A Melbourne inner-city council is trying to garner support for a safe heroin injecting room in an attempt to get drug dealers and addicts off their streets. Yarra Council mayor Alison Clarke says councillors will consider erecting CCTV cameras in the hot spot along Victoria Street, Richmond or going for the harder option - a supervised injecting room. "I understand the traders' frustration having people dealing in front of their shops," Councillor Clarke said.
''Are you a man or a woman?'' Lee Taube was walking through a park with his girlfriend Michaela Rodgers when four teenage boys demanded to know who and what they were. Mr Taube, 20, was only just starting his transition to being male, after a long unhappy girlhood. He was living in a refuge while doing VCE when he was diagnosed with gender identity disorder.
Public schools are again the battleground of a culture war. Make no mistake, the debate about the chaplaincy program and religious teacing really is a conflict about culture rather than God's place in a classroom. The government announced in last week's federal budget an extra $222 million for the National School Chaplaincy program and providing religion classes in public schools. Yet revelations that Access Ministries chief executive Evonne Paddison had spoken in a 2008 conference about the "need to go and make disciples" through a "God-given open door to children and young people" will no doubt further rattle those who resist such moves. The Victorian teachers union called at the weekend for an end to religious teaching in schools.
Same-sex parents in South Australia would have the same status as others under recommendations in a parliamentary report. The head of State Parliament's Social Development Committee, Ian Hunter, says the report aims to address disadvantages suffered by same-sex families under current laws. He says South Australia is the only state which fails to recognise the non-birth parent of same-sex couples on birth certificates.
Same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children, a year-long parliamentary committee has found. Delivering its findings to Parliament yesterday, the Social Development Committee's inquiry into same-sex parenting recommended changes to existing law to remove discrimination against same-sex parents. Presiding member Ian Hunter said that after months of hearing evidence from community groups and individuals, the committee had concluded that the law needed to change so that same-sex couples and their children were not treated as "second-class citizens".
It rakes in billions, exploits women, and leaves men disgusted with themselves. A few years ago at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, the biggest porn convention in the United States, Abbywinters.com, an Australian porn company, had one of the largest booths. It bills itself as offering "real, passionate, unscripted" sexual activity by "happy, healthy, regular girls in their normal environments". The company markets its female masturbation and girl/girl videos as featuring women with "no make-up, no fake boobs, no airbrushing". The Abbywinters.com women did stand out from the other porn performers in the room, but their girl/girl action (the industry's term for lesbian sex tailored to a male audience) didn't look much different from the industry norm.
One of the nation's top Muslim leaders, Sheik Mohamadu Nawas Saleem, has supported a plan to introduce sharia law in Australia, saying it could operate in the family law system through a new model of Islamic arbitration. But Attorney-General Robert McClelland yesterday killed off any calls for sharia law in Australia, saying there was no place for it in the Gillard government's debate about multicultural policy.
Australia's top Muslim organisation wants taxpayers to finance the expansion of Islamic schools and halal food outlets into mainstream suburbs. And in a sign of growing community tension, the nation's peak Jewish authority has called for new migrants to be put on probation while their commitment to Australian values and laws is checked. In a submission to a federal inquiry into multiculturalism, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils said Muslims were forced to live in enclaves near Islamic schools, mosques and halal food outlets.
Sharia law is already being practised in western Sydney, with hundreds of religious divorces granted by imams. The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils has asked a Federal Government inquiry into multiculturalism to permit sharia law, especially in divorce cases. But a sheik and Muslim leaders yesterday said sharia law was already being used to end hundreds of marriages a year. Sharia law is also being used by imams in cases of business disputes and neighbourhood fights. The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils also asked the Government to fund halal and kosher meat outlets and even Muslim schools and for state schools to have special sports uniforms for female Muslim students.
The latest push to introduce sharia law in Australia has triggered an unlikely alliance by two professors of law with only one thing in common: they know a threat when they see one. Civil libertarian Spencer Zifcak and constitutional monarchist David Flint are from opposing sides of the political spectrum. But they are united by a deceptively reasonable push for a form of sharia law in Australia. These academics recognise what is at stake. If this push succeeds, it could undermine the centuries-old legal settlement that led to the Enlightenment and the rise of Western secular society.
Several recent cases have thrown the spotlight on estranged partners who resort to drastic acts of revenge, writes Adele Horin. Custody issues are not the main reason estranged fathers kill their children. They kill to punish their wives for leaving them. That is the conclusion of Australia's foremost expert on murder-suicide, Carolyn Johnson of Curtin University.
A hotel worker’s allegations of sexual assault by International Monetary Fund chief and possible French presidential candidate Dominique Strauss-Kahn are disturbing. But also disturbing is the way the case is being reported in some sections of the media. Strauss-Kahn has been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a woman at his expensive hotel suite in New York. This is a summary of the story from the New York Times: According to the law enforcement official, the woman entered Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s suite early Saturday afternoon by saying “housekeeping”. She heard no answer and believed that the suite was unoccupied. She left the door open behind her, as is hotel policy.
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