Drive for 'equality' laws for South Australia's sex workers

David Nankervis - Sunday Mail (SA)
Prostitutes will be able to legally walk the streets soliciting business under a controversial proposal to decriminalise the South Australian sex industry. It is one of several sweeping changes to existing laws in a Private Members Bill to be presented to State Parliament early next year by Labor MP and sex worker crusader Steph Key. It will be the state's first attempt in a decade to decriminalise the world's oldest profession by offering MPs a conscience vote on the issue. But unlike with the 2001 Bill - supported by the House of Assembly but defeated in the Upper House - Ms Key is confident her Bill will get the numbers to bring SA into line with the eastern states, which have already decriminalised prostitution by varying degrees. A survey of leading MPs shows growing support for the controversial move.

Brown attacks Catholic Church election stance

Paul Austin - The Age
The Greens have taken on the Catholic Church, accusing the church hierarchy of trying to tell parishioners how to vote in this month's Victorian election and wanting to ''dictate'' to the terminally ill that they should suffer. Greens leader Bob Brown yesterday hit back at Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart, who said at the weekend that the church totally disagreed with the Greens on assisted suicide and that he could never vote for a pro-euthanasia party. Senator Brown said he did not think Archbishop Hart's intervention would have much impact because the Greens embraced Christian ethics and Catholic voters could think for themselves.

Lib candidate Mike Laker quits over race row

Milanda Rout - The Australian
The Liberal Party is scrambling to find a new candidate for a key country seat just days before the start of the Victorian election campaign after the original contender quit amid a race row. Mike Laker, who was running for the seat of Seymour, got busted by a Melbourne radio station spreading rumours the Victorian Labor government was going to house 50 Somali families at a new housing estate in the electorate and give them free cars, The Australian reports. In a uncomfortable interview a week ago, Mr Laker admitted to radio station MTR that he had been discussing "rumours" that the government was putting aside the homes in a new estate called Wallan Waters for Somali families, after initially denying any knowledge of it. A talkback caller alerted the station to the claims.

Darwin Pride for all

Daniel Bourchier - NT News
The rainbow flags and glitter are set to come out of storage as the Darwin Pride Festival is back after a year-long break. Dance parties, an outrageously wild lunch, a documentary screening, and forums on HIV/AIDS, law reform, and Christian sexuality are some of the events on the program. Organiser James Emery said the 10-day event is a celebration and a chance for everyone to come together.

'Protected' kids dying

Damien brown - The Mercury
Four children known to Tasmania's child protection services have died despite their families being noted by authorities. An alarming new report also found infants have been killed while sharing beds with a drunk or drug-affected parent. And a three-week-old baby girl, who died sharing a bed with an adult, had caffeine and the anti-depressant Prozac in her system. The revelations come just weeks after a damning report on a 12-year-old ward of the state, who was prostituted by her mother and a family friend, found systemic failure by government agencies was to blame for the girl falling through the cracks of the welfare system.

Greens hopeful ahead of Victorian elections

Reporter: Barrie Cassidy - ABC
Greens Leader Bob Brown joins Insiders to discuss the upcoming Victorian elections and the Catholic Church's warning against voting for the Greens.

BARRIE CASSIDY, PRESENTER: Senator Brown, good morning, welcome.
BOB BROWN, GREENS LEADER: Good morning Barrie.
BARRIE CASSIDY: There haven't been any leadership changes, resignations that you want to talk to us about?

Welfare groups warn upturn is shutting out the poor

Nicolas Perpitch - The Australian
Welfare groups warn the spike in homelessness experienced during Western Australia's last mining boom is likely to be eclipsed this time. That is because of soaring utility rates and more underemployed people.
They say waiting lists for financial and other assistance are growing, with St Vincent de Paul reporting a 50 per cent increase in requests for help with electricity bills in WA in the last financial year. The West is bracing for another massive round of mining growth, with Premier Colin Barnett estimating $50 billion-$60bn would be invested in the sector by 2015.

Lawyers express their contempt for tough new changes to bail laws

Joel Gibson - SMH
More people waiting for court hearings will be jailed, some for much longer, under proposed changes to bail laws, say most workers in the justice system. The proposals have been condemned by groups within the legal system because they would sideline the presumption of innocence and add to the record number of defendants on remand. The government argues the changes are designed to make the Bail Act clearer. But a collection of barristers, solicitors, academics, prosecutors, prison staff, civil libertarians, welfare advocates and teachers say the changes will bloat prison costs by adding to the 600-plus adults and juveniles who are locked up each year but later acquitted.

Outcry at Greens smear

Royce Millar and Rafael Epstein - The Age
State Labor has stepped up its campaign against the surging Greens, targeting the party's candidate for Melbourne, prominent barrister Brian Walters, and seeking to smear him as anti-Semitic and an unscrupulous lawyer. Senior Labor figures including former Victorian secretary Stephen Newnham have contacted influential members of the Jewish community seeking to generate a political backlash against the Greens, and Mr Walters in particular. The Age has obtained a dossier of documents used as part of the dirt campaign that focus on Mr Walters's representation of alleged Nazi war criminal Konrads Kalejs in the early 2000s.