ACL compiles a daily media monitoring service of stories of interest to the Christian constituency relating to children, family, drugs and alcohol, marriage, human rights, religious freedom etc. Visit the ACL’s website each day to see what’s of interest in the news. Please note that selection of the articles does not represent ACL endorsement of the content.



How was a drug-addicted doctor with hep C able to infect his patients?

Moira Sim - The Conversation

Fifty-five women contracted hepatitis C after having abortions in Melbourne between 2008 and 2009. James Latham Peters, an anaesthetist with a drug dependence, has been prosecuted in Victoria for infecting these women while in his care. He is currently awaiting sentencing. Hepatitis C is a common infection among injecting drug users. Peters transmitted the virus to them when he injected himself with fentanyl (a fast-acting morphine-like drug used as part of an anaesthetic) before he administered the remainder of the drug to his patients.

Arkansas Gov. vetoes ban on abortion at 20 weeks, or pain stage

Melissa Barnhart - Christian Post

Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would ban abortions in Arkansas at 20 weeks, unless a woman is a victim of rape, incest or her life is at risk due to a medical emergency. Members of the Arkansas House and Senate voted in favor of HB 1037 that would ban abortions at 20 weeks – the time in which a pre-born baby can feel pain.

Children & Family

Why are family courts out of step?

Charles Pragnell - Online Opinion

Every year in Australia, billions of dollars are spent by Federal and State governments on seeking to prevent child abuse and maltreatment and to protect children from harm and exploitation. Millions more are spent supporting non-government organisations in supporting government efforts. Billions more dollars are spent on mental health and hospital services to provide treatment for the victims of child abuse and to treat drug, alcohol, and gambling addictions, and many people in prisons and rehabilitation centres have similarly been abused during their childhood.

Family violence drives crime-rate rise

Nino Bucci - The Age

The Victorian crime rate has increased again, with police saying that surging family violence offences are the reason for the rise. Family violence offences increased by almost 40 per cent in the past year, police said when the figures were released on Thursday morning. Crimes against the person increased by 11 per cent from January to December 2011 compared to 2012, while drug offences leapt by 17 per cent.


Judge blames 15-year-old boy's internet porn obsession for his rape of girl, 14, in a 'heinous' attack

Eleanor Harding - Daily Mail

A distraught father has demanded ministers take action after his teenage daughter was raped by a boy obsessed with hardcore online porn. The schoolgirl, who was 14 at the time, was bound, gagged, beaten up and raped by the 15-year-old as he tried to re-enact sadistic scenes he had viewed on the internet. Yesterday, her father renewed calls for restrictions on internet porn after it emerged the boy spent hours every day looking at disturbing sex videos in the months leading up to the attack.

Christians upset over the poster of a woman licking a cow to promote a burger chain

Jasmin Lill - Herald Sun

The advertising watchdog has thrown out a complaint against a Brisbane burger joint after they used an image of a woman licking a cow's face to promote their premium beef. The Advertising Standards Board dismissed the complaint which described the Burger Urge image as loathsome, sick, wrong and perverted. But the Board ruled most people would realise the image had been photoshopped, and while it would be considered distasteful by most people, it was not overly sexualised or provocative.

Drugs & Alcohol

Future Fund stubs out tobacco holdings

Ben Packham - The Australian

The Future Fund will offload $222 million in tobacco stocks after a review of its investments. The fund's chairman David Gonski said the decision to get out of tobacco was due to the health impacts and addictive qualities of cigarettes.

Record ice bust: 585 kilograms seized in Sydney after tip-off

Ilya Gridneff - SMH

A single phone call to police from an anonymous source sparked a year long investigation that netted Australia’s largest recorded ice seizure - 585 kilograms worth an estimated $438 million. NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione told a press conference on Thursday the Joint Organised Crime Group, consisting of leading law enforcement agencies, would not have arrested the Asian drug syndicate’s three men without that simple tip off.


Mars mission seeks married couple

Associated Press

In less than five years, a husband and wife could be on their way toward Mars in an audacious but bare-bones private mission that would slingshot them around the Red Planet, according to a plan outlined today by a financial tycoon and his team. The voyage would be a cosmic no-frills flight that would take the husband-and-wife astronauts as close as 100 miles to Mars, but it would also mean being cooped up for 16 months in a cramped space capsule about half the size of an RV. Why a couple for the flight? "This is very symbolic and we really need it to represent humanity with a man and a woman," says one project member.


WA Labor launch rethink as venue cuts booking

Herald Sun

WA Labor said on its Facebook page it had confirmed a booking with Catholic Fremantle university Notre Dame for March 4, but were advised yesterday that a mistake had been made. The university said it had taken the booking in January, but later realised it was "inconsistent'' with its policies concerning the hosting of party-political events during election campaigns. The ALP's Facebook entry was posted around the same time Opposition Leader Mark McGowan was taking part in a second debate with Premier Colin Barnett at an Australian Christian Lobby function, where the two leaders touched on weighty topics including abortion, prostitution, gay marriage and euthanasia.

Last chance meeting for Liberals

Ross Peake - The Canberra Times

Canberra Liberal Party members will attend branch meetings en masse on Thursday evening as the battle for the Senate preselection goes into a new phase. This is the last chance for party members to qualify for an extraordinary divisional meeting, which will be held in March to consider overturning the Senate preselection process. Many grassroots members are angry they were denied a vote in Saturday's preselection ballot in which Zed Seselja defeated Gary Humphries, 114-84. Only around 200 of the ACT division's 640 members were allowed to vote.

Labor could lose more than an election in Sydney’s west

Malcolm Farr - The Punch

Labor isn’t just afraid of losing valuable political real estate in western Sydney. It also fears the loss of a generation of its best talent. The casualty list of a Labor wipe-out in Sydney’s west would include the names of some MPs credited with the potential to become Prime Minister. They include Environment Minister Tony Burke (Watson), Tertiary Education Minister Chris Bowen (McMahon), Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare (Blaxland) and Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury (Lindsay). Not all are doomed at the September 14 election, just as not all Labor seats in the west will be lost. Private and public polling has shocked some government MPs, although the results in September will be significantly closer.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

Indonesia shrugs at rising religious violence: report

Michael Bachelard - Fairfax Media

Indonesia has experienced a "sharp uptick" in religiously motivated violence, with Islamic gangs regularly attacking Christian churches as well as "deviant sects" of their own faith, a strongly worded new report has warned. The report by Human Rights Watch warns that the Indonesian Government, police and military are "passively, and sometimes actively" condoning these new extremists, in contrast to the way they "wrestled to the ground" the terrorists of Jemaah Islamiah in the past decade.

Sexualisation of Society

It is not child pornography. It is a crime scene photo

Sarah Macgregor - The Conversation

Pornography was once banned, part of a subterranean culture where photographs, 8 mm films, and books were sold and shared illicitly. Over the past few decades, however, pornography and erotica have become more accepted in mainstream Australia. Furthermore, where the making of pornography was once a commercial concern, now there is a “normalisation” of amateur porn on the world wide web. Into this mix comes a form of sexual imagery which focuses on children – child exploitation material (CEM). Colloquially, it is known as child pornography, or worse still “kiddie porn” – visual images of children being forced to engage in sex acts, including images of children as young as babies being brutally assaulted.

Lingerie Football League sexed-down


The Lingerie Football League will have much of its overtly sexual trimmings removed when it launches in Australia. In a bid to attract better broadcasters, more sponsors and credibility the garters, chokers, lace, frills and ribbons are being removed leaving the players looking more like anyone on an Aussie beach. They have even rebranded it to the Legends Football League.


‘Strong manager’ tip for next pope

Kerry Myers - Catholic Weekly

If governance of the Church and reform of the Roman Curia are high priority issues for the Conclave of Cardinals, then those cardinals with strong reputations for decision-making and management may have an advantage, says Australia’s ambassador to the Holy See, John McCarthy. Speaking from Rome, Ambassador McCarthy told The Catholic Weekly in an exclusive interview that discussion about who would be Pope Benedict’s successor was widespread in Rome, and the diplomatic corps to the Holy See was no exception.

Pope's wish an ethical market

Denis Hart – The Australian

Pope Benedict XVI's call to "re-moralise" the economy will have much more impact on the world than his decision to step down today. His landmark letter to bishops, Charity in Truth, spoke of "civilising the economy", arguing our responsibilities in the church to others do not end once we leave our home. How we act in the wider world has moral consequences, so we should be careful about what we buy and sell and how we treat people.