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.



Zoe's Law introduced by Nile


A bill allowing people to be charged with manslaughter if they cause a woman to lose her baby has been introduced to NSW parliament, with Christian Democratic MP Fred Nile saying it has nothing to do with abortions. The proposed legislation has been named Zoe's Law, in honour of the unborn child of Brodie Donegan, a Central Coast woman who was eight months pregnant on Christmas Day in 2009 when she was hit by a drug-affected driver. Zoe was stillborn as a result but the driver wasn't charged with her death because the law didn't recognise her as a person.


Gender identity ruling allows child, 12, to start puberty-blocking drug therapy

Ainsley Pavey - The Courier-Mail

A 12-year-old child who was born a boy but raised as a girl since "early in life" will be given puberty-blocking drugs. The Family Court of Australia has granted approval for the mother of "Jodie" to start urgent but reversible "Stage 1" quarterly injections to suppress male puberty after doctors warned the child was at risk of "self harm". The ruling is likely to spark further debate over changing the gender of children in Australia as the legal system grapples over whether oestrogen treatment should be given to a child when they turn 16.

Children & Family

Family law court-ordered expert dumped from custody battle after his wife began texting children

Janet Fife-Yomans - The Daily Telegraph

A court-ordered expert asked to report on the future of three children at the centre of a custody battle has been thrown off the case after his wife got involved in what was none of her business. In a rare move, a Federal Court magistrate has reported the expert and his wife to Family Court bosses after she was found to have exchanged 81 text messages and numerous telephone calls with the oldest of the children, aged 14.

Bullying can take toll beyond childhood

Matt Cantor - Newser

Bullied kids are at greater risk of a range of psychological problems years later, a study suggests. "Psychological damage doesn’t just go away because a person grew up and is no longer bullied," says a researcher. And that applies to both sexes, the study finds, challenging earlier research that suggested the long-term toll was more pronounced among girls. This study referred to "a much richer data set," researchers said. "We were actually able to say being a victim of bullying is having an effect a decade later."


New classification and a return of favourites heralds a bumper year

Mike Wilcox - The Canberra Times

The past few years have brought huge growth in the casual gaming space, with smartphone and tablet owners joining the greater gaming collective. But hard-core gaming has gradually plateaued, as it does every time the current versions of home consoles near the end of their life cycles. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge received Australia's first R18+ video game classification. Fortunately, 2013 is shaping as a cracker for gamers, with a strong line-up of titles poised for release, a new adult classification for games, and high expectations of new home consoles launching later in the year.

Drugs & Alcohol

Hells Angels target shopping mall kids to join life of crime

Yoni Bashan - The Daily Telegraph

Hells Angels are trying to recruit schoolchildren from Sydney shopping centres to join their gang and peddle drugs - threatening them with violence if they refuse. The Daily Telegraph can reveal police in the Hills Local Area Command are pursuing seven men associated with the gang over their menacing standover attempts on young teens. The investigation, codenamed Strike Force Jounama, has been running since late last year and is probing up to 15 separate cases of violence and standover.

Mass police raids uncover drugs bonanza

Kate Kyriacou - The Courier-Mail

Cash, drugs and guns have been seized in a major drug bust targeting a series of dealing networks. Police today announced the closure of operations Juliet Cheshire and Juliet Cheshire 2 following an 18-month investigation. Detective Superintendent Steve Holahan from the state drug and property crime group said 32 properties across Brisbane, Roma, Logan, Ipswich and the Gold Coast were raided over the past two days, netting $2.5 million worth of drugs.

Signaling pathway might determine genetic susceptibility for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

Medical Net

Fetal alcohol syndrome is the leading preventable cause of developmental disorders in developed countries. And fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), a range of alcohol-related birth defects that includes fetal alcohol syndrome, is thought to affect as many as 1 in 100 children born in the United States. Any amount of alcohol consumed by the mother during pregnancy poses a risk of FASD, a condition that can include the distinct pattern of facial features and growth retardation associated with fetal alcohol syndrome as well as intellectual disabilities, speech and language delays, and poor social skills.


Belgium mulls euthanasia law for minors


Belgian legislators are debating whether to amend the decade-old law allowing euthanasia to include minors. Experts have told parliament that euthanasia among minors was already taking place, but without any set guidelines. Currently, the law applies to those over 18, but one expert told the upper house of parliament that it was clear that euthanasia was being carried out on younger people, the Belga news agency reported. "We all know it," said Dominique Biarent, head of intensive care at Queen Fabiola Children's University Hospital in Brussels. Faced with this reality, "doctors need a legal framework", Ms Biarent was quoted as saying by Belga on Wednesday.


Casino shows hand on planned move

Bridie Jabour - Brisbane Times

A $1 billion casino is being proposed for Brisbane with the current Treasury Casino site dubbed "too small" by its owners. Echo Entertainment CEO John Redmond has confirmed the company wants to move the casino to an undetermined five-hectare site in the CBD and build a new casino with about four times the hotel rooms of the current casino. Mr Redmond said the company had been "inspired" by the Newman government's plans to revitalise the CBD but began their relocation talks with the Bligh government.

Vic accountant dupes ATO of $1.8m


Loukia Bariamis fiddled with her clients' business activity statements (BAS) to pay herself a fortune in tax refunds she wasn't entitled to. She then lashed out on jewellery, clothes, furniture, expensive meals and gifts for friends, the Victorian County Court has been told. She also used the cash to fuel a gambling addiction.

Human Rights

Religion to lose protected status

Annabel Hepworth - The Australian

Religious organisations running schools, health and aged-care services face losing key exemptions to Labor's new anti-discrimination laws under recommendations that could see them sued by people who disagree with church ethos. A parliamentary inquiry has found Labor's proposed laws need to be substantially changed, including to dump exceptions that would have allowed religious organisations to discriminate against individuals when providing services, where such discrimination would otherwise be unlawful.


Puerto Rico Supreme Court upholds gay adoption ban


Puerto Rico's Supreme Court has narrowly voted to uphold a law banning gay couples from adopting children. Today's 5-4 vote comes in the case of an unidentified woman who sought to adopt a child that her partner had through in-vitro fertilization. A majority of judges upheld the constitutionality of a law specifying that a family includes a mother and father because that is best for a child's dignity and well-being. Chief Justice Federico Hernandez Denton dissented, saying that the plaintiff's attorneys proved the adoption would benefit the child. The decision comes as Puerto Rican legislators prepare to debate several bills that would extend more rights to gays and lesbians.

Overseas Aid

World Vision: Teens more aware of causes such as '30-Hr Famine' through social media

Alex Murashko - Christian Post

The hunger relief organization World Vision begins its annual 30 Hour Famine (30HF) youth-orientated program to raise funds and awareness this weekend. The Christian-based group plans to leverage the source where most young people get their information nowadays – social media. "When it comes to where teens are getting the majority of their information, they are on the peer-to-peer platforms so much that they are hearing about social justice and causes through Facebook and through Twitter much more than they are hearing from other sources, even their parents," Leah Swindon, national director of World Vision's 30HF, told The Christian Post.

'Stuff does not bring happiness': Sir Richard Branson pledges to give away half his Virgin fortune to 'make a difference in the world'

Simon Tomlinson - Daily Mail

Sir Richard Branson is among the latest crop of billionaires who have promised to donate at least half their fortune to charity. The Virgin Group founder, who is worth more than $4bn, has added his name to the Giving Pledge campaign set up by U.S. investor Warren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. In their pledge letter, Sir Richard and his wife Joan said they wanted to use cash from the company to create 'a healthy, equitable and peaceful world for future generations to enjoy.'


This week’s winner for campaign stupidity: Milne

Malcolm Farr - The Punch

Don’t believe anyone who tells you the election campaign isn’t underway. If they insist that’s the case, they are probably just campaigning for September 14. There is too much evidence to the contrary to claim it’s business as usual. There is a discipline and an intense parsing of all pronouncements usually only encountered in an election campaign. The most brazen campaigner has been stunt-woman and Greens Leader Christine Milne, but she is not alone. After Tony Abbott yesterday gave a rough timetable of “a few months” to abolish carbon pricing and the mining tax I asked his office whether a Coalition government would need to extend the parliamentary schedule later this year.

Greens in 2013: between a rock and a hard place

Tad Tietze - ABC

Karl Marx once wrote, "The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living." In the case of the Australian Greens one might say that the party's now-dead alliance with the Gillard Government weighs like a nightmare on their current po itical options. To get a sense of the strategic paradox the Greens face in 2013 we need only look at Christine Milne's performance on the day of her National Press Club address, in which she announced the end of the Greens-Labor agreement. Well, kind of announced, because it was hard to know whether the agreement was actually finished, let alone who had ended it or the motivations behind the divorce.

Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

IT worker groomed 'child' for sex: court

Christine Flatley - Brisbane Times

An IT worker employed by Queensland's Department of Education allegedly groomed for sex a police officer posing online as a young girl. Arthur Borg, 50, faced the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Thursday charged with using a carriage service to groom a person under 16 years and three counts of using the internet to procure children under 16 years. Police are alleging Mr Borg used Facebook and other online networking sites to seduce what he believed was a 14-year-old girl.


Boat tragedy reignites refugee blame game

Brisbane Times

Close to 100 asylum seekers are believed to have starved to death on their way to Indonesia and Australia during a two-month ocean ordeal that has reignited the blame game over refugee policy. Sri Lankan authorities rescued 32 Myanmar (Burma) nationals from their stricken boat at the weekend about 460km off the Sri Lankan coast, still more than 4000km from Australia. The survivors say they threw the bodies of 98 others who died of starvation and dehydration into the sea.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

China's plan to eradicate house churches sees dramatic increase in persecution

Morning Star News

China's Christians felt a noticeable rise in persecution in 2012 as the Communist government began the first of a three-phase plan to eradicate unregistered house churches, a new report says. Cases of persecution of Christians rose by about 42 percent last year compared with 2011, according to the report by human rights group China Aid. With the number of persecuted Christians rising by roughly 14 percent and detentions by nearly 12 percent, overall persecution was about 13 percent worse than in 2011 – though China Aid termed its statistics just "the tip of the iceberg."


Call to include sex work in NDIS

Lisa Martin - AAP

Helen Hunt might win an Oscar next week for the portrayal of a sex surrogate for a disabled man in the film The Sessions. The film, by Australian director Ben Lewin, tells the real life story of the late Californian journalist Mark O'Brian, who spent most of his life in an iron lung as a result of childhood polio, and his experiences with a sex surrogate. Back in Australia, the issue of sex and disabilities has been raised in a parliamentary inquiry into draft legislation for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). A Canberra man with cerebral palsy wants the services of sex workers to be considered a legitimate need for people with disabilities in the NDIS bill.

Restore the common good: Pope Benedict XVI's message to economists

Stefano Zamagni - ABC

In our time, the market has come to dominate our lives to an ever increasing degree. There are those who believe that, after the economic crisis of the last few years, it is the global market itself that will recreate a proper sense of social obligation and rebuild human relationships, so they want business efficiency to be encouraged through our social, political and cultural life. In contrast to this post-Fordist ideology based first on economics, Christians believe that the human dimension is all important, as is the right of each individual to realise his or her potential and aspirations.

Ban on gays could cost Boy Scouts tax exemptions

Chaas Toborg - Kion Right Now

It looks like the Boy Scouts of America could be in for more fallout in the controversy over openly gay scouts. There's a new proposed law that would prevent youth groups from receiving government tax exemptions if that group discriminates based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill, known as the Youth Equality Act, was introduced by State Senator Ricardo Lara, who's an openly gay lawmaker in Los Angeles County.