Baillieu win a time for change, groups say

The election of the Baillieu Coalition government in Victoria is a chance for new approaches to business, infrastructure and social issues, some community groups say. Australian Christian Lobby director Rob Ward said the coalition's decision to preference the Greens last was supported by Victorians at the ballot box. "The poor showing of the Greens will hopefully put an end to the unwanted push for euthanasia, gay marriage and other types of social engineering promoted by activists, but not even on the agenda for most voters," he said.

Voters are looking for leaders with courage

Jim Wallace - The Australian

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ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace writes in The Australian that the come-from-behind victory of Ted Baillieu and the Coalition in Saturday’s Victorian election was a victory based on leadership, character and values.

Media Release - Australian Christian Lobby
The massive swing towards the Liberal/National Coalition in Saturday’s Victorian election spells out a message to both major parties that they should resist dancing to the Greens’ tune and instead lead from a position of principle, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said today. “The courageous and principled decision by Ted Baillieu to put the Greens last on preferences was endorsed by voters in Victoria who were not prepared to endorse them as a ‘third force’ in politics,” ACL Victorian Director Rob Ward said.

Adam Bandt urges party to win in its own right

Patricia Karvelas - The Australian
The first federal lower-house Greens candidate to win at a general election has conceded his party won't continue to win such seats. This is because the Greens cannot rely on the preferences of the major parties. The concession by the member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, follows the failure of the Greens to win any seats on Saturday after the Victorian Liberal Party preferenced them behind Labor. Senior Liberals have vowed to use the Victorian template of putting the Greens last as a national strategy.

ALP brawls over gay unions, Greens

Matthew Franklin - The Australian
Julia Gillard is struggling to contain Labor brawling over the party's future. Both its Right and Left factions are in conflict over same-sex marriage and the relationship with the Greens. As Labor began post-mortems over its loss in Saturday's Victorian election, Victorian Labor senator Jacinta Collins yesterday demanded the party embrace "traditional values" and reject same-sex marriage, or risk losing touch with its political base. Senator Collins's comments came as ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said rejecting gay marriage defied Labor's history of commitment to equality, and criticised long-term Labor governments in NSW and Queensland for not decriminalising abortion.

Fix offered for child protection

Danielle McKay - The Mercury
An unprecedented multi-million-dollar overhaul of Tasmania's failing child protection system has been outlined by the state's new Children's Commissioner.  Replacing the existing legislation with an entirely new Act and boosting support programs were among 18 recommendations Aileen Ashford flagged at a parliamentary select committee yesterday.   Ms Ashford, who took on the challenging role of commissioner just five weeks ago, said the recommendations could help fix the "struggling" system.  However, Ms Ashford said they would only succeed if they were adequately funded and resourced, estimating that the system was currently underfunded by as much as $40 million.

Pakistan court stalls pardon moves for Christian mother accused of blasphemy

A Pakistani court has prevented the government from granting a pardon to a Christian mother sentenced to death for insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Lawyers petitioned the top court in Punjab province not to allow President Asif Ali Zardari to pardon Aasia Bibi while her case was pending in the courts. Pope Benedict XVI has called for her release and political pressure has been growing for a pardon, but conservative Muslims have threatened anarchy if the government grants clemency to Ms Bibi. She was sentenced on November 8 to hang under controversial blasphemy laws that human rights activists say encourage Islamist extremism.

Baillieu set to rush in changes

Paul Austin - The Age
Victoria's next Premier, Ted Baillieu, is expected to recall Parliament before Christmas to start work on the Coalition's agenda to transform the state, after John Brumby yesterday conceded Labor had lost government. Mr Baillieu visited Governor David de Kretser at Government House last night to inform him the Coalition could command a majority on the floor of Parliament, hours after Mr Brumby telephoned the Liberal leader to congratulate him on winning Saturday's cliffhanger election. The Coalition cabinet, with the Nationals' Peter Ryan as deputy premier, will be sworn in within days, and Mr Baillieu is considering convening Parliament within weeks to outline his reform program.

Families exploiting reunion loophole

Lindsay Murdoch - The Age
Families are sending young relatives to people smugglers in a ploy they hope will open the way for all family members to be allowed to migrate to Australia. Under immigration policy, the applications of an increasing number of unaccompanied minors arriving on asylum-seeker boats are processed as a matter of priority. When they become permanent Australian residents, they then apply to bring out other family members under family reunion criteria.