Founding fathers turn on urban Greens

The Australian

Two founding fathers of the Greens say the split between the old-school environmentalists and the new generation of ideologically driven urban activists now swelling the parliamentary ranks could destabilise the party and alienate voters. The man who gave up his seat in the Tasmanian parliament 29 years ago to launch Bob Brown's political career, Norm Sanders, said the Greens had "lost the plot" by shifting away from their core business of the environment. And Queenslander Drew Hutton, who co-founded the party in 1992 with Senator Brown, hit out at the "ludicrous" decision by the NSW division of the Greens to thumb its nose at federal policy and back an international trade boycott of Israel in the recent state election campaign.

Bob Brown’s Parliamentary Family

State to increase funds for Christian classes

The Age

The state government will boost funding to Christian education classes in schools in the budget, with Education Minister Martin Dixon ruling out changes to the controversial program. Mr Dixon said Christian education provider Access Ministries would receive an extra $200,000 a year from July 1 for training, administration and the supervision of volunteer instructors. While other courses, including Baha'i, Greek Orthodox and Islamic, are also accredited, Access Ministries runs 96 per cent of special religious instruction classes in Victoria.

Sex sells, especially when you shout

The Age

We don't mince our words when advertising it, but more delicacy is needed. I arrived back in Australia from London last month. Good to be back. The beer is as cold as I remember, the houses are big, the space plentiful. I've rediscovered a few things about the country that I had forgotten: the traffic's bad, the TV ads are shouty, the Harvey Norman jingle sounds like a group of terrified women escaping from an armed terrorist. But what stood out for me more than anything else was a bloody great big billboard that read - in big, unapologetic red letters - something like "HAVING TROUBLE GETTING AN ERECTION?" I nearly crashed the car. I've never seen anything remotely comparable in Britain. Or if I had, it probably said something like "Are you … well, you know … having trouble with, um … look, just call us."

The little group that could

The Age

In inner suburban Melbourne, a battle has played out involving that unholy trinity of faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but with some surprising twists. The Alma Road Community House, in East St Kilda, is a bog-standard neighbourhood centre that houses community groups, study courses and play groups. Its ilk can be found in most Australian suburbs, affording that little bit of social glue by providing a home for group activity. That is unless, of course, that activity is Islamic and then that community activity becomes, in the eyes of some, something more sinister.

Chaplains accused of pushing religion in schools


Some parents say they have evidence the federally-funded National School Chaplaincy program is being used to push religion to public school students. The controversy is now headed for the High Court, and there is also a Federal Government review and an ombudsman's investigation. In 2007 the Howard government introduced federal funding for chaplains to work in schools, with the proviso they were not to evangelise or proselytise.

Criminalisation harms sex workers


Sex work abolitionists claim that sex work is inherently harmful and argue that the criminalisation of sex workers’ clients is a way to reduce this alleged harm. The Canadian Courts recently heard these arguments from Janice Raymond and Melissa Farley (both American academics who have never done sex work) and dismissed their ‘evidence’ on the basis that they couldn’t substantiate their claims. The court found that the harms related to sex work were caused by criminalisation – not by sex work in and of itself. Sex work is not inherently harmful. Criminalisation is.

Why more and more women are using internet porn


Increasing numbers of women admit to being hooked on internet porn. Why is this happening, and where are they finding help? Tanith Carey reports. It was an ordinary weekday morning when Caroline first noticed how much pornography was taking over her life. With 15 minutes to go before she was due to leave for a job interview, she opened up her laptop to print off an extra copy of her CV and there, onscreen, was a grab she'd saved from "I remember the feeling of being sucked in, really wanting that two-minute fix, that numbness I got when I used porn," says Caroline. "I was stressed out, and I risked being late for my interview, but I pressed play anyway and fast-forwarded it to the bit I wanted. It took two minutes." But the relief was to be short-lived. "Afterwards I just hated myself for giving in and getting off on images that treated women like pieces of meat. But I kept going back."