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.



False reassurances: Tasmania's Abortion Information Paper

Babette Francis - Online Opinion

The Tasmanian Government has drafted an abortion-promoting Bill, titled "Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill 2013", which is even more draconian than Victoria's Abortion Law Reform Bill 2008. Its real intent appears to be not only to make access to abortions available (it already is) but to criminalise dissenting opinions. So before the Bill is passed and I risk being extradited and confined to the prisons of Port Arthur where previous generations of boat convicts were incarcerated, I will point out some flaws on page l0 of the euphemistically titled "Information Paper" which accompanies the Bill.

Children & Family

Pressure on government as it frames budget

Colin Brinsden - AAP

The federal government is coming under growing pressures in putting together its pre-election budget, but there would seem little chance of its woes being compounded by a rise in interest rates. Labor MPs are urging the government to revisit changes to single parenting payments, at a time when it needs to fund education reforms and the national disability insurance scheme (NDIS). The changes to Newstart that started in January are expected to save the government about $728 million over four years, but they leave some families up to $100 a week worse off.


Conroy ram-raids media freedom

John Harrison - On Line Opinion

During her recent sojourn in western Sydney, Julia Gillard quite properly drew attention to the impact of outlaw motorcycle gangs on the freedom and safety of the good citizens of this Commonwealth. More recently, the High Court of Australia upheld a Queensland prosecution against the Finks outlaw motorcycle gang. What neither the Prime Minister, nor the High Court, have yet done is to safeguard the citizenry against the ram raiding tactics of the Minister for Communication, Broadband and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy.

How to effectively monitor your children online

Anne Flaherty - SMH

What sex education used to be, it's now the 'technology talk' we have to have with our kids.

Drugs & Alcohol

Teens flock to hidden website for drugs

Amy Corderoy - Sydney Morning Herald

Teenagers as young as 16 are using the underground drug sales website Silk Road, the Fairfax Media Global Drug Survey reveals. The survey, which was the first to interview Australian users of Silk Road, found their ages varied from 16 to 89 and most were using it to buy more ''traditional'' drugs such as ecstasy and cannabis.


Waterhouse's multi-million dollar NRL deal put under microscope

Heath Aston - SMH

Tom Waterhouse likes to talk about what he is not. He wasn't born to be a footballer, he wasn't born to win a golf major and he'll never wear the baggy green, according to his well-worn TV commercials. But a Senate committee now wants to know what Waterhouse is. Is he a bookmaker or a commentator? The gambling reform committee is considering claims that sports fans are having live odds ''rammed down their throats'', as one senator, Nick Xenophon put it, and whether commentators should be allowed to spruik for gambling companies at all.


More nurses needed in NSW hospitals: union


Mortality rates will increase and patients will spend longer in hospital unless the NSW government introduces set patient to nurse ratios, nurses say. About 200 members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) protested outside parliament in Sydney on Tuesday, demanding the government pass laws ensuring there are four nurses to every patient in hospital.

Homelessness & Poverty

Pope vows to 'embrace poorest' at ceremony


Pope Francis has donned the symbols of papal power and vowed to embrace the "poorest" of humanity at a grand inauguration in the Vatican as leader of a troubled Roman Catholic Church. Some 200,000 pilgrims cheered Latin America's first pontiff in St Peter's Square, waving flags from around the world as Francis promised that his would be a "lowly, concrete and faithful" papacy. His voice raised for emphasis, the 76-year-old Francis said a Pope must "embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important."

Overseas Aid

Global poverty is shrinking: study

Katie Moore - The Conversation

Global poverty is declining and may be eradicated altogether in some countries in the next 20 years, a new study by the University of Oxford has found. The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative analysed 22 countries using a Multidimensional Poverty Index, a collection of factors such as number of years of schooling, child mortality, nutrition, electricity and drinking water access, living standards, housing and asset ownership.


The PM and her party's test of nerves

Peter Van Onselen - The Australian

Poor opinion polls, ministers reportedly losing confidence in the Prime Minister, suggestions Kevin Rudd supporters will orchestrate a leadership spill before the end of the parliamentary week and a bungled attempt at media reforms. Is this the Gillard government's equivalent of the last days of Rome?

Strange final days of a desperate government

Miranda Devine - The Daily Telegraph

If there is any method in the madness of Canberra at present, it can only be that the government is fashioning a future Labor narrative. This will tell of a heroic reforming government trying to save the planet, support disabled people, reform education, protect the public from the media, and save Australian jobs. But it is thwarted in this noble quest by the vested interests that really control the country: media barons, mining magnates, greedy billionaires and the Murdoch press.

From Western Sydney to Western Australia, how marginal is marginal?

Jennifer Rayner - The Conversation

In an election year, perhaps the only thing more inevitable than the major parties’ verbal jousting is the media’s obsession with marginal seats – that handful of bellwether electorates that can supposedly make or break a government. The Australian Electoral Commission views a marginal seat as one held by a margin of less than 6% — that is, where the Labor or Liberal parties secured 56% or less of the total two-party preferred vote at the last election — and this figure has become almost an article of faith amongst the journalists and commentators who pontificate about campaigns.

Age no barrier for aspiring Liberal MP Isabelle White in bid to take Chifley

Ben McClellan - The West

Isabelle White is a student of the Howard generation. The 22-year-old Liberal Chifley federal candidate started school when John Howard took office and graduated at St John Vianney's in 2007 as he left. The Sydney University honours student and part-time Gloria Jean’s cafe manager said Mr Howard was her political idol. The New Life Christian Church member said despite her age she would represent the conservative views of Chifley on issues such as gay marriage and abortion.

Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Moranbah motel appeals discrimination ruling


A Moranbah motel is appealing a ruling it discriminated against a sex worker, who was banned from returning to the motel after staff realised she was running her business from their rooms. The Drover's Rest Motel told an out-of-town sex worker in June 2010 she could not longer stay at its facility.


Adultery now reason for refuge

Jared Owens - The Australian

An adulterous Iraqi taxi driver has been awarded an Australian refugee visa after he convinced the Refugee Review Tribunal he would be hunted down by an infuriated husband who caught him in an tryst with his wife. The Shia refugee, who arrived by boat from Indonesia in December 2011, claimed the husband, an Iraqi soldier, chased him through city streets after uncovering the affair, repeatedly firing a handgun at him.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

Egyptian Christians describe torture at the hands of Libyan captors


A group of Egyptian Christians who were detained in Libya where they had gone for work say they were tortured to the point they wanted to die. The Copts, who were swept up last month in a raid on a Benghazi market and held on charges of proselytizing because they had Christian symbols on their stalls, told MidEast Christian News the para-police organization the Ansar el-Sharia forced them to make pro-Islam declarations and insult the late Coptic Pope Shenouda. The claims came a day after another Copt arrested in the roundup was buried after dying while in Libyan custody. His family says he was tortured, as well.

Shouldn't Muslim clergy condemn Lahore attack?

Neale Donald Walsch - Huffington Post

The question that must be asked in the aftermath of the latest incident revolving around Pakistan's blasphemy law is: Why are no Muslim spiritual leaders speaking out against the violence that Muslim mobs perpetrate under cover of the law? Indeed, why are no Muslim spiritual leaders speaking out against the law itself? Another question that must be asked: How can merely an accusation of speaking in disrespect of the Prophet Muhammad or of Islam be enough for police to place official charges against a person?

Sexualisation of Society

ANU working to shut down 'confessions' website

Lisa Cox - The Canberra Times

The ANU will move to shut down a Facebook page bearing its name and containing graphic descriptions of sexual violence towards women. But student advocates say the university should also take a public stand against the explicit posts and ensure that women feel safe on campus. The Facebook page “ANU Confessions” was established last month and publishes anonymous stories submitted by users, encouraging them to “keep calm and ‘fess up”.

Fears child porn accused may try to 'cover tracks'

Christopher Knaus - The Canberra Times

An IT expert accused of child pornography charges will remain behind bars as authorities try to extract evidence from his covert, encrypted email account ased in Canada. Police also expect to lay further charges against the man for child pornography and alleged acts of indecency against his young daughter. The 36-year-old, who cannot be named, was arrested in Adelaide while at a business conference, and was extradited to the ACT on Monday.


3D-printed gun maker gets licence to sell firearms

Camille Bautista - SMH

Defence Distributed, a project for open-sourced 3D-printable guns, has obtained a US federal licence to manufacture and sell firearms. The organisation made the announcement on its Facebook page on Saturday with a picture of the licence and a caption reading "The work begins!". With the approval from the US Government, Defence Distributed head Cody Wilson can sell and transport the pieces they have made, but is required to keep records of all production and transactions.

Two lives and a city intertwined for eternity

Damien Murphy - SMH

At the age of 15, Arthur Stace was arrested and jailed for being drunk. Thirty years later, in August 1930, as the Depression descended onto Sydney's poor he walked into St Barnabas Anglican Church, Broadway, and heard the evangelist and temperance crusader Canon Robert Hammond. Stace gave up the grog that night. He also converted.''I went in to get a cup of tea and a rock cake but I met the Rock of Ages,'' he was to recall. Two years later, in 1932, both men presented gifts to their home town that are still there today. Stace's copper plate rendition of the word ''eternity'' appeared on city footpaths. Hammond initiated a home ownership scheme for unemployed men and their families in an area that became the suburb of Hammondville, near Liverpool.

Fairfax to begin SMH and The Age paywalls next week


Fairfax Media has set the price of digital subscriptions to its Sydney Morning Herald and The Age websites at $15 per month. The price is similar to News Limited’s The Australian, which is available as a digital only siubscription for just under $13 per month.