Girl, 14, sold for sex while in Victorian state care

An investigation has been launched into claims a 14-year-old girl was put out to prostitution by a 15-year-old while both were in state care. The shocking revelations come a day after reports that a 12-year-old in state care had fallen pregnant. In the latest incident, sources have told the Herald Sun the prostitution claims were well known to some staff at the out-of-home residential centre in Victoria, but they failed to act.

Opposing gay marriage doesn't mean I'm barking

The Australian

I'm in love with Jamie and Hamish, before that it was Fergus and Dougal. Now that I've got that off my chest I sense an enormous feeling of relief. No more regrets. No more hiding my preferences. Everyone knows now. I can relax. Despite that, I don't plan to marry any of them, primarily because I don't like nails down my back during the night even if they are those of a border collie. Which brings us into the topic du jour: gay marriage. When I first saw it mentioned about 20 years ago I nearly had a conniption. What a wonderful sense of humour these boys and gels have. Then I realised they were serious. My amazement was exceeded only when I saw recent polls sponsored by the gay movement to show the majority of Australians actually support marriage between same-sex couples. My, how things have changed.

Gay soldiers blast 'savage' online hate campaign

The Age

Gay hate Facebook pages set up by Australian Defence Force members are a ''savage and vicious'' attack on members and could discourage people from enlisting, according to the ADF's gay support group. The comments were in response to revelations in The Age that the ADF has failed to fully investigate or punish dozens of serving members linked to an online campaign that publicly named and vilified homosexual personnel. The Defence Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Information Service said the online hate messages were a malicious attack on men and women selflessly serving their country at home and overseas.

Gay haters target commando regiment

The Age

An anti-gay social media campaign linked to Australian Defence Force members has targeted the elite special forces 2nd Commando Regiment. A series of videos posted on YouTube contains footage and images of the regiment spliced with offensive content, including gay pornography and homophobic messages in Latin. The 2nd Commando Regiment, and its predecessor, the 4RAR Commando, have been in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. Those responsible for the YouTube footage are believed to be linked to a group called the Steve Austin Alliance, which the Herald reported yesterday had established a Facebook page last August that attacked five Defence Force personnel over their ''filthy lifestyle decision''.

Julia Gillard declares war on the idle

The Australian

Julia Gillard has declared war on idleness, revealing she will use the May 10 budget to press Australians to "pull their weight" and not give in to welfare dependency and economic exclusion. The Prime Minister last night vowed to use the prosperity of the mining boom to fund programs to boost workforce participation, arguing that many people on disability and other pensions should be working. She said taxpayers should not have to fund welfare for people capable of supporting themselves, and that she would offer training opportunities as part of a push to "entrench a new culture of work".

Abortion: The conversation we need to have


Sigh. Somebody give me a martini and a room full of drunken celebrities and then we’ll see whose ‘private’ lifestyle choices are actually worth reporting. Such as: Which A-List Hollywood superstars have had an abortion? Now that would be a story that counted for something. Right? Latest figures that show one in about 50 American women of childbearing age have ended a pregnancy. The same study found the west and northeast of the country topped the rate scale.

Damages for bullied Catholic student


A Sydney school will have to pay damages to a former student after the Supreme Court found it had failed to address continuing bullying which targeted the girl. Jazmine Oyston sued her old school, St Patrick's College at Campbelltown, for negligence, claiming she suffered psychiatric injury after being taunted and abused by other students. It began in 2002 when she was in year 7 and continued until 2005, when her parents withdrew her from the all-girls' Catholic college.

Terry Pratchett on life and death

Sir Terry Pratchett is best known for his famous fantasy books. In 2007 the author was diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimers. He spoke to Leigh Sales about death and his support for Euthanasia.
LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Sir Terry Pratchett's one of the most successful novelists in the world; in fact, he was the best-selling writer in the United Kingdom until J.K. Rowling came along with Harry Potter.

Four years ago, Sir Terry was diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's and he's since become a passionate advocate of euthanasia.

Marrickville ratepayers' $3.7m bill for Israel boycott

A Move by a Greens-controlled council in Sydney's inner west to boycott goods and services from Israel will cost ratepayers at least $3.7 million and force the council to abandon Holden cars and Hewlett Packard computers, among many other disruptions. The stark warning on the cost of the council's decision to support the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign earlier this year is contained in a paper by the council's manager of services, Gary Moore, which is due for discussion next week and has been obtained by The Australian. Marrickville, the only council in Australia that has approved an Israel boycott, has been a hotbed of political controversy since its Greens Mayor Fiona Byrne said she would push for a statewide version of the Israel boycott if elected to the NSW lower house at last month's election.

More offensive than 'sex with a horse': Larissa Behrendt's Twitter slur against black leader

The Australian

High-profile indigenous lawyer Larissa Behrendt is under fire after using her Twitter account to describe watching bestiality on television as "less offensive than Bess Price", an Aboriginal woman in favour of the radical Northern Territory intervention. Professor Behrendt made the comments after watching Ms Price on the ABC's Q&A program on Monday night. Writing in response to comments from Rhianna Patrick, a presenter of ABC local radio indigenous program Speaking Out, she tweeted: "I watched a show where a guy had sex with a horse and I'm sure it was less offensive than Bess Price."

Editor flays Pell in Catholic war of words

The Australian

The editor of the priests' magazine The Swag has slammed Cardinal George Pell for mounting a poor argument in his criticism of theological extremism. Sydney priest Peter Maher was speaking as the latest edition of his magazine published another stinging piece by Melbourne priest Eric Hodgens. In the magazine, run by the National Council of Priests, Father Hodgens complains that World Youth Day "feeds the personality cult of the Pope to the detriment of the local church and . . . has not reversed the flow of youth from the church".

We need to talk about the ‘alien’ burqa

The Punch

In light of laws which have recently come into effect France banning the wearing of the niqab and burqa, and WA Minister for Women’s Interests Robyn McSweeney’s recent comments that she finds the burqa to be ‘a very oppressive garment’, Senator Michaelia Cash, opposition spokesperson for the Status of Women, outlines her thoughts on the veiled women in Australia. Much has been made of the debate over whether women living in Australia should wear a burqa. As a Liberal, I believe in a free, fair, open and democratic society where people have the right to make their own choices about the way they live their lives.