Julia Gillard makes stand as a social conservative

The Australian
Julia Gillard has revealed herself to be a cultural traditionalist, indicating she will oppose moves by the Greens for euthanasia and gay marriage laws and that she believes it is important for people to understand the Bible- despite the fact she is an atheist. Appearing on Sky News's Australian Agenda yesterday, the Prime Minister again distanced herself from the Greens, arguing they did not have an economic philosophy about "reform or about growth" and had voted against Kevin Rudd's carbon pollution reduction scheme because they "didn't sufficiently care about jobs". Ms Gillard's comments came as her deputy, Wayne Swan, announced the government's long-awaited tax summit would be held in early October.

PM Julia Gillard: Gay marriage against my upbringing
Prime Minister Julia Gillard revealed yesterday that her personal stance against gay marriage was due to her conservative upbringing. Ms Gillard said she was "on the conservative side" of the gay marriage issue "because of the way our society is and how we got here". "I think that there are some important things from our past that need to continue to be part of our present and part of our future," she said. "If I was in a different walk of life, if I'd continued in the law and was partner of a law firm now, I would express the same view, that I think for our culture, for our heritage, the Marriage Act and marriage being between a man and a woman has a special status.

PM offers no hope to social Left
MORE of the "real" Julia Gillard is now displayed, with the Prime Minister offering her fullest exposition for rejecting both euthanasia and same-sex marriage.  Ms Gillard, in fact, is not the social progressive many Labor backers and politicians have wrongly assumed. On the contrary, she has deep roots as a cultural conservative and traditionalist.  This is obvious across a range of issues - her belief in personal responsibility, rejection of the option of state-sanctioned killing, support for biblical and cultural dimensions of the Western canon and the belief that social heritage should keep marriage to an institution between a man and a woman.

Same-sex marriage ban hurts economy
AUSTRALIA'S prohibition on same-sex marriages is bad for the economy and could reap $750 million for the nation, according to new research that will be used by the gay marriage lobby to bolster their political case for change.  A paper to be released today by the Australian Marriage Equality group - and used in talks with Federal politicians - argues that a conservative estimate is $742 million could be brought in by spending on weddings alone, with another $7m in licence revenue that States would collect.   The figure is based on the estimates of the number of Australian same-sex couples that would get married - which is 26,500 according to a University of Queensland study multi-plied by the 2007 ABS average wedding cost of $28,000.

Minorities feel rising tide of bigotry
DISTRUST of Muslims and hostility towards homosexuals and pagans remain widespread in Australia, a new Australian Human Rights Commission report to be published today says.  The biggest snapshot of Australian attitudes about religion in more than a decade, the report also suggests rising political involvement by religious groups, tension between religious and secularist groups and great wariness about rights legislation.  The report, Freedom of Religion and Belief in 21st Century Australia, reveals a vastly more complex religious landscape than 1998, when the last similar survey was done.

xxx marks the spot
The group in charge of internet addresses has opened the door for adult-content websites ending with .xxx but delayed deciding whether to open the floodgates for other suffixes.  The non-profit internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board voted to approve a petition to add .xxx to the list of "generic top-level domains" - endings that include .com, .net and .org.  But resolutions considered by the board as its annual public meeting ended in San Francisco did not include whether to approve guidelines that would clear the way for essentially any internet address endings.

Victoria's welfare binge exposed
MORE than one in four Victorians now rely on welfare, prompting renewed calls for an overhaul of the system of handouts.   A Herald Sun investigation has found at least 1.3 million men, women and children received federal payments in the past year.  And about half of those were handed more than one benefit.   The payments are part of the nation's $84.2 billion annual welfare bill, administered by Centrelink at a further cost of $3 billion a year.

‘Pray away the gay’ app a sign of deeper bigotry
“Homosexual tendencies (are) one of many conditions that beset fallen humanity.”  According to Exodus International’s policy statements, those who embrace “homosexual behaviours” have lives that are “sinful” and “destructive”.   Rather than simply condemn non-heterosexual desire, Exodus International (A Christian organisation that condemns homosexuality) adopts what they refer to as a ‘redemptive’ approach – seeking to ‘reorient’ the ‘fallen’.  Now accessing such ‘therapy’ is just a click away. Apple has caused enormous furor by permitting Exodus International to promote its work with a new application that encourages same-sex attracted people to abstain from their ‘moral sickness’ and ‘heal’ themselves by becoming heterosexual.

Christmas Island centre scaled down after riots
THE Christmas Island detention centre will be significantly scaled down as a result of last week's violent protests, as the government continues to be lashed by local residents who say they warned of the consequences of overcrowding at the facility.  The Australian Federal Police finally reasserted control over the fire-ravaged centre at the weekend after seven days of brutal riots, flying in reinforcements from the operational response group as well as a dog to patrol the camp's perimeter.   Two RAAF Hercules delivered more teargas, ammunition and about 80 police to the island over the weekend, bringing the number of AFP officers to nearly 200, in a show of force designed to make the last of the troublemakers at the detention centre back down. More reinforcements were due to arrive today. The Australian has been told the department wants to reduce the number of detainees on the island by about 1200 as soon as possible.

Church in push to make prostitution illegal in ACT again
The ACT should consider following the lead of Sweden by recriminalising prostitution and jailing men who pay for sex, according to the Catholic Church.   The Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn also wants health checks introduced for men seeking to use the services of prostitutes. The archdiocese is planning to lodge a submission with an Assembly inquiry into the Prostitution Act.   Archdiocesan spokeswoman for young adults Daniela Kesina said prostitution was incompatible with gender equality.

The Devil Within
“What is a man?” asks Peter J Madden, preacher, former sex addict, and heir apparent to the Christian Democratic Party (CDP), led by Reverend Fred Nile, member of the New South Wales Upper House. “That is the great question. Our masculinity is often clouded by what society tells us a man is, what the movies say a man is, what the media says a man is, what the Church says a man is. But the only definition that makes any sense is … that you have a penis. That’s it. You’re a man because you’re a man.” It’s interesting that the man who’ll be challenging Clover Moore for the seat of Sydney in the NSW state election assumes this particular definition. Born in 1961, Madden was raised in the outer-Sydney town of Windsor. When he was six, he was run over by a car, God seeing fit to hitch a caravan on the back to collect whatever the car missed. The boy emerged from a coma three weeks later with severe brain trauma that “altered my personality radically”. Three years later, by his own account, he was molested by an older female, an experience that resonated into his teens and “set very destructive patterns of anger and lust in my life”. At the age of 20, he was “born again”, but the birth didn’t destroy the Devil in Peter J Madden, who, while travelling the world as a married preacher, indulged a private “sex addiction” that sought satisfaction in the bosoms of prostitutes and lasted until his mid thirties, when he came to see that it was “not I, but Christ who lives in me”.

Tony Abbott calls for new intervention in Alice Springs
TONY Abbott has written to Julia Gillard calling for a "new intervention" to transform the lives of Aborigines in Alice Springs, centred on a joint trip to consult with indigenous community leaders about the design of a new radical program for change to the nation's centre. After reports in The Australian about the growing crisis in Alice Springs with crime and alcoholism on the rise, the Opposition Leader conceded for the first time that the Howard government's takeover of 73 Aboriginal communities in 2007 was flawed because it was "top-heavy". Mr Abbott said a new intervention was needed, following a summit with Aboriginal leaders.

LNP backing for Lord Mayor

The Australian
Populist Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman would be "most welcome" in Queensland politics, LNP president Bruce McIver declared yesterday in his first public backing of the conservative would-be leader. Voicing his "encouragement" for Mr Newman to run at the next election, Mr McIver lit the fuse on the fragile leadership of Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek. Mr McIver refused to discuss the results of internal party polling - leaked by the father of the Lord Mayor's media adviser - that reveals Mr Newman would be a more popular leader. "He'd be most welcome in state politics if he wants," Mr McIver said. "I think anyone would love to see this Labor government removed and whatever we need to do, we should do it."

Slim majority back gay marriage, Post-ABC poll says

Sandhya Somashekhar and Peyton Craighill Washington Post
A slim majority of Americans now support gay marriage, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The results underscore the nation’s increasingly tolerant views about homosexuals, and parallel a string of recent legal and legislative victories for gay rights advocates. Five years ago, at 36 percent, support for gay marriage barely topped a third of all Americans. Now, 53 percent say gay marriage should be legal, marking the first time in Post-ABC polling that a majority has said so.



The new fight for the right to say 'I do'



Tasmania may have one of the most progressive civil union systems in the world, but for same-sex couples that have gone through the process, it falls well short of marriage. For the third time in its history, the Tasmanian Greens have tabled a package of proposed legislation to allow same-sex marriage. It is unlikely to succeed, but it will add to the growing momentum for change, as ROSEMARY BOLGER reports. VIRGINIA Cowie and Phillippa Denne's relationship was made official with the stroke of a justice of the peace's pen on a wheelie bin. Their dog Chino served as a witness. The JP, who had no idea what he was signing, was bemused when the Coles Bay couple insisted he accept a bottle of champagne.