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

It's a woman's right to choose, not a man's to try to control


Anne Summers - SMH





If Tony Abbott was hoping he could tiptoe across the victory line on September 14 without having to take a definitive stand on abortion, he clearly wasn't counting on the derring-do of some of his political bedfellows. First, it was DLP senator John Madigan, who entertains high hopes of being Tony Abbott's Brian Harradine. Two weeks ago Madigan introduced legislation that would prohibit the Medicare rebate being paid on abortions decided on the basis of the gender of the foetus. Widespread as such gender-specific (and mostly anti-female) abortions are in countries such as India and China, there is absolutely no evidence that they are being performed in Australia. So, why the bill? Why indeed?






Reform of abortion laws dividing state

Calla Wahlquist - The Examiner





A plan to decriminalise abortion has polarised the Tasmanian community. Supporters of the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Act 2013, released as a private members' bill by Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne this month, says it would give medical practitioners confidence to perform the procedure without fear of criminal sanctions and allow all women equitable access to abortion.













Bioethics

Living with a time bomb


Nicky Phillips - Cowra Guardian





There was no doubt in Chontell Johnson's mind. When a genetic test revealed her mother had early onset Alzheimer's, the then-27-year-old decided she would get tested, too. ''If I didn't know, I would spend the rest of my life second-guessing decisions,'' she says. The results confirmed that within the three billion letters of Johnson's genome, a single mistake means she has a 98 per cent chance of developing the neurological condition that killed her mother at 47.


















Children & Family

Respect a mother's choice


Miranda Devine - The Sunday Telegraph





There's something wrong when you hear on the news of a "hunt" for the mother of a baby boy abandoned at Canterbury hospital, in Sydney's southwest. Police are reviewing CCTV footage to track down the woman who gave birth on March 5 and walked out of the hospital the next day. But she knew what she was doing. She went to hospital to give birth in a safe place, but booked in under a false name - or at least a useless address. Clearly she did not want to be found. She gave her baby the greatest gift of love - his life. She did not have him killed in utero, as is the fate of roughly 80,000 aborted babies every year. But for whatever reason, she obviously felt she could not give him the upbringing he deserved. Why, then, must she be hunted down and forced to rethink her decision?














Classification

Wicked Campers may face police action over 'offensive' slogans


Petra Starke - News Limited Network





Controversial van hire company Wicked Campers could face police action to remove "offensive" slogans on its vehicles after ignoring rulings by the national advertising watchdog. The Advertising Standards Bureau is seeking police assistance in forcing the Brisbane-based company, which has 34 locations around Australia and overseas, to remove the slogans it has deemed obscene, discriminatory and derogatory in decisions dating back to 2008. It is also pursuing the company over an internet promotion offering discounts to customers who identify as marijuana smokers.




















Drugs & Alcohol

Women use cannabis to be social: expert


Lema Samandar - AAP





Women are more likely to use cannabis to maintain relationships, an addiction expert says. Professor Jan Copeland, director of the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre at the University of NSW, said recent research had revealed details of women's cannabis use. She said that although more men use the drug, women become addicted for social reasons.












Education

Grandparents' nest eggs raided for fees


Katherine Danks and Bruce McDougall - The Daily Telegraph





Grandparents are plundering their nest eggs to pay private school fees, in some cases covering 100 per cent of their grandchildren's bill at elite institutions. Demand for a place at many prestigious colleges is booming, despite annual fees of up to $30,000, tough economic times and uncertainty caused by government cutbacks. Much of that demand is caused by a lack of resources at government schools and parents' wishes to give their children the best start in life - whatever the cost.










Euthanasia

Greens MP champions right to die bill


Anna Patty - SMH





Loredana Alessio-Mulhall is not ready to die. But NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann wants to help her when she is. Ms Faehrmann will introduce a private member's bill to Parliament to legalise voluntary euthanasia. Ms Alessio-Mulhall will lead a social media campaign to be launched on Monday including a video on YouTube in a bid to generate community support for the legislation. NSW MPs will be sent a letter and booklet containing personal stories about people who want the right to die.














Marriage

'We must focus our fight on Labour': David Cameron makes plea for Tory party unity after leadership speculation

PM insisted he was sticking to traditional Tory values at spring conference


Daily Mail





David Cameron urged restive Tories to focus their energies on fighting Labour as he sought to quell unrest among activists over his leadership. He used a speech to the party's spring conference to insist he was sticking to traditional Tory values after a turbulent fortnight of internal division. Mr Cameron suffered a damaging bout of leadership speculation and pressure to shift the party to the right after being beaten into third place by Ukip at the Eastleigh by-election. 'I'm up for it': David Cameron told activists that, with less than 1,000 days until the next election, the Tories have 'a real fight on our hands' He faces warnings from a new Tory group meeting at the conference that the party faces a 'severe defeat' in 2015 if he fails to 'reconnect' with party members and abandon gay marriage laws over which they have quit 'in droves'.


















Politics

Labor troubles now entrenched


Mark Kenny - SMH





Drop in support showing signs of becoming entrenched: Julia Gillard. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Julia Gillard is entering a politically dangerous last sitting week before the budget, with support for her government stuck in the basement. A sharp drop in support for the ALP in February which sent shockwaves through the party is showing signs of becoming entrenched with less than six months to go to the federal election.














Greens' red line on media reform

Jessica Marszalek - The Daily Telegraph





The Greens yesterday sounded a potential death knell for the Gillard government's controversial media changes, but the fate of the legislation may still lie in the hands of the four key independent MPs. The Greens said the creation of a powerful Public Interest Media Advocate could cause a "race to the bottom" in press standards. Independent MPs Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, Andrew Wilkie and Craig Thomson have all expressed concerns about the regulations including the tight time frame given to parliament to examine the bills.Mr Wilkie said the government-appointed advocate risks "political interference and effectively media censorship".












Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

I know that deadness: a personal story of surviving prostitution


Rebecca Mott - Melinda Tankard Reist blog





Prostitution is full of grief. The grief of seeing a crossroad and always taking the wrong turning. That is how I remember prostitution – that is how it is remembered through self-loathing and inability to see all choice was stolen from me, was stolen from all my prostituted Sisters. It is easier to blame yourself for taking too many wrong turning – than to know a reality of mental and physical manipulation, of being trapped into hell in degrees.














National exploitation ring targets kids

Big Pond News





A nationwide child exploitation ring shared hundreds of thousands of 'abhorrent' images and videos, many showing children aged under 10, police say. Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers from Child Protection Operations detected the group in January and have since charged 21 people and expect up to six more arrests. The AFP also located one of the child victims depicted in the images and who was known to one of the offenders who produced, shared and accessed the images and videos.












Refugees

Rejected boatpeople sail through tribunal


Jared Owens - The Australian





Three-quarters of boatpeople who appeal their failed asylum claims to the Refugee Review Tribunal are rewarded with permanent residency in Australia. As the Opposition affirmed a pledge to prevent maritime arrivals detained in Australia from seeking independent review of their cases, figures obtained exclusively by The Australian indicate the tribunal has overturned 503 departmental decisions to refuse refugee visas to boatpeople from a total of 676 cases heard since July last year. Those refugees will join more than 3200 other boat arrivals whose negative refugee assessments have been overturned on appeal since Labor introduced an independent review system in 2008.














Religious Freedom & Persecution

Indonesia : Huria Kristen Batak Protestan Setu refuses to dismantle church, despite government's threat


Bernardus Wijayaka - The Jakarta Globe





Congregation members from the embattled Huria Kristen Batak Protestan Setu Church in Bekasi have refused to dismantle their place of worship after the local government ordered them to shut down last week. “We're firm, we won't dismantle the temple of God that we have built,” said Torang Simanjuntak, the pastor at the church known as HKBP, on Thursday. The Bekasi district government sealed the church on March 7, after the local public order agency (Satpol PP) claimed that the church did not hold the necessary building permit.










Woman accused of attacking Islam gets three-month sentence

Seven Days in Dubai





A woman accused of attacking Islam by preaching the bible on the streets of Abu Dhabi has been jailed. Abu Dhabi Criminal Court yesterday handed out the three-month sentence to the Indian woman after she was found guilty of proselytising and handing out copies of the text on the streets of the UAE capital. Court records show that an Arab man reported the woman to police after he saw her preaching on Al Najda Street.














Other

Sheik a no-show at Islamic event 'for personal reasons'


Rachel Baxendale - The Australian





Brother Waseem Razvi, the organiser of the Australian Islamic Peace Conference, opened the event in front of about 2000 faithful yesterday with two apologi s. Advertised keynote speaker Sheik Abdul Rahman al-Sudais -- the imam of the Grand Mosque of Mecca, whose invitation had drawn opprobrium from Jewish, Christian and interfaith groups concerned about his calls for the annihilation of the Jews and descriptions of them as "pigs and monkeys" -- could not make the Melbourne conference "for personal reasons". The office of Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor informed The Australian on Monday that Sheik Sudais, who had been denied entry to Canada and the US, had not applied for a visa.












Pope Francis wishes for a 'poor church'

ABC





Pope Francis has called for "a poor church for the poor", saying he chose his papal name because St Francis of Assisi was "a man of poverty and a man of peace". "How I would like a poor church for the poor" the 76-year-old said in between bursts of applause at a meeting with hundreds of journalists from around the world in the Vatican on Saturday. The special audience with journalists was billed as another sign of the greater openness that has characterised the new Pope's first days in office.










Australian Securities & Investments Commission reports record company closures, many blame carbon tax

Steve Lewis and Phil Jacob - The Daily Telegraph





The carbon tax is contributing to a record number of firms going to the wall with thousands of employees being laid off and companies forced to close factories that have stood for generations. Soaring energy bills caused by the Government's climate change scheme have been called the "straw that broke the camel's back" by company executives and corporate rescue doctors who are trying to save ailing firms. New data from the corporate regulator reveals insolvencies have hit a record high over the past 12 months, led by widespread failures in manufacturing and construction, which accounted for almost one-fifth of collapses.