The press is awash with divided opinion over the provision of Special Religious Instruction, General Religious Education and Ethics Education in NSW and Victoria.  As the National Curriculum is being developed, numerous interest groups including the VARE, REENA and FAPSA have argued for the inclusion of Religion and/or Philosophy within the NC.  
DAN supports and celebrates the many critical conversations taking place.  Rather than pursue a political agenda at this time, DAN will continue to promote the importance of integrating RE, Values, Ethics and Philosophy into the curriculum by supporting and resourcing teachers endeavouring to engage their students in an academically rigorous and relevant way.  
As DAN approaches its 10th year, I will be working with the Board and Executive to consider where best to invest our limited resources over the next 3-5 years.  We welcome the input of DAN members in this process, and invite you to offer a response to the following questions:  
1. What do you see as DAN's unique contribution to RE/RAVE?  If DAN was to disband - would this be a loss and why?   
2. What sort of things do you think DAN should be investing energy into over the next couple of years ie; what are the areas of need that aren't being serviced by other organisations?
3. As a DAN member, do you think we need a political voice, or is this function best represented by other organisations?  If yes - then who represents the 'voice' of DAN, given our most eclectic membership?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Contact Belinda Hill, DAN Executive Officer 
PS:  News just in -  VCAA Consultation on General Capabilities 28 July 2011

ACARA has released a draft of the Australian Curriculum General Capabilities for comment until 7 August. The VCAA is conducting a consultation forum to inform the Victorian response to the draft document, with a focus on the following General Capabilities:
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Personal and social competence
  • Ethical behaviour
  • Intercultural understanding.
Thursday 28 July 2011, 1.00pm (registrations from 12.30pm) – 4.30pm
 Melbourne Business School200 Leicester Street, Carlton 

REGISTER for the Consultation VCAA
Thank you to everyone who contributed to and participated in the 8th International DAN Conference, Engaging Sceptical Minds with Ultimate Questions. Resources from the Conference are available for delegates to access online.  
If you missed the Conference and are interested in Keynote and Making it Happen in the Classroom presentations, please contact the DAN EO to purchase a Conference CD.


Reminder invoices were sent to those members yet to renew their subscriptions for 2011.  Regretfully, if we do not hear from you before 31 July, you will not receive the 26th (Nov issue) of Dialogue Australasia.
Member passwords to access teaching resources on the DAN website will change on 1 July 2011. New passwords were advised to financial members in the letter accompanying the May issue of Dialogue Australasia journal.  If you do not know your password, or encounter any difficulties accessing resources, please contact the DAN EO
Please note:  There is no member section on the DAN website. However, when you try to access certain documents (most of which are filed under RESOURCES), you will be prompted for a password.


* A complete Middle School Science & Religion Unit with class notes and resources by Eleanor O’Donnell, Chaplain and Teacher of Philosophy & Religious Studies, Wadhurst, Melbourne Grammar School.

* A complete Yr 11-12 Philosophy, Science & Religion Unit with class notes and resources by Simon Bennett, Head of Faith & Life, St Michael’s Collegiate
Junior School Religious & Values Education & Chapel Term Programme    by Fr Richard Browning, Chaplain and Director of Community, Radford College
If you've not discovered these films specifically designed to assist teachers in delivering dynamic lessons on contemporary key ethical issues - do yourself a favour and check out sample extracts from the      Ethics Online films and teacher's notes.  

DAN SPECIAL:  Receive a 20% discount off any films ordered before 31 July 2011

ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS - $140 includes delivery

"This is an outstandingly engaging and timely resource that will grab the attention of students and persuade them of the significance of environmental ethics like never before."   David Potter, Head of Religious Studies, Ashby School
"This finely crafted series pulls no punches in exploring the complex web of environmental issues facing us today. Unambiguous and beautifully filmed you'll want to see them again...a fantastic resource." Andrea Gilpin, The Churchyard Conservation Charity
Gaia: By comparing the life of the planet to the life of a 45 year old woman, Gaia takes us on a breathtaking journey from our beginnings to these last few seconds of biological time which have witnessed our meteoric rise to ascendancy - but at what cost? (18 minutes)
Genesis: For 2.000 years, the Genesis injunction to have dominion over nature has been misinterpreted as a licence to dominate at all costs. But while Christianity might have been more concerned with saving souls than with saving seals is it solely to blame for today's environmental crisis? (18 minutes)
Stewards & Slayers:  Western civilisation has largely ignored Biblical and mystic calls to revere creation and today we face the stark realization that in an interdependent world unethical stewardship of the animal kingdom ultimately afflicts us all. (21 minutes)
The Rapture: Christian fundamentalists believe that the environmental disasters we currently face are of little concern as they are signs that the Rapture is close at hand...for others however, visions of the end time have given new impetus to the principle of stewardship. (18 minutes)
All Things are Connected: While Christian colonisers, mapmakers, missionaries and mercenaries, believed that the natural world existed entirely for human gain, the indigenous Indians of the Americas experienced nature as a sacred web of interdependent phenomena. (16 minutes)

SEXUAL ETHICS - $140 includes delivery

"A valuable resource for teachers and students - well researched, thought provoking and visually stimulating"
Andrew Pearce, Principal Examiner for Ethics
"A comprehensive philosophical survey that will usefully support a unit of work in this area" RE Today
Natural Law:  A rollercoaster tour of the history of sex - from the emergence of homo-erectus through to Aristotle, Aquinas, and the pioneering Kinsey Report - this film pursues an ethical theory that has dominated sexual ethics for over two thousand years - with no taboo unturned. (21 minutes)
Situation Ethics: Love is the answer, but while you are waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions” says Woody Allen – questions this film examines in the light of Joseph Fletcher’s groundbreaking Situation Ethics, first published in 1966. (23 minutes)
Utilitarianism: Does the sexual freedom enjoyed in today’s relativistic world make for “the greatest good”?  Are consequences all that matter in ethical decision making? (24 minutes)
Kant & Sex: Kant taught that as rational beings we all have intrinsic worth and should never use others as a means to an end. But is not sex, ultimately manipulative? (21 minutes)

WAR & PEACE - $110 includes delivery

"Students will learn more from these films than from any current textbooks on Practical Ethics. All schools should have a copy!" Jules Houghton-Wood, Sixth Form, Philosophy & Ethics Teacher, Stanground College, Peterborough
Made with much skill, this film explains clearly and succinctly the challenges faced by those who have the terrible responsibility of engaging in a war and how those who are engaged should behave. Highly recommended." General, Lord Guthrie,  Former Head, British Army

Holy War:  Wars fought in the name of religion have been going on for a very long time. From Old Testament injunctions to kill, through to the Crusades and 9/11, Holy War asks are there some things worth killing for - and are there some things worth dying for?
Just War: From Augustine and Aquinas to Afghanistan and Iraq this film covers the history and development of Just War Theory and its implications for armed conflict today (19 minutes)
The Priest who Blessed the Bomb: In 1945 a Roman Catholic priest gave the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima a Christian blessing. His personal testimony and those of survivors of the bombing graphically illustrate the ethical dilemmas of just war ethics in this haunting film. (10 minutes)
Contempt of Conscience: Conscientious objection to war has a long tradition and at the outset of the Iraq war in 2003 three Quakers continued this tradition by refusing to pay the military portion of their taxes in a search for less destructive ways of resolving conflict. (9 minutes)

Check out sample extracts from the Ethics Online films and teacher's notes and read what teacher's are saying about these 'must have' resources!
(Australasian payment options and postage now available)

CORE ETHICAL TEACHINGS - SoR Conference Papers Online

Papers delivered at the 2011 NSW Studies of Religion in Focus Conference are accessible on the ISRA website and address a range of ethical issues from a multi-faith perspective including:
Process for Ethical Analysis in the Five Traditions
NEW:  BIO-ETHICS BITES (from the Philosophy Bites Team)

A new 10-part podcast series, Bio-Ethics Bites, made in association with the Oxford University Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics has just launched. Listen to the first two interviews:

1. Moral Status with Jeff McMahan -  A stone on the beach, we assume, has no moral status. We can kick or hammer the stone, and we have done the stone no harm. Typical adult human beings do have moral status. We shouldn’t, without a very good reason, kick a man or woman. Often, contentious moral issues, such as embryo research, or abortion, or whether to turn off a life-support machine, turn on disagreement about moral status. So the key questions are, who or what has moral status, and why?
2.  Designer Babies with Julian Savulescu - The term ‘designer baby’ is usually used in a pejorative sense – to conjure up some dystopian Brave New World. There are already ways to affect what kind of children you have – most obviously by choosing the partner to have them with. But there are others too: a pregnant mother can improve her baby’s prospects by not smoking, for instance. With advances in genetics, however, there will soon be radical new methods to select or influence the characteristics of your progeny: not just physical characteristics, like height or eye colour, but intellectual capacities, and capacities linked to morality – such as how empathetic the child will be. The big question is how much freedom parents should have to make such selections. Julian Savulescu of Oxford’s Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, believes that if we can genetically alter the next generation, not only should we be free to do so, it may even turn out that in some circumstances we have an obligation to go ahead and so it.

Forthcoming in the series:
July 1st: PETER SINGER - Life and Death
August 1st: NICK BOSTROM - Status-Quo Bias
September 1st: ONORA O’NEILL - Trust


The Action Bible (2010) is the most complete picture bible ever, featuring engaging, contemporary art-work, perfect for 5-15yr olds and particularly appealing to boys! With over 750 colour illustrations and 215 narratives in chronological order, the compelling blend of clear writing and dramatic images offers an appeal that crosses all age boundaries.
Check out a sample of The Action Bible
...and talking of things animated, have a look at:
G-DCAST: THE TORAH - a 55 episode Torah animation series with accompanying 125 page Teacher's Guide.  
Check out a sample of G-Dcast: The Torah
G-DCast also produce Jewish Holiday Episode Teacher's Guides which are free and include Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover etc.
'Platonic Zen' - A Spiritual Narrative & Exercises 
Those who attended the 2009 DAN Conference at Old Parliament House in Canberra will doubtless remember the spirited contribution of Dr Nicholas Coleman, Head of Religious Education at Wesley College, Melbourne and World Religions consultant and deputy director of the Interfaith Centre of Melbourne. 
Dr Nick has recently published au autobiographical narrative about seeking the ultimate reality of everything and finding the supreme identity commonly known as “God”. A first-personal journey from dust to God provides an encouraging account of the spiritual journey to enlightenment from the perspective of the perennial philosophy.  Stories and reflections are accompanied by a wide range of exercises and activities appropriate for all age groups.

Download the Introduction & Sample Exercises from A first-personal journey from dust to God

Hard copies of the book are available for $25 from the author, Email: Nicholas Coleman

Gods and Diseases:  Making Sense of our Physical and Mental Wellbeing, David Tacey, HarperCollins 2011 
David Tacey shared a characteristically illuminating keynote presentation at the 2011 DAN Conference.  In his latest book, Gods and Diseases, he issues a challenge to secular society to discover, or rediscover the gods (which he defines as the sacred forces which impact the psyche or the soul), because the price of not doing so is mental illness at an unprecedented scale.  
If there was ever a case to be made for the important work RAVE Teachers do in helping our students with 'meaning-making' - David Tacey makes it here....
Listen to David discuss Gods and Diseases on The Spirit of Things

An opportunity for your school to engage in a conversation around spirituality and creativity in partnership with The Blake Society...
ENGAGE - The Blake Conversation Project invites schools (and other organisations) to use the creative arts as a means of dialogue around issues of difference, belief and the nature of hope in Australian society.

The Blake Society invites schools to think about what inspires and motivates their community life, and will work in partnership with them to formulate a focus question for their work, and display, communicate and review their creative outcomes.

ABC Special Coverage
The ABC has created a special portal for all things King James Bible - articles, reflections and images including The King James Bible and late Tudor Translation Theories by Alister McGrath and a visual history of the creation of the King James Bible.

  • The Poetry and Prayers of Kevin Hart (ABC Encounter) - described as the 'most outstanding Australian poet of his generation,' and one of the major living poets in the English language,' Kevin Hart is also an internationally recognised philosopher, theologian and literary critic.  The boy from Brisbane addresses God as 'Dark One' and bringing his poetry into your RAVE classroom would be a wonderful way to explore ideas about God and Transcendence and the limits of language when attempting to discuss the Divine.
  • Mind-Body-Soul (ABC Encounter) with David Chambers - What can philosophy offer as an alternative to materialist explanations of the mind-body problem?  Is there life in dualism? Indeed, does Christianity require a dualistic explanation?
  • Islam and the Arab Spring (ABC Encounter) - a most accessible discussion exploring some of the big, contemporary questions about Islam, democracy and the Arab Spring.
  • LISTEN to Gary Gach (2011 DAN Conference Keynote speaker) addressing a Student Conference on Introducing Buddhism at the Centre for Ethics, Newington College on 28 April 2011 (107 minutes).  
  • LISTEN to the Good Religion, Bad Religion discussion hosted by the St James Ethics Centre in March with Dr Peter Vardy, Philosopher at London University, Mehmet Ozalp, Muslim Theologian, Author and President of ISRA Australia and Leslie Cannold, Author and Ethicist at the Monash Institute of Health Services Research. You might also want to check out Dr Vardy's latest BOOK, Good and Bad Religion (SCM Press 2010).
  • 20 June, Ethics & Sport with Nick Farr-Jones AM, Centre for Ethics, Newington College, Sydney
  • 18 July - 13 September, Wombat Education Teacher & Student Conferences with Dr Peter & Charlotte Vardy, Venues throughout Australia & New Zealand, Teachers:  Teaching RE & Values through the Arts, Students:  Thinking AllowedProgramme & Booking Details
  • 26 July (Gold Coast), 28 July (Toowoomba), 2 August (Cairns), 11 August (Sunshine Coast) Academy Conferences Yr 10 & 11 Gifted & Talented Seminars with Julie Arliss & Jeffrey Hodges  Seminar Topics & Booking Form


Contact the DAN Executive Officer

T|  08 9367 8903
A|  34 Douglas Ave  SOUTH PERTH WA 6151