No vote as bid for Euthanasia legislation fails

Sarah Martin - AdelaideNow
A push for voluntary euthanasia failed in the SA Upper House last night, but proponents say the legislation will be back on the agenda next year. A Bill sponsored by Greens MLC Mark Parnell and Labor backbencher Steph Key was not voted on last night as it became clear the legislation would not get the support required to pass. Mr Parnell said he was disappointed the Bill had been defeated "on the voices", but said it could return to the Upper House next year if adequately amended in the Lower House. "A number of members have expressed their support for the concept but for a variety of reasons they are not able to support this Bill tonight," he said.

Beaches parents embrace ethics classes for their kids

Susanna Freymark and Kelly Robinson - Manly Daily
Northern beaches parents have welcomed the introduction of ethics classes for primary school students, saying it gives them additional choices when deciding on their children’s education. From next year, students will have a choice between scripture classes or ethics lessons, the State Government announced on Tuesday. Starting in term one, the ethics lessons will be offered first to years 5 and 6, and then rolled out to all years, including kindergarten.

ACL joins Barnett’s call to support traditional marriage

Australian Conservative
The Australian Christian Lobby today joined calls for members of communities, churches and families to express their support for marriage as being between a man and a woman. Speaking in Parliament last night, Tasmanian Liberal Senator Guy Barnett threw out a “clarion call” for communities across the nation to let their local MPs know of their support for marriage and the belief that it “deserves respect and protection”. His call for action followed on from last week’s passing of a Greens’ motion for MPs to seek constituents’ views on same-sex marriage.

Another euthanasia bill rejected in SA

Another attempt to legalise voluntary euthanasia in South Australia has been rejected by State Parliament's Upper House. There were several hours of debate in the Legislative Council but the private member's bill was lost on the voices after its sponsor, the Greens MP Mark Parnell, conceded it lacked enough support to pass. It was the third voluntary euthanasia bill defeated in the SA Parliament since 2003. Mr Parnell said he accepted the result, for now.

Miners lost as second blast extinguishes families' hopes for a miracle rescue

Ean Higgins - The Australian
About 2.30pm yesterday, Pike River Coal's Australian chief executive, Peter Whittall, lost all hope. The gas readings that hours earlier had led him to believe that the 29 men trapped in the company's New Zealand mine could be rescued suddenly changed. Seven minutes later, while he watched CCTV footage of the entrance of the mine, Mr Whittall witnessed what must have been the most horrifying thing he had ever seen. An even more massive blast of air and debris than the first explosion that sparked the crisis last Friday shot out of the mine.

Condoms can be used to stop AIDS, says Pope, but church leaders still split

Barney Zwartz - The Age
The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Benedict has approved a historic shift to allow condoms to avoid AIDS - while carefully painting it as no change at all. In a typical Vatican clarification that left both conservatives and progressives convinced they were correct, a spokesman, Federico Lombardi, said that the Pope did mean to say that someone with AIDS should use condoms to prevent infection, whether ''man or woman or transsexual''. But he said the Pope's ''reasoning certainly cannot be defined as a revolutionary shift'', that he still taught abstinence and fidelity as better than condoms, which were ''not a real or moral solution''. The stunning U-turn on condoms - traditional Catholic teaching says it is always sinful to use condoms within marriage because it blocks the transmission of life - emerged in interviews with a German journalist published in a book this week. But because Pope Benedict used the example of a male prostitute, conservative Catholics denied that it applied outside homosexual sex. However, in Italian the example was of a female prostitute.

Teen admits to attacks on federal websites over internet filter

Steve Butcher - SMH
Steve Slayo sat glued to his bedroom computer into the early morning hours, stewing over plans by the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, to impose filters on internet content. The 19-year-old wrote a protest letter to Mr Conroy which he never posted, but the student later flexed his considerable computer skills in helping to attack Australian government websites. A Melbourne court heard yesterday that Mr Slayo incited distributed denial of service - DDOS - attacks organised by an American mastermind on government websites representing Mr Conroy and the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd. The court was told the DDOS attacks in February were designed to make websites inaccessible by flooding the host server with vast numbers of requests for connections.

Bail act changes stymied as Attorney-General concedes lack of support

Alexandra Smith - SMH
The Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, has shelved planned changes to the state's Bail Act after it was clear crossbenchers would not back the government, ensuring the act will remain untouched before the election. Mr Hatzistergos had wanted to push through legislation by year's end but agreed on Tuesday night to a request for more time from the roundtable that he established to examine the changes. Proposals for change included increasing the maximum adjournment time after a refusal of bail from eight days to 42 days and removing from the act any mention of the rights of the accused.

No funds for new child protection staff

Carol Nader - The Age
The state opposition will go into Saturday's election without pledging to recruit a single extra child protection worker despite repeatedly attacking the government on the workforce crisis that has plagued the system. The Coalition's $300 million community services policy cites a child protection workforce ''stretched to breaking point … with a high level of staff burnout and difficulties in recruiting workers'', but does not include any funding to recruit more workers. The government seized on the policy last night and said Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu had been caught out ''in his failure to offer one extra cent for one extra frontline child protection worker''.

The everyday despair of drug and alcohol abuse

Sam Biondo - The Age
Every Sunday evening on the television news you can see the impact of alcohol and other drugs in our community. Whether it's a fight on the dance floor of a nightclub, a horror car crash or a party in the suburbs that's got out of control, we can see what happens when the use of alcohol or other drugs becomes a problem.
What we don't see is the quiet but equally deadly impact on the health, happiness and relationships of individuals who misuse drugs and alcohol. The people whose problems remain unacknowledged despite the fact they hurt them, their families and the broader community. It is easy for politicians to talk about more police on the streets, speed cameras and roadside drug testing, and changing liquor licensing laws — all of which are critical components to these complex issues.