Photographer Bill Henson's controversial images of under-age girls are akin to child pornography, a Senate hearing has been told. Campaigners against the sexual exploitation of children want content ratings applied to art. They gave evidence on Wednesday to a Senate legal affairs committee, charged with investigating Australia's film and literature classification codes.
A leading church body wants the baby bonus scrapped to curb rampant population growth. The Anglican Church's key advisory group also wants migration cut. In a submission to a federal population inquiry, the general synod's public affairs commission has described population growth as a taboo subject and "the elephant in the room". The commission has proposed a halt to "any policy that provides an incentive specifically and primarily to increase Australia's population, notably the baby bonus".
It just doesn’t sound right – a church that wants to stop incentives to breed. But that’s exactly what’s happening with the Anglicans. They want to get rid of “any policy that provides an incentive specifically and primarily to increase Australia’s population, notably the baby bonus”. Even stranger, despite an inbuilt desire to disagree with any religious views on reproduction, I reckon they’re right.
After more than a decade in politics, I have sadly grown used to watching the often bizarre stances taken by other pollies and wondering why they are doing what they are doing. The response of some members of the Coalition to the poker machine issue is a case in point. To truly understand the Coalition’s current position on pokies, you need to know it has nothing to do with pokies. It’s about power. They want it (who can blame them), and they think they can use this issue to get it.
Labor's image has worsened in the public's mind in the past year, while impressions of the Liberals have become more positive, according to Essential Research polling. Meanwhile, the Greens are seen as ''extreme'' and ''out of touch with ordinary people'' - descriptions Julia Gillard has given to them - by about six in 10 people. When people were asked about attributes of the parties in March 2010, Labor had significant leads over the Liberals on all positive attributes.
Funding arrangements that appear to advantage 60 per cent of Catholic schools are in need of an overhaul, the head of Sydney Catholic schools said yesterday. Dan White, the executive director of the Sydney Catholic Education Office, said the Commonwealth funding system was not transparent. The Howard government had tried to blend two incompatible funding models together - a system for independent schools based on the socioeconomic status of families, and another for funding the Catholic school system, taking into account the resources of schools.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has declared the government will never shy away from bold reform for indigenous Australians and will deliver the "concrete" things called for by Aborigines who are finding their own solutions to deep-rooted problems. Ms Macklin said that, under her leadership, she would continue with policies that put personal responsibility and obligation at the centre of reform. Her comments came after former ALP national president Warren Mundine lambasted the Gillard government's approach to indigenous affairs, saying symbolism had replaced action at the coalface.
Monday began fairly uneventfully. I was enjoying a quiet ANZAC Day at home after watching the ABC News24 coverage of the various civic gatherings over breakfast. Then, just before midday, several journalists contacted me via Twitter, seeking to verify the genuineness of the Twitter account @JimWallaceACL, since an interesting and newsworthy tweet had just appeared on its timeline. As it happens, I had followed the account early in 2010, when it first appeared, but as it was largely inactive I soon unfollowed since I prefer accounts rich and regular in content. The user subsequently followed me, and still does.
A convener of Labor's Left, Doug Cameron, has called on the government to ''pedal harder'' to process asylum seekers as a way to reduce tensions in detention centres. His appeal comes as the Refugee Council of Australia said there had been a 1400 per cent increase in long-term detention in just one year. The council's chief executive officer, Paul Power, said that while immigration detainees grew by 196 per cent, people detained more than six months grew seven times faster - from 258 in March 2010 to 3901 in March this year.
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