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.



UK: MPs set to debate sex-selection abortion motion on March 28

Kady O'Malley - CBC News

Conservative MP Mark Warawa's non-binding bid to get the House to collectively condemn the practice of sex-selective abortions will make its parliamentary debut -- which, due to an unfortunate twist of timing, falls on the very same day that the Commons is set to adjourn for its annual two-week spring break, which will likely result in an even lighter-than-usual turnout in the Chamber for the first round of debate.

Children & Family

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network warns against app developers targeting children

Neil Keene - The Daily Telegraph

Greedy app developers are cashing in on young smartphone and tablet users - but it's parents who foot the bill. Consumer groups have warned games and other apps aimed at children and teenagers frequently lure them in with free downloads, only to charge for "in-app purchases" or inundate them with banner ads linked to paid websites. Users clicking through and buying can quickly rack up bills of hundreds of dollars. The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network said yesterday it was a growing problem as families used more app technology.

Donor Conception & Surrogacy

Surrogacy laws may leave Australian babies stateless

ABC Lateline

Australian babies may be left stateless and unable to leave India as a result of changes to the country's commercial surrogacy laws. In Australia, commercial surrogacy is illegal. The ban has resulted in a steady flow of heterosexual and gay Australians to India, where the unregulated fertility industry produces hundreds of surrogate babies for Australians each year.

Drugs & Alcohol

Experts wary of e-cigarettes as test run looms

Asher Moses - The Age

The first Australian clinical trial of e-cigarettes as quit-smoking tools will kick off this year with support for the devices building, but the government and some public health experts remain wary. E-cigarettes are battery-powered electronic tubes that simulate the effects of smoking by evaporating a liquid solution into nicotine vapour. Some of the cheaper ones mimic the look of traditional cigarettes – complete with glowing tip – but they produce only vapour, no smoke or ash. While none have been approved for sale as a therapeutic good, the devices are legally available in Australia. However, the nicotine solution is not available because nicotine is classified as a scheduled poison, so users are forced to order them online from unregulated overseas stores.

My drinking, your problem: alcohol hurts non-drinkers too

Robin Room - The Conversation

Drinking a lot of alcohol is bad for the drinker’s health, both in the short and in the long run. But drinking often affects others adversely, too. This is well recognised for drink driving, and once the size of the problem was established, policies were put in place that successfully drove down rates of drink-driving deaths and injuries. But there are a range of harms to others from drinking. These include effects on family life and members – sometimes just a bad moment, sometimes very serious. The drinker may spoil a family holiday, or may fail to pick up a child from preschool. Drinking is often implicated in family violence and in child neglect.


Submissions pour in on assisted dying

Rosemary Bolger - The Examiner

More than 150 submissions have been received so far in response to a discussion paper on a proposed model of "voluntary assisted dying". The model would form the basis of legislation Premier Lara Giddings and Greens leader Nick McKim plan to introduce jointly as a private members' bill later this year. Ms Giddings and Mr McKim released the discussion paper at the start of the month, requesting feedback on the model, saying the overwhelming majority supported reform of the laws in this area.


Let’s get serious about tackling indigenous violence

Sara Hudson - The Punch

According to a new report by the Australian Institute of Criminology, the Northern Territory has the highest rate of homicide in the country (5.7 per 100,000 in 2009–10 compared to 0.8 in the Australian Capital Territory). These figures will come as no surprise to people like Northern Territory MP Bess Price, who has campaigned for years against the horrendous levels of domestic violence experienced by Indigenous women.


Word games won't fool us

Andrew Bolt - Herald Sun

A verbal trick is being played by activists and journalists trying to fool Australians into backing same-sex marriage. See if you can pick the word game that's blinding people to what's really at stake. Here is Leigh Sales, host of the ABC's 7.30, last month: "The House of Commons voted overwhelmingly for marriage equality.'' Here is Finance Minister Penny Wong: "It is an undeniably ugly vein that runs deep in some of the arguments against marriage equality.'' Spotted the trick yet? The one that's just been called out by a surprisingly unimpressed Federal Court judge? More clues. Note the name of the organisation leading the fight for same-sex marriage: Australian Marriage Equality.

Bernardi dumped, yet polygamists prove him right

Andrew Bolt - Herald Sun

Polyamorous marriage is on the agenda. Greens activists are now pushing publicly for it while other polyamorists are lying low, waiting to be the next cab off the rank—no doubt, I suspect, having been given a nod and a wink by other Greens, who are still advocating marriage for all.


Crisis-hit Tories in no man's land

UK Express

While the parliamentary party and grassroots convulse over the failure to recapture Eastleigh, CCHQ says there is no need to panic. It is designed to sound soothing but to punch-drunk party members it sounds dangerously like complacency because the grassroots panic set in long before the results were declared in Eastleigh. The Conservatives have haemorrhaged members under David Cameron's leadership from 258,000 in 2005 to 130,000 now. In the week of the Eastleigh by-election the Conservative chairmen in East Surrey and the Forest of Dean, Michael Keenan and Alan Bensted, both resigned. They quit in protest over gay marriage, a key part of Cameron's modernising agenda which puts political "PC priorities" such as same-sex marriage, green energy and overseas aid above meat-and-potato Conservative creed: immigration, improving school standards, law and order.

Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Prostitution and sex trafficking survivor stories campaign launched By Equality Now

Jessica Elgot - Huffington Post

The personal stories of women who have escaped trafficking and sexual exploitation are the focus of a new campaign to coincide with start of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Stories from women all over the world, including the UK, will be released online by Equality Now on a monthly basis, in an effort to combat pro-prostitution arguments, and highlight sex trafficking. Lauren Hersh, director of Equality Now’s sex trafficking program, said: “By sharing their experiences and perspectives these brave women are exposing the realities of sexual exploitation, helping shape more effective anti-trafficking policy and influencing passage of legislation that will better protect women and girls around the world." Andrea Matolcsi, Programme Officer for Trafficking for Equality Now, told HuffPost UK that the stories were a way of combatting myths about 'happy hookers'.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

Falsely charged Pakistani Christian released after police torture

BosNewsLife Asia Service

A Christian woman who was "tortured" by police and "falsely accused" of stealing ornaments from a wealthy Pakistani Muslim household has been reunited with her family, attorneys confirmed to BosNewsLife Sunday, March 3. Arshad Bibi, a domestic worker of the Muslim family in Pakistan's second largest city of Lahore, allegedly removed jewelry worth the equivalent of some $5,560. Bibi, 35, earned just over $30 dollars per month, said the Legal Evangelical Association Development, an advocacy and aid group.

Sexualisation of Society

Cupcakes, kids art and incest

Melinda Tankard Reist blog

On Bookworld’s website, you can find My first cupcake decorating book, Children’s book of art and Children’s book of mythical beasts. But until recently, other beasts lurked among the titles hosted by the online book seller, the rebranded version of Borders. Hundreds of titles appeared under the heading, Incest, titles far too explicit, not to mention disturbing, to be mentioned here. Incest is a criminal act of abuse against children. About one-in-four is a victim of child sexual abuse. Yet companies are profiting from selling incest-themed fiction, supporting the views of abusers or potential abusers that it is acceptable to have sex with (i.e. rape) children.

Amazon pulls 'Keep Calm and Rape' T-shirts amid outcry

Neal Colgrass - Newser

"Keep Calm and Rape a Lot" is apparently not a message Amazon wants to endorse. The online mega-retailer has deleted several T-shirts made by the US clothing company Solid Gold Bomb, all carrying similar messages of violence against women, the Guardian reports. But the Massachusetts-based T-shirt maker refused to take full responsibility, saying an algorithm generated the messages with "a scripted computer process."

Former constable, 39, sent indecent picture of daughter, 7, to woman he met online, court hears

Tony Keim - The Courier-Mail

A married policeman tried to impress a woman he met via an online dating website by sending her an indecent photograph of his seven-year-old daughter, a court has been told. The Brisbane District Court was on Monday told the now 39-year-old former constable, who cannot be named, sent the image to the woman via his mobile phone and was arrested after the woman reported him over the offensive picture. The court was told that when his police colleagues seized his mobile phone, laptop and home computer they found he had also downloaded 185 images of child pornography.


The tabloid turn

David Rowe - Online Opinion

The newly tabloid Sydney Morning Herald and Age are now involved as never before in these debates about what constitutes a quality press. From my interviews with professional newspaper journalists it is apparent that many of them have worked in both newspaper formats, but that there is a generally accepted hierarchy that places the broadsheets above the tabloids in the journalistic order. Given that "we are all tabloid now", Australian print journalists and their readers are forced to confront the collapse of a familiar, value-laden distinction. It will be intriguing to watch whether promoting universal "compact" newspapers will render long-established negative meanings of the "tabloid" obsolete, or bring them to the fore with renewed rhetorical vigour.