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

Gillard to apologise for forced adoptions


Prime Minister Julia Gillard has set a date for a formal apology to those affected by forced adoption practices from the 1950s to the 1970s. The apology comes after a landmark inquiry by the Federal Senate, which found up to 250,000 babies were forcibly taken from their mothers, who were mostly young and unmarried.

Changing house leaves kids stressed, study says

Lisa Power - The Daily Telegraph

Moving house is one of life's most stressful events but multiple moves are especially tough on young children. Preschoolers who shift homes four or five times have poorer verbal skills and higher rates of behavioural and emotional problems, a unique longitudinal study of Australian children has revealed. The trauma of multiple location changes affects children much less by the time they reach middle primary, the Australian Institute of Family Studies found.

NSW puts counselling before courts

Neda Vanovac - AAP

Families would spend less time in court and more time in conferences under a new approach to child protection in NSW, Minister for Women Pru Goward says. She was speaking at the launch of a report on a pilot program of family group conferencing for cases involving child abuse and neglect. The program, which seeks to resolve child protection issues within the family, is the only alternative form of dispute resolution in NSW.

Drugs & Alcohol

Drug rehab service reports soaring rates of mental illness

Michael Vincent - ABC

One of Australia's largest drug and alcohol rehabilitation services is reporting an "alarming" growth in clients with mental illness. Odyssey House's latest annual report also reveals there are high levels of alcohol and amphetamine use.

Qantas flight grounded after drunk passenger allegedly spits at crew


An international flight was diverted after a drunk Perth man allegedly tried to smoke a cigarette on the plane before punching and spitting on crew members. The 34-year-old man was taken off the flight, en route from Sydney to Japan on Monday night, when it was diverted to Cairns.


Belgium looks at euthanasia for minors


Belgium is considering a significant change to its decade-old euthanasia law that would allow minors and Alzheimer's sufferers to seek permission to die. The proposed changes to the law were submitted to parliament Tuesday by the Socialist party and are likely to be approved by other parties, although no date has yet been put forward for a parliamentary debate.


Heroin treatment to be trialled on gamblers

Richard Willingham - The Age

Problem gamblers will be given the same drug as heroin addicts and alcoholics as part of a new study to help treat gambling addiction. The Problem Gambling Research and Treatment Centre at the University of Melbourne is looking for nine problem and pathological gamblers, particularly those with a poker machine problem, to test the use of naltrexone.

Homelessness & Poverty

230,000 seek help as housing affordability bites

Rachel Browne - SMH

Almost a quarter of a million Australians - or one in 98 people - requested help from welfare agencies because they were either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, according to figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released on Tuesday. Of the 230,000 asking for help, 44 per cent were homeless and 56 per cent were judged as at risk of homelessness.


Reforms failing to close indigenous schools gap

Justine Ferrari - The Australian

Efforts to close the gap in education for indigenous students have stalled, reflecting the slow progress in lifting the literacy and numeracy skills of all students across the nation, despite the extra billions of dollars spent in schools. Literacy and numeracy test results released yesterday show indigenous students are closing the gap in a couple of areas, notably the reading standard among Year 3 students, but on average are improving at the same rate as non-indigenous students, leaving the gap intact.


We want exemption on gay marriage too: Angry Muslims demand government treats them the same as Church of England

Tamara Cohen - Daily Mail

Muslim leaders yesterday criticised controversial plans to allow gay marriages – and demanded they should have the same legal exemption as the Church of England. The Muslim Council of Britain, which represents 500 mosques and community organisations, claimed the law was ‘utterly discriminatory’ and said they were ‘appalled’ by it. Farooq Murad, secretary general of the MCB, said his organisation had also ‘explicitly’ stated its strong opposition to the proposals, and he was seeking an urgent meeting with Culture Secretary Maria Miller to discuss amending it.

Overseas Aid

Government must come clean on foreign aid budget

World Vision

World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello has condemned the Federal Government’s decision to divert much-needed funding from Australia’s foreign aid program to house refugees being processed in Australia. "I am stunned by the Government’s plans to divert hundreds of millions of dollars away from its intended purpose,” Mr Costello said. “Australians are understandably proud of our aid program. We know we are blessed by great fortune and we expect our taxpayer dollars to be used transparently.”

Foreign aid shift draws protests

Michelle Grattan, Vince Chadwick - The Age

The government has promised that ''core payments'' to non-government agencies and funding for groups critical to humanitarian crisis will not be hit by the diversion of up to $375 million to support asylum seekers being processed in Australia. As protests grew, a spokesman for Foreign Minister Bob Carr said there would be ''deferral or delay'' in some aid spending.


Asylum boats big election issue for Labor

Ehssan Veiszadeh - AAP

Asylum seeker boats will continue to haunt the Gillard government as it runs for re-election in 2013. Federal Labor this year embraced some tough new asylum seeker policies in a bid to stop the boats but so far, they haven't worked. A series of asylum seeker boat disasters in the first half of the year prompted the new hardline stance.

Political messiah to martyr, a modern morality tale

Paul Kelly - The Australian

This week is the 40th anniversary of the modern Australian prime ministership originating with Gough Whitlam that, for better or worse, enshrined in the heart of power a deep faith in active government, the centrality of the media and the idea of the leader as messiah. Whitlam lasted in office three crazy, brief and rushed years. Yet he changed the nature, pace and principles that define the prime ministership and many of his successors are slave to the Whitlam legacy often without realising this heritage.


Refugee bill to hit $5 billion

Patrick Lion and Jessica Marszalek - The Daily Telegraph

Taxpayers face a quadrupling of the cost of managing boat arrivals to almost $5 billion next year if warnings from the government's independent panel eventuate. The looming blowout comes as World Vision claimed 200,000 people could die because of Labor's decision to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from foreign aid to cover asylum seeker blowouts at home. Each one of the 30,000 possible new arrivals next year, flagged by the Houston Panel this week, would cost Labor's battered budget an estimated $165,000.

Hurley questions Coalition's asylum boat tactics


Defence Force Chief David Hurley says people smugglers would soon get around a policy of turning back asylum seeker boats. The Federal Opposition insists that turning back asylum seeker boats when it is safe to do so would be a deterrent.

Labor MP slams foreign aid cut


Labor backbencher Melissa Parke has slammed the federal government’s decision to divert $375 million in overseas aid into refugee needs as "counterproductive", arguing the budget should not balanced "on the backs of the poor". The Western Australian MP, who has been outspoken on refugee issues, said that she did not want to see Labor reduce its overseas aid contributions.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

Persecution of Christians worldwide

Babette Francis - On Line Opinion

While we in Australia are looking forward to celebrating Christmas and the holidays, we should spare a thought for the Christians who are suffering persecution in so many countries. Even in democracies such as the US and Canada, Christians can be fined or lose their jobs for imaginary "hate" crimes, i.e. speaking about the health risks of some homosexual practices or declining to provide services for homosexual "marriages".

Sexualisation of Society

Sentence changed in Facebook sex ratings case


A man jailed for creating a Facebook page rating the sexual performance of women in central Victoria has successfully appealed against his sentence. In August, Bendigo man David McRory, 22, was sentenced to four months' prison for using a carriage service to offend and publishing objectionable material online.


'Get your house in order': Pub bans the Salvos

Chris Paine -

A popular inner-city pub has banned Salvation Army volunteers from entering the venue to collect change from patrons. The White Horse Hotel, in Sydney's Surry Hills, has revealed to it refuses entry to the Salvos. A spokesperson for the hotel said the ban was a form of protest against the Salvation Army-run Oasis youth centre, which it claims is out of control.

Catholic university approved research into paedophile clerg

Richard Baker, Nick McKenzie - The Age

The Australian Catholic University approved a highly sensitive research project to analyse archives detailing child sexual abuse by clergy and to identify common themes in their behaviour. The project, titled ''Sexual Boundary Violations Among Catholic Religious'', was conducted by staff of Encompass Australasia, which was established by the Catholic Church in 1997 to treat clergy for psycho-sexual disorders. Many of those clergy were never reported to police.