Dear God: Get the hell out of our schools!

The Punch

I know, it’s actually the “principle of state neutrality” but let’s not split hairs right now. Our schools are even more tainted than those in your country – the U S of A – where the teaching of creationism as science in public schools is deemed unconstitutional. Here, taxpayer dollars fund religious schools, as well as chaplaincy programs for public and private schools.

A Wii bit kinky: sexy spanking game rated PG but Mortal Kombat banned


The latest title in one of the most celebrated video game franchises has been banned from sale in Australia while an upcoming Wii game that features striptease and spanking has been rated suitable for children. The decision to ban Mortal Kombat while giving the risqué We Dare a PG rating has revealed some interesting details about the federal government's morality on censorship. Judging by the decisions, it appears that games promoting spanking, stripping and sexual partner swapping are acceptable for children while hardcore simulated on-screen violence is strictly off-limits.

The polling that drives dog whistle politics ... and may cure them


Here is the polling that is driving Scott Morrison’s subterranean attack on Muslims, confirmation that a majority of Australians are concerned about their numbers. For too long conservative blowhards like Morrison have been running agendas that directly reference these findings but because they have remained hidden in a desk drawer they are merely debating an issue. After much soul-searching, Essential has decided to commit an act of political interruption. We debated whether it was worth giving voice to these attitudes long and hard, but we believe getting this stuff out in the open is the only way to silence the dog whistle.

Nicole Kidman challenges surrogacy stigma

The Australian

We tend to hear about surrogacy arrangements only when celebrities are involved. Robert De Niro, gay pop singer Ricky Martin, 26-year-old Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, Elton John and David Furness have all used surrogate mums. For years the public has been wary of these arrangements. In recent months, though, there has been a shift in public opinion in Australia, sparked by Nicole Kidman's outing of her gestational carrier in the wake of her past fertility problems. As increasing numbers of women hold off starting a family far past their fertility peak, and as gay men discover the joys of parenting, there has been a substantial increase in surrogacy arrangements globally.

Two mums better than one?

Alyssa McDonald - The Age

Are two mums better than one? The findings of a recent study would appear to suggest so. We examine the experiences of three female couples to see how they and their children have fared. Do lesbian couples make the best parents? Taking the household in the 2010 movie The Kids Are All Right as a benchmark, you might suspect so. Stressed but responsible Nic (Annette Bening) and creative, easygoing Jules (Julianne Moore) have two teenage children - both of whom are smart, successful and decent at an age when most people barely qualify as human. Which is not that surprising, given how loving and involved Nic and Jules are as parents. It wouldn't be much of a film without conflict, of course, and certainly not the kind to earn Annette Bening a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Jules's infidelity threatens to tear the family apart (as well as irritating some viewers, who wonder why a gay woman would have an affair with the distinctly hirsute and manly Mark Ruffalo). But even so, Nic and Jules - the first lesbian parents to anchor a mainstream movie, in a project Bening has described as "a labour of love" - are indisputably great at running a family.