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.




Moral madness of Melbourne abortion horror

Lyn Bender - Eureka Street

When it comes to grasping the right to life of any unborn or even unconceived living being, we are a dramatically split society. We celebrate conception, and, with compassion for the infertile, support IVF programs. We also sanction, at a conservative estimate, 80,000 terminations a year. This dichotomy was tragically brought home by the ghastly medical error that occurred last week at Melbourne's Royal Women's Hospital. A decision was made to terminate, at 32 weeks gestation, one unborn twin, who was diagnosed with congenital heart problems. In a horror medical error, the 'wrong' (healthy) twin was killed.

Is Apple's Siri pro-life?

Elinor Mills - CNET News

Siri will tell you where you can find an escort, drugs or guns, but the service can't seem to help you if you're seeking birth control or abortion clinics. Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) launched a petition that asks Apple to fix the "glitch" in the voice-activated service on the iPhone 4S, so that it provides useful information to people seeking reproductive resources. "According to numerous sources, when asked to find an abortion clinic, even in areas where such clinics are nearby, Siri either draws a blank, or worse, refers women to pregnancy crisis centres," the ACLU wrote in a blog post.

Children & Family

65 kids known to Qld government die

Kym Agius - SMH

Sixty-five Queensland children known to the Department of Communities died in the year to June, a new report shows. But child safety officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing in the Queensland Child Death Case Review Committee's annual report, tabled in parliament on Thursday. "Actions or inactions of the child safety service system were not linked to any of the deaths," the report said.

More children to be in unchecked care

Melissa Jenkins - SMH

More children will be left in unregulated backyard care as the federal government's reforms threaten to push up parents' childcare bills, the industry warns. Australian Childcare Alliance president Gwynn Bridge says some parents already use unchecked care providers for their children and the practice would grow as fees in quality centres rise.

Donor Conception & Surrogacy

World expert calls for new debate on 'commercial surrogacy'

Kate Hagan – The Age

Women prepared to act as surrogates for infertile couples could be paid for their time to avoid 'reproductive tourism', a Belgian expert says. Speaking at the World Congress on Human Reproduction in Melbourne yesterday, Ghent University head of bioethics Guido Pennings said he did not advocate commercial surrogacy, which was illegal in Australia and most other countries.

Solution to the problem of infertility: give away your spare embryos

Julie Robotham – SMH

Somewhere in Sydney, about a year from now, an infant may be born who carries much more than a passing similarity to Emily*. The baby might resemble her physically, or in its temperament, preferences or mannerisms. But its genetic parents – the same people whose sperm and egg created the embryo that was to become Emily in a laboratory nearly four years ago – may never discover whether such a child has been born.

Drugs & Alcohol

Tobacco giant launches plain packaging challenge


British American Tobacco has launched its promised constitutional challenge in the High Court against the Federal Government's plain packaging laws for cigarettes. Within an hour of the legislation receiving the approval of royal assent, paperwork was submitted with the High Court.


15,000 extra teachers needed for early childhood reforms

Samantha Donovan - ABC

A report released by the Productivity Commission this afternoon says 15,000 new teachers are needed to achieve hoped for reform of early childhood education. And parents are likely to bear the brunt of the cost of the expansion. Given that the sector's overhaul is to start on January 1st, the commission also says the timelines agreed by the federal and state governments are "optimistic".


MPs demand controls on coal-seam gas rush

Jamie Wlker and Ben Packham - The Australian

Australia's $60 billion coal-seam gas industry is a "relatively short-term prospect" and may not be worth the cost to agriculture and the environment, a parliamentary inquiry has found. The most searching examination to date of the emerging sector's regulation and impact, by a Senate committee, recommends that CSG development be suspended in areas tapping the Great Artesian Basin in Queensland and NSW, because of the contamination threat to underground water.

SA prepares for Murray-Darling court challenge


South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill says preparations are being made so the state can be ready to launch possible High Court action over the proposed Murray-Darling Basin Plan. Mr Weatherill has told Parliament the Government has received preliminary legal advice from eminent practising barristers on the state's constitutional rights.

Climate change science being stifled by NSW Labor bureaucrats

Malcolm Holland - The Daily Telegraph

Senior bureaucrats in the state government's environment department have routinely stopped publishing scientific papers which challenge the federal government's claims of sea level rises threatening Australia's coastline, a former senior public servant said yesterday. Doug Lord helped prepare six scientific papers which examined 120 years of tidal data from a gauge at Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour. The tide data revealed sea levels were rising at a rate of about 1mm a year or less - and the rise was not accelerating but was constant.


Senate announces palliative care inquiry

Yasmin Noone - Aging Agenda

Australia’s palliative care system will be the subject of a new, full-scale Senate inquiry, which boasts broad terms of reference spanning all facets of service provision, from the factors influencing access and choice to funding and the system’s interface with the aged care sector. The inquiry, announced last week, will be conducted by the Senate's Community Affairs References Committee and chaired by Australian Greens spokesperson for health and ageing, Senator Rachel Siewart.


Facebook gamblers taking bigger risks than they know

Mediamanoz - Street Corner

A massive loophole in Australian - federal gambling legislation is allowing an online casino to receive funds from Facebook punters but not pay out winnings in cold hard cash, leaving punters in the lurch, out of moolah, and angry - and there's not much they can do about it at present. Only recently have media companies such as Media Man and Fairfax Media been able to warn punters of the dangers of betting - especially on some Facebook affiliated websites.

Human Rights

New laws to be right with rights


A new law requiring Ministers to show how any new laws they propose or any old ones they change would impact on human rights has been approved by Parliament. Attorney-General, Robert McClelland said the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Bill 2010 required Ministers to table a Statement of Compatibility with Australia’s human rights obligations when introducing legislation.


Gay rift deepens for ALP Right

Phillip Coorey - SMH

The Labor Right moved last night to bind its members to support a conscience vote on gay marriage in an attempt to spare Julia Gillard a humiliating policy defeat at the ALP national conference this weekend. But while the NSW Right is expected to stick to the resolution passed during crisis meetings, the faction nationally is divided and breakaways are still expected in other states. The Australian Workers Union has also bound its 32 delegates - of which four are left wing - to support Ms Gillard's position of changing the policy position to a conscience vote, rather than one of outright support, which is being pushed by the Left.

ALP split over gay marriage

Mark Colvin - ABC

The veteran Labor Minister, Simon Crean says the Prime Minister will get her way on the issue of gay marriage at Labor's National Conference this weekend. The party's left believes it has the numbers to change the platform with the support of Rainbow Labor, a cross factional group which supports same-sex marriage. Julia Gillard doesn't want that to happen but she is prepared to allow a conscience vote if a bill comes before the Parliament.

Gay marriage stoush heats up

Stephen Dziedzic - ABC

Tensions inside the Australian Labor Party over gay marriage are reaching boiling point. The left is confident that it will have the numbers at the weekend's national conference to change the party's platform, which at the moment states that marriage is between a man and a woman. But it's not yet clear if it will be able to roll the Prime Minister, who is pushing for a conscience vote on the issue as a compromise. Christian groups are ratcheting up their rhetoric against the change, and some MPs on Labor's right are warning they might cross the floor to avoid voting to legalise gay marriage.

Factional bosses sandbag Julia Gillard to avoid same-sex rout

Matthew Franklin and Milanda Rout – The Australian

Labor Party factional leaders have been forced to rally behind Julia Gillard in a bid to avert a disastrous rejection of her position on gay marriage on the floor of this weekend's party conference.

Gay marriage: there’s nothing easy about “I do”

David Penberthy – The Punch

It says a lot about changing community standards that a state such as Queensland, which under Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen was every civil libertarian’s nightmare, has this week voted to recognise same-sex unions.

These two video stories below feature images of the petition handover

Anger over same sex vote

Brian Thomson – SBS

Labor's marriage reform

Huge Riminton – Ten News

This story features some grabs from Jim Wallace from the debate on Sky’s One Nation program last night

Gay Marriage on Labor conference agenda

Sky News – click the story with the title “Gay Marriage on Labor conference agenda”

An interview between Triple J Hack’s Tom Tilley & ACL’s COS Lyle Shelton

Overseas Aid

China ditches global aid deal

Mark Tran - SMH

China has snubbed rich countries in their attempts to establish a worldwide partnershi on aid effectiveness, saying it is not ready to endorse a partnership for global development. The move put a dampener on the aid summit, which started on Tuesday in South Korea attended by 2500 delegates, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

Egypt's Coptic Christians fear fewer rights after elections

Elizabeth Arrott - Voanews

With Islamist groups expected to do well in Egypt's parliamentary elections, many Coptic Christians are concerned that their limited rights will come under greater threat. The trash of millions of people collects in Cairo's Garbage City, the narrow lanes filled with plastic, metal, wood - anything the district residents can resell to eke out a living. The slum, on the outskirts of the capital, is home to a large Coptic Christian community.

US Atheists plan billboard campaign this Christmas season

Catholic Online

"You Know It's A Myth. This Season, Celebrate Reason," was one tagline offered up on a billboard by the American Atheists organization one holiday season. The atheists intend to put up more billboards this year, some featuring images of Santa, Jesus, Poseidon and the devil next to the message: "37 Million Americans know MYTHS when they see them." One pastor declared that the new sign shows "ignorance." "Only the most dense and simple-minded person would put [Jesus] in the same category as the other three. Clearly, even those who lack a personal commitment to Jesus recognize that there was in fact some historical figure by this name -- religious leader and teacher -- around 2,000 years ago."


Mixed reaction to refugee increase plan

Belinda Cranston - AAP

A proposal by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen to increase Australia's refugee intake is a ploy to shore up support for the failed Malaysia people swap deal, the opposition says. Mr Bowen will propose at the Labor Party's national conference this weekend to increase Australia's resettlement of refugees from 13,750 to 20,000.


Call for Koori-style Koranic courts

Pia Akerman – The Australian

A Victorian Somali community leader has called for Koranic courts to hear cases involving Muslims in the same way Koori courts are offered as an alternative for Aboriginal offenders. Somali Community of Victoria president Abdurahman Osman said Koranic courts would maintain Islamic culture while also reducing legal costs borne by the state.