ACL in the news

Christians condemn performing arts and poker machine club link


Tony Moore - Brisbane Times



Prominent Christian lobbyist Wendy Francis has condemned the city's leaders for linking a $10 million new performing arts complex in Brisbane to a licensed club with poker machines. Ms Francis' criticism has also been backed by Tim Costello AO, the head of the Australian Churches GamblingTaskforce. "This announcement reveals the capture of the local government by the clubs' industry money," Mr Costello said.




Surf Coast Council prayer ban 'intolerant', 'disappointing', says ACL

John Robertson - Christian Today



After the Surf Coast Shire Council voted 8 to 1 on Tuesday night in favour of replacing the Christian prayer that traditionally opened Council meetings with a secular pledge, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) released an official response on Friday to address what it perceives as intolerance.




Bioethics

No love, no marriage, just the baby carriage


Michael Cook - BioEdge



You’ve heard of hook-up sites like match.com for people who just want sex, but not marriage and kids. But you may not have heard of sites like Modamily.com, PollenTree.com and Familybydesign.com for people who just want kids, but not marriage and sex.




Children & Family

There are rising levels of stress and self-harm among children


Natasha Bita - The Australian



Elizabeth Green has treated at least 25,000 children in her 16-year career but has never seen kids as highly strung as today’s generation. "I’m seeing a social shift. The child psychiatrists and pediatricians are increasingly seeing children who are just having meltdowns. We’re seeing children as young as four or five with generalised anxiety disorders."




Australian divorce rate lowest since 1976 when `no fault' splits introduced

Marc Moncrief - The Age



Next May, 39-year-old Jill Robertson will marry Craig Jerrom, 46, her partner of nine years. They are the archetype of the modern newlyweds: well into their 30s or beyond, they have "two mortgages, two cars and two kids". It's just that, up until now, they never got around to actually tying the knot.




Lord Sacks speech that brought Vatican conference to its feet

Austen Ivereigh - Catholic Voices



Among many speeches yesterday following Pope Francis’s address to the Humanum colloquium on complementarity, that of Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, was the standout, bringing the audience of 300 in the synod hall to their feet.




Classification

A giant pink condom and 'sexist' vans: ASB dismisses complaints


Rachael Micallef - Ad News



A giant pink condom in Sydney's Hyde Park and a Wicked camper van displaying the slogan “'She can't wrestle but you should see her box” are just two of the adverts which had complaints dismissed by the Advertising Standards Bureau.




Drugs & Alcohol

'Ice' problem top priority for federal drug panel


David Wroe - SMH



Rising alarm about abuse of the drug crystal methamphetamine or "ice" has prompted the Abbott government to order its chief drug advisers to make the problem their top priority.




Crime lords send drugs through mail in tiny packages to avoid detection

Herald Sun



Drug lords are mailing their packages in the post in bite-size quantities with alarming frequency, in a bid to outfox police. Authorities estimate that 94 per cent of intercepted cocaine packages and 86 per cent of intercepted methamphetamine imports enter Australia via parcel post.




Homelessness & Poverty

Canberrans accessing homelessness services at one of the highest rates in Australia: report


Megan Gorrey - Canberra Times



Canberrans affected by domestic violence and housing affordability woes are accessing homelessness services at one of the highest rates in Australia, a new report has shown. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released its third annual report into demand for specialist homelessness services on Monday. It showed about 254,000 Australians accessed homelessness services in 2013–14.




Indigenous

Indigenous groups band together to stop fracking on their land


Jane Bardon - ABC



Remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory are gearing up for a public relations battle with the oil and gas industry over fracking. Aboriginal communities opposed to hydraulic fracturing projects on their land have formed an alliance.




Overseas Aid

Oxfam Australia says foreign aid budget ‘being used as ATM’


Brendan Nicholson - The Australian



A leading aid agency has urged the government not to make expected cuts to the foreign aid budget in today’s Mid-Year Economic Forecast. The group fears the overall aid budget will be cut or that promised increases will be reduced.




MYEFO: Foreign aid slashed again, budget deficits to balloon in mid-year update

James Glenday - ABC



Treasurer Joe Hockey will slash foreign aid and reveal a massive blowout in this year's deficit when he hands down his mid-year budget update today.




Refugees

Locked in limbo: Australia's forgotten asylum seeker babies


Adam Morton - SMH



They are the forgotten babies – born in Australia, but ignored in the deal done to release asylum seekers into the community. Instead, they are sentenced to indefinite limbo in a camp overseas.




Religious Freedom & Persecution

Christians tortured and held prisoner in captured churches


Nicola Smith - The Sunday Times



Christian churches in northern Iraq are being used as prisons and torture chambers by Isis, terrified priests have claimed.




Other

Going to church without God


SMH



The Sunday Assembly is a gathering of atheists and agnostics, who meet once a month in a church-like setting, with songs and readings and "sermons".




Politics of mediocrity threatens Blake religious art prize

Michael Mullins - Eureka Street



Artists play an important role in deepening our cultural imagination in a way that helps us to see and understand how religion is returning as a social and cultural force to be reckoned with and celebrated.




Tolerance doesn’t mean apologising for Christianity

The Christian Institute



British society must not shy away from its own beliefs or traditions such as saying “Happy Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”, former Cabinet Minister Liam Fox has said. In an online video message, Dr Fox said Christmas is “a time of hope and renewal, a central part of our religious belief”. He explained that was why he wished everyone “a very happy and peaceful Christmas”, instead of “Happy Holidays”.