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

Rich claim $260m in childcare tax aid

Misha Schubert - SMH

Taxpayers are handing over $260 million each year to subsidise childcare for high-income families, prompting calls for a rethink on the level of generosity. But women's workforce advocates have warned against making cuts, arguing the subsidy saves money long-term because women who drop out of paid work lose skills and confidence and stop paying taxes.

Parents want to see health files

Andrew Tillett - The West Australian

A family group has attacked plans to allow children as young as 14 to stop their parents from accessing their personal electronic health records. Patients will be given the option of signing up for the electronic records from July in one of the Gillard Government's key health reforms. The records are designed to keep details of a patient's medical history together, making it easier for GPs, specialists and other health workers to share information, see past treatments and drug prescriptions and potentially reduce medical errors.

Drugs & Alcohol

Warning over deadly Polish spirit drink Spirytus Rektyfikowany

Anthony Gough - The Sunday Mail (Qld)

Health experts are warning a high-strength boutique liquor readily available in bottle shops could be used in Jackass-style drinking games - with deadly results. The Polish spirit drink Spirytus Rektyfikowany has a 95 per cent alcohol content and features in YouTube stunts with young people sculling it from the bottle, downing it in drinking competitions and even setting their breath on fire with it.

Two drug lab finds brings 2012 total to nine

Aleisha Orr - SMH

Police believe they may have stumbled upon the ninth drug lab to be found in Western Australia this year. Officers from the Gosnells Police Station went to a house in Dionne Plant about 11.45pm last night looking for a person in relation to an arrest warant. Sergeant Gerry Cassidy said while the officers did not find the person they were looking for, they found gas bottles and other items consistent with the manufacture of drugs.


Parents go into debt so they can send their children to private schools

Laura Speranza - The Telegraph

Parents are increasingly taking out personal loans or refinancing mortgages so they can send their children to private schools. Families are so desperate to keep their children out of the public school system they are willing to put themselves in debt for the rest of their working lives, or are tapping into grandparents' nest eggs. While public school fees are voluntary and the cost of excursions and stationery is only a few hundred dollars a year, tuition fees approach $30,000 a year at some Sydney private schools - and the cost of educating a child from kindergarten to Year 12 can break the $500,000 ceiling.


Landmark deal saves Tasmania's native forests

Andrew Darby - SMH

Large tracts of Tasmanian native forest have secured legal protection from logging in the tortuous process aimed at ending the state's forests dispute. Federal and state governments said yesterday the conservation agreement, for 428,000 hectares of public forests, was a landmark on the way to final settlement. Green groups strongly criticised the deal, which leaves about 2000 hectares of forests, still hotly disputed for their high conservation values, open to chainsaws in coming weeks.


A son's act of mercy divides a family

Peter Munro - The Age

The blue mortar and pestle had gathered dust on his mother's Welsh dresser, before he used it to crush a dozen morphine pills in her kitchen. The powdered drugs dyed the water murky brown in the glass he held to her lips. She smiled gently after drinking, holding his hand. ''You are a wonderful son,'' she said. But Sean Davison's decision to help his mother die exposed a fault-line that has since torn at his family - and sparked claims his own sister in Melbourne betrayed him to police.


No pokies resolution for PM, Wilkie

David Beniuk - AAP

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie says discussions with the federal government on poker machine reform will continue after emerging from a meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gillard unwilling to point to any resolution. Mr Wilkie met the prime minister at a Hobart hotel for two hours on Sunday amid speculation the government was setting up the reform agenda for failure.


Gay marriage risk to family cell, says Pope

Leesha McKenny - SMH

Pope Benedict has signalled his firm opposition to same-sex marriage, stating policies that undermine the traditional family threatened ''the future of humanity itself''. The leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics said in Rome on Monday the education of each generation needed ''settings'' and ''among these, pride of place goes to the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman''.

Gays to protest for equal rights at the Australian Open

Aaron Langmaid - Herald Sun

Gay rights activists plan to storm the Australian Open in protest at anti-gay comments by Australian tennis champion Margaret Court. Activists plan to inundate Margaret Court Arena and raise hundreds of rainbow flags. Thousands of supporters have already backed the protest. But the Australian Christian Lobby urged a rethink. "Margaret Court has never sought to use either her status or this event to politicise her views, or even publicise them, instead the gay activists have, and with unbelievable vitriol," managing director Jim Wallace said.

American Republican presidential hopefuls marry family with politics

Miranda Devine - The Sunday Telegraph

One of the striking aspects of this American Republican presidential contest is how attractive many of the candidates' wives are - in a Stepford Wife way. And all six candidates, except Newt Gingrich, have been married a long time to these comely first wives, quite a feat in a divorce culture. Libertarian obstetrician Ron Paul, 76, wins with 55 years of wedded bliss. Mormon businessman Mitt Romney, 64, is in second place with 42 years of marital constancy. Texas governor Rick Perry, 61, has clocked up 40 years.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

Iran Pastor Nadarkhani rejects release offer

Stefan J. Bos - BosNewsLife

Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has rejected an offer to be released from prison if he publicly acknowledges Islam's prophet Mohammed as "a messenger sent by God" well-informed Christians and rights activists said Friday, January 13. Iranian authorities reportedly summoned lawyers for Pastor Nadarkhani to his home city of Rasht on December 30, to explain the deal. Local officials indicated they would release the pastor if he agreed to make the statement about Mohammed, Christians with close knowledge about the situation explained.


Give boat people a go: Baillieu

Farrah Tomazin - The Age

Premier Ted Baillieu says refugees are as Australian as the ANZAC legend of ''Simpson and his donkey'' and should be embraced with open arms. In comments that put him at odds with some of his Coalition colleagues, Mr Baillieu has urged the community to be more welcoming to refugees, including boat arrivals. Treating them decently was ''a hallmark of our humanity'', he said. He likened boat arrivals to his great grandfather, who ''jumped ship'' at the age of 17 to settle in Australia - and the ANZAC soldier John Simpson Kirkpatrick, who used a donkey to carry wounded men at Gallipoli in World War I.

ASIO silent on why teen refugee is being held

Kirsty Needham - Nambucca Guardian

A bid to release a teenage refugee labelled a ''security risk'' by ASIO from indefinite detention will go to trial in the Federal Court on January 23, but the Commonwealth is refusing to divulge to the court the nature of the findings against Ali Abbas. ASIO is not subject to judicial review, and Mr Abbas has been issued a letter stating he has no appeal rights because he has been deemed an ''adverse security risk'' by the intelligence agency.

Sexualisation of Society

Parents say iDont to lessons on breast implants

Tianna Nadalin - Herald Sun

Apps that encourage breast implants and give instructions on how to ogle the opposite sex are among programs recommended for 12-year-olds on the Apple online store. iAugment, a breast-implant simulator, is just one of many applications that can be downloaded free from Apple's official store and has a maturity rating of 12+. The iAugment app allows users to take photos of their chest, enhance their bust to different cup sizes, find a recommended surgeon and publish the photos on Facebook to get others' opinions.