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.



 



Children & Family

Parenting support axed when child turns 8

AAP

Single, unemployed parents will be given a nudge back into the workforce when parenting support payments are cut back in next week's federal budget.

The Gillard government is expected to reap savings of $700 million by axing support payments to parents who aren't working when their youngest child turns eight, News Ltd reports.

Under a 2006 arrangement, single mothers receive $648.50 a fortnight until their youngest child turns 16.



Stay-at-home parents in work squeeze

Steven Scott, Phillip Hudson - The Courier-Mail

STAY-at-home parents will be forced to look for work soon after their youngest child goes to school as part of a new crackdown on welfare.

And tens of thousands of families, pensioners, single parents and carers will have their welfare payments slashed if they travel overseas for more than six weeks as the Government tightens the screws on benefits.

About 100,000 people who don't work will be kicked off parenting payments and forced to actively look for a job as early as when their child turns six.



WA govt denies kids at risk

Ninemsn

The West Australian government has rejected claims that vulnerable children will be more at risk when the Department for Child Protection's budget is trimmed.

Treasurer Christian Porter last month announced plans to cut spending in state government departments by five per cent over four years to save more than $1 billion.



Spike in child protection cases

ABC

The State Opposition is concerned about a spike in the number of child protection cases, just weeks after the Government announced its two per cent efficiency cuts to all departments.

WA Labor leader Mark McGowan says there are 883 child protection cases that are still to be allocated a case worker compared to 799 at the same time last year.

Mr McGowan is calling on the Government to make sure that no case workers will be lost as a result of the efficiency measures.



Changes recommended to juvenile crime recording

ABC

The Law Reform Commission has recommended changes to the registering and reporting of juveniles charged with child sex offences in Western Australia.

The Commission has found laws which require children convicted of such crimes to be placed on a state register are too strict when it comes to low risk offenders.



Gambling

Anti-gambling laws on parliament program

AAP

The federal government will push ahead with its plan to introduce and pass its laws to tackle problem gambling in the winter session of parliament to start next Tuesday.

That is despite not having the crucial vote of independent MP Andrew Wilkie, whose written agreement with Labor for mandatory pre-commitment technology was torn up in January.

The pokies draft laws have been included in the official winter sittings program released on Thursday.



Health

Man dead after not paying new hospital charge

ABC

A man who went to a country hospital with stomach pains last weekend is now dead.

He chose not to pay hundreds of dollars for a non-emergency bed at Keith Hospital in the upper south-east of South Australia and planned to drive on more than half an hour to Bordertown Hospital, where free public system treatment would be available.

But the man then collapsed in the Keith Hospital car park, was reassessed as an emergency case and then flown to Adelaide's Flinders Medical Centre, where he died.



Health disaster confronting Aboriginal children

ABC

The head of a Western Australian hearing centre says the prevalence of middle ear disease in Aboriginal children has reached crisis point.

Research from the Telethon Speech and Hearing Centre shows more than 50 per cent of Aboriginal children under the age of 12 tested in Perth cannot pass a simple hearing test.



Homelessness

I once was lost but now I’m found, thanks to Vinnies

Constance - The Punch

Each night in Australia 105,000 people are homeless, including 7,500 families. Each June leading Australian CEOs and business leaders sleep rough for one night in support of the Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

Contrary to common perceptions about homelessness, 44 per cent of homeless people are women, many of these accompanied by children. It is a shocking fact that more than 12,000 Australian children under the age of 12 are experiencing some form of homelessness. A further 22,000 young people aged 12 to 18 are homeless, most of them estranged from their families. That’s more than 34,000 kids without a place they can call home.



Human Rights

Blind Chinese dissident pleads for refuge in US

Stephen McDonell - ABC

Chen Guangcheng, the blind dissident at the centre of a diplomatic storm between Beijing and Washington, has told the ABC he now fears for his safety and wants to leave China.

It took many attempts to get through to Mr Chen at his hospital bed, with the phone mysteriously dropping out every time he answered, but finally he spoke to the ABC.

He says he fears for his safety and is calling on the US government to get him out of China.



Marriage

Retired judge speaks up for gay marriage

Josephine Tovey - SMH

MICHAEL KIRBY once wore robes that signified his position as a justice of the highest court in the country.

But yesterday, the retired judge appeared before a Senate inquiry, in his own clothes, to explain that as a homosexual man who was unable to marry his partner, he remained a ''second-class citizen''.



Kennett calls for respect for gays

Carolyn Webb – The Age

SOME people view gay marriage as a strange concept.

But gay community station JOY 94.9's David McCarthy in simulcast with 3AW's conservative Neil Mitchell made a very odd couple indeed.

The observation was made by lord mayor Robert Doyle during the landmark but rain-soaked broadcast from the City Square yesterday. ''We talk about marriage equality, what about 3AW and Joy? How funny is that?'' he said.

A program guest, former premier and now beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett - who has come under criticism in the past for his views on homosexuality - added further novelty by emphatically supporting same-sex marriage.



Eclipsing the religious right

Rodney Croome - Online Opinion



Historians will look back at this year’s two parliamentary inquiries into marriage equality as the beginning of the end of the religious right's disproportionate influence on Australian politics.

On April 13th the Senate marriage equality inquiry announced it had received 75,000 submissions with 44,000 or almost 60% in favour.



 



Politics

Defence projects scrapped to save billions

Sabra Lane, staff - ABC

The Federal Government is scrapping or delaying major Defence projects, including the Joint Strike Fighter, in a drive to save billions of dollars over the budget's forward estimates

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the rethink today as she revealed that the next Defence Force White Paper, originally due in 2014, was being brought forward by a year.



Overseas travellers will lose welfare payments

Phillip Hudson - The Daily Telegraph

WELFARE payments to tens of thousands of families, pensioners, single parents and carers will be slashed if they travel overseas for more than six weeks as part of a federal budget crackdown.

People receiving Family Tax Benefit A & B and the disability support pension are among those being squeezed by the razor gang to deliver a surplus.

Ministers decided people receiving welfare should not have an overseas trip subsidised by taxpayers.

The new rules will apply from January 1 and will reap tens of millions of dollars.



Cost of living delusion runs deep at the political level

Bernard Keane - Crikey

While some in the media insist on pandering to Australians’ vast #firstworldproblems conviction that the cost of living is relentlessly rising, it was good to see the new report from the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling yesterday about disposable income receiving significant coverage.

The NATSEM report showed that Australians’ incomes have significantly outstripped prices since 1984, with disposable incomes rising on average 20% ahead of inflation over the period. The report also showed that the gains were spread across all incomes groups, although the highest income groups had benefited more in the last decade compared to earlier.



UK Conservatives fear mid-term bruising

Danny Kemp - Ninemsn

Britons voted in local elections on Thursday with London mayor Boris Johnson set to stay in office in an Olympic year but the country's governing coalition expected to take a mid-term battering.

Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron's two-year-old coalition with the Liberal Democrats has become increasingly unpopular due to a double-dip recession, austerity and a series of blunders.



Religious Freedom & Persecution

Newspaper apologises to Xenophon

AAP

A Malaysian newspaper that wrongly said South Australian independent senator Nick Xenophon had made an anti-Islamic speech has apologised to him.

Senator Xenophon said he was "gobsmacked" by a story published in the New Straits Times on Wednesday questioning his impartiality as an observer of a demonstration in Kuala Lumpur at the weekend.

The story published a quote from a 2009 speech the senator made to parliament condemning Scientology, but substituted "Islam" where he referenced the controversial religion.



Refugees

Govt defends asylum seeker homestay plan

Adam Gartrell - AAP

The federal government has defended a new policy that will see everyday Australians paid to take asylum seekers into their homes but the opposition says it's a dangerous plan.

Under the Community Placement Network program, families will be eligible for a small stipend to provide short-term homestay accommodation to asylum seekers moving out of detention on bridging visas.



Hosting asylum seekers isn't a money spinner

Caz Coleman – ABC The Drum

Opposition immigration spokesperson Scott Morrison has claimed that hosting asylum seekers in a private home is a desperate move by the Government to facilitate supplementing a family income in difficult times.



Other

Australia can be food superpower: PM

AAP

Australia has the potential to become a regional food superpower, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says.

Ms Gillard said in an address to the Global Foundation in Melbourne that Australia could provide growing Asian economies with high-quality food, just as it had done with minerals and energy in recent times.

"In doing this, we are not just an exporter of commodities but a partner in growing international markets and a provider of higher value products and services for the global food industry," she said.



James Hardie directors breached duties: court

ABC

The High Court has ruled that seven former James Hardie non-executive directors breached corporate law by making a misleading statement about the company's asbestos compensation fund.

In a major victory for the corporate regulator, the High Court upheld a landmark 2009 New South Wales court decision that the former board members, including high-profile former chairwoman Meredith Hellicar, breached their duties as company directors when they approved a misleading announcement to the stock exchange in 2001.



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