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.



Objection to 'sexually explicit' in-flight film sees flight diverted

Jolyon Attwooll - SMH

A flight was diverted after a young family objected to the plane's "violent" and "sexually explicit" in-flight film. The United Airlines service was scheduled from Denver to Baltimore, but ended up in Chicago after the pilot changed course due to "security concerns", the Atlantic reports. The flight, which took off on February 2 this year, was showing the 2012 crime thriller Alex Cross, which is rated M in Australia. In the US, it had the "T" classification, which warns of adult themes. According to the family making the complaint, the film was screened on drop-down screens, which meant they could not shield their two children, who were aged four and eight, from its content.

Drugs & Alcohol

Fentanyl linked to death of off-duty paramedic


The Victorian ambulance union says the death of an off-duty paramedic after a suspected drug overdose has been linked to the prescription painkiller fentanyl. The 49-year-old Balwyn woman, an experienced paramedic, was found dead by colleagues on Saturday morning at the Doncaster ambulance station, in the city's eastern suburbs. Steve McGhie, the state secretary of the Ambulance Employees Association, says the paramedic had used fentanyl and another drug before her death.


Ethics come in from the cold after Labor U-turn

Amy McNeilage - SMH

Providers of ethics classes will be given the same tax deductions as for scripture classes, alleviating the threat of the lessons becoming financially unviable. The federal government will announce on Monday that it has reversed its decision not to grant deductible gift recipient status to ethics providers, which means they will now be able to collect tax deductible donations. Primary Ethics, which provides the classes in NSW schools, said the decision would enable it to train more volunteers and reach more students.

Liberal governments reject school plan

Lisa Martin - Brisbane Times

Liberal state and territory governments have rejected proposals by federal School Education Minister Peter Garrett for a national plan to improve schools. Mr Garrett asked his state and territory counterparts on Monday to agree to principles of the national plan, but only three came on board. Funding of the Gonski school reforms, which involve injecting an extra $6.5 billion a year into schools, were not part of telephone discussion.

Qld school principals to have stronger discipline powers

John Taylor - ABC

The Queensland Government is moving to give school principals more power to deal with students who misbehave. The number of suspensions and exclusions from state schools increased to more than 60,000 last year. State Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek says he is working on a plan to ensure there are alternatives for students who are creating problems in school. "Principals are using the powers that they have in increasing numbers simply because they're frustrated with not being able to deal with things more quickly," he said.

Minister flags tougher penalties for badly behaved students

Bridie Jabour - Brisbane Times

The education minister has foreshadowed toughening the punishments doled out to students in Queensland's public schools. Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said students were not being properly punished for misbehaving and the Newman Government would consider introducing harsher penalties, which were easier for principals to implement. "There is no doubt we have a problem in our schools, there is no doubt we have to give principals the power to nip this in the bud," he told reporters before heading into a cabinet meeting on Monday morning.


Two brothers gamble on social media

Ryan Newman - Nine MSN

While companies such as Jumbo Interactive Limited have taken the online gaming industry to the next level, Melbourne brothers Toby and Josh Simmons have discovered the potential that a social media platform for sports punters could have. The brothers describe their venture,, as the “Facebook for sports”, offering users access to the opinions of fans and punters alike, while ultimately providing an experience which ‘makes sports betting better’. According to the Australian Financial Review, Tabcorp Holdings’ online bookmaker Luxbet signed up to partner with the website in January, with general manager Andrew Vouris admitting that social media is a “growing part of wagering that we need to be involved in”.


Being mindful of World Health Day

Kay Stroud - On Line Opinion

There'll be a functional cure for AIDs; your brain waves will be able to be manipulated to jog memory or scratch bad recollections; and, bandages will indicate how healing is progressing. These are just three of the many amazing medical breakthroughs that could become reality within the next 10-20 years, according to arecent Brisbane Times report on groundbreaking Melbourne-based research. While these innovations focus very much on a biomedical approach to treating disease, there are another group of international researchers who are finding equally amazing results through the use of placebos which show how our beliefs affect our bodies.

Human Rights

US: Still hoping for change on religious freedom

Mary Ann Glendon - Washington Post

Monday is the last day for public comment on the federal regulation that would force virtually all employers nationwide—including religious charities, schools, and hospitals—to facilitate and fund insurance coverage of sterilization, contraception, and drugs that can cause abortions. Even those who embrace these drugs and procedures should recognize the mandate’s threat to religious liberty and consider filing a comment in opposition while there is still time. It is one thing to support sterilization, contraception, or chemical abortion; it is quite another to support the government’s coercing others—even over their conscientious objection—to pay for them, or otherwise to help their employees to obtain them. That is the difference between a simple dispute over health care policy, and one over our nation’s First Freedom, religious liberty.

Working mums behind 20pc of sex discrimination cases

Jenya Goloubeva - ABC

Australia's Sex Discrimination Commissioner says unfair treatment of working mothers is alive and well in workplaces. Elizabeth Broderick says pregnancy and return-to-work discrimination represents about 20 per cent of complaints received by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Crackdown on racism hurts free speech

Sky News

If the NSW government makes racist taunts a crime, people could push back making life worse for minority groups, a state parliamentary inquiry has been warned. Premier Barry O'Farrell launched the inquiry because the current anti-discrimination laws had failed to result in any successful prosecutions since they were introduced in 1989, despite more than 27 public complaints about alleged breaches. John McKenzie, chief legal office for the Aboriginal Legal Service, says racist taunts are an ongoing problem and often lead to acts of retaliation.


Call for more Indigenous scholarships

Sharnie Kim - ABC

A leading educator on Queensland's Cape York region says Indigenous students from remote areas have more success when they go to boarding school in bigger centres. Queensland Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek released a discussion paper last week on ways to improve Indigenous learning. Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy spokeswoman Danielle Toon says the State Government should consider providing more scholarships and transition programs.

Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Liberals divided on proposed brothel laws


The West Australian Liberals are divided on plans to change the state's prostitution laws. The state government has not been able to pass planned legislation, introduced in late 2001, that would ban brothels in residential areas but allow them in limited areas such as entertainment districts. Re-elected premier Colin Barnett has vowed to start the process again from scratch. But WA upper house Liberal MP Nick Goiran and Liberal MLA Peter Abetz are opposed to the plan, saying the trade needs to remain illegal.

Residents divided over prostitution

Robyn Preston - WA Today

Residents of Perth's most infamous suburb for prostitution have spoken out about sharing their streets with sex workers, however remain divided over whether the women should be forced out. Following a push to clean-up "hot spots" in Highgate, Mayor of Vincent Alannah MacTiernan has launched a campaign to remove street-walkers and curb-crawlers from the district. At a recent council meeting, residents were told that the City of Vincent was taking a strong approach to stop a perceived increase in sex being sold in the streets. Smith Street resident Ray Clarke lives next to a block of housing which he believes is the base of around six to ten regular street prostitutes.


Melbourne ASIO refugees fear many more years in detention

Luke Waters - SBS

Refugees at a Melbourne immigration detention centre have embarked on an indefinite hunger strike. Last week the men -- whom ASIO deem a security threat -- were told there is no timeframe for a review of their status. They say they are fearful of many more years in detention. "Some of us are very close to losing our mind .. and most of us are affected mentally and physically," an asylum seeker told SBS from the perimeter fence of the detention centre.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

ACL condemns latest attack against heart of Christianity in Middle East

Katherine Spackman - International

The Australian Christian Lobby has expressed concern at the latest attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt which occurred at the epicentre of the International Coptic Orthodox community and has urged the Australian Government to denounce these attacks. ACL’s Chief of Staff Lyle Shelton said the latest attack against Copts at St Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, in which a person died, was at the headquarters of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate.


The Catholic Church and the Republic of Modernity: Challenges for Pope Francis

Elena Douglas - ABC Religion

"Francis, don't you see that my house is being destroyed," Francis of Assisi heard Christ call. "Go and rebuild my Church." As scandal and avarice eroded the Church from within, and heresies flourished without, Francis led a reform-movement by his example of simplicity, humility and virtue. Jorge Mario Bergoglio's decision to take the name of the Church's most popular saint was a stroke of genius. This man who catches buses, cooks his own meals and ha renounced the princely acoutrements of the Church has endeared himself to the world.