Gillard bid to win back Christians

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has agreed to be interviewed by the Australian Christian Lobby today in an attempt to recover ground with churchgoers.  In June, videos of then-prime minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott being asked eight questions were posted on the group's website, three days before Mr Rudd was toppled.  This afternoon Ms Gillard will answer the same eight questions, put by ACL director Jim Wallace, and the video will be posted on the group's website,, which was launched yesterday.

Gillard to talk to churches

Questions of faith are set to emerge from the shadows and enter the spotlight of the federal election campaign.  Prime Minister Julia Gillard has accepted an invitation to address the influential Australian Christian Lobby on Friday, after attending a Mary MacKillop fundraiser on Thursday night.  The issue of religion has shadowed the nation's top political leaders throughout the campaign because of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's staunch Catholicism and Ms Gillard's atheism.

Political parties address internet filter concerns

ACL identifies parties’ positions on mandatory and voluntary filtering.   Eight political parties hopeful of gaining seats in Election 2010 have responded to a survey by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) that canvassed policy positions on ACMA content classification and ISP-level filtering.  The parties to respond included Australian Labor Party (ALP), the Liberal-National Coalition and a number of minor parties.  Parties took a range of positions on the incumbent Labor Government's mandatory filtering proposal - with some opposed, some supportive, and others proposing voluntary filtering measures.

Greens laugh off anti-faith label

The Greens have dismissed claims by a Christian lobby group that they are anti-religion.  The Australian Christian Lobby's election website came online today and consists of a comparison of answers to a series of questions put to political parties.  ACL managing director Jim Wallace says the questions are designed to reflect issues specifically important to Christian voters in the federal election.  "Everybody in this election is voting from some world view, some prism they look through to actually decide their values and who they vote for," he told Radio National Breakfast.

It seems the real Julia needs the Christian lobby

Speaking to reporters in Brisbane earlier this week, Tony Abbott remarked that Julia Gillard's campaign is "in trouble, it is in deep trouble." It is hard to argue with Abbott's assessment. Her campaign has gone from shambolic last week to outright manic this week, as the Prime Minister tries desperately to stop her hemorrhaging numbers.   This week has been marked by a series of stunning reversals, which have been presented to the electorate as a kind of greater authenticity on the part of the Prime Minister.

Liberals would scrap Labor's net filter

THE Coalition will not support the government's internet filter, opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said yesterday.  Mr Hockey said that if elected, the Coalition would scrap Labor's plans, and they would vote against the "flawed" filter policy if they were in opposition.  "We believe the internet filter would not work," Mr Hockey told ABC Radio's Triple J.  "We believe it's flawed policy. It's not going to capture a whole lot of images and chatter that we all find offence (sic) that is going through email," he said.

Coalition to dump flawed internet filter

The Coalition has announced it will scrap controversial plans for an internet filter if it wins the August 21 election.  Federal Labor's controversial plan to filter the internet could be dead in the water after the Coalition announced it opposed the policy.  Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said on Thursday a Coalition government would abandon Labor's "flawed" filter policy.   Instead, a Tony Abbott-led government would encourage parents to take more responsibility for monitoring their children's use of the web.

Pariah to messiah: Kevin Rudd's back

JULIA Gillard has been forced to turn to dumped predecessor Kevin Rudd to revive her flagging re-election campaign.    Mr Rudd's presence could also prevent an electoral rout in his home state of Queensland.  And the Prime Minister has moved to shore up her troubled campaign by importing British political strategist Alan Milburn to advise her on campaign tactics.   Mr Milburn was a central figure in Mr Rudd's successful 2007 election campaign and has been travelling with the Gillard team since arriving early this week.

Coalition MPs prepare revolt on paid parental leave plan

SEVERAL Coalition MPs say they will fight to water down Tony Abbott's generous paid parental leave scheme if they win government.   The MPs, including one Liberal frontbencher, believe the scheme is excessive and discriminates against stay-at-home mothers. Nationals MP Darren Chester told The Australian his support for the scheme would be contingent on it being altered to offer stay-at-home mothers extra assistance.

John Howard's back . . . and it's gloves off

JOHN Howard last night became the second former prime minister in less than six hours to storm on to the election stage.  And he came out ridiculing Labor's claim to have saved Australia from the global financial crisis and attacking Julia Gillard's disregard for national security.  Mr Howard joined Tony Abbott at a party fundraiser in Sydney, at which the pair tapped the Chinese community for money to fill the Coalition's election coffers.

First atheist Gillard lauds Mary MacKillop

AUSTRALIA'S first atheist last night celebrated the achievement of Australia's first saint.   Julia Gillard told an audience at Sydney Town Hall that Mary MacKillop embodied "the spirit of Australian egalitarianism."  "We do not find even the faintest spirit of sectarianism in her relationship with those of other faiths or of no faith," the Prime Minister told a dinner held to raise funds for the celebration of MacKillop's canonisation on October 17.

Free condom plan pupils as young as 12

STUDENTS as young as 12 would get free condoms at high schools in a radical plan to reduce teenage pregnancies.  Family Planning Victoria wants condoms made available for years 10-12 - and to younger students in special circumstances.  The taxpayer-financed group said they should be kept in student common rooms, or distributed by machines.

Coalition to restore net filter option

The Coalition will promise to reintroduce the Howard government's optional free internet filter for family computers as an immediate replacement for Labor's controversial - and long-delayed - mandatory filter for internet service providers.  The shadow treasurer, Joe Hockey, let slip the imminent announcement yesterday, saying the Coalition would not support the internet filter ''because we believe it's flawed policy''.

Police raid pro-euthanasia office

DETECTIVES raided Exit International's Melbourne offices yesterday, sparking outrage from the pro-euthanasia group.  Police served a search warrant at the Exit International offices at Doncaster in relation to the death of a South Yarra woman on May 8.  Exit International director Philip Nitschke said the raid was uncalled for and the voluntary euthanasia group would have given police any documents they required.