Should gay men and women be allowed to adopt children? That's the question some in the community want us to ask. But I believe the question we need to ask is: why is this issue even being debated? It was inspiring to see the NSW Parliament voting to allow same-sex couples to legally adopt children last week. Victoria must follow that lead, and it's been good to see a handful of politicians already show their support. At present in this state, gay couples cannot adopt a child together although single gay people can adopt a child in some circumstances. But achieving this sensible legislative outcome in Victoria won't necessarily be easy, as the NSW Bill passed by only two votes.
Playing shoot-em-up games can make you a better driver and stop you getting lost, scientists claim. They say fast-paced action games produce a heightened sensitivity, which can also improve multitasking, following a friend in a crowd or even reading the small print. Their study, published in the journal Current Biology, looked set to delight avid gamers who are often told the games do little except provoke violence.
Territory Labor politicians have been gagged from revealing their positions on voluntary euthanasia. It comes after advocate Dr Philip Nitschke said he doubted today's NT politicians had the "drive, interest or guts" to act, and former chief minister Marshall Perron said most were too worried about their seats to take a stand. The NT News this week asked each NT parliamentarian to explain where they stood on reviving the law. The Labor Caucus went to ground and left it to the Government's faceless media managers to provide a nondescript response. The statement said there was no indication Senator Bob Brown would succeed in his next bid to have the Federal Government restore the NT's power to legalise euthanasia.
Tony Abbott has declared his new-look front bench "hungrier and stronger" than the one he took to the election. He has brought back Malcolm Turnbull to fight the government on the National Broadband Network and dumped four shocked MPs. Vowing to hold the government to account, the Opposition Leader has created two education portfolios to deal with Julia Gillard's separation of the massive portfolio among Peter Garrett, Kim Carr and Chris Evans, promoting Queensland senator Brett Mason into the role of spokesman for universities and research to join existing education spokesman Christopher Pyne. Mr Abbott has avoided making major changes to other senior positions, keeping Joe Hockey in Treasury, Andrew Robb in finance and Julie Bishop in foreign affairs.
Better resources for regional education may well be on the national agenda, but new Schools, Early Childhood and Youth Minister Peter Garrett must not allow their delivery to be thwarted by giving in to the Greens, who will deny many young Australians a choice of independent schooling. While the formal agreement between Julia Gillard and the Greens signed on September 1 makes no mention of education or schools funding, any intrusion of the Greens stance on schools into federal government policy will certainly undermine, for regional Australia, the social and economic sustainability they claim to champion. Recognising the vital role of the independent schools sector, Prime Minister Gillard earlier this year committed to extending the existing school funding arrangements by 12 months and the capital grants program until 2014. However, to be enacted, this is likely to need the support of the Greens in both houses, putting them at odds with their party's commitment to attack independent schools with a blunt instrument.
Senior media professionals have defended as free speech and opinion The Australian's stance on the Greens. The defence came as the media war over this newspaper's coverage continues to excite political and journalistic debate. The Nine Network's director of news and current affairs, Mark Calvert, said newspapers had a long history of championing a robust view. While stressing he was not criticising the Greens and was impartial as a news director, Calvert said it was an "odd thing to do to criticise a newspaper's opinion and editorial pages, particularly when it is open and transparent".
After almost 10 years of the medically supervised injecting centre at Kings Cross operating on a trial basis, the state government will move to make it a permanent fixture. The Premier, Kristina Keneally, and the Deputy Premier and Minister for Health, Carmel Tebbutt, are set to announce the decision this morning, following approval by cabinet yesterday. Legislation to lift the centre's trial status, to be introduced by Ms Tebbutt, will also ensure continued monitoring of the centre and confirm that it will remain the only injecting centre in NSW. The establishment of the centre has divided public opinion since it was granted a licence to open as a trial in 2001, following a recommendation of the NSW Drug Summit under the former premier Bob Carr.
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