ACL compiles a daily media monitoring service of stories of interest to the Christian constituency relating to children, family, drugs and alcohol, marriage, human rights, religious freedom etc. Visit the ACL’s website each day to see what’s of interest in the news. Please note that selection of the articles does not represent ACL endorsement of the content.



 





Donor Conception & Surrogacy

An age-old question on taxpayer funding for IVF


Tory Shepherd - The Punch





Hundreds of Australians die every year because of overcrowded hospitals. Children with disabilities struggle to get the help and equipment they need. Public schools are under-resourced. We don’t have a magic uber-highway to zip us around the country at the speed of sound. And yet we’re spending taxpayer’s cash on IVF for women in their 50s. Riddle me that. The news that a 60-year-old gave birth is the sort of thing that sees some people shudder while others are all high-fives and ‘you go girlfriend’ excited.
















Education

Christmas season ‘hijacked' by creationists


Susie O'Brien - Herald Sun





Victorian state school children are being taught unscientific beliefs in religious education classes at Christmas, parents claim. They say the singing of songs about creationism amounts to preaching fundamentalist religious views contrary to school curricula. Schoolchildren around Victoria are learning creationist anthems such as Creation Rap, The Butterfly Song and My God is Big - all of which assert that God created the Earth, animals and people.


















Gambling

State to lead way on pokie limits


Richard Willingham - The Age





Victorian poker machine venues will have to install controversial technology two years earlier than required by federal law, allowing punters to preset how much they are willing to lose. Last month, the federal government finally passed pokies reforms but only after the legislation was watered down, with venues given at least an extra two years, 2018 at the earliest, to introduce voluntary precommitment. But Victorian Gaming Minister Michael O'Brien says the Coalition ''remains committed to requiring precommitment technology on all gaming machines in Victoria in 2015-2016''.
















Health

Emergency depts worst in major hospitals


NineMSN





Major metropolitan hospitals are taking longer to process patients through their emergency departments than their country counterparts. And regardless of their location, smaller hospitals are generally outperforming bigger ones, according to the first report from the new National Health Performance Authority (NHPA).
















Human Rights

Time to go on the offensive against the Thought Police


Bill Rowlings - The Punch





The Punch has asked me for some examples of offensive speech that might be caught out under Attorney-General Nicola Roxon’s proposed ‘1984’ amendments to create a brave, new, Speak-Easy world of proposed anti-discrimination (A-D) laws. The first thing that comes to mind is that “Juliar” is offensive to some… but an example of free speech we ought to retain for those who don’t like the lady. If you said the word to Ms Gillard’s face, she might take you to court under proposed A-D laws for she would surely find it personally offensive.
















Indigenous

Learning for the western world? The Indigenous education dilemma


Bill Fogarty - The Conversation





Last week the Western Australian Indigenous Labor MP, Ben Wyatt, told a conference in Perth that Aboriginal children in remote communities need a “full Western education”. Wyatt went on to say that the State had delivered “a palliative education system” to remote Indigenous communities and had endorsed low expectations of Aboriginal children.














Middle-ear disease

Elizabeth Murray - Online Opinion





The Western Australian government announced last month that epidemic rates of chronic middle-ear disease and hearing loss are hampering education outcomes in the north-west. The Education and Health Standing Committee tabled a report on absenteeism and literacy, and the impact of hearing on educational outcomes. Prevalent middle-ear disease in the region is not a new problem - for any other illness and any other disability, funding would have been prioritized, but hearing loss and middle-ear disease is an invisible disability.












Marriage

Examining the support for Same-Sex Marriage


Frank Bruni - New York Times





Third Way, the centrist Democratic think thank, is about to release a report based on polling from Washington State, which was one of the three states, along with Maine and Maryland, where a majority of voters approved same-sex marriage in Election Day referendums. And while the report and the poll are the work of a partisan as opposed to an independent group, the findings echo other research into support for same-sex marriage and have the ring of truth.










UK: Now PM's faith minister attacks gay marriage law: Warsi claims equality could have string of 'unintended consequences'

James Chapman - Daily Mail





The minister for faith has broken ranks on gay marriage to warn that David Cameron’s controversial legislation could have a string of ‘unintended consequences’. In a letter leaked to the Daily Mail, Baroness Warsi suggests schools could be required to teach about same-sex unions, while individual priests and churches who refuse to conduct them risk being sued.












Standing and Delivering

Linda Greenhouse - New York Times





Is it heretical of me, or merely quirky, to find myself nearly as fascinated by the procedural game the Supreme Court is playing in the same-sex marriage cases as I am by the underlying merits of the two appeals the court has agreed to decide?
















Politics

Labor should forget surplus - Fitzgibbon


Lisa Martin - Courier Mail





A senior Labor figure has broken ranks to call on the federal government to give up on delivering a budget surplus next year. Government whip Joel Fitzgibbon says Labor should give up on delivering a budget surplus and that the public will understand the U-turn because the global economic picture is still bleak. On Thursday it was revealed that Treasury has reportedly advised the government to dump its commitment to a surplus, warning a slump in nominal economic growth poses a threat to revenue.














Corruption probes to dog Labor for years

Adam Bennett - AAP





The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) announced in August that it would hold a series of inquiries into the actions of the former NSW Labor government, in particular, the action of former ministers in relation to the granting of coal exploration licences in the state. With comparisons to a scale of corruption not seen since the days of the notorious Rum Corps, the evidence heard so far has been sensational.










'It's too much work': Gallagher moves quick on Assembly expansion

Noel Towell - Canberra Times





Chief Minister Katy Gallagher is moving quickly on her plans for more politicians in the ACT Legislative Assembly, appointing a working group to advise her on the expansion. Ms Gallagher said on Thursday morning that ACT Electoral Commissioner Phil Green would chair a five-member panel that would report to cabinet on the idea by March 2013.






Remember, politicians are people too

Greg Craven - The Australian





As every columnist knows, sincerity is the second-last refuge of a scoundrel. Miserable sincerity is worse; it combines depression with desperation. But at the close of the political year I am - frankly - miserably depressed. Sincerely.









Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Selling American girls: The truth about domestic minor sex-trafficking


Brooke Axtell - Forbes





The sex-trafficking of U.S. children is America’s dirty, little secret. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking is the second fastest growing criminal industry — just behind drug trafficking. Approximately half of all victims are children. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center estimates it’s a $32 billion industry, with about 50% of this revenue coming from industrialized countries. This surpasses the sale of illegal arms.
















Refugees

Asylum seeker adviser quits


Michael Gordon - The Age





One of Australia's leading mental health experts has quit the Gillard government's advisory council on asylum seekers and detention after more than a decade, citing plans to indefinitely deny work rights to thousands of recent arrivals as ''the last straw''. Professor Harry Minas says the gap between his own views on how Australia should honour its international obligations and the direction of policy in recent months has simply become too wide - and continues to widen.














Religious Freedom & Persecution

Court sentences Coptic activist to three years for insulting Islam


Sarah Carr - Egypt Independent





A Cairo court sentenced activist Alber Saber to three years in prison for insulting Islam Wednesday. Marg Misdemeanor Court found Saber guilty of “contempt of religion” after he allegedly posted online parts of the amateur film “Innocence of Muslims” that had sparked protests around the Muslim world, state-run news agency MENA reported. Prosecutors also accused Saber of running a Facebook page that “promoted extremist ideas” and atheism, as well as insulting the divine, prophets and Islamic and Chirstian religious rites and describing God as weak.










Iran said to be killing imprisoned pastor by neglect

Religion Today





The condition of an Iranian pastor languishing in prison on charges of “actions against the Islamic state” is deteriorating as authorities intend to kill him by denying him medical treatment, according to sources close to the prisoner. The sources say the health of pastor Behnam Irani, a married father of two, is deteriorating rapidly, according to Jason DeMars of Present Truth Ministries.
















Wicca, Raelism, Animism, Christianity…

Barbara Kay - Mercator Net





Until 2008, the curriculum of Montreal’s (private) Catholic Loyola High School included a course called “Morals and World Religions” (MWR). MWR taught students the basic history and tenets of other major religions from the Catholic perspective, which is presumably what the students’ parents were paying for. In 2008, however, Quebec introduced a province-wide program called Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) running throughout elementary school, and all but one high school year. Every Quebec student — even the homeschooled — is obligated to take this state-composed program. And teachers, whatever their beliefs or religious affiliation, must teach it.














Sexualisation of Society

The boys at Burger Urge and their latest marketing stunt that's offending customers


Jasmin Lill - Quest Newspapers





A Brisbane burger joint is facing a consumer backlash after they delivered condoms to letterboxes across Brisbane to promote their beef patties. The condom packets bear the slogan ''get intimate with our new premium beef'' and were delivered to letterboxes across New Farm, West End and Kelvin Grove at the weekend. Burger Urge owner Sean Carthew said the complaints have begun rolling in.


















Other

Pope shows he’s no twit with polite pontifications


Lucy Kippist - The Punch





Apple will be literally thanking the heavens today after Pope Benedict XVI sent his first tweet from an iPad. You just can’t buy that kind of publicity. According to news.com.au @ponitfex, as he is known on Twitter, exceeded one million followers last night after his debut tweet. Take that, Justin Bieber. Here’s what the Tweet said: “Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.”










Tweeters, talkers reveal their stripes

Peter Hartcher - Sydney Morning Herald





Twitter users lean to the political left and talkback radio callers to the right, but both form part of the mainstream of opinion, according to a study. An analysis of political sentiment in Australia by an independent firm compared how views expressed on Twitter and talkback radio moved in comparison with the mainstream, as measured by a conventional national opinion poll, Newspoll.