The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today urged Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett to honour his pre-election commitment to examine the Swedish approach to prostitution reform. At ACL’s pre-election ‘Make It Count Tasmania’ event in Hobart on February 15, Mr Bartlett told the forum a re-elected Labor Government, ‘would commit to look very carefully at legislation like the Swedish model’. ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said it was pleasing the Tasmanian Government was committed to a thorough review of the state’s legislative response to prostitution, and urged it to seize the opportunity to look beyond the failed approach of regulated prostitution in the mainland States.
Kevin Rudd dealt with the hurt of being dumped as prime minister by reminding himself that political life was about more than "sliding up and down the greasy pole for the sake of it". In his first exclusive interview since the August 21 election, Mr Rudd said all of his efforts in the coming term of Parliament would be directed towards his job as foreign affairs minister. The burden of losing the top job in June was plain to see as Mr Rudd sat in a row of ministers at Government House last month during the swearing-in of the Gillard Government.
Two asylum boats, one towing the other, have been stopped north of Christmas Island in a hectic 24 hours for border protection. In a sign that smuggling activity is beginning to pick up in the wake of the decision last week to lift the freeze of new Afghan asylum claims, authorities intercepted three boats carrying a total of 135 people. Yesterday's boats were carrying 74 passengers and three crew. The third boat, intercepted Thursday, held 56 passengers and two crew. The boats bring this year's number of asylum-seeker vessels to 103.
The federal government has commenced the rollout of child protection income management across the Northern Territory. Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin announced yesterday the Territory's child protection department, NT Families and Children, would pass on to Centrelink the details of parents suspected of neglecting their children. Under the measure -- introduced 18 months ago in suburban Perth and across the Kimberley -- 70 per cent of welfare recipients' income is set aside to be spent on the necessities of life such as food and clothing.
Bob McMullan has been appointed a special envoy in an attempt to boost Australia's campaign to win a seat at the UN Security Council. The former trade minister and Kevin Rudd loyalist has been appointed as special envoy for Africa and career diplomat Bill Fisher has been appointed as special envoy for Francophone countries. Under revised ministerial responsibilities announced by Julia Gillard, Mr Rudd, the Foreign Minister, will have exclusive responsibility for the aid budget. Aid to Africa is expected to play an important role in attempting to win votes for Australia's Security Council campaign.
The cliche "be careful what you wish for lest it come true" must occasionally cross the mind of Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim. Back in April, in the wake of the March 20 election that resulted in a hung parliament, McKim struck a hard bargain for his party's support for Labor. It included a demand for two cabinet posts that appeared to almost sink the power-sharing deal with Labor before it began. Labor leader David Bartlett initially refused to budge from his offer of one ministry, then relented in a compromise that made McKim a minister and fellow Green Cassy O'Connor a cabinet secretary. Almost six months on, some of the responsibilities McKim bargained for are looking more like poisoned chalices.
Gillard's alliance with the minority party was ill-advised and could prove fatal. JULIA Gillard's success in cobbling together a slim majority has distracted attention from Labor's biggest problem. The ALP is being cannibalised to the point where it may not have a future as a governing party in its own right. It hasn't maintained anything like its normal percentage of the 18 to 34-year-old voters, especially in inner-city electorates. According to Newspoll, 50 per cent of them intended to give their primary vote to Labor during the period from July to September 2008, but it fell to 35 per cent during the month of August this year.
A new national alliance has formed to campaign for legislative change permitting medically assisted dying. YourLastRight.com was launched this Wednesday in Melbourne at the World Federation of Right to Die Societies biennial global conference. The new organisation follows on the heels of Greens leader Bob Brown's plan to introduce a bill into parliament restoring the rights of the Northern Territory and ACT to legislate on euthanasia.
Its defenders claim it provides an innocent trip to fantasy land but pornography is having a profound effect on society. Over the years I have come to understand how and why my lectures to students on pornography stir up extreme emotions in men. What I do in my presentations is take the very images that users have viewed privately and with pleasure, and I project them on to a screen in a public forum.
A major welfare group has called on the NSW government to decriminalise abortion to ensure women and doctors can't be prosecuted. Alison Peter, director of the NSW Council of Social Service, is urging the state to follow the lead of the ACT and Victoria and remove abortion from the Crimes Act. The Act states that anyone who unlawfully commits an act with the intention of procuring a miscarriage is liable to 10 years imprisonment.
The career of the state MP Angela D'Amore is on the line after a week-long public hearing of the Independent Commission Against Corruption where the commissioner, Justice David Ipp, questioned her evidence of false claim forms submitted for staff remuneration. Yesterday he said he could not understand how two people Ms D'Amore engaged, Karen Harbilas and Agatha La Manna, had both falsely written the name of another staff member, David Nicoletti, on their forms.
NSW has today lost yet another former minister - but this time he didn’t get caught with his pants down or his hand in the cookie jar. Phil Koperberg, the former NSW rural fire commissioner who was drafted into the ALP at the last state election, said he just can’t take the factional infighting anymore and was surprised how hard it was to get anything done in government. “I might be naive but I’m not stupid,” Koperberg said, as he announced he wouldn’t contest the next poll in March 2011.
The destruction of recreational fishing spots and the closure of 20,000 poker machines could be key policies if the Green Party holds the balance of power in the state. Should the Greens become kingmakers - a strong possibility according to the latest Herald Sun/Galaxy Poll - a wave of anti-farming and anti-rural moves could ensue, horrifying their potential coalition partners, the Nationals. An unholy three-way alliance between them, the Liberals and the Greens is possible.
The Greens could win the state seats of Melbourne and Richmond from Labor if they can repeat their federal vote at the November 27 state election, analysis by The Age reveals. But on federal voting trends, the Greens would fall just short of taking two other inner-suburban seats - Brunswick and Northcote. A new Galaxy poll reports Labor's two-party lead over the Coalition shrinking to a 51-49 margin. If that is correct, Victoria is headed for a cliffhanger election, with a strong chance that the state will end up with a hung parliament.
Scientists have developed a way to pick the healthiest IVF embryo - and potentially identify the baby's gender. SA fertility clinic Repromed has been working with the University of Melbourne, and their results will be released at the Fertility Society of Australia conference in Adelaide next week. The scientists studied the glucose levels in the solution embryos are kept in, and found the more glucose the embryo had absorbed, the healthier it was.
Members of the U.N. Security Council Thursday wrapped up their visit to southern Sudan, underscoring support for the January referendum vote that could lead to the region's independence. According to a Security Council diplomat, the 15 members are making the trip at a critical juncture. U.S. President Barack Obama recently implored Sudanese officials to fully implement a 2005 peace agreement and move forward with the referendum. He called the stakes "enormous."
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