Euthanasia dying issue for pollies
NT News - Alyssa Betts

TERRITORY politicians are too scared of losing a few votes to act on the majority's wishes and bring back voluntary euthanasia laws, former chief minister Marshall Perron said.
Mr Perron said true Territory pollies would have been yelling from the rooftops in support of Greens' leader Bob Brown's previous attempts to restore the NT's power to legislate on the issue. But when Senator Brown tried it back in 2008, he said, they all went "to bloody water".

"(A) Territory politician - even if you didn't support voluntary euthanasia, you should support any moves to restore powers to the Territory that it once had," he said.
"Anything that detracts from that is anti-Territorian."


Adoption laws help gay marriage push: Greens
ABC - Timothy McDonald

The Greens say they have been given more momentum to pursue the issue of gay marriage at a federal level after laws allowing same-sex couples to adopt passed the New South Wales Parliament.
The Australian Christian Lobby says it is disappointed with the new laws and does not think gays should be able to adopt when there are many eligible heterosexual couples that also want a child.
Gay rights activists say they are satisfied with the reforms, even though they allow religious adoption agencies to sidestep discrimination provisions.
But Jim Wallace, managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby, says the New South Wales Government is not putting the interests of the child first.


Greens to take gay marriage to federal level
ABC - World Today

TANYA NOLAN: The Greens say they've gained more momentum to pursue the issue of gay marriage at a federal level thanks to a decision passed in the New South Wales Parliament.

The Parliament has passed laws that will allow for same-sex couples to adopt children.

But the Australian Christian Lobby says it's disappointed with the legislation and doesn't think gays should be able to adopt when there are so many eligible heterosexual couples who want to adopt too.

Filter fight back on
The Federal Government’s mandatory Internet filter plan is back in the spotlight
ARN - Spandas Lui

Now the Labor Government has been returned, albeit as a minority government, the fight over the Federal Government’s mandatory Internet filter plan is back on.
Prior to the election, the Coalition finally took the stance to oppose an ISP-level cleanfeed. The Greens also maintained their position against the filter.
With Labor now forming a minority government, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is looking forward to the implementation of the filter. Despite the amount of criticism against plan, the lobby group is confident the Government will stick to its guns.


Brisbane atheist and university lawyer smokes pages from the Koran and Bible in YouTube stunt
The Courier-Mail - Margaret Wenham and Alex Dickinson

A BRISBANE-based lawyer and atheist who videoed himself smoking what appeared to be joints made with pages from the Bible and the Koran expects to lose his job at a Queensland university.
Alex Stewart, 29, has taken indefinite leave from work amid calls for his sacking.
The video comes as international outrage continues over the proposed burning of multiple copies of the Koran by a radical Christian pastor in the US.


Major parties deserted for independents: Newspoll
The Australian - Dennis Shanahan

VOTERS have validated the decision of the independent MPs to back Labor to form a minority government, although the ALP's primary vote has fallen to a five-year low and an election held now would be likely to deliver another hung parliament.
While more voters, 48 to 36 per cent, agreed with the formation of a minority Labor government, a clear majority, 59 to 31 per cent, believe the government will not serve a full term and Australia will return to the polls before the three years agreed between Labor and the independents.
At 34 per cent, down four percentage points since the August 21 election, Labor's primary vote under the newly elected Julia Gillard is below the level of Kevin Rudd's entire leadership and back to what it was under Kim Beazley in September 2005.
Primary vote support for both the Coalition and Labor has dropped since the election, while backing for the Greens and "other" candidates has surged in the three weeks of independents' haggling over the hung parliament.


Parenting orders in doubt after High Court ruling
Sydney Morning Herald - Joel Gibson

Thousands of family court orders could be invalid after a landmark High Court decision, and the federal government has revealed it is drafting urgent legislation to avoid mass confusion among parents.
In the high-profile case of ''Rosa v Rosa'', a mother had been forced to remain in a Mount Isa caravan park, depressed and relying on welfare payments, after she moved there from Sydney for her husband's mining career and they separated.
The High Court found unanimously that the decision was wrong and ordered a fresh hearing in March, saying the Family Court cannot order that children spend equal or substantial and significant time with both parents unless the arrangement is ''reasonably practicable''.
But the decision means that ''a cloud now hangs'' over the status of thousands of parenting and consent orders granted by family courts, which have not addressed the question of ''reasonable practicability'', Patrick Parkinson and Richard Chisholm write in a forthcoming article in the Australian Journal of Family Law.


More than a million people drink just to feel normal
Sydney Morning Herald - Anthony Gough

A new report into alcohol consumption has found 4 million Australians drink out of habit, about 1.4 million of them drinking to ''feel normal''.
The Roy Morgan survey, conducted for the Salvation Army, also showed 2.4 million people, and one-third of 18- to 24-year-olds, drink specifically to get drunk.
The Salvation Army state drug and alcohol services co-ordinator, Kathryn Wright, said the findings were alarming and showed a culture saturated by alcohol. Of the 1.4 million who say they drink just to feel normal, ''whether that's socially normal or biologically normal, either way it's very concerning,'' she said. ''The very act of getting drunk has health implications every time someone does it.''


Could this be the year of the modern family?
Sydney Morning Herald - Senthorun Raj

What does it mean to make history? While Australia was occupied with the formation of a minority Federal Government, history of another kind was being made in NSW. The passing of the Adoption Amendment (Same-Sex Couples) Bill ushered in the end to the direct legislative discrimination against same-sex couples in NSW.

While historic, the content of the bill itself was modest. It merely provided definitional changes of terms like 'couple', 'de facto partner' and 'step parent' – making them gender neutral. Legal technicalities of the amendments aside, the effect of this legislation ensures that parenting ability, not gender, is the determinative factor in deciding the best place to raise children.
Reform to adoption legislation was never a claim to a gay rights agenda.
No one has the right to adopt. Children do, however, have the right to have legally recognised parents, regardless of their parent's sexuality or gender identity. As a consequence of this reform, NSW has significantly advanced social justice for gay men, lesbians and their families.


DJs stores to open until 7pm Sundays
Sydney Morning Herald - Melissa Singer

Sunday family dinners could be replaced with trips to the shops as department stores take on one another by extending trading hours.
Starting this week, David Jones stores in Bondi Junction and the city will trade until at least 7pm every night. Some Myer stores already open until 7pm on weeknights, but David Jones is the first to introduce later trading on Sundays.
Cate Daniels, the general manager operations of David Jones Group, said the new hours, which include 30 minutes more trading at suburban stores, are ''best matched to what customers are wanting''.
But retail analysts say the influence of the big retailers on trading hours can disadvantage smaller businesses that are competing with other non-traditional retailers.


O'Farrell's ethics stance 'short-sighted'
Sydney Morning Herald

The NSW Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations has labelled the NSW Opposition Leader, Barry O'Farrell, short-sighted and ill-informed for his lack of support for school ethics classes.
The state government conducted a trial of ethics classes for primary school students at 10 schools earlier this year, and is assessing its success.
The classes were designed as a non-religious alternative for students whose parents do not want them to attend scripture lessons. The Australian-first trial was developed by the federation and the St James Ethics Centre.
Mr O'Farrell has said he does not support ethics classes replacing special religious education.


Rare good news as PNG heads off HIV 'catastrophe'
The Age - Mike Toole

Comparisons with South Africa thankfully prove wide of the mark.
IT IS indeed rare that a good news story on Papua New Guinea is published in the Australian media, so it was pleasing to read in The Age a report that HIV infection rates may be declining.
Media reports on the HIV epidemic in PNG have often used emotive terms such as ''catastrophic'', ''scourge'', ''crisis'', and ''alarming''. In 2007, think tank the Centre for Independent Studies published a report that predicted that ''if present rising infection trends persist, 18 per cent of the population could be affected by 2010 and 25 per cent could be affected by 2020''.


Indonesia church row raises fears of sectarian conflict
BBC News - Karishma Vaswani

These days there is a heavy police presence in Bekasi, a fast-growing suburb about an hour outside the capital Jakarta.
Every Sunday, officers gather here and are given orders by their superiors to guard against any sign of violence.
For the last few weeks, a group of Christians have been holding their Sunday prayer services on an empty plot of land - resulting in violent clashes between them and the majority Muslims.
On Sunday, a church member was stabbed in what some are calling the latest example of religious intolerance. It's not clear who is behind the stabbing.