Queensland's Liberal National Party has launched a risky bid to draft in Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman as leader to take on Anna Bligh at the next election - before he has even secured a seat in parliament - prompting speculation the Premier will seek to capitalise on the instability with an early poll. Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek and his deputy, Lawrence Springborg, fell on their swords yesterday, victims of an unprecedented attempt by Mr Newman and the so-called "faceless men" of the LNP organisation to take control of the parliamentary wing. Last night, Jeff Seeney was elected as interim leader - gifting him all the parliamentary entitlements of the real leader - after the former Nationals' strongman vowed to let Mr Newman take up the challenge to Ms Bligh and the fifth-term Labor government at the election due early next year.
Julia Gillard’s declaration over the weekend that she would like the Bible taught in schools seems odd, given she’s Australia’s most prominent atheist. Mind you, it’s more odd when you consider that in the incoming national curriculum for history Christianity barely gets a guernsey at all. Gillard was the minister who oversaw the curriculum’s development. As Tony Taylor, one of the architects of the curriculum, helpfully pointed out in Crikey in January, when the curriculum does mention Christianity, it only sticks to the bad things - like the Crusades, and the Spanish conquest of the Americas.
The Australian public does not know Julia Gillard, and remains divided and confused about her values, beliefs, journey to power and what she really represents. They know her red hair, accent, tenacity and ambition. They are aware she is a childless atheist living in a de facto partnership. They know of her commitment to education and the My School website. And they now know that Gillard is hell-bent on pricing carbon. But this does not constitute a fully formed identity for a prime minister. Indeed, these are disconnected parts of the Gillard persona. That persona is like a jigsaw puzzle about a third put together with most pieces still scattered across the box waiting to be slotted into a bigger portrait that the public recognises, comprehends and to which it can relate. It is easy for political insiders to misjudge the extent of public confusion about Gillard's core identity.
A Christian families group is disappointed with the major NSW parties for not taking stronger stances on issues such as prostitution, religious education in state schools and same-sex adoption. FamilyVoice Australia, which has been linked to NSW upper house member Fred Nile, has polled the main political parties and individual MPs in the lead-up to Saturday's state election. It received responses to 10 questions based on its core faith-based values to find that Labor and the Liberal-Nationals coalition did "not much" support its concerns, with each scoring 44 out of 100.
A dangerous "sexting" trend seems to be on the rise among minors after six teenagers were probed by police over explicit images sent over the web or mobile phones, police said. Online child exploitation squad officers investigated four boys and two girls, all aged 13 to 16, for sending and possessing images of a sexual nature, employing digital technologies. Advertisement: Story continues below Detective Senior Sergeant Lindsay Garratt said he was concerned that young people were not getting the message about the dangers of such activities.
What a week it has been for the Prime Minister of our nation, Our Lady of the Lodge, the Very Reverend Julia “Traditional Values” Gillard. Let me get this “straight”…if you’ll pardon the expression. Our first female Prime Minister, an atheist living in a de facto relationship, claims to be a traditionalist with a conservative upbringing. We are exhorted to go back to Bible stories to understand why marriage equality doesn’t fit with Australia’s cultural heritage because we have to see where we have come from.
A test: What makes men happier, live longer, become wealthier, excel more at their careers, suffer less from depression/alcoholism/drug addiction and make men far less likely to die violently? A hint: this is the same answer that makes women have a shorter lifespan, become poorer, not thrive as well in their careers, become less healthy, be more likely to suffer from depression and more likely to die violently - usually at the hands of a husband. Take a deep breath, Nuptialists. The answer is marriage. This nasty little grouping of studies is often loosely referred to as "the Marriage Benefit Imbalance".
The outlook for polygamy hasn’t been this good since Abraham took Keturah as his third wife. Plural marriage remains illegal, but it’s undergoing an image upgrade as a result of television shows like HBO’s “Big Love” and TLC’s “Sister Wives.” More significantly, it’s getting a legal boost from a strange bedfellow: the success of same-sex marriage. Gay-rights advocates cringe whenever the connection is made between same-sex and plural marriage, but more than a few legal analysts say the recent gains posted by gay marriage in the courts and state legislatures cannot help but bolster the case for legalized polygamy.
'Home-grown'' terrorists are driven by alienation, not by religion or poverty. Why would anyone join an extremist Muslim fringe group that hates democracy and wants to impose a myopic interpretation of Islamic law on everyone? What could possibly attract an educated young man living in a free society to join a movement that glorifies suicide bombers? These are questions that worry all sorts, from German chancellors to Camden locals, and drive an industry of Islamophobia. Whether it's US blogger Daniel Pipes musing that President Barack Obama might be murdered by Islamists for being an apostate, Infidel author Ayaan Hirsi Ali describing Muslim women's clothing as gradations of "mental slavery", or outspoken Christian spokesman Patrick Sookhdeo questioning moderate Muslim leaders' calls for peace and co-existence as Islamically-prescribed deception, they foster the worry that where Muslims live, violence and even terrorism follow. Understandable, given the Islamophobia industry makes its coin generating fear of Islam and Muslims.
It was surprising to hear of the Greens' sole House of Reps member, Adam Bandt, calling for the imposition and enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya the other day. It’s just not the sort of thing you expect from a Green. Deep concern about the slaughter of innocents by the Libyan government and its mercenary forces? Sure. Calls for unremitting diplomatic pressure to bring the recalcitrant dictator to the negotiating table? Yeah. Knock yourself out. But no-fly zones? Policed by jet fighters authorised to use deadly force?
This is a joint submission by Christopher Pyne MP, Shadow Minister for Education, and Alan Tudge MP. Federal Member for Aston. As is often the case, the Gillard Government says one thing and does another. If Julia Gillard thinks that people should know their Bible stories because they have “formed such an important part of our culture”, then she should make sure we have a national history curriculum that doesn’t try to hide and deny our western Christian roots. On Sunday, Ms Gillard advocated the learning of the Bible and said that “It’s impossible to understand Western literature without having that key of understanding the Bible stories and how Western literature builds on them and reflects them and deconstructs them and brings them back together.” Apart from the Prime Minister’s jargon about deconstruction, all sensible people would agree with her statement. Why then isn’t the Gillard Government giving Australian students the keys to understand Christianity, Western culture and literature, and Western civilisation generally in the draft national curriculum?
Activist group GetUp is taking on Sydney shock jock Alan Jones, demanding the broadcaster withdraw comments disputing the science of human-induced climate change. The organisation is launching proceedings with the broadcast watchdog, demanding Jones publicly and immediately revoke what it calls fabricated statements. "It's wrong for ultra-conservative shock-jocks like Mr Jones to deliberately mislead their audience," GetUp's acting national director Sam Mclean said in a statement on Wednesday. "We have standards in this country which demand the truth from our broadcasters."
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