Children are being ignored while the media invests heavily in the adults' side of the IVF equation. This week as the debate over homosexual marriage hots up, a very important Senate committee report on donor conception practices was tabled which should have far-reaching effects on the issue. However, "should have" is not the same as "would have". Aside from a couple of brief reports in the Fairfax press, the news media have been strangely silent on this report with its criticisms of the in-vitro fertilisation industry and the whole murky business of donor conception, and some powerful testimony of the often brutal effects on the children who are its products.
Tony Abbott has expressed sympathy with a Vietnam veteran who met him yesterday to make the case for his gay son to have the right to get married, although the Opposition Leader ruled out changing the party's position. Mr Abbott made the comments to Geoff Thomas who stood up to the Opposition Leader to change his position opposing gay marriage on live TV while the election was being fought. Late yesterday afternoon, Mr Thomas and his gay son Nathan received a private audience with Mr Abbott in his electorate office to put their case emotionally for change
A prominent Muslim leader who climbed the Kokoda Track with federal Liberal immigration spokesman Scott Morrison in 2009 says his friend was "totally wrong" for questioning taxpayer-funded flights of family members from Christmas Island to Sydney for last week's funerals of shipwreck victims. Jamal Rifi also said that if Mr Morrison had, as reported, suggested to shadow cabinet that the Coalition should make political capital out of anti-Muslim sentiment, he was unsuitable to the role of immigration minister. Dr Rifi said he was surprised by Mr Morrison's remarks about the funerals, and supported Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey's retort.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says she's still tweaking her new cabinet line-up but has revealed six changes ahead of tomorrow's swearing-in ceremony. Deputy Premier Paul Lucas has lost the health portfolio and will be the new Special Minister for State, Attorney-General and minister for local government. Ms Bligh said Mr Lucas's new responsibilities would allow him to focus on emerging state matters that she would have otherwise dealt with. The appointment would free her up to focus on her new job as reconstruction minister, in charge of the recovering from the state's natural disasters.
The death knell has sounded for one of Western Australia's oldest and most notorious remote Aboriginal communities, Oombulgurri, with the state government confirming it is about to close. Department of Indigenous Affairs director-general Patrick Walker told a parliamentary committee last week that the last residents of the desolate Kimberley community, 3400km northeast of Perth, had indicated they wanted to leave. Oombulgurri became notorious as a haven for child sexual abuse, suicide and despair after a damning 2008 report by West Australian Coroner Alastair Hope found child abuse, neglect and alcoholism were rife.
Internet users who search online using keywords related to religion, gender or nationality may be in for a nasty surprise. Racist and sexist stereotypes are spreading on the web via Google's "autocomplete" function, despite steps the search engine has taken to limit inappropriate content. The feature, which is designed to streamline internet research, suggests a drop-down list of search phrases based on other users' online activity. Other online platforms and programs use similar technology. Terminology that refers to a person's faith, ethnic group or sexuality sometimes leads to potentially offensive suggestions in Google's search bar.
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January 19, 2018
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