was pleased to declare, at its recent Convention, Professor Peter Singer as the Australian Humanist of the Year 2004:

"his work has furthered many Humanist causes by the use of logical argument, clear thinking, uncompromising commitment to consistency of thought, an unswerving reliance on democratic and civil libertarian processes of decision making and a refusal to seek supernaturalist solutions to human problems."

The Award was presented by Professor Alan Trounson (AHOY 2003) on Wednesday 21st July at a Vegetarian Dinner at the Dallas Brooks Centre, East Melbourne. 



The main resolutions adopted by Convention were:

1. THAT the Marriage Act 1961 be amended to permit same sex marriage.

2. THAT the Australian Humanists express their concern about the erosion of independence and integrity of sectors of our democratic system: the Public Service, Universities, the ABC, the judiciary, ACOSS and other socially involved NGOs.

3. THAT the Council of Australian Humanist Societies urge all Australian governments to increase the level of legal aid so as to redress the gross inequities, arising from financial disadvantage, which so often characterise our court proceedings.

4. That the maintenance and preservation of a sustainable, viable and diverse biosphere be a core concern of Australian Humanists.

The election of officers of CAHS for the next two years resulted in Victoria agreeing to run CAHS under the old system. Dr Allan McPhate from Melbourne was elected President, Stephen Stuart as Treasurer and Rosslyn Ives agreed to act as Secretary but hoped to find another nominee from Melbourne.

The Annual Dinner brought the announcement that Peter Singer was the AHOY for 2004 (see above) and a speech by "Waratah" Rose Gillespie who was a "Human Shield" in the recent Iraq war. This was followed by an auction, Latin dancers, and a magician.

"SUNDAY WITHOUT GOD" was the billing for the Sunday program. In the morning we met three AHOY’S, starting with the introduction from Dr. John Hirschmann, then Eva Cox, she described the Sydney Olympic Games as the example of human community that is possible when we welcome foreigners into our community. Eva Cox suggested that Humanists and atheists needed to concentrate on non-material emotional issues which lead to real happiness and leave behind the rationalism and science which is degenerating into individualism and consumerism. She was followed by Donald Horne who was the AHOY of 2002.

In the afternoon the first speaker was Ian Ellis Jones who gave a learned discussion on "What Humanists believe" pamphlets, of which there are many from America, Europe and Australia. Finally we heard from Stephen Crittendon, the presenter of the ABC Religion Report who spoke on "The problem of Representing Everyone" Some wondered why he had been chosen to speak, it may have been due to an agenda item asking the ABC to run at least one program from the secularist point of view. He turned out to be an interesting speaker who admitted he was a lapsed catholic but that religion was important. He made it clear, politely, that Humanism was a non-starter but it was noticed that he had some misconceptions about Humanism which were quickly pointed out and caused him to pause, so hopefully he learnt from the experience. That Stephen Crittendon came to the meeting at all was due to the persistence of Ann Young who chased him on the Internet.

The day finished up with a trip on the Ferry round the harbour and be it noted that in Sydney if you have a Senior Citizens card or similar card then for the price of $1.10 you can make any number of trips in the one day in the metro area by bus, rail or ferry.

It was a very enjoyable Convention and it gave us much pleasure in meeting all our old friends again.

NEXT YEARS CONVENTION WILL BE HELD IN ADELAIDE and if you have some interesting new ideas, please get in touch. (8255 9508)

Convention 2003


This prestigious award has been awarded to Professor Alan Trounson in recognition of his eminent achievements in the treatment of human infertility and stem cell development, and his outstanding public role as a reasoned voice, against doctrinaire opposition, for the benefits, existing and potential, of embryo research, which show him to be a practical humanitarian. 

This award is made by the agreement of the five Humanist Societies in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia, which comprise the Council of Australian Humanist Societies.

The presentation will be made at the Convention Dinner of the Council on Saturday 5th April in Melbourne.
Enquiries for the Dinner (03) 9857 9717 The main Speaker will be Professor Trounson.

A PUBLIC FORUM  "HUMAN RIGHTS TODAY" will be held on Sunday 6th April 2 p.m. as part of the Convention in Melbourne
Enquiries for the Public Forum (03) 9857 8318 (Speakers to be announced.)

Issued by Dick Clifford, Secretary to the Council of Australian Humanist Societies, 6/3/03
(08) 8255 9508

Convention 2002

Hosted by the Queensland Humanist Society, delegates gathered at the Gold Coast and held a most succesful convention on the 23 March. Delegates agreed to reorganise the Council of Australian Humanist Societies so that there will be one representative from each State Society who will conduct the business of CAHS by email.

Donald Horne, the well known author, accepted the Australian Humanist of the Year award.

The following Press Release was issued at the End of the Convention (and was heard on ABC radio)


The Council of Australian Humanist Societies at its National Convention in Surfers Paradise today called upon governments to stand up for the principles of the compassinate secular state. Humanists passed resolutions condemning mistreatment of asylum seekersand religious attacks on alleged blasphemy and urging support for co-operative housing and recognition of secular chaplains.
The Council of Australian Humanist Societies is the peak body of Humanist Societies nationwide. The International Humanist anf Ethical organisation, which in some European countries receive public funding along with religious organisations,have non-government observer status at the United Nations.  Over the last 42 years Humanist Societies in Australia have been at the forefront of the struggle for Human Rights, including freedom of choice on such issues as voluntary euthanasia.

At their 37th National Convention, Australian Humanist Society delegates called on the Federal Government to make all reasonable efforts to ensure that those asylum seekers recognised as genuine by the UNHCR have their applications looked upon expeditiously and are treated humanely.

The Convention also passed resolutions calling for the crime of blaphemy to be removed from the statute books, calling for the formal recognition of secular humanist chaplains and calling for government lending to disadvantaged groups for co-operative housing.

Spokesperson for the Convention, Victor Bien said that the strong attendance and broad range of resolutions passed at todays meeting reflected a growing concern that the democratic secular nature of Australian Society was under threat.  "Individual liberty, personal dignity and freedom from religious dogma must be continually defended" Mr Bien said.

What is Humanism ?

Humanism is a way of thinking and living which aims to bring out the best in people, so that all people may have the best in life. Humanists reject all supernatural and authoritarian beliefs, and accept that we must take responsibility for our own lives, for the community and for the world in which we live.

The Humanist lifestyle emphasises rational enquiry and dialogue, individual freedom and responsibility, and the need for tolerance and co-operation.

What About Ethics ?

Ethics have no necessary connection with religion. The ethics of Humanism are based on using rational thought to work out how to live an ethical life in practical ways. Humanist ethics recognise that there are `shades of grey' and it is necessary to find the course of action which causes the least harm.

Human wisdom shows that-
• Children should be brought up to be honest, kind and fair in their dealings with others.
• People should try to understand and be thoughtful about each other.
• Individual freedom should be limited only where it interferes with the freedom or well-being of others.


is both a philosophy and an approach to life, involving trust and commitment to all life forms, both human and others.

indicates that the adoption of humanist principles on a world wide basis is a matter of urgency, given that current global population and pollution problems are expected to peak in the next three decades.


Human beings must accept responsibility for themselves, each other and other life forms on our planet.

As there is no evidence of any supernatural power to help, reward or punish us, every effort must be made to gain greater understanding of ourselves, each other and other forms of life.

Our resources for this are human experience, human knowledge, our capacity for reason, curiosity, compassion and co-operation.


• Agree on the principles stated above, although not necessarily on the way they are put into practice.
• are optimistic and idealistic.
• are involved in many human rights groups.
• support efforts towards the resolution of issues arising from the dispossession of Aborigines from the land they had enjoyed prior to immigrant settlement.
• welcome the cultural and ethnic diversity of modern Australia.
• encourage all groups to respect the rights of their own members and of other groups.


  • To promote a Humanist approach to personal living and society in Australia.
  • To facilitate Humanist interaction and communication in Australia.

LOCALLY the Humanist Society of South Australia meets to -

Discuss and exchange ideas with people of like mind.

• Hear & question speakers on current social issues at Public Discussion meetings.

• Produce and distribute a regular journal with space for member's views and opinions and reports on forthcoming events.

• Lobby State and Federal Governments about important issues of the day.

• Tackle issues on which politicians have a "conscience vote".

• Holds socials, parties, outings and picnics etc.

NATIONALLY, Australian Humanist Societies are affiliated to the national body, the Council of Australian Humanist Societies (CAHS) which holds an Annual Convention, publishes the "Australian Humanist" quarterly journal and presents the Australian Humanist of the Year award.

INTERNATIONALLY CAHS is a member of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) which has more than 3 million members world-wide. It has a representative at the United Nations and arranges many international conferences and publishes the quarterly "International Humanist News".  For more information on the IHEU and the James Dilloway report on the U.N. go to our IHEU page

HUMANISTS CAMPAIGN for greater equality - and fair treatment to disadvantaged groups such as aborigines, ethnic minorities, disabled people and unemployed. We seek secular schooling for all children in the interests of greater acceptance & tolerance.

UNIVERSAL PROBLEMS - over-population, pollution, environment degradation, species survival, and third world exploitation, are addressed by Humanists who contribute to the solution of these problems. This contribution grows as membership of Humanist Societies increases.


There is no doubt that many people already base their lives on Humanist ideals without perhaps being aware of it. They share our concerns about the rights of the individual and various social and world issues. However, the effectiveness of an individual is limited in a society where pressure groups dominate the political scene. We therefore need a strong group and cohesive organisation if we are to influence social change and guard civil liberties.

The Humanist Society of South Australia needs your talents, ideas and financial support to increase its effectiveness. An organisation can achieve what an individual cannot.


People often say - "I've been thinking like a Humanist for a long while."

Perhaps you have too?    If you would like to -
• know more about Humanism
• make links with Humanists
• receive a Humanist publication
• help strengthen Humanism in Australia
• join a Humanist Society

Then come to one of our meetings listed above or write to -

The Secretary, Humanist Society of S.A. Inc. G.P.O. Box 177 Adelaide 5001
or phone (08) 8255 9508 or (08) 8352 1636

You will receive one or two copies of our magazine which will have details of the current programme, and membership information.

The REALITY PAPERS   Includes "Poverty Reduction", "Brushing up on Evolution", Submissions on Defence and the MAI.

The author of these pages welcomes your advice and criticism. Due to excessive amounts of spam (over 300 per day) I can no longer give you my Email address, but you can write to my snail mail address:
120 Goodman Rd, Elizabeth South, South Australia 5112

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