Prof calls for 'suicide toll' report

Sarah Crawford - NT News
Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry says the Territory's media should report suicides like they do the road toll. "I think it should be on the front page of every paper. Every suicide should be reported ... like the road toll," Mr McGorry said. The advocate for young people who suffer from mental health issues made the comment during a visit to Darwin yesterday.

Griggs kills debate

Sarah Crawford - NT News
Member for Solomon Natasha Griggs has moved off the fence on the euthanasia debate, stating that a cancer scare eight years ago had turned her against assisted suicide. That was not her position two weeks ago when she told the ABC she used to be pro-euthanasia in her 20s but was now undecided. Ms Griggs said she did a lot of soul searching before publicly stating her position. "I did take a long time to go through a whole process of working out my feelings and now I am comfortable with my opinion and happy for people to know it," Ms Griggs said.

Libs put IR back on agenda

Michelle Grattan - The Age
The Coalition appears likely to abandon its pre-election freeze on changes to industrial relations policy, opening up a new political battlefront with the Gillard government. Three senior members of Tony Abbott's shadow cabinet - workplace spokesman Eric Abetz, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey and Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop - yesterday left the way open for possible changes to Coalition IR policies. But they insisted the Coalition would not re-embrace the Howard government's WorkChoices blueprint that helped cost it the 2007 election.

Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott at odds over trip to Afghanistan

Matthew Franklin and Peter Wilson - The Australian
The Coalition has attacked Julia Gillard for playing politics over Tony Abbott's refusal to join her on a visit to Afghanistan last weekend. The opposition said the Prime Minister was aware he had already "locked in" a date to travel to the war-torn country.

Liberals' preferential dilemma

The Australian
Victoria has become the national test bed of how the main parties deal with the Greens. Victorian Liberal leader Ted Baillieu is weighing a desperate throw of the dice. He faces an election in eight weeks and his vote is falling. The most recent Newspoll aggregates put the Coalition 10 points behind Labor in two-party preferred terms. Labor leads 55 per cent to 45 per cent. In the middle of the year the parties were almost tied, with Labor on 51 per cent to the Coalition's 49 per cent.

Labor plan to vote Lib to knock off Bandt in seat of Melbourne

Christian Kerr - The Australian
Labor strategists considered a plan for supporters to vote Liberal at the federal election in to stop Melbourne falling to the Greens. They hoped when the preferences of the third-placed Greens were allocated they would flow overwhelmingly to the ALP, guaranteeing the election of Labor candidate Cath Bowtell. Labor strategists consulted a high-profile political science academic, who soon disabused them of their tactical voting plan.

Teenage girls more sexually active than a decade ago

Mark Metherell - SMH
Year 12 girls are more likely to have had sex than boys, and teenagers are likely to have had sex with more partners than a decade ago, a national survey has shown. More than 61 per cent of year 12 girls said they had had sex, compared to 44 per cent of boys of that year, the study by LaTrobe University's faculty of health sciences researchers found. In a trend the report links to heavier drinking by adolescents, the proportion of sexually active year 12 girls who reported having had sex with three or more partners in the previous year more than doubled to 27 per cent in the decade to 2008. Among boys, 38 per cent said they had had three or more sexual partners in the year.

Legal or not, sex industry powers on

Danny Rose - SMH
Whether prostitution is legal or not has ''little or no impact on the size of the industry'' but it does affect the health of sex workers, Australian research shows. A study of prostitution in Sydney, which has the most liberal approach; in Perth, where it is mostly outlawed; and Melbourne, which falls in between, has found a ''thriving'' sex industry in all three cities. Legal status was found to affect only the health and support services available to sex workers and the hygiene and safety standards of brothels.

Staff 'too rigid' with Aborigines

Yuko Narushima - SMH
The federal government needs to retrain staff going to remote indigenous communities because too many enter consultations with fixed ideas and an assumption they know what is best, a report published yesterday says. The Co-ordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services, Brian Gleeson, said too many officers had a rigid mindset that threatened gains made from increased investment.

Bashing women 'not terrible' in Aboriginal law

Natasha Robinson - The Australian
The chairman of the largest Aboriginal land council told a court that violence against women is "not really terrible" in Aboriginal law. Northern Land Council chairman Wali Wunungmurra gave character evidence last month during a pre-sentence hearing for his nephew, John "Datjirri" Wunungmurra, who was jailed for causing serious injury to a female relative during an aggravated assault in northeast Arnhem Land.

'Punish states for tardiness' over indigenous services

Patricia Karvelas - The Australian
The head of indigenous services has asked Julia Gillard to strip states underachieving on Aboriginal education and health of funding. He also asked her to boost payments to those that are showing progress. The co-ordinator-general for Remote Indigenous Services, Brian Gleeson, said it was taking governments too long to provide adequate facilities for remote
communities. According to Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney, for the first time in Australia's history, less than 50 per cent of the workforce was classified as being in permanent full-time employment. She said the economic growth had come at the cost of workers' wages and conditions. But the report also criticised Australia's treatment of retired people as one of the worst systems in the developed world for delivering security from poverty in old age.

Australia's economic growth comes at expense of workers' wages and conditions: report

John McCarthy - The Courier-Mail
According to Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney, for the first time in Australia's history, less than 50 per cent of the workforce was classified as being in permanent full-time employment. She said the economic growth had come at the cost of workers' wages and conditions. But the report also criticised Australia's treatment of retired people as one of the worst systems in the developed world for delivering security from poverty in old age.

Victorian Libs accuse Labor of spying on Baillieu

The Australian
Victoria is destined for an increasingly grubby state election after the Liberals accused Labor of spying on its headquarters. On a day when smear, innuendo and allegations flew from both sides, the opposition alleged Labor tried to get access to the visitors' log of leader Ted Baillieu's Melbourne office through Freedom of Information laws.

Baillieu refuses to submit policy costings

David Rood and Richard Willingham - The Age
The state opposition has rejected a government challenge to submit its election policies to state Treasury for costing, saying the figures would only end up in government hands. The government costing push came after Treasurer John Lenders said his research showed Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu's policies to date would cost more than $3.3 billion and put the state budget into deficit next year. Following the lead of Tony Abbott, opposition finance spokesman Robert Clark said a private company would audit Labor's election promises, with the full costings released before the November 27 poll.

MP told me to falsify claim: ex-staffer

Jehane Sharah - The Australian
NSW Labor MP Angela D'Amore instructed a staffer to falsify pay claims, the Independent Commission Against Corruption heard yesterday. ICAC is investigating the ALP parliamentary secretary and members of her staff over allegations they rorted the allowance for politicians to hire relief staff for their electorate offices when parliament was sitting.

Call to make child protection less hostile

Carol Nader - The Age
Vulnerable children could be placed in the care of the state without their parents having to go to court, and families would have a greater say in their future under options being considered by the state government to make child protection less adversarial. The Victorian Law Reform Commission has proposed that decisions about children at risk be made through family ''conferencing'' that would include the parents, extended family, someone representing the child, child protection workers and other support workers. Children would attend if they were old enough and it was considered appropriate.

Lib MP gets power bill cut

Damien Brown - The Mercury
It has been revealed that at least one of Liberal MP Peter Gutwein's political colleagues receives a 16 per cent discount on his power bill -- a policy his party has criticised amid rising electricity costs. The energy workers' union, the Communication, Electrical and Plumbing Union, has demanded to know which other MPs receive the discount offered to current and past employees of Hydro, Transend and Aurora.

Crossbow sales to be restricted

Ronan O'Connell - The West Australian
Crossbow sales will be restricted in WA under laws being drafted because of the public outcry this year after a man was convicted of using one to kill 26-year-old Karratha man Christopher Halstead. A spokeswoman for Acting Police Minister Christian Porter said yesterday crossbows would be re-classified from a controlled weapon to a prohibited weapon. A licence is not currently required to buy a crossbow but anyone who has one without a lawful excuse faces a $4000 fine or 12 months jail. The legislation is yet to be drafted, however it is understood the proposed laws will largely restrict the use of crossbows to sporting endeavours - but there may be exceptions.

US Christians lose faith in President

Michael Gerson - The Australian
Many religious conservatives have fled into the arms of the ultra-right Tea Party. As a candidate, it was a measure of Barack Obama's political innovation and ambition that he set out to win religious voters, including evangelical Christians. As President, his failure in this effort is equally revealing. During the campaign, Obama's brand of progressivism was refreshingly free of secularism. He combined a conciliatory message - that believers do not need to "leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square" - with persistent outreach to religious leaders.

Two Algerian Christians 'did not break Ramadan rules'

Two Christians who were on trial in Algeria for breaking Ramadan fasting rules have been cleared of wrongdoing. Human rights groups said the trial was a violation of the right to religious freedom under the constitution. Hocine Hocini and Salem Fellak were arrested in August during the month of Ramadan, after they were seen eat