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.




A Queensland parliamentary hearing last Thursday into proposed civil unions legislation has heard claims from opponents that its introduction will eventually lead to the state legalising polygamy, incest, or even, gay marriage.  Just over 10 conservative Christian or family groups were represented at the public hearing in Brisbane, with the Australian Christian Lobby’s, Wendy Francis, upset that the hearing allowed email submissions after 5,000 were received in just 12 days, The Australian reported.   A vote on the private member’s bill introduced by Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser is expected in the next few months, and with the Liberal National Party Opposition planning to oppose it, the bill will be defeated if six Labor MPs use a conscience vote to side with the Opposition.

US surge to enshrine rights of unborn could revive local movement THIS week Mississippi is set to take a monumental step.

It is voting to adopt a "personhood" amendment to its constitution.  The idea is simple enough. It will amend the constitution of that US state to define all life as beginning at conception. The amendment reads: "The term person, or persons, shall include every human being from the moment of fertilisation, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof."  The powerful pro-choice lobby, Planned Parenthood, fought tooth and nail to prevent the proposition appearing on the ballot - and lost.

Should you buy your teenager alcohol for Schoolies Week?

State Government advertising blitz warns of $8000 fine for parents  It's the question that plagues parents at this time of year: Should I buy my teenager alcohol for Schoolies Week?  Attorney-General Paul Lucas this week announced a new state-wide advertising blitz to spread the message that supplying alcohol to underage teenagers is dangerous and could end in an $8000 fine for parents.  2000 bottle shops and hotels will be decked out with posters, postcards and shelf advertising to remind parents that the irresponsible supply of alcohol to minors is illegal.

Hotels bask in the spirit of giving

Just over three years ago, the president of the NSW branch of the Australian Hotels Association, Scott Leach, burst into the headlines only weeks into his new job. ''Political donations made by the AHA are under review - we've pressed the pause button,'' Leach told the Herald, rather sensationally.  It was brave stuff from the new hotels chief: a proposal to reconsider the cosy relationship between the state's wealthy and influential hoteliers and the then Labor government, which had seen more than $1 million in donations flow to the party in the previous decade.  Leach's comments followed a thought bubble from the then premier Morris Iemma, who had suggested that maybe it was time to rethink the system of political donations and ban the things altogether.

Safety-conscious St Andrew's puts spoke in the wheel of city's cycleway plan

Compromise ... this has the drop-off zone and cycleway side by side.  ST ANDREW'S Cathedral School appears poised to win a bruising battle to force the City of Sydney to change plans for a cycleway outside its front door, with the lord mayor now supporting amendments the City says will cost an extra $1 million.  At a briefing this week, councillors were told the City had agreed to the unusual step of publicly exhibiting two designs for the Kent Street cycleway, one preferred by council staff and an alternative scheme designed after mediation between the school and the City. The City's preferred scheme is to extend an existing cycleway south to the end of Kent Street, taking over part of the road that runs past the school's front door and is used by parents to drop off about 60 children each day.

Greens fury at US build-up

THE expanded American military presence in Australia - to be formally announced next week by the US President, Barack Obama - will result in vastly more US ships, planes and soldiers visiting and being stationed in the nation's north, the government says.  As the government all but confirmed yesterday's Herald report that US Marines and materiel would be shifted to Darwin, the Greens said the move would annoy Australia's neighbours, including China, and make the nation a bigger military target.  The Greens leader, Bob Brown, said he would make his concerns known to Mr Obama next week in the unlikely event he was granted a meeting with him. Otherwise Senator Brown planned to ring the US embassy to complain.

Keneally flexes her clout for charity

KRISTINA KENEALLY has discovered an unexpected positive to being a former premier. During the media frenzy over her use of hair extensions in August, Keneally realised the public interest could be put to good use.  "I don't think I'd understood how significant the post-premier profile would be until the brouhaha over my hair," she says. "At that point I thought 'my goodness, if the media is going to care that much about what I do with my hair, imagine what I could do if I tried to direct that attention to things that really mattered'."  Keneally the backbencher is now actively promoting three causes she describes as "close to my heart''.

God under Gillard: Religion and politics in Australia – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

In his recent study of the faith of Australian prime ministers, John Warhurst has concluded that, between Federation in 1901 and the overthrow of Labor leader Kevin Rudd in 2010, four prime ministers were "articulate atheists or agnostics," while a fifth's atheism or agnosticism, though not explicitly articulated, could be inferred from his statements and actions.  Warhurst classified eight prime ministers as observant Christians (understood as attending church at least monthly during their prime ministership), two as conventional (occasional churchgoers) and nine as nominal (attending only for formal and official occasions).  Warhurst observes that the hardest part of conducting his research was the difficulty of finding reliable data about Australian leaders' faith. Members' and Senators' religion is not a matter of official record, and must, in some cases, be inferred from sources such as marriage and funeral records and whether the subject attended a denominational school.

Setting a religious minimum in schools for Fred Nile

The state government will pass laws setting a new "minimum" length of time religious classes have to run in schools - to please upper house crossbencher Fred Nile. Education Minister Adrian Piccoli announced the changes yesterday but rejected Mr Nile's plan to have ethics classes banned, forcing students to learn scripture.  The votes of Mr Nile and his Christian Democrat colleague Paul Green, and that of two Shooters MPs, will be critical in passing laws through the upper house in coming months.

Labor MPs feeling the pain in the suburbs

IN a week when Labor finally saw some blue sky in the opinion polls and forced through its price on carbon, one of its most senior strategists has warned that the people are hurting.  Special Minister of State Gary Gray has spelled out to The Weekend Australian why he believes voters are in "react mode" as they battle an increasingly complex world, falling home values, uncertain superannuation and an opposition message that is resonating.  In many ways, it seems Labor is fighting the stark reality that life on the streets can be far removed from what goes on in the political class. Yet Mr Gray is not without optimism and a belief that Labor can haul back Tony Abbott's imposing lead.