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.




Ireland takes up bill on abortion access

Douglas Dalby - New York Times

One of the most deeply divisive issues in Irish society was reignited Wednesday night when the Irish Parliament began debate on a bill that would provide for limited access to abortion. As in the United States, it was the Supreme Court here that legalized abortion, although in strictly limited circumstances. But in the 20 years since the decision in the “X Case,” successive governments have shied away from enacting the legislation needed to carry out the order.

Charities & NFP

Lawyer admits theft from wishing well

Leah Fineran and Stephen Drill - Herald Sun

A red-faced Melbourne barrister has pleaded guilty to stealing 79c from a wishing well 20 years ago.

Simon Matters was 19 in 1992 when charged with filching a handful of change, including 2c pieces, from a Surfers Paradise fountain. A security guard confronted the dripping teenager at a shopping centre and called police. But Mr Matters denied stealing the coins and said he was wet from swimming in the surf. Then he skipped the state, failing to face court.

Hockey hits nerve with talk of chop to welfare

Phillip Coorey - SMH

Joe Hockey has caused a storm of criticism by advocating more cuts to welfare and saying Australia needs to better align its system to those of its Asian neighbours, which have lower taxes but far less generous welfare benefits. As debate raged, Patrick McClure, the architect of the Howard government welfare reforms now advising the federal opposition, said ''we've pretty much got the mix right'' but there was always room for reform.

Children & Family

Breaking up is so hard on the children

Connie Clarke - The West Australian

Every year since 1985 one in three couples across the country has divorced. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that over that period, about half of those marriages have involved children. While the long-term impact on children is difficult to measure, psychologists say how a divorce is handled by parents and extended family members can alleviate future heartache, anxiety and relationship issues.


Norwegian mass killer Breivik played violent video games for sixteen hours each day to prepare for slaughter of 77

Daily Mail

Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik played violent video games for up to 17 hours a day in preparation for his brutal massacre of 77 people. He spent 12 months in isolation from society playing first-person shoot-me-up Call of Duty - where he honed his shooting technique by executing fictional enemies online. He also took a year off from work to play World of Warcraft - a multi-player role-playing game which has more than 10 million subscribers - he told an Oslo court.

Drugs & Alcohol

Gun culture on the rise as drug gangs engage in arms race

Herald Sun

Fears that gun fuelled bikie wars are spreading across Australia continue to grow as authorities in three states try to grapple with the spiralling fire arm problem. Yesterday NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione warned that a US style gun culture was heading to Australia. He said in NSW said the shootings between rival bikie and other criminal gangs were generally over drugs, turf or organised crime and previously were resolved with a punch-up.

Excessive alcohol use associated with lower self-reporting of maturity

News Medical

Tipping back one too many cocktails during an individual's early 20s doesn't correlate to a personal sense of immaturity; however if this habit doesn't stop as they reach age 30, young adults can feel psychologically underdeveloped, according to a University of Missouri study. Helping young adults acknowledge their mental impulse to "sober up" as they mature can improve substance abuse intervention programs.


Abuse as a child linked to longer term homeless

Adele Horin - The Age

Two-thirds of people in a national study of homelessness suffered physical or sexual violence as children or had been neglected or emotionally abused. About one-third had been sexually assaulted. The study by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research was commissioned by the federal government. It is the first stage in the Journeys Home project that will track homeless and marginally housed Australians over two years to determine the factors that contribute to longterm homelessness.


Our communities in crisis

Russell Skelton - SMH

Amid the west's mining boom, indigenous families face losing a generation. It came without warning, triggered by something as trivial as a teenage boy demanding that his brother hand over his mobile phone. It was the 16-year-old's birthday, and he was celebrating by drinking steadily all day, as he did most days. The tiff, really nothing more than a simple squabble between brothers, ended in the early hours of the next morning when the darkest of impulses overwhelmed the child. An 8-year-old girl raised the alarm. She had sighted the boy's lifeless body hanging from a tree behind the church in the abandoned playground. After several hours police and emergency services arrived, conducted a brief investigation and had the body removed.

Outback opal community fights ban on alcohol

Nicola Gage - ABC

Residents of the South Australian outback town of Mintabie are up gearing for a fight against the State Government over new laws aimed at banning alcohol in homes. It's part of a new lease agreement, which forces anyone living or moving there to undergo criminal history checks. It also seeks to make it illegal to sell many foods with a high sugar content in local shops.


PM condemns gay protest


Prime Minister Julia Gillard has condemned gay rights activists who confronted Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in a restaurant at the weekend. Mr Abbott was having dinner with a friend in a Melbourne restaurant on Sunday when six protesters reportedly surrounded them, calling for marriage equality. Ms Gillard said the Liberal leader did not deserve such treatment.

Romney’s donations to fight gay marriage leaked


One of the largest anti-gay marriage groups, the National Organization for Marriage, is accusing the Internal Revenue Service of foul play in the leaking of their donor lists. Confidential donor lists found their way to the hands of the Human Rights Campaign, one of the largest pro-gay marriage groups. One of the donors is really not happy that his name was leaked. That would be presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Overseas Aid

The best and worst of international aid

Duncan Maclaren - Eureka Street

Rumours are rife that the Government's projected aid budget increases will be cut in the forthcoming Federal Budget to ensure a surplus. Until now Australia had been on track to achieve its pledged aid target of 0.5 per cent of GNI by 2015, a pledge endorsed by Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and, presumably, current Foreign Minister Bob Carr, and which had also received rare bipartisan support from the Coalition.


1 vs 5: Labor MPs jump at shadows

Daniel Hurst - Brisbane Times

Queensland Labor MPs will have to keep watch over as many as five ministers each as the battered party faces the daunting task of holding the Newman Government to account. Nearly a month after Labor suffered a bloodbath at the state election, Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk will today announce the portfolios assigned to each shadow minister. The sheer scale of the electoral loss means there will be no Labor backbench as such – every one of Labor's six remaining parliamentarians will be members of the “shadow cabinet” and will be responsible for keeping an eye on up to five Liberal National Party ministers each.

Thomson received secret payment of $160,000 after he left HSU

Kate McClymont - SMH

Labor MP Craig Thomson received a secret payout of almost $160,000 from the Health Services Union three years after he left the union and had been elected to Federal Parliament. The confidential settlement, obtained by the Herald, shows that in September 2010 the union agreed to pay $129,555 in entitlements plus $30,000 to settle a defamation claim Mr Thomson had brought against the union and its national secretary, Kathy Jackson.

Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Woman who had sex on work trip gets compo


A public servant injured on a work trip while having sex with an acquaintance at a motel room is entitled to compensation, a judge has ruled. In the Federal Court on Thursday, Justice John Nicholas concluded that the injuries were suffered by the woman in the course of her employment. The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had challenged the rejection of her workers' compensation claim for facial and psychological injuries suffered when a glass light fitting came away from the wall above the bed as she was having sex in November 2007.

Update: ComCare may appeal work trip sex injury compo

Successful brothel bid would be a stiletto to inner-Sydney's heart

Paul Sheehan - The Age

Commissioner Susan O'Neill of the NSW Land and Environment Court is conducting hearings into a proposed radical expansion of an existing brothel, Stiletto, on Parramatta Road, Camperdown, across the street from the colleges of Sydney University, a brothel with a $12 million development application and potentially, the biggest in Australia.

Moldova human / sex trafficking documentary wins two telly awards

Christian Newswire

We are pleased to announce that Cooke Pictures, of Burbank, CA, has won two Telly Awards for the production of the Stella's Voice documentary. Stella's Voice, a Philip Cameron Ministries effort, tells the heartbreaking story of the human sex trafficking epidemic in Moldova, Eastern Europe, and the work being done by one ministry to protect and offer hope to the children caught amidst this horrific tragedy.

First scalps in US Secret Service Colombian sex caper

Brad Norington – The Australian

The prostitution scandal involving the US Secret Service in South America has begun to take its toll, with three agents from an advance team fo Barack Obama's weekend trip being forced out.


Bunbury would welcome refugees says Mayor

Sharon Kennedy - ABC

More than a thousand families could make the South West their home if talks between the City and the federal government are successful. Mayor David Smith believes that the city has the social and economic infrastructure that would enable refugees to settle in easily and to find employment in the short term. He is also confident that the city would be welcoming.

Religious Freedom

Fourth estate in fine state

Jim Wallace - Online Opinion

Following the Finkelstein Inquiry the press was ablaze with the dangers to freedom of speech and expression the report carried in wanting to impose a government regulator on the media. Henry Parkes was invoked for his belief that, "The newspaper press affords the truest safety to the infant liberties of the Australian people." The indignation was particularly strong given, as former Howard government minister David Kemp put it, the proposal came from an ex judge, and therefore a "profession that had been relied on to protect our liberties."

Published also at:


Church growth stunted by council building restriction

Kaley Payne - Eternity Newspaper

“We’ve got a big problem in our city campus,” Hillsong senior pastor Brian Houston told his Waterloo congregation. “We’ve just got too many people for a little building.” You wouldn’t think having too many people would be a problem for a church. But for Hillsong’s overflowing city campus, the blessing of a growing congregation is becoming a headache. According to Houston, who addressed the entire Hillsong membership last month via web video, Hillsong leaders have been looking for extra facilities for the city campus for over a decade, particularly in the industrial area of Alexandria, but have faced “frustration at every turn”.

Preserving the division between church and state

Tim Verhoeven - SMH

Atheists have copped a lot of criticism recently. This week, columnist Chris Berg accused them of wanting to tear up the fabric of Western civilisation. Christianity, he suggests, has left secular society a rich legacy, from human rights to the separation of church and state.

Priest 'a violent bully and coward'

David Marr - SMH

The former priest Brian Spillane has been sentenced to nine years' imprisonment for a series of sexual assaults on young girls - attacks described as "serious, planned and callous" by Judge Michael Finnane of the NSW District Court. "The offender used his position as a priest to gain access to the homes in which each of his victims lived," said the judge. "He was very trusted and the parents of each of the victims readily gave him access to their daughters because of that trust and the esteem in which he was held."

Jeff Kennett decries prayer rooms at footy

Stuart Rintoul - The Australian

Having succeeded in convincing the AFL to introduce prayer rooms at all venues, Bachar Houli was unfazed last night by a stinging backlash sparked by former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett, who called the idea "stupid" and "political correctness gone mad". Football fans took to websites to condemn and ridicule the move, but at his home in Melbourne the AFL's first Muslim player told The Australian: "The main thing is we've got what we want, and you can't change that.

Bachar Houli says more Muslims will go to the footy as AFL announces prayer rooms must be provided

Darryl Timms - Herald Sun

Richmond's Bachar Houli said more Muslims would go to the footy after the AFL announced prayer rooms must be provided at all venues. The requirement for Muslims to pray five times a day was stopping many from attending AFL games, the Tigers defender said. Houli said many were forced to pray in carparks or stairwells at AFL grounds. Houli, a devout Muslim who works for the AFL one day a week as a multicultural ambassador, asked league chief Andrew Demetriou to provide prayer rooms at all grounds.