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
Traditional Australian families a dying breed
Elissa Doherty
The number of traditional family households is set to shrink to less than a quarter by 2026, with childless homes to become the new norm.

ACT smack ban plan given big slap down
Michael Inman - The Canberra Times

A proposed smack ban has been slapped down by Canberrans. The Sunday Canberra Times last week disclosed the ACT Human Rights Commission is pushing for the territory to become the first jurisdiction in Australia to ban parents from smacking their children.  Canberrans rushed to their keyboards to write letters and vote online. More than 1200 people voiced a view in response to last week's story, with 88 per cent of poll respondents against a smack ban.

Rated G for garbage

Patricia Edgar - SMH

Australian children are choosing 35-year-old American sitcoms over local programs specifically designed for them, including those on ABC2 and the children's channel, ABC3. The policy initiatives that rocketed Australia to prominence as an international children's television producer in the '80s are still in place, yet today's children prefer to watch Here's Lucy, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Happy Days and Mork and Mindy.

Drugs & Alcohol
Girls' drink pact
Nick Ralston, Saffron Howden - SMH

Young women planning a night out should tell their friends if they plan to have sex to avoid unwanted and potentially dangerous drunken encounters, the NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, has warned.  In another foray into the state's social and moral landscape, Mr Scipione says the rise in binge drinking among girls and young women is making them vulnerable to sexual assault, liaisons they may regret, psychological trauma, sexually transmitted infections and even a threat to their fertility.

The arrest of a NSW teenager in Bali for alleged drug possession should serve as a warning to all Australian youngsters, the state's police commissioner says.  The 14-year-old boy is being held by Indonesian authorities after allegedly being caught with a small amount of marijuana.  "This should serve as a very important warning for our young people," Commissioner Andrew Scipione told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

Clubs site pulls pokies loss 'truth'
Andrea Hayward and Sarah Malik
Clubs Queensland has sought to distance itself from claims made on its website that clubs could expect a drop of between 10 and 20 per cent in revenue as a result of the government's poker machine reforms.

Clubs have less to lose on pokies betting trial
SMH – Mark Metherell
LICENSED clubs have offered public support for a trial of compulsory betting controls for poker machines after fresh evidence emerged suggesting the clubs have exaggerated likely financial losses caused by the proposed measures.

Xenophon slams 'deceptive' clubs industry

Independent senator Nick Xenophon says Clubs Australia should apologise for misleading the public on the impact of the Federal Government's changes to poker machine laws.   He says a document posted on the Clubs Queensland website reveal a campaign of misinformation on pokie reforms and show they will not be as bad as the industry suggests.

Is online poker a game of chance? Or is it a game of skill?  The answer could determine whether 10 men, including the founders of internet poker's three largest companies - PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker - beat charges brought by US government prosecutors following the arrest of suspected whistleblower Daniel Tzvetkoff, an Australian entrepreneur.

Indigenous issues
Amnesty slams shocking indigenous conditions

Amnesty International says the Federal Government needs to be internationally shamed into addressing poverty among Indigenous Australians.  Secretary-general Salil Shetty yesterday toured remote towns in the Northern Territory, including Utopian communities north-east of Alice Springs.   He described the plight of locals as "devastating", saying people there are living in inhumane conditions that are almost third-world.

Government efforts to “close the gap” between indigenous and white Australians ignore the needs of nearly 1000 homeland communities on the Indigenous estate.   Australian citizens living at the most remote and smallest localities, established with government support in the 1970s and 1980s, are being neglected by Canberra today in favour of bigger hub towns.   The Closing the Gap mantra targets 29 larger and more visible communities only because they are larger and more visible. Economic rationalisation is convinced that size, whether townships or shires, will deliver cost savings from economies of scale.

Symbolism is not enough: Pearson
Michael Gordon
Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal Australians should go beyond symbolism and drive a new approach to indigenous policy that is capable of transforming lives, according to the Cape York Institute led by Noel Pearson.

Premier Mike Rann has used one of his final public speeches before retiring to urge the Federal Government to legalise gay marriage.  He joins other serving Labor Premiers - Anna Bligh in Queensland and Lara Giddings in Tasmania - calling for federal reform of the Commonwealth Marriage Act.  Addressing a Flinders University forum this evening, Premier Rann said conversations with Don Dunstan and Justice Michael Kirby in the late 1970s had been crucial to his support for homosexual rights.

Nationals MP Tony Crook will be the subject of furious last-minute lobbying as Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott seek to secure the West Australian's support for this week's crucial migration vote.  But, with MPs set to vote on the amendments to the Migration Act as early as Thursday, Mr Crook told The Australian last night he had yet to decide whether to back the legislation.

Legal brothels linked to international sex trafficking rings

Nick McKenzie, Maris Beck, Tom Reilly, Anne Davies - SMH

Legal brothels in NSW and Victoria are operating unchecked despite police investigations implicating them in human trafficking, sex slavery and organised crime.  Two federal police investigations, Operations Elixation and Raspberry, have identified at least two Sydney brothels and three Melbourne ones linked to an international human trafficking and sex slavery ring. The syndicate allegedly convinces Asian women to come to Australia to study. They are then forced to work as sex slaves in brothels.

The police will get more authority to swoop on illegal brothels as Premier Ted Baillieu comes under growing pressure to crack down on Melbourne's booming sex trade.  The government is drafting laws to make Victoria Police the lead agency to weed out unlicensed brothels, in a bid to stop dodgy operators and crime syndicates from exploiting the state's weak regulations.

Religious Persecution
Brutal killings in crackdown on Christians in Cairo
ABC AM – Ben Knight.
TONY EASTLEY: This morning, we begin in Egypt and in Cairo where violent clashes have erupted between Christians and the military. Up to 17 people have been killed and more than 100 injured. We begin with our Middle East correspondent, Ben Knight who is in a hospital in Cairo.
Ben, this hospital that you're in, just describe what's happening around you.

Indian Catholic jailed in the Maldives over a Bible and a rosary
Nirmala Carvalho -  AsiaNews

Shijo Kokkattu, an Indian Catholic from Kerala, has been languishing in a Maldives prison for more than a week because he had a Bible and a rosary at his home. Both items are banned on the archipelago.  Islam is state religion in the Maldives. There is no freedom of worship. In 2008, a constitutional amendment denied non-Muslims the right to obtain Maldivian citizenship.

The violence is particularly frustrating for Christians because soon after Mubarak's fall the new government promised to review and lift heavy Mubarak-era restrictions on building or renovating churches. The promise raised hopes among Christians that the government would establish a clear legal right to build, resolving an issue that in recent years has increasingly sparked riots. But the review never came, and Salafi clerics have increased their rhetoric against Christians, including accusing them of seeking to spread their faith with new churches.

Six-year-old Rita Nahal has never been to Egypt, but she is about to be sent there after her family lost its seven-year bid for asylum.  The Australian-born grade 1 student at Ringwood's Our Lady of Perpetual Help speaks only a few words of Arabic and has little understanding of the political upheaval that continues to shake her parents' homeland.  But as early as Wednesday, the family could all be deported from Australia after her Christian Coptic parents, Antoun Nahal and Dalia Abdel Sayed, and her grandmother, Nabila Soliman, lost their fight to stay.  The family say they face violent persecution back in Egypt because of their religion.

Hundreds of teenagers have been charged over producing or distributing child pornography amid growing concern that "sexting" has reached epidemic levels.  In the past three years, more than 450 child pornography charges have been laid against youths between the ages of 10 and 17, including 113 charges of "making child exploitation material".

Judges have received another significant pay rise, taking the annual salary of the Chief Justice of the High Court to more than half-a-million dollars.  Less than a year after their pay was increased, judges' pay has gone up again, taking the salaries of the chief justices of the High Court, Family Court and Federal Court to well in excess of that of the Prime Minister.