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.



 





Abortion

Tony Abbott assault shifts to abortion


David Crowe - The Australian





Labor has moved to reignite a row with Tony Abbott on abortion in a bid to exploit his poor standing among female voters in the lead-up to the next election. Health Minister Tanya Plibersek yesterday accused Mr Abbott of "misrepresenting" medical advice during his time as health minister last decade when he cited potential risks from the RU486 abortion pill to oppose its use.
















Euthanasia

Report recommends France legalize 'accelerated deaths'


France 24





France should allow doctors to "accelerate the coming of death" for terminally ill patients, a report to President Francois Hollande recommended Tuesday. Hollande referred the report to a national council on medical ethics which will examine the precise circumstances under which such steps could be authorised with a view to producing draft legislation by June 2013.


















Health

Show your support when they come out of the closet


Lucy Kippist - The Punch





Researchers in Melbourne are conducting a study that is believed will find a correlation between gay Australian women eighteen years and over, excessive alcohol, recreational drugs and high levels of depression and anxiety. Women who identify in this group are two to three times more likely to experience depression and anxiety than their heterosexual counterparts; but researchers say so much of this could be avoided if they received adequate support from family and friends when they came out. It’s a good reminder at the end of what has been a busy but ultimately frustrating year for the Australian GLBTQI (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex) community who have faced a stifling juncture in their fight for the right to get married. And it’s an issue we have covered extensively this year on The Punch.














Human Rights

Swagman and jumbuck vindicated at last


Rowan Dean - ARF





In a landmark court decision today, the estate of the late A. B. “Banjo” Paterson was forced to pay an undisclosed sum in damages awarded in favour of a class action launched by aggrieved members of the Australian public. Under Section 19(2)(b) of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill recently introduced to Parliament by Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, the now-disgraced poet was found guilty of “causing offence in extremis”. Under Labor’s new laws his descendants were guilty if they failed to prove that no offence had been intended in his now-banned publication Waltzing Matilda. The court further ordered that bookshops and libraries destroy all copies of the publication.










ABC, SBS pull out of FOI submission

Nick Leys - The Australian





Australia's public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS, have pulled out of a free speech campaign submission to the review of Freedom of Information legislation that is highly critical of the review's terms of reference and its threat to access to "frank and fearless advice".
















Overseas Aid

ACL disappointed by federal government decision to slash foreign aid


Christian Today





The Australian Christian Lobby says it’s disappointed the federal government has cut foreign aid again, the second time this year. Foreign Minister Bob Carr has admitted the government plans to remove at least $375 million from Australia’s poverty-focused aid program to house and feed asylum-seekers in Australia.














Politics

One 'huge whack' smashes Wayne Swan's surplus


Simon Black - The Daily Telegraph





Treasurer Wayne Swan says it is "unlikely" Labor will be able to achieve the promised budget surplus in 2012/13. The wafer-thin $1.1 billion budget surplus Swan had promised to deliver was shattered today when company tax payments came in almost $4 billion under expectations, reflecting commodity price falls and weakness in the global economy. "Tax receipts are well below our forecast," Mr Swan said. "It was a substantial hit to profits that Australian companies have experienced in the first half of this year."










Optimism from Courier-Mail leaders' forum supported by leaders in religion and education

Michael Madigan - The Courier-Mail





The mood of optimism expressed in The Courier-Mail leaders' forum this week has been echoed by more of the state's leaders - this time in the areas of religion and education. Participants in the forum - which you can relive via videos published on couriermail.com.au - predicted Queensland could look forward to a brighter 2013, with the state set for recovery and the worst of the economic downturn a fading memory.






Premier Campbell Newman urged to rethink public sector reform as workers say no to pay rise offer

Robyn Ironside - The Courier-Mail





Premier Campbell Newman has been urged to "rethink his approach" to public sector reform after government workers resoundingly rejected a new pay deal. With 75 per cent of the 28,200 votes counted last night in a postal ballot asking if public servants supported the 2.35 per cent offer, almost 15,000, or 71 per cent, had said "no".
















Religious Freedom & Persecution

Fear keeps Egypt’s Christians away from polls


Associate Press





A campaign of intimidation by Islamists left most Christians in this southern Egyptian province too afraid to participate in last week’s referendum on an Islamist-drafted constitution they deeply oppose, residents say. The disenfranchisement is hiking Christians’ worries over their future under empowered Muslim conservatives. Around a week before the vote, some 50,000 Islamists marched through the provincial capital, Assiut, chanting that Egypt will be “Islamic, Islamic, despite the Christians.” At their head rode several bearded men on horseback with swords in scabbards on their hips, evoking images of early Muslims conquering Christian Egypt in the 7th Century.












Boko Hharam persecutes Christians as the world-watches

William Stark - Persecution.org





On December 1, a group of Islamic radicals raided the village of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria. The group of radicals, armed with guns, machetes and explosives, moved through the predominately Christian part of the village and began chanting “Allahu Akbar,” meaning “god is greatest.” They broke into Christian houses and proceeded to slit the throats of 10 Christians including one pastor. In a separate attack, three churches, along with a police station and an immigration and customs office were burned down in Gamboru Ngala, another town in Nigeria’s northern regions. Another large group of armed radicals overran security forces before setting fire to the buildings.














Sexualisation of Society

Claims of porn ring in ACT jail


Noel Towell - Canberra Times





Convicted paedophiles in Canberra's jail have allegedly set up a pornography ring, sharing electronic images of child sex abuse under the noses of prison guards. A police investigation is under way into how the three prisoners, including two of the ACT's most dangerous child sex predators, were able to obtain and share material while serving sentences at the Alexander Maconochie Centre. It is even alleged that a child pornography website was hosted from within the prison before police swooped on the jail on Tuesday. The ACT Government's Justice and Community Safety directorate is set to come under intense scrutiny to explain how the alleged ring was allowed to develop.










Sexting fear over new Facebook app

Claire Connelly - News.com





Facebook is planning to release an app to rival infamous sexting app Snapchat.

Snapchat allows you to take and encrypt a photo that can only be seen for up to 10 seconds before it disappears. A psychologist believes apps like that being introduced by Facebook put more pressure on young girls to take part in sexting.










Other

BBC 'should be bold in gay coverage'


BBC





The BBC has been urged to be "more creative" and "bolder" in how it represents lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people across its output. The recommendation was made by experts contributing to a BBC review on its portrayal of LGB people.












Have yourself a politically correct Christmas

Adam Ch'ng - ABC





With Christmas fast approaching, employers around the country are distributing 'approved' Christmas greetings for employees to forward onto our clients. These greetings are sure not only to be grammatically correct but more importantly, politically correct and sanitised of any references to Christianity whatsoever. The last thing that Collins Street corporates would want is to unnecessarily 'offend' a client by suggesting that Christmas is somehow related to, well, Christianity.












Dolls for boys, drills for girls

Emma Charlton - SMH





With firefighter kits for girls and baby dolls for boys, toys are breaking out of the gender ghetto this Christmas thanks to retailers willing to brush aside some hard-to-shift stereotypes. The latest to chip away at the toy apartheid, French supermarket Super-U, has printed a holiday season catalogue showing boys cradling dolls and girls piloting remote-controlled cars, billed as a first for the country.






Customs drugs charges rock public confidence

Piers Akerman - The Daily Telegraph





What makes the jaw-dropping allegations of seriously corrupt activities within the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service so cruelly painful is the sense of betrayal of public trust if those allegations turn out to be true. We expect customs officers to be stern, grim, even humourless - as long as they are also honest. But if members of the customs service - trusted insiders - have crossed the line and gone to the dark side there will be a justifiable sense of duplicity and treachery.