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.



Doctors’ group votes against reopening abortion debate in Canada

Sharon Kirkey - Montreal Gazette

The nation’s doctors are moving to stop any reopening of the abortion debate, saying life begins when a baby emerges from its mother’s womb. More than 250 delegates to the Canadian Medical Association’s annual general council meeting Wednesday supported maintaining a section of the Criminal Code that declares a child becomes a human being at the moment of birth. Their move comes after concerns that a private member’s motion in Parliament could be a back door to criminalizing abortion and the doctors who perform it.

Children & Family

Couple had two children together but not classed as de factos

Ainsley Pavey - The Courier-Mail

A court has refused to grant de facto status to a couple who were allegedly engaged to be married and had two children together. The woman sought the declaration after the pair split in 2010 after a 10-year relationship. In making the ruling in a recently published judgment, federal magistrate Terry McGuire said the existence of an "ongoing and regular sexual relationship" was not in dispute. But he found in favour of the man, who argued the relationship had never progressed beyond that of "boyfriend and girlfriend". Mr McGuire said the woman had done herself "no credit" after failing to fully disclose she had "held herself out" to Centrelink and the Child Support Agency as being "financially independent" and maintained her own rental home.


Hendo threat denial

Alyssa Betts - NT News

Labor leader Paul Henderson now denies his senior staff threatened legal action to kill off a sensitive news story - because there are no tape recordings to prove the threat was made. It's a change in story for the politician, who earlier this week simply denied any knowledge of the Monday-night stand-off between the NT News and his staffers.

Fifty shades of ambiguity make porn laws a perverse joke

Jeff Sparrow - SMH

Should Fifty Shades of Grey be banned? Australians clearly don't think so. On any typical train carriage, you'll find at least one reader unabashedly engrossed in Ana Steele's romps with Mr Grey and his Red Room of Pain. Yet a film with the same content - that is, a movie combining real sex with bondage - must, by law, be refused classification. How does that make sense?

Donor Conception & Surrogacy

ACL welcomes Govt support for ban on donor anonymity

Katherine Spackman - International TO

The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the Federal Government’s support of a donor-conceived child to know its biological parent. While a State issue, ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace welcomed the government’s acknowledgement in its response yesterday to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Report, to ban donor anonymity. “The best way the Commonwealth can show support for this principle is to resist the push to redefine marriage and ensure that wherever possible children are raised by their biological parents,” he said.

Drugs & Alcohol

Children of addicts at high risk of abuse

Petrina Berry -

One in five children whose parents are drug addicts or alcoholics is physically or sexually abused, an inquiry has been told. Queensland's child protection inquiry on Thursday delved into a 1980 study of 200 families where the parents had alcohol or drug addictions. The research found children in one in five of the families were being physically or sexually abused.

Alcohol in Cross-hairs but Premier is gun-shy

Michael Thorn - SMH

The Premier, Barry O'Farrell, announced new restrictions to tackle alcohol-related violence in Sydney's Kings Cross this week, with great fanfare. If these are the tentative first steps of a government finding the courage to tackle alcohol-related harms in NSW, I for one will be first in line to congratulate him. Unfortunately, given the fanfare associated with its release, I fear this is not the start of something greater. Rather, it is a Band-Aid solution, artfully disguised and presented to the people of NSW as something far grander.


Online open education: yes, this is the game changer

Simon Marginson - SBS

Mass Open Online Courseware (MOOCs) is less than a year old but it is already clear this will be the game changer in higher education worldwide. Right now it is reverberating through Australian universities like a tectonic shock. The new paradigm, first developed in late 2011 by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig at Stanford University, now based in Silicon Valley, will be as disruptive to conventional delivery in higher education as the internet has been for book publishers, newspapers, and the retail giants.


At odds with gambling ads

Craig Mathieson - Brisbane Times

Promoting the services of betting companies during sport broadcasts is a dangerous game. Channel Nine and Foxtel had their ups and downs with the taxing task of covering the London Olympics, but one aspect of their nearly round-the-clock broadcasts has been a revelation: the complete absence of betting odds and the endlessly insidious inducements to gamble. It's as if a noxious, low-lying cloud of pollution has been lifted from the sports on television and you can breathe easily once again. It would be nice to say this was the broadcasters' honourable choice, but it's actually a stipulation of the International Olympic Committee as part of selling the television rights.

Tatts sues Vic govt for compensation

Trevor Chappell - SMH

Gambling firm Tatts Group is suing the Victorian government for more than $490 million in compensation following the expiry of its licence to operate poker machines. Tatts and gambling rival Tabcorp held a duopoly to operate up to 27,500 poker machines outside of Melbourne's Crown casino until August 15, 2012 when their licences expired and the rights to operate the poker machines was passed on to pubs and clubs on August 16. Tatts said on Thursday that it was starting legal action in the Victorian Supreme Court, arguing that under an agreement made in 1995 it was entitled to compensation.

Human Rights

Fears vilification change may affect churches

Lisa Cox - The Canberra Times

Anglican Bishop Stuart Robinson fears changes to the ACT Discrimination Act could lead to religious disputes ending up in court and increase tension between faiths. The head of the Canberra and Goulburn Archdiocese has also criticised the ACT government for not consulting religious leaders about the proposed changes, which will make religious vilification in the territory illegal. But Attorney-General Simon Corbell, who will introduce the legislation next week, says the proposed amendments are ''not controversial'' and have been consistently recommended by the ACT Human Rights Commission.

Former High Court judge Ian Callinan warns on media muzzle

Christian Kerr - The Australian

Former High Court judge Ian Callinan has warned against muzzling the media with regulation, arguing that the right to free speech has been hard won and should not be wound back by governments. Mr Callinan, who will mount his case for freedom at a conference in Brisbane tomorrow, also strongly attacks the media for sensationalism, bias, distortion and occasional deplorable behaviour.


Pacific community split over NZ gay marriage bill


A group of Pacific Island community leaders in New Zealand is hoping to change the minds of many Pacific people who are opposed to same sex marriage. Members of Parliament will be allowed to vote according to their own consciences, rather than along party lines, when a private members bill enabling same sex marriage is debated. The controversial bill, sponsored by opposition Labour Party MP Louisa Wall, has raised a strong reaction in the Pacific community with the south Auckland MP for Mangere, Su'a William Sio, opposing the move and saying the bill could cost Labour the next election.

Overseas Aid

Family planning aid vote stirs opposition

Richard Willingham - SMH

Fears have arisen about the future of foreign aid funding for family planning under a Coalition government after senior opposition figures demanded their objections be noted by the Parliament. The Greens senator Lee Rhiannon yesterday successfully moved a motion calling on the government to continue foreign aid funding for family planning. It was won ''on the voices'', meaning a formal vote was not required.


LNP chief urges Clive Palmer to drop politics

Jamie Walker - The Australian

Clive Palmer's best friend in politics, Queensland Liberal National Party boss Bruce McIver, wants the flamboyant billionaire to abandon plans to run for federal parliament. Mr McIver chairs a Palmer company and is reputed to be one of the few people to whom the outspoken Queenslander listens.

John Howard backs Lib candidate plebiscite

Imre Salusinszky -The Australian

A push for more democratic selection of state and federal parliamentary candidates in the NSW Liberal Party has been boosted by the imprimatur of John Howard. In a rare intervention in internal party affairs, the former prime minister said yesterday he had long supported a move towards plebiscites to select candidates in place of the current panels made up of a mix of local branch representatives and party heavies.

Another job for the boys as Mike Rann becomes our man in London

Michael Owen - The Australian

Dumped South Australian Labor premier Mike Rann will be appointed Australian high commissioner to Britain. In what will be perceived as a jobs-for-the-boys appointment by the Gillard government, the 59-year-old will be rewarded - as early as today - for his decades of service to the ALP with a plum diplomatic posting to London. Mr Rann was elected to parliament in 1985 and led Labor in South Australia for a record 17 years.

Abbott PM and G-G Howard will restore the golden days

Godwin Grech - SMH

Australian governance has deteriorated markedly since the election of the Rudd-Gillard government in November 2007. Chronic leadership instability, a preoccupation with spin, loss of the policy agenda to trade unions and the Greens, incompetence, a ''survive at any cost'' mentality and a blatantly pro-ALP bureaucracy draping itself in the sacred cloak of Westminster have produced some of the most appalling public policy and administration since Fed ration. Further

Liberal ministers on preselection hit list

Sean Nicholls - Sydney Morning Herald

Three NSW government ministers are being named on a ''hit list'' of almost 20 MPs targeted for branch stacking if controversial reforms are passed to change the way the Liberal Party preselects candidates. The Planning Minister, Brad Hazzard, the Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Victor Dominello, and the Sports Minister, Graham Annesley, are all being discussed as potential targets of the Liberals' hard right faction in what is brewing as a major dispute within the NSW division.

Windsor calls out Abbott: 'You'd do anything but sell your arse'

Malcolm Farr - Daily Telegraph

Tony Abbott two years ago begged for support to become Prime Minister, saying he would do anything except "sell my arse" to get the job, Parliament heard today. "If he had been asked to put in place an emissions trading scheme or a carbon tax, for that matter, he would have done it," independent Tony Windsor said in a savage attack on the Opposition Leader."The fact that he was not asked was a very, very good judgement, in my view."

Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Strip club murder accused 'tried to calm the situation'

Amy Remeikis - Brisbane Times

A man accused of murdering missing man Kevin Stanley Brack inside a “C-grade” Fortitude Valley strip club was attempting to calm the situation a Brisbane Court heard today. Prosecutor Danny Boyle said the evenly gender-split jury would hear from the Crown that Blaze Seaton Pearce, 35, was either responsible for or aided in the “brutal” murder of 47-year-old Mr Brack at Flikkerz Foto and Dance Studio on Brunswick Street in the early hours of February 17, 2009.

Sex 20 times a day: HIV-positive gigolo fronts court

Mark Russell - The Age

A HIV-positive male prostitute accused of deliberately infecting clients had discussed with his doctor the risks of transmitting the disease, a court heard today. Adam Randall, 36, who allegedly offered sexual services including unprotected sex at his home in Reservoir, appeared briefly in the Melbourne Magistrates Court this morning. Randall has been charged with attempting to intentionally infect another person with a serious disease, conduct endangering life and working as a sex worker while infected with a disease between January 2011 and May 23 this year.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

Atheists may sue school over songs mentioning God

Dustin Lushing - Newser

Stop singing about God or go to court, or so says an atheist organization threatening to sue a school district in Clifton Park, New York. The Freedom From Religion Foundation wants the Shenendehowa district to stop teaching two songs to elementary school kids that include lyrics referencing an almighty creator. The tunes are "Thank You for the World So Sweet" featuring the line, "Thank you God for everything," and the song "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep," which includes "I pray the Lord my soul to keep," reports the Huffington Post.


Indonesian crew escape in 'rescued' vessel

Paige Taylor - The Australian

The Indonesian crew of an asylum boat that sparked a massive rescue effort left rescuers shocked when they sailed off in the boat that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority had believed was stricken. Merchant vessel Maersk Diadema was responding to a mayday call from AMSA on Monday when it steamed towards the asylum boat about 70 nautical miles southwest of Bali. AMSA, in turn, was responding to distress calls from someone onboard the asylum boat.

Rescue ship's crew bowed to boatpeople

Paign Taylor - The Australian

The merchant vessel that rescued asylum-seekers off Java on Monday intended to drop them off at Singapore but was pressured by the boatpeople to instead take them to Christmas Island. The Australian has been told the captain of the MV Parsifal, the world's joint largest roll-on, roll-off carrier, had intended to resume the ship's course to Singapore after diverting to rescue the 67 asylum-seekers early on Monday. The alarmed asylum-seekers wanted to go to Australia and appointed a spokesman who spoke English to lobby the ship's captain.


Hypocrisy is not the word

Daniel Horowitz - Red State

Today, a gunman entered the building that houses the Family Research Council in Washington and attempted to gun down those working there. Thanks to the heroic actions of the security guard, Leo Johnson, the suspect was apprehended with nobody else hurt except for himself. Leo was shot in the arm before he tackled the suspect. Here’s what we know about the attack at present. A 28-year old man reportedly named Floyd Corkins II, who volunteered at some homosexual/transgendered community center, entered the office building of the most prominent social conservative organization; he was carrying a Chick-Fil-A bag; and Fox News reports that he said the following after the security guard apprehended him: “Don’t shoot me, it was not about you, it was what this place stands for.” Further

Ex-gay married, became a pastor

Mark Ellis - GodReports

He fought same-sex attraction as a young person and plunged into the homosexual lifestyle after a false accusation unmasked his desires. When a tumultuous same-sex relationship unwound, the power of God’s Word and the Spirit drew a prodigal home. “In junior high I first experienced same-sex attraction,” says Jim Domen, who works with the California Family Council. Domen grew up in a traditional home, with a Catholic father and Episcopalian mother who both became born again believers when Domen was in elementary school.