Visa agents involved in sex trade

The Age

Migration agents registered by the federal government are helping to run illegal prostitution rackets across Melbourne. Up to six migration agents have worked with the mostly Asian syndicates running prostitution rackets in Melbourne and Sydney. One of the agents involved in the sex industry in Melbourne helps to find Asian women, including those on student visas, to work as prostitutes in four different CBD apartments.

Gay marriage anger

Matt Smith - The Mercury

Placard-carrying supporters of gay marriage greeted about 250 people turning up to a "Save Marriage" meeting at the University of Tasmania last night. The 100-person vigil outside the Stanley Burbury Theatre was peaceful with only a few jeers, as people arrived to attend the meeting. One man going in asked the protesters, "What about the children?", to which one woman responded: "What about the children we have some." Inside, the Presbyterian Church-organised meeting heard speeches from Australian Christian Lobby managing director Jim Wallace and the Tasmanian Family Institute's Pastor Andrew Corbett.

Green dream turns to ashes

The Australian

Much of the talk surrounding Saturday's NSW election result has centred on the degree to which it affects the long-term viability of the Labor Party. The size of the defeat has left the once powerful NSW arm of Australia's oldest political party shattered, with possible federal implications for Prime Minister Julia Gillard given the role of the carbon tax during the campaign. But beyond Labor's poor showing, the results are particularly significant for the Greens and rural independents. Bob Brown's party had high hopes of winning at least two lower house seats and possibly a third, as well as control of the state's Legislative Council. However, it appears likely the Greens will fall short in Marrickville - where sitting Labor MP Carmel Tebbutt yesterday claimed victory - and Balmain, where Labor's Verity Firth appears to have held out against the Greens challenge.

The pot calling the kettle Green

ABC unleashed

Just when you think you’ve plumbed the depths of progressive hypocrisy, along comes Sarah Hanson-Young to lower the limbo bar of intellectual disingenuousness. The South Australian Greens Senator constitutes one of those political gifts that just keeps on giving. Senator Hanson-Young wrote this week in The Age how “stunned” she was to see Tony Abbott attending that now-infamous anti-carbon tax rally at Parliament House. In her view, those over-the-top placards and slogans at that event constituted a proverbial smoking gun proving Abbott’s “political extremism”. I make no brief for Pauline Hanson or any of the other fringe opportunists who hitched their wagon to the Canberra anti-carbon tax protest. But Senator Hanson-Young’s outrage is reminiscent of that scene in Casablanca where the deliciously corrupt Vichy Captain Renault orders the closure of Rick’s Café Américain.

Bligh the only one who can save brand Labor

The Australian

Anna Bligh, Premier of Queensland and national president of the ALP, is all that stands between Labor and oblivion. After the NSW rout at the weekend, if Labor falls hard in Queensland at the next election the whole show could collapse. The federal government, you ask? If Graham Richardson was right that electricity privatisation in NSW was to be avoided because of electoral anger, imagine the implications of that insight for a carbon tax where the result is no environmental gain.

And so it begins: Government by the Religious Right

Online Opinion

The day after the election, a Herald/Nielsen survey showed that most people, well, 50% - thought that the state of health care in NSW was our most urgent issue. The new Liberal parliamentary party contains many on the religious right, including Opus Dei member David Clarke, and former Right to Life president, Greg Smith. Therefore it is worth considering the influence of the religious right, and its possible outcomes for health and aged care over the next four, or eight, years.

New government facing 'huge task'

Damir Govorcin - Catholic Weekly

People’s well-being first priority, says cardinal. The new Coalition Government will need to keep the “well-being of the people of NSW” as its first priority, said the Archbishop of Sydney, George Cardinal Pell. “The people of NSW have spoken and the judgment is harsh,” the cardinal said after the Liberal-National Party coalition’s crushing win over Labor in last Saturday’s state election. “Opinion will be divided on whether it was completely deserved,” he said.

30 Rock star Elizabeth Banks announces birth of son via surrogate

Actress Elizabeth Banks, who plays Alec Baldwin's on-screen love Avery Jessup on the award-winning 30 Rock, is the latest celebrity to turn to surrogacy to realise her dream of becoming a mother. "The one true hurdle I've faced in life is that I have a broken belly," the 37-year-old actress wrote on her blog yesterday. "After years of trying to get pregnant, exploring the range of fertility treatments, all unsuccessful, our journey led us to gestational surrogacy: we make a 'baby cake' and bake it in another woman's 'oven,'" she continued about her infertility struggle with her husband, sportswriter and producer Max Handelman, 37.

Christian group supports euthanasia

Christian Today

Euthanasia is again in the headlines following the South Australian Parliament’s provisional support to provide medical doctors with a legal defence against the assisted suicide of terminally ill patients. Traditionally, Christians, churches and Christian lobby groups, such as the Australian Christian Lobby, have vehemently opposed any form of euthanasia; that is until now. ‘Christians for Voluntary Euthanasia’ was created by a retired Baptist Reverend in 2009 and has played a significant role in garnering the support of South Australian Members of Parliament for the current euthanasia bill.