Same-sex no-show at Labor Party conference 'no big deal' says PM

Matthew Franklin by The Australian

Julia Gillard has played down the fact that the conference of Labor's Victorian branch was unable to raise a quorum to debate same-sex marriage. But amid claims the party's Right factions colluded to stymie the debate, the Prime Minister has also said she expects an open discussion on marriage rights at Labor's national conference in Sydney in December. Her comments came yesterday as senior NSW Labor Left figure Doug Cameron likened the ban on same-sex marriage to "apartheid", and as the Greens expressed disappointment about the weekend Labor conference.

School funding debate is rich-bashing

Amanda Vanstone - SMH

Some people say the government should not put any funding towards private schools. This is just claptrap. The view is put forward by people who never have to bear the burden of responsibility that comes with seeing their ideas actually being implemented. No care, no responsibility. Dame Margaret Guilfoyle once said: ''Experience teaches, responsibility educates.'' Anyone who has ever taken the responsibility for anything, and especially raising a child, knows how right she is.

Presbyterian wants Sharia law banned in South Australia

Miles Kemp - Adelaide Now

The Presbyterian church has called for Sharia law to be rejected in South Australia. SA-based convenor of the Presbyterian church and nation committee the reverend Stefan Slucki said some of the most brutal aspects of Sharia law were being used in Muslim communities and should not be allowed to gain a foothold. He said in the most extreme cases Islamic leaders had threatened to have Sharia law take over Australian law. "We have no problems with things like halal food and those practices but the main problems with Sharia are the subjugation of women, the wearing of total coverings for women, the repression of women in terms of Christian principles," Mr Slucki said.

Crackdown on boozy mums

Amy Dale - The Daily Telegraph

Random breath tests may be introduced near schools after a spike in drunken mothers being busted with their children in the car. In an alarming trend that traffic police have labelled "doubly irresponsible", cases of mums caught over the legal alcohol limit while carrying up to five children in the car are on the rise. There have been at least five mothers caught drink-driving with their kids so far this year, as well as one heavily pregnant woman and a father.

Grizzling Greens want power without scrutiny

David Penberthy - The Punch

It has come to the attention of the Australian Greens and their supporters that members of the media have been questioning politicians about how policies such as the carbon tax will affect people’s lives. To its shame, even the ABC has succumbed to this disturbing trend. A petition has been organised by activists on the GetUp! website urging the national broadcaster to pull 7.30 Report anchor Chris Uhlmann into line. In an interview last week Uhlmann had the temerity to ask Greens Leader Bob Brown whether he still believed Australia should phase out the coal industry. When Brown suggested that this was a wicked misrepresentation of his position by those of us in what he calls the “Murdoch hate media”, Uhlmann helpfully reminded the Greens Leader that it was actually a direct statement by Brown himself in an opinion piece he authored just four years ago.

What the world owes to the Protestant Bible

Brian Holden - On Line Opinion

You are now looking at a computer monitor screen. You could not be doing this if exceptionally clever people had not invented devices for manipulating electrons and if an exceptionally courageous monk had not nailed his ‘Theses of Contention’ on his church door in 1517. The translation of the Latin Bible into local languages, together with the invention of the printing press, which allowed the local version to be in the hands of ordinary people, was the most far-reaching combination of two events in world history. I emphasise ‘world’ because all races and creeds have since benefited from the flow-on of the science and technology that emerged in Europe after the intellectual shackles imposed by Rome had been thrown off.

Religion may affect brain changes

Leesha Mckenny - SMH

Faith can open your mind but it can also cause your brain to shrink at a different rate, research suggests. Researchers at Duke University Medical Centre in the US claim to have discovered a correlation between religious practices and changes in the brains of older adults. The study, published in the open-access science journal, Public Library of Science ONE, asked 268 people aged 58 to 84 about their religious group, spiritual practices and life-changing religious experiences. Changes in the volume of their hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with learning and memory, were tracked using MRI scans, over two to eight years.

Victorians stocking up on death drug used by vets via web

Herald Sun

More than 100 Victorians have the deadly drug Nembutal on standby, according to euthanasia advocates, as new figures reveal almost 50 attempts to smuggle doses into the country in the past two years. Exit International founder Dr Philip Nitschke said Victorians had increasingly opted to buy the lethal veterinary barbiturate over the internet from Mexico or Asia over the past three years, rather than travelling overseas to bring it back. "Along the border cities like Tijuana there is a lot of violence with the drug wars and people found it increasingly worrying to go to these areas," he said.

UK Family doctor accused of harassment - for speaking about God to a patient

Daily Mail

A family doctor fears losing his job after being accused of harassment - for talking to a patient about God. Dr Richard Scott, 50, has been told by the General Medical Council he brought his profession into dispute after discussing God with a patient. The Cambridge educated GP, who is a committed Christian, told the Sunday Telegraph the GMC had acted 'disgracefully' in reprimanding him and has taken legal action against the formal warning.