The ACL compiles a daily media monitoring services of stories of interest relating to children, family, drugs and alcohol, marriage, human rights, religious freedom etc. See here to read what's in the news today.



Children & Family
Social media whirl a long way from child's play

Sharon Williams - The Australian
When I was about 11 years old and off to high school, I remember my mother making it quite clear to me that in my world, there were set, appropriate modes of behaviour - no bad language, be kind, speak and dress well, be respectful and act with grace. Breach of these rules was not a possibility. Today, I also tell my children these things but today, they play in a larger playground almost completely accessed outside the school gates - the social media world.

Apple, Google, Facebook accused of restricting religious free speech

Stephanie Samuel - Christian Post
The NRB released a report at the National Press Club Thursday analyzing the various content policies of social networking websites. What they found was disturbing: new media platforms Facebook, Apple, Comcast, AT&T and Google have adopted policies to censor lawful viewpoints expressing Christian views or controversial ideas on “hot button issues.” Some platforms, have already started to use those policies to remove orthodox Christian viewpoints considered “offensive” or too controversial. “The irony is the companies listed in this report are some of the most open companies in the world.”

Donor Conception & Surrogacy
Experts comment on sperm donor with 150 offspring

Michael Cook - BioEdge
The New York Times recently revealed that one American sperm donor had 150 offspring. This became a major story which prompted much comment. Ten experts were asked to comment. Here are some highlights:

IVF treatment raffles to be banned
Ashley Gardiner - Herald Sun
Raffles with prizes such as IVF treatment, cosmetic surgery or sexual services will be banned under laws before State Parliament.

Drugs & Alcohol
Schoolies are ditching the Gold Coast and Byron Bay to celebrate in Thailand where drugs are cheap

Caroline Marcus - The Sunday Mail (Qld)
School leavers are ditching the Gold Coast and Byron Bay to celebrate Schoolies in Thailand, where they can buy cheap drugs without the scrutiny of police usually called in to control them. Bookings to Thailand's notorious, drug-fuelled Full Moon beach parties on Koh Phangan have soared, with local celebrations now deemed too "bogan". But a leading drug expert has warned parents against the trend. Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia's Paul Dillon said families mistakenly believed Thailand was a "safe" option compared with Surfers Paradise, which has been associated with arrests, underage drinking, sexual assaults and "toolies".

Push for mental health help for schools

Mandy Squires - Geelong Advertiser
A leading Australian psychologist has called for all Geelong school students to have access to professionally trained mental health experts rather than chaplains or welfare workers. The senior manager of professional practice for the Australian Psychological Society (APS), David Stokes, says research shows 20 per cent of school students have mental health problems. These young people needed to be identified and helped by skilled psychologists rather than school chaplains, he said.

Euthanasia becoming integral part of Dutch medicine

Michael Cook - BioEdge
Dutch doctors have a professional obligation to refer patients who request euthanasia to a compliant colleague if they object, says the national doctors association, the KNMG. Ten years after euthanasia was legalised, the KNMG has issued guidelines on the participation of doctors in euthanasia and assisted suicide. Recently there have been well-publicised demands for euthanasia for the demented and those who are merely tired of living.

Human Rights
Baillieu intervenes to keep rights charter

Farrah Tomazin - The Age
Ted Baillieu will keep Victoria's human rights charter and does not intend to significantly wind back the legislation, despite the urgings of a parliamentary committee and some of his own MPs. After a five-month review, a Coalition-dominated parliamentary committee has called for several changes to the contentious charter of human rights, including dismantling the role of courts and tribunals that help implement it.

Tasmanian Parliament to vote on marriage equality

Star Observer
The Tasmanian House of Assembly will vote on a Greens motion that make the Tasmanian Parliament the first in Australia to express in-principle support for marriage equality. Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim will introduce a notice of motion, which will also call on the Federal Parliament to reform the Marriage Act, on Tuesday – with debate and a vote on the motion expected on the Wednesday.

Gay marriage could be legal in UK by 2015
Christian Today
The commitment of Government ministers to gay marriage means it could become legal by 2015, according to reports. The Government today announced a consultation on changing the law for gay couples, to begin next spring. At present, people in same sex couples can only enter into civil partnerships.

UK plans to introduce same-sex marriage
The Age
The British government has drawn up plans to introduce same-sex civil marriages before the next election in 2015, Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone says. "I am delighted to announce today that in March, this government will begin a formal consultation on how to implement equal civil marriage for same-sex couples," she told her Liberal Democrat party's annual conference in Birmingham, central England, on Saturday.

Gay couples sharing hurt
Adam Hegarty – The Advertiser
Gay families will intensify their campaign for marriage equality by taking their stories to Canberra next month. Advocates from across Australia will launch the inaugural real families, real stories initiative today by posting their personal stories - about how not being able to marry has affected their family - on

Religious Persecution
Religious Unity Regulation prohibits preaching a religion except Islam
President’s Office has gazetted the controversial Religious Unity Regulation, declaring it an offence to preach a religion except Islam in the Maldives. A person who violates the regulation will be sentenced to 2-5 years in prison, banishment or house arrest.

Syria: Anti-Assad sheikh threatens to 'tear Christians apart'
A Syrian sheikh who has been exiled to Saudi Arabia and has become one of the voices of the uprising against Assad, urges his followers, in television sermons that have been broadcast in Syria as well, to ''tear apart, chop up and feed'' the meat of all supporters of the current regime ''to the dogs,'' including all Christians.

Somalia’s starving Christians struggle after beheading
Stefan J. Bos and Joseph DeCaro - BosNewsLife
Hungry minority Christians in Somalia faced another struggle Sunday, September 18, after suspected Islamic militants beheaded a Christian convert and foreign aid workers were banned from reaching a dying population. Somali Christians and human rights activists confirmed that the body of Juma Nuradin Kamil, a kidnapped Christian who converted from Islam, was found decapitated near the southern town of Hudur on September 2. He was apparently killed after three suspected members of the Islamic group al-Shabab pushed him into a car, witnesses said. "Islamic radicals kidnapped a Christian brother and then beheaded him. His decapitated body was discovered" by locals on a street, explained Jonathan Racho, the regional manager for Africa of advocacy group International Christian Concern.

Labor strips asylum rights in bid to revive swap deal

Michelle Grattan - The Age
Government legislation to revive the Malaysian people swap gives the immigration minister unfettered power to send asylum seekers offshore, without having to guarantee they will have rights and protections.

Coalition to purge Labor tax policies
Matthew Franklin - The Australian
The Coalition will today sink Julia Gillard's plan to send asylum-seekers to Malaysia and has vowed it will purge all elements of Labor's mining and carbon taxes when it wins the next election. In an escalation of the Coalition's policy rhetoric, Joe Hockey has warned householders and businesses that any compensation they receive from the government over next July's introduction of the carbon tax will be taken back by an incoming Coalition government as part of a push to improve the government's budget position.

Coalition 'exceptionally unlikely' to back migration laws
The Coalition has given its strongest indication yet it will not support changes to the Migration Act as they are currently drafted, saying they strip asylum seekers of their protections. Under the changes, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen would have broad powers to send refugees to a third country for processing if he can prove to Parliament that it is in the public interest.

Church of Scientology 'has to conform to labour laws'
Nick O'Malley - The City Weekly
The Church of Scientology has been found to be subject to Australian labour laws after an investigation into allegations it paid employees who were members of its clergy as little as $10 a week. But elements of the draft report by the Fair Work Ombudsman - such as indications that allegations of slavery and human rights abuses would be referred to ''the relevant authority'' for further investigation - have been omitted from the final public version.

Taking HIV Testing to the Streets
Kenny Goldberg - California Report
The Center for Disease Control says 20 percent of Americans with HIV don't know they're infected, and those people are responsible for about half of all new infections. A new effort in San Diego is trying to reduce those numbers by making HIV testing more widespread.