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

Millions of Aussies missing out on financial help

Karina Barrymore -

More than one million Australians are missing out on government benefits and payments because they don't know they are entitled to the money. The biggest reason people don't receive these benefits is the adage: If you don't ask, you don't get. Of more than one million Australians being entitled but not receiving Centrelink payments, families are believed to be the biggest single group missing out, he says.

73 at-risk children die in Queensland

Brisbane Times

A Queensland child who had been placed in the care of an alleged sex offender was one of scores of children known to the state's child protection system who died in the year to July. The Queensland Child Death Case Review Committee's 2011/12 annual report shows 73 children - from babies to 17-year-olds - died in the year who were known to the Department of Child Safety, eight more than the year before.


Impacts of media violence: jury no longer out

Melinda Tankard Reist Blog

For a long time it was said the ‘‘jury was out’’ on the impact of media violence. Not any more. A special commission set up by the International Society for Research on Aggression comprising 12 international authors and endorsed by 250 of the world’s leading researchers has concluded that exposure to a range of violent media can act as triggers for aggressive thoughts and feelings, influencing behaviour. To put it simply, exposing kids to images of killing, maiming, dismembering, and sexual assault over and over again has real consequences.

Kids' development at risk over violent video games, expert says

Katrina Stokes - Adelaide Now

Video games are taking over young people's lives - they are becoming more violent and can harm a child's emotional and physical development, experts say. A national survey has revealed alarming numbers of children spend hours glued to the computers and TVs playing violent video games each week. Research by the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, conducted by Bond University, found about 95 per cent of boys aged between 6 and 15 are gamers.

Drugs & Alcohol

Let’s stop playing with the problem of the serial drunk driver

Brian Holden - On Line Opinion

He was a tall, thin man of dark complexion and aged about 28 years. He struggled to get out of the barber’s chair and over to his wheeled walking frame. In addition to his near-useless right leg, his left arm seemed to be in a fixed position. I assumed from his weedy appearance that some of his insides would not be working that well. The barber informed me that as the young man was walking home from soccer practice a few years earlier, a car jumped the gutter and struck him. A drunk with a record of multiple convictions drove it. The victim was unconscious for a year before facing a life of severe disadvantage.

Surcharge on smokers a no go

Lesley Parker - Brisbane Times

Making private health insurance more expensive for those with unhealthy lifestyles isn't as simple a fix as it sounds. As the federal government defends its plans to trim the private health cover rebate, saying it will mean only a small increase in cost for most people, a new survey suggests support for what would be much more expensive health insurance surcharges for smokers, heavy drinkers and the obese.


Paper a whitewash of the environment

Ross Gittins - The Sydney Morning Herald

The most glaring weakness in Julia Gillard's white paper on the Asian century is its failure to factor in the high likelihood that mounting environmental problems will stop Asia continuing to grow so rapidly - as well as limit our ability to take advantage of what growth there is. To be fair, most of the environmental problems that could trip up Asia's economies and ours are mentioned in the bowels of the 300-page document.


Evicting the body squatters: a case against euthanasia

Shakira Hussein - SMH

Shakira Hussein, a McKenzie postdoctoral fellow at Melbourne University's Asia Institute,will be a speaker in a Wheeler Centre debate on euthanasia at Melbourne Town Hall on Wednesday at 6.30pm.

Death might be free, but where’s the freedom?

Will Mumford - The Punch

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) defines “passive” euthanasia as “the omission of steps which might otherwise sustain life.” Whereas “active” euthanasia, the category of euthanasia that remains illegal, the AHRC refers to as “a positive contribution to the acceleration of death.” The current legislative status of the euthanasia debate in Australia (and in most countries in the world) implies that “passive” and “active” forms are not morally equivalent. This is because the former involves discontinuance or refusal of treatment which results in natural death, whereas the latter is a deliberate, positive action which brings death.


City's 'double whammy' on pokies

Brimbank Weekly

A new study on gambling has confirmed a well-known fact: pokies losses are far higher in disadvantaged areas than wealthier communities. The academic report reveals losses are closely tied with disadvantage and proves a link between high numbers of machines in suburbs like Braybrook and higher rates of loss.

Homelessness & Poverty

Illegal campers in city's parklands will be given a week's notice to move on

Alice Higgins - Adelaide Now

Homeless people will be given a seven-day deadline to leave the parklands before they are forcibly removed under strict new protocols. Adelaide City Council plans to introduce new guidelines next month to crack down on the number of illegal campers who descend on the parklands each summer.


Number of indigenous heavy smokers down 45%

Sunanda Creagh - The Conversation

The number of Indigenous heavy smokers fell from 17.3% in 1994 to 9.4% in 2008, a relative drop of 45%, a study has found. The study, conducted by the Menzies School of Health Research and published today in the Medical Journal of Australia, analysed data on from the 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey, and the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey. The first survey had 8565 respondents aged 15 and over, while the second survey had 7803 respondents aged 15 years and over.


‘I do?’ Opposition dogs French gay marriage plans

Associated Press

A plan to legalize same-sex marriage and allow gay couples to adopt was a liberal cornerstone of French President Francois Hollande’s election manifesto earlier this year. It looked like a shoo-in, supported by a majority of the French, and an easy way to break with his conservative predecessor. But that was then. Now, as the Socialist government prepares to unveil its draft “marriage for everyone” law Wednesday, polls show wavering support for the idea and for the president amid increasingly vocal opposition in this traditionally Catholic country.


Obama and Romney begin final push with only hours until Election Day

Felicia Sonmez Washington Post

And now it is closing time. On Monday, in the final hours of their 17-month, nearly $3 billion marathon, the two candidates and their running mates are scheduled to hold 14 events across eight states. For Republican challenger Mitt Romney, this last full day of campaigning is aimed at achieving what he has seemingly been unable to do over the first 522 days: overcome President Obama’s razor-thin but steady leads in the states where the election will be decided.

Bourke to stand aside for ACT's first Greens Minister

Peter Jean - Canberra Times

Labor MLA Chris Bourke will give up his position as a minister in the ACT Government to make room for Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury. Dr Bourke is currently Minister for Education and Training, Corrections and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Labor’s Legislative Assembly caucus has reconfirmed Chief Minister Katy Gallagher as its leader, Andrew Barr as deputy and ministers Simon Corbell and Joy Burch to the executive.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

Muslim pressure closes church in Indonesia

Jeremy Reynalds - ASSIST News Service

Authorities in Bandung, West Java sealed shut the worship building of an Indonesian Christian Church congregation on Oct. 23 after prominent Muslims persuaded residents to withdraw their signatures of approval for it, a pastor said. According to a story by Morning Star News, Rev. Hari Hutagulung said that the church had gathered the signatures of 77 area Muslims in order for the 20-year-old church to apply for the proper building/use permit. Sixty non-Christian signatures are required under Indonesian law. However, prominent Muslims persuaded many of them to withdraw their signatures, and police sealed the building last week, he said.

Sexualisation of Society

'What they did to me was wrong?': Fight for compensation over Girls Gone Wild image

Bill Rankin - SMH

Fourteen-year-old Lindsey Boyd was walking down the strip in Florida, USA, when two men, one holding a video camera, asked her to expose her breasts. She complied and was compensated, as were many who flashed their breasts during spring break in 2000, with a cheap beaded necklace. Video of the Powder Springs, Georgia, middle schooler was sold for the Girls Gone Wild, College Girls Exposed series.


Rants, reason and the religious right in US politics

Simon Smart - ABC

Simon Smart, director of the Centre for Public Christianity, reflects on the changing dynamic of the American religious right and how it is set to influence the presidential election, and beyond.

Lesbian lover wanted partner's de facto out of the way, murder trial told

Paul Bibby - SMH

A NSW man was killed by his partner's lesbian lover because he was getting in the way of their relationship, a court has heard. Tanya Louise Lane, 28, is on trial for the alleged murder of 33-year-old Steven Quire, whose d composing remains were found in the Watagans National Park west of Newcastle in March 2010.