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.


Children & Family

Question for the minister: Why is your department partly blaming the child victims of sex crimes, and their parents, for the incidents?

Sarah Vogler - The Courier-Mail

Question for the minister: Why is your department partly blaming the child victims of sex crimes, and their parents, for the incidents? This is the question that Child Safety Minister Tracy Davis refuses to directly answer. Instead, Ms Davis's office issued a statement in which she claimed the Newman Government wanted "to make Queensland's child safety system the best it possibly can be".

Donor Conception & Surrogacy

What you need to know about paternity tests

Sarah Marinos -

More and more families are taking steps to confirm their children's parentage. But experts say it doesn't have to be a negative and nasty experience. For decades paternity tests have been cast as the bad guys, the marriage-breakers, an all-round negative experience – but now, as they become a more common part of modern life, some experts are extolling the positive side of testing. It is estimated that in Australia, more than 10,000 people – interestingly, mainly women – sign up each year to find out whether their child is biologically theirs, says Professor Michael Gilding of Melbourne’s Swinburne Institute for Social Research.

Drugs & Alcohol

Ice, the devil that stalks our suburbs

Mandy Squires - Geelong Advertiser

When I found out he was doing it, it was so hard to take in because I've always had a big fear of drugs. We wanted to be strong and give him a message that we didn't approve, so we packed up his stuff and put it at the front door. It's really hard and it's really upsetting, because you watch this person that you raised and that you love so much just disappear in front of you.

Smoke and mirrors in cigarette marketing

Adam Ferrier - The Drum ABC

Plain packaged cigarettes may taste the same as those with branding, but try telling that to smokers. As tobacco companies know, perception is everything, writes Adam Ferrier. Advertising makes cars drive faster. Advertising makes shoes more stylish. Advertising makes cleaners clean more brightly. Advertising makes everything better.


Deep divide at UN climate talks


Countries entered a second week of UN climate talks in Doha deeply divided on key issues even as fresh warnings were issued that rising greenhouse gas levels are putting our planet in peril. After six days of intense negotiations, observers on Monday said nations were far from agreement on extending the Kyoto Protocol on curbing emissions of Earth-warming gases, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2) produced from burning fossil fuels. With evidence mounting that man-made climate change is melting polar ice caps and causing sea levels to rise more quickly than feared, poor countries insist the West makes deeper, more urgent emissions cuts under Kyoto and gives more cash to help the third world adapt and cope.


Pokie headphones banned in Victoria

Simon Lauder - ABC

Victoria has banned what it calls 'dangerous' gambling technology. The State Government says poker machines with plug in headphones undermine responsible gambling. An anti-pokies lobby group says other states should follow Victoria's example. But, as Simon Lauder reports, the industry says the state's ban is discriminatory.

Human Rights

Mother tells senate inquiry that sterilising her disabled daughter was a blessing


Groups concerned about preserving the fertility rights of disabled people should be focused on more important quality of life issues, an Australian mother says. The unnamed mother has written a submission to a Senate inquiry saying that dealing with the menstruation of her daughter, who suffers from moderate intellectual disability, had pushed her close to "breaking point". The community affairs references committee inquiry is examining the involuntary or coerced sterilisation of people with disabilities in Australia.

Coerced sterilisation 'should be made unlawful'

Clay Lucas - The Age

The sterilisation of children without their consent must be criminalised, along with the taking of a disabled child overseas with the intention of having them sterilised, the Australian Human Rights Commission says. The recommendation is contained in the commission's submission to a Senate inquiry into the involuntary or coerced sterilisation of people with disabilities in Australia, which began in September.

Multimillion dollar budget blowout for legal aid


The Law Institute of Victoria says a funding crisis at Victoria Legal Aid means vulnerable clients will miss out. Last year, the organisation posted a $3.1 million deficit in its annual report. This year, the budget is expected to blow out by $10 million. The president of the Law Institute of Victoria, Michael Holcroft, says the budget crisis is the result of increasing demand for services.


Nevada federal judge rejects same-sex marriage

The Associated Press

U.S. District Chief Judge Robert Jones ruled that Nevada has what he calls "a legitimate state interest" in maintaining the traditional institution of marriage between one man and one woman. He says the state has the right to prohibit recognition of marriages from other states.

Marriage - the only thing that works better after 40 years

Lucy Kippist - The Punch

It sounds like a trick. The latest research from Australian Unity’s Wellbeing Index claims the first year of marriage is the absolute worst, but stick it out for the next 40 and you’ll be the happiest person in the world. Got to say the story made me laugh a bit - December marks my 18th month of marriage. And while I have to say the ups and downs have been equal for us, they’ve definitely felt different than before we got married.

Overseas Aid

Syrian Christians in need of blankets and heaters

Christian Today

Barnabas Fund is providing heaters and blankets to Christian families suffering as a result of the conflict in Syria. As winter sets in, around 1,500 heaters and over 3,700 blankets will be distributed among the most vulnerable families. Many of the families have been forced to leave their homes as a result of the ongoing conflict. In addition to winter provisions, Barnabas Fund is distributing food, baby milk and medicine.


Green told to sit down over GetUp! candidate

Ross Peake - Fairfax

A Greens member vying for preselection for the ACT Senate race has apparently been told not to criticise the candidate favoured by federal leader Christine Milne. Kate Hamilton refused to repeat any criticism of Simon Sheikh, the former national director of GetUp!, whom she previously labelled a ''celebrity candidate''.

UN vote unlikely to help fragile Labor

Gerard Henderson - SMH

On Meet the Press on Sunday, presenter Paul Bongiorno put it to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, that the “Israel lobby and the opposition are very unhappy you were rolled on Australia's vote in the United Nations giving the Palestinian Authority observer status”. The fact is that there are no Israelis in Australia who lobby for Israel. Presumably, what Bongiorno intended to say was that there are Jewish Australians who support Israel.

The marriage gap in the women’s vote

Meg T. McDonnell - Mercator Net

President Obama won 65 percent of the single women's vote by promising to look after them. This past year America has seen a trumped up “War on Women” that claimed women’s freedom depends on “reproductive rights”.

Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Egypt fears for girls, marriage laws in new constitution

Joseph Mayton - Bikyamasr

If Egypt’s constitution is passed in a popular referendum on December 15, women’s rights and girls’ rights in the country are among the most threatening issues at stake, local NGOs and women’s rights advocates have warned. The Egyptian Association for the Assistance of Juveniles and Human Rights added that Article 70 also does not prohibit child trafficking and sexual exploitation.


Sri Lankans in new challenge to boats regime

Rick Morton - The Australian

Labor's asylum-seeker regime faces a new High Court challenge after a group of 56 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers launched an urgent bid to block their deportation, challenging the government's "screening out" process. The Refugee Action Coalition brought the challenge on behalf of the Sri Lankans, who claim they were due to be deported on the orders of Immigration Minister Chris Bowen this morning. At 4.30pm yesterday, they sought an injunction to stop their removal and received an undertaking that they would not be removed before their case was heard again on Thursday.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

Suspected Islamists kill 10 Christians in northeast Nigeria


Suspected Islamist fighters went on the rampage in northeast Nigeria overnight, killing 10 Christians with guns and machetes and burning down their houses, witnesses said on Sunday. The attack happened in a village called Chibok, in a remote part of northeastern Borno state, at the heart of an insurgency led by Islamist sect Boko Haram. "Suspected Boko Haram came at night and set people's houses on fire before killing their victims," said Nuhu Clark, a former local councilor of the village who escaped the attack.


News reporters told not to use word ‘homophobia’

UK Christian Institute

Journalists working for the Associated Press have been warned not to use the word ‘homophobia’ in their reports because it is inaccurate. It is wrong to assume that someone is suffering from a ‘phobia’ just because they disagree with homosexuality, new rules suggest. The style guide for Associated Press (AP) reporters has been updated to say: “-phobia,” “an irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness” should not be used “in political or social contexts,” including “homophobia”. AP Deputy Standards Editor, Dave Minthorn, said: “Homophobia especially — it’s just off the mark. It’s ascribing a mental disability to someone, and suggests a knowledge that we don’t have. It seems inaccurate.

Brisbane's first female bishop not one for cliches

Brisbane Times

Brisbane’s first woman bishop always believed in God, but you could say she really "found" him in a small hotel room in China. The Venerable Alison Taylor will take up leadership of the southern region from April 2013, replacing current bishop, the Right Reverend Geoff Smith. Archdeacon Taylor built a successful career as an urban planner in the 1980s, before having her daughter Miranda and turning to priestly studies in 1993.

Students want sex education earlier

Amy McNeilage - WA Today

High school students say they are not getting sex education soon enough and want topics such as puberty and pregnancy discussed in primary school, a Victorian study has found. Yet a study by the same researchers found most teachers of year five and six students were uncomfortable talking about the reproductive system in sex education class. More than half year 7, 8 and 9 students think almost all aspects of sex education topics should be introduced in primary school, the survey of about 100 students in Ballarat found.

Poll Britain wants to return to its Christian roots

Michael F. Haverluck - OneNewsNow

In a nation that is often described as "post-Christian," a spark of revival might be on the horizon. A breeding ground of Darwinian evolution and atheism -- and more recently, spreading Islamization -- England has been recognized as falling away from its Christian heritage for generations. But recent survey results released by Oxford University indicate that a large majority is ready for a return to its Christian roots.