Abbott rises in wake of budget


THE federal budget has done nothing to improve the government's standing while Tony Abbott has almost pulled alongside Julia Gillard as the preferred prime minister, eroding one of Labor's last advantages. And, for the first time, the Opposition Leader has a higher approval rating than the Prime Minister, whose rating has hit a personal low, according to the latest Herald/Nielsen poll. The poll shows that opinion was evenly split over the budget on Tuesday, meaning it is unlikely to provide the circuit-breaker Labor needs, while the plan to send asylum seekers to Malaysia has not gone down well with almost 60 per cent opposed.

The ACL: Why Do They Exist, Why Do We Listen, And Why Should We Care?

Mark Serrels, Kotaku

In the R18+ debate the Australian Christian Lobby has been the one major constant – always in opposition, always in the media, seemingly involved at the highest levels of Australian government. Considering their increasingly conservative message – in the wake of Jim Wallace’s controversial views voiced on twitter – we decided to take an in-depth look at the ACL themselves. Why do they exist? Why are they still relevant? And why should we care?

Coptic Christians slaughtered in Egypt as the world looks away

Micah Halpern, The Australian

TWELVE Christian were murdered in Egypt. Two hundred and thirty-two people wounded. The death toll will surely rise as victims succumb to their injuries. And that's just in the past few days. In the same time period, more Christians were killed in Egypt at the hands of Muslims than people killed in Syria or in Libya as a result of protests, riots and resistance.  Two churches in Cairo were burned in recent days. Over the past few months church property has being gutted, vandalised and violated with graffiti. Churches have been blown up. An entire community - the Christian community in the new Egypt - is under attack. And the world remains relatively silent. There has been no significant religious outcry, political redress or diplomatic pressure to stop the attacks. There has been almost no media coverage as Egypt's Muslims systematically, over the past few months, set about massacring Egypt's Christians.

All cultures and religions are not created equal

Kevin Donnelly, The Drum 

When it comes to religion in state schools, it’s clear that the Australian Education Union is violently opposed and that the union sees no place for groups like the Christian based Access Ministries. Following last week’s controversy, where it appeared that the CEO of Access Ministries, Evonne Paddison, advocated using the opportunity given by the Chaplains in Schools program to convert children to Christianity, the AEU has reaffirmed its belief that public education must be “free and secular”. The union also argues that such an education “should never be open to sectarian interests of any sort, religious or otherwise”.

Hep-C cluster sparks concern

The Age

VICTORIA'S health department has identified a cluster of 37 HIV-positive gay men infected with hepatitis C, prompting concerns the virus is being transmitted through sexual practices. The men were diagnosed with hepatitis C over the past year and doctors suspected it was sexually transmitted in at least 19 of the 37 cases. Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that can be spread by sharing drug-injecting equipment such as needles, through needlestick injuries in healthcare settings, or from blood transfusions before 1990 that may not have been screened for the virus.