Labor heavies back Faulkner on party reform

Matthew Franklin, Michael Owen – The Australian

JULIA Gillard faces escalating demands to deliver a fundamental shake-up of the Labor Party, with ALP figures lining up to demand it become more inclusive and less dominated by factions.

Their calls for a return to the grassroots followed a damning assessment of party culture by veteran NSW senator John Faulkner, who said on Thursday Labor would have no future unless it embraced a culture of inclusion and repudiated its factional powerbrokers.

Rampant untruths kill asylum debate

Peter van Onselen – The Australian

REFUGEE advocacy groups have a right to argue we should be less harsh on boat arrivals. Equally, other commentators have the right to argue boatpeople are queue jumpers and government policy should stop the boats, not find ways to grant them entry.

What neither side should be doing is peddling untruths or skirting over facts that don't suit their argument. Yet that is what has happened year after year. The result is a polarising debate.

A biological storm is brewing over the West's genderless future

Angela Shanahan – The Australian

A COUPLE of weeks ago we were treated to a strange and startling story on the front page of this newspaper. A couple in Ontario, Canada, decided to rear their child as "genderless".

Ironically, the unfortunate infant subject of this bizarre experiment has been given the name Storm. The parents' decision has not, in this country, been seriously discussed and is easily dismissed as the post-partum politically correct zeal of new parents.

Labor reform call rejected

Michelle Grattan – The Age

LABOR guru John Faulkner's wake-up call to his party has received a cold shoulder from senior powerbrokers, but strong backing from former PM Kevin Rudd.

The Right's Mark Arbib, the Minister for Sport, dismissed Senator Faulkner's allegation that Labor was in the thrall of focus groups as ''just rubbish'', while left-wing cabinet minister Kim Carr warned that the December ALP national conference should not be diverted by ''machinery'' matters.

More rioting as UN slams mandatory detention

Kirsty Needham – The Age

ANOTHER riot at Christmas Island, sparked by detainees receiving notice their claims had been rejected, has coincided with a UNHCR report finding mandatory detention did not work and led to psychological harm.

Two asylum seekers remained on the roof of Christmas Island's North West Point detention centre late yesterday, after a riot involving up to 100 people on Thursday night was quelled by federal police using bean-bag bullets and capsicum spray.

Same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy, says Jensen

Leesha McKenny – SMH

ALLOWING same-sex couples to marry could lead to the acceptance of polygamy and incest, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, has warned.

Writing in the church's newspaper, Southern Cross, Dr Jensen said the push for same-sex unions to be enshrined in the Marriage Act was not a drive for the extension of rights but the redefinition of ''one of the indispensable foundations of community''.