David Kochie puzzled by Portia's rejection for interview on new book

Leo Shanahan - news.com.au
Sunrise host David Koch has said he was shocked at actress Portia De Rossi's decision not to allow him to interview her, saying it has made him question whether she lives the values she espouses. Writing for The Punch today Kochie has said he wasn’t angered by the star’s decision to insist that only women be allowed to interview her on her book tour, but said it has made him question what De Rossi actually stands for. “For someone who advocates equal rights and inclusion, to then alienate an entire gender on the basis of “it wouldn’t relate to them” caught me a little off guard. It made me wonder whether she lived her values.

Poised to win the right to die

Sarah Martin - The Advertiser
For Beaumont couple Jim and Jacquie Wilson this week's vote on legalising voluntary euthanasia is personal. The pair watched their late spouses die in suffering and say they want the choice to end their lives peacefully if ever faced with the same agony. This week State Parliament will vote on two voluntary euthanasia bills, positioning South Australia to become the first state in Australia - and one of few jurisdictions in the world - to legalise voluntary euthanasia. The Wilsons say the legislation is desperately needed to prevent the painful suffering their partners endured in the final stages of terminal illness.

Top End ALP adds to push for gay marriage

Patricia Karvelas and Lanai Vasek - The Australian
The Labor Party conference in the Northern Territory has passed a motion supporting gay marriage and urged the federal party to endorse a change in policy. As pressure mounts on Julia Gillard from more sections of her side of politics, ALP factional warriors were yesterday talking up the symbolic significance of the NT conference decision. It is the first ALP jurisdiction to pass such a motion since the push for marriage rights began. The NT move came as right-wing Liberal backbencher Alex Hawke lashed out at the Greens push to legalise same-sex marriage and questioned whether gay couples would provide an appropriate environment in which to bring up children. While sources said the powerful Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association - which holds sway in the NT - continued to oppose gay marriage, SDA delegates did not force a vote on the floor of the conference to quantify their opposition. Instead, the motion passed on voices, with no one calling for a division.

Punters cancel bookings, abuse jockey club staff over gay race day

Craig Cook - The Advertiser
An Australian Jockey Club has faced a backlash over its decision to run a gay and lesbian raceday. The South Australian club is catering for a crowd of 5000 at Adelaide's Morphettville this Saturday, for its inaugural Pink Diamond Day. But several regular racegoers will boycott the event, run in conjunction with the gay and lesbian Feast Festival. SAJC chief executive Brenton Wilkinson told The Advertiser yesterday trackside diners had rung to cancel bookings, specifically stating they did not approve of the event.

More driven to sew lips shut

Debbie Guest - The Australian
An Iraqi man detained on Christmas Island has attempted suicide and more asylum-seekers are sewing their lips shut. The protests are in response to what asylum-seekers say are inhumane delays in processing their cases. There were reports yesterday that about 20 asylum-seekers had stitched their lips together, with another 230 on a hunger strike at the island's main detention centre. The protest comes as the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said detained asylum-seekers, including the 2827 at Christmas Island, had been told on the weekend that a recent landmark High Court decision meant they would now have access to judicial review if their cases were refused by the department.

Executioners' legacy hangs over PM

Phillip Coorey - SMH
The dumping of Kevin Rudd before he had served a full term as prime minister has created a public expectation that Julia Gillard will go the same way should her government not shape up. So says new focus group polling which finds Ms Gillard has yet to shape up as leader in the eyes of the public. It also finds a perception that the government is dragging its feet, is hamstrung by the minority government situation, and is ''too afraid to make a decision at the risk of offending someone''.

Few MPs escape clubs blitz on pokies law

Jacob Saulwick - SMH
After an energetic bout of lobbying, clubs in NSW have met almost every federal MP from the state to vent their hostility to proposed changes to poker machine laws. Clubs have also made personal representations to 16 of the 30-member Gillard ministry, including all ministers from NSW bar Tania Plibersek, who has been on maternity leave, to explain the potential costs of imposing mandatory bet limits on poker machine players. In campaigning against the reforms, agreed to by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, in return for the support of the Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie, the clubs' strategy has been to lobby local members with club executives from their own electorates.

The waiting can be the hardest part

Julia Medew - The Age
The barbecue was moments away from lighting up when Rob Tranter hit the ground. The 63-year-old was preparing to cook up a feast for a group of CFA volunteers near his home town of Alma last month when his legs suddenly gave way. For those who rushed to his aid, his face was a frightening sight. His eyes were wide open and his lips were turning blue. They could not find a pulse. ''He was just gone,'' CFA station captain Rod James said of the incident on October 31. ''I rang an ambulance immediately and told them we had a suspected cardiac arrest. From memory they said, 'OK, we'll get a car to you,' so I hung up and started CPR with another member, Matthew Ipsen. He was already doing chest compressions, so I started doing mouth-to-mouth.''