Voters back Julia Gillard's flood levy

Dennis Shanahan - The Australian
Julia Gillard has won popular backing for her $1.8 billion flood levy, but the Prime Minister and her Labor government have recorded their lowest general support since she took the leadership in June last year. After a summer season of flood and cyclone disasters and intense politicisation of the issues of water storage, climate change and disaster reconstruction funding, Ms Gillard's plan for a special one-off levy on high-income earners not affected by the floods has won majority support. As Labor faces the beginning of the 2011 parliamentary year tomorrow and the likelihood of introducing a bill for the $1.8bn flood levy, which Tony Abbott opposes, 55 per cent of Australians who face the new tax support Ms Gillard's plan.

What I see as the benefits of Scripture in state schools

Julia Baber - Christian Today Australia
Julia Baber is a Well-Being Australia volunteer young Comment writer for Christian Today Australia As a mother, a Christian and having been an assistant to a school Scripture class, I have been interested in this subject. Initially I wish to touch on the climate of religion in Australia. I am French, and I lived in Australia some years ago and have been back here now for twelve months. It seems to me that Australia’s approach to the presence of religion is very different to the French. In Australia, religion is inclusive of the society, it's presented in a modernised format and forgiveness is proclaimed and one feels safe in it.

Same-sex first, then polygamy

Patricia Karvelas - The Australian
The Australian Christian Lobby has warned that acceptance of gay marriage will lead to a push to change the Marriage Act to include polygamous relationships. Stepping up its campaign against the same-sex rights movement, the ACL has launched an online petition to keep the Marriage Act unchanged. The lobby group warns that if marriage is redefined, as it has been in Canada, "the next push will be for marriage to include polygamous relationships, as is currently being tested in a court in Canada".

Muslims attack two Christian families in Egypt, 11 killed including children

Dan Wooding - ASSIST News
A Middle East journalist is reporting news of the shocking massacre of two Christian Coptic families by Islamists which has just emerged from Upper Egypt with the return of the Internet connections after a week of Internet blackout by the Egyptian regime. Mary Abdelmassih, writing for the Assyrian International News Agency (www.aina.org) says that the carnage took place on Sunday, January 30, 2011, at 3 PM in the village of Sharona near Maghagha, Minya province. “Two Islamists groups, aided by the Muslim neighbors, descended on the roof of houses owned by Copts, killing eleven Copts, including children, and seriously injuring four others,” she said.

Cameron on a “more muscular” defence of his culture from Islamism

Andrew Bolt – Herald Sun
The British Prime Minister does not propose a ban on Islamic immigration, but does want to ban access of extremists to platforms and positions of influence in universities, jails and other public institutions. He wants extremists defied, not accommodated. He suggests - with perhaps more hope than faith - that changing government policies should largely fix problems with integrating Muslim communities which have kept dangerously apart, even aloof. He argues that only by giving young, alienated British Muslims a British identity that they’d proudly sign up to would the rest of Britain be safe.