Labor's bold play to win 'pink vote'

Farrah Tomazin - The Age
Laws against homophobia will be strengthened and the rights of same same-sex couples to adopt children will be reconsidered if Labor wins next month's state election. In a pitch for the ''pink vote'', Premier John Brumby has also promised to give the gay community a greater say in shaping government policy, improve the rights of couples to have overseas or interstate marriages recognised in Victoria, and provide more funding to stamp out homophobia in schools. Advocacy groups yesterday described the policy as the most comprehensive gay reform package Labor has taken to a state election.

Christian pastor in Iran faces death penalty in one week for ’Thought Crime’

Michael Ireland - ASSIST News Service
A Christian pastor in Iran who was sentenced to death for what is being called a "thought crime" has less than a week to live. Advocates for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani told ASSIST News that while all of the other prisoners arrested in a wide-ranging crackdown by Iranian authorities have been released, Nadarkhani still faces the death penalty on October 24. Present Truth Ministries says all detained recently by the Iranian Government, except for Youcef and one other pastor who is awaiting one more judge to pass the death sentence, are now free from prison. The ministry says Youcef only has one more week before his sentence is due to be carried out. Sunday, October 24 is the date of his impending execution.

Agency queries plain-pack legality

Mark Metherell - The Age
The battle over plain-pack cigarettes has flared again with the disclosure that a federal agency raised the prospect of legal obstacles to the Labor government's plan. Intellectual Property Australia has told the federal government that the plain-packaging measure might not meet Australia's intellectual property treaty obligations. The agency also said in briefing documents late last year that constitutional provisions might not prevent tobacco companies seeking compensation.

Panic room proves brothels unsafe

Family Voice Australia
“The unsafe nature of the sex trade – legal or illegal – is clear from a recent application to the Parramatta council for a brothel with a ‘panic room’ where prostitutes could escape violent or abusive clients,” Steve Estherby of FamilyVoice Australia said today. Rev Estherby praised Parramatta City Council, whose members voted 9-5 on Monday 18 October to oppose all applications for new or expanded brothels because of the dangers. “I phoned Parramatta City Councillor Chiang Lim to pass on my congratulations,” Rev Estherby said. “He told me about the brothel ‘panic room’ application. He said the proposal for such a room demonstrates the harm of prostitution. Parramatta City Council is not prepared to put women at risk.