Patricia Karvelas – The Australian
THE nation's peak Muslim group is using the Gillard government's re-embracing of multiculturalism to push for the introduction of sharia in Australia, but it says it would be a more moderate variety of Islamic law that fits with Australian values. The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, in a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the government's new multiculturalism policy, argues that Muslims should enjoy "legal pluralism". In an interview with The Australian, the organisation's president, Ikebal Adam Patel, who wrote the submission, nominated family law and specifically divorce as an area where moderate interpretations of sharia could co-exist within the Australian legal system.
The Age's reporting of Christian Religious Education
Nicholas Tuohy – On Line Opinion
Those scheming and secretive Christians are trying to get our children. Well, so The Age thinks with its regular vindictive and vilifying prattle it is attempting to pass to us as journalism. I have lost count, but every week or so for the last couple of months, The Age is continuing its unjustified and unfair attack on Christian Religious Education (CRE) in schools and chaplaincy. The main target is the long-time established Access Ministries. The latest smear concerns the phrase used by Access Ministries head, which referred to making disciples of children. She was of course referring to words used by Jesus when he invited people to become his disciples. Now here are a few salient points: Firstly, why shouldn’t children have the right to learn about Jesus and, if they so want, become a follower or, ready for it, a Christian? One example in The Age article refers to a child who ended up taking herself and her parents off to the local church after having CRE classes. Shock horror, call in the troops! A family heading off to church together? The Age thinks this is somehow sinister.
Campbell Newman bursts Anna Bligh's bubble: Newspoll
Michael McKenna - The Australian
CAMPBELL Newman has revived the conservatives' hopes of regaining government in Queensland, with the latest Newspoll wiping out the gains Anna Bligh made after her leadership during the floods and cyclone crises. The former Brisbane lord mayor's switch to state politics in late March has given the Liberal National Party a large boost, despite his unorthodox leadership from outside the parliament. The opposition now has a 20-point lead over Labor on a two-party-preferred basis. A state Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian, reveals Labor is facing a landslide defeat that could leave it with as few as 13 seats in the 89-seat parliament, down from its current 51, under a voter backlash of NSW proportions.
God help the children
Leslie Cannold – ABC The Drum
Last week, Victorians were rocked by revelations that ACCESS Ministries - the group that provides around 97 per cent of school chaplains and scripture volunteers in Victorian schools – has been using its privileged position in governments schools to “make disciples” of children as young as five.
ACCESS Ministries is an umbrella group of 12 Christian denominations including the Anglican Church of Australia, the Uniting Church, the Lutheran Church of Australia and the Salvation Army.
Keep Religion Out of Public Education
Sarrah Le Marquand – The Daily Telegraph
It was an odd moment for Hillary Clinton to leave the room. Yet, according to a photograph published last week, the US Secretary of State mysteriously disappeared just as Barack Obama and his national security team watched the deadly raid on Osama bin Laden. Perhaps she ducked out to fetch a round of coffees for her colleagues. After all, as a woman, that’s the only job she is really qualified to fill.
Schools deserve their say on chaplains
Sarah Hanson-Young – The Age
Last week the federal government's budget revealed the Education Department would spend another $222 million over four years on the national school chaplaincy program. In light of revelations that the Victoria-based Access Ministries is reportedly using the program to ''make disciples'' of students, the Australian Greens question whether that’s money well-spent. Contrary to what some pundits claim, per se, we are firm believers in an individual's free choice, be it the right to marry whom they choose, or in this case, the right for each school across Australia to determine how they should use the $74 million annually earmarked for chaplains.