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.



Charities & NFP

Charities to receive carbon tax help: Wong


Federal Finance Minister Penny Wong has assured charities that government assistance will be available to help them deal with the impact of a carbon tax. The Salvation Army says it is bracing for an avalanche of useless household goods, dumped by people unwilling to pay higher rubbish tip fees as a result of the carbon tax. The Salvation Army claims the tax will add $3.5 million to annual landfill costs for charitable groups.

Charities hope .NGO domain will end scams

Lieu Thi Pham - ZDNet

Charity organisations are hoping that a .NGO domain name could stop online charity scams in their tracks, and increase certainty for philanthropists, enabling them to donate more over websites. So far this year, Consumer Affairs Victoria has received more than 565 reports of scams, including around 13 reports of charity scams, many of which were conducted online. Not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) and non-government organisations (NGOs) are currently preparing to apply for their own "top-level" domain (gTLD) extension, .NGO, enabled by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN) decision to expand the current 22 TLDs on the internet to include generic names.

Children & Family

Drugs are driving girls to crime but most escape jail time

Geoff Wilkinson - Herald Sun

The number of children taken to court for crimes of violence has almost doubled in recent years. But only 172 of the 14,556 juveniles processed by police in 2009-10 were sentenced to youth detention. A Sentencing Advisory Council report, the first of its kind, examined Children's Court sentencing statistics over 10 years.

Donor Conception & Surrogacy

In a land where life is cheap, renting a womb is child's play for foreigners

Francis Elliott - The Australian

Shame of the women who must fill West’s demand for babies

Francis Elliott - The Times (via non-paywall Anglican Mainstream )

Mattresses on the floor, a television blaring soaps, a makeshift kitchen - there's not much in the way of furniture in the two-bedroom flat shared by five pregnant women on the outskirts of Delhi. Framed photographs of white couples lovingly cradling newborns are the only decoration. They are reminders, if any were needed, of why the women are spending nine months away from husbands and prying neighbours, but under the watchful eye of a team of "counsellors". Rihana Khan, 21, covers her face with her scarf as she explains the additional care she is taking with her second pregnancy. "The first time, with my own child, I didn't care at all what I was eating or about lifting weights. This time I am much, much more careful. There is a lot more at stake." She is carrying twins on the last leg of a journey that began on the other side of the world: the clinic that has paid her to be a surrogate mother services an agency in Israel that helps gay men become fathers. Their sperm is sent to the US, where egg donors, usually white women from South Africa or Ukraine, are waiting. The resulting embryos are frozen and flown to India, where wombs are cheapest to rent.

Drugs & Alcohol

The criminals' code and vigilante violence

Janet Fife-Yeomans and Clementine Cuneo - The Daily Telegraph

Neighbourhood disputes that were once sorted out with fist fights have escalated into almost nightly gun battles on Sydney's streets. After 10 shootings in 10 days, frustrated police yesterday lashed out at "petty" criminals who have replaced punch-ups with pistols. Senior officers said many of the incidents were over "petty" drug deals and turf wars, along the lines of the ghetto gangs of New York and Los Angeles.

Star casino 'didn't follow proper drug process'


Proper procedures were ignored when drugs were reportedly found in a bathroom at Sydney's The Star casino, an inquiry has been told. Casino staff became aware of a substance in a bathroom next to a high rollers' room on October 30, 2010, but the investigations department was not informed until November 8, 2010, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority heard today. Kevin Houlihan, the casino's investigations manager who previously spent 15 years as a police officer, said the casino should have taken the substance and put it in a secure place but failed to do so.

Rahma El-Dennaoui's sister saw a long-haired 'monster' the night she disappeared, inquest hears

Peter Bodkin - The Daily Telegraph

Missing toddler Rahma El-Dennaoui may have accidentally swallowed an ecstasy tablet triggering a heated argument in her house the night before she disappeared, an inquest heard today. Glebe Coroner's Court this afternoon heard explosive allegations that the 20-month-old's father was a "well-known drug dealer" in the family's Lurnea neighbourhood. Rahma disappeared from the family home on the morning of November 10, 2005 after she was laid to sleep in the queen bed she shared with two older sisters at about 2am.

Human Rights

Assembly open to 'ethics commissioner'

Noel Towell - Canberra Times

ACT politicians could be brought under the control of a ''commissioner for parliamentary ethics'' in the wake of this week's scathing report into staff management in the office of Opposition Leader Zed Seselja. The review by former royal commissioner Ron McLeod recommended an overhaul of the system used by MLAs to account for the attendance of their staff and that the Assembly consider appointing a commissioner to police the members' codes of conduct and ethics and the administration of their offices.


Forced marriage hidden problem: report

Kellee Nolan - NineMSN

Forced marriage is a hidden problem in Australia that exploits women right across the spectrum of society, social justice groups say. Launching the Hidden Exploitation report, Catholic social justice group Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand said more research and services were needed to uncover the extent of forced marriage and to support victims. Good Shepherd chief executive Rhonda Cumberland said forced marriage happened more often than people realised in Australia and was not reported because victims feared the consequences.

Overseas Aid

Zimbabwe 'in dire need' amid Mugabe rumours


As Zimbabwean officials furiously deny reports president Robert Mugabe is gravely ill, an Australian aid worker says most of the infrastructure in the country has collapsed. Reports circulated yesterday that 88-year-old Mr Mugabe was in hospital in Singapore and had agreed to hand over power to his defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.


Top NSW Labor officials warned about HSU time bomb

Phillip Coorey, Kate McClymont - SMH

The corruption crisis tearing apart the Health Services Union threatens to engulf NSW Labor with claims emerging that key party figures were warned about the alleged antics of senior HSU officials but took no action. Emails obtained by the Herald reveal the state Opposition Leader, John Robertson, was warned three years ago, when he was a minister, about allowing the HSU national president, Michael Williamson, to serve as the ALP national president.

Lionel Bowen a great politician but a regular dad made of 'pure crystal'

Nicola Berkovic - The Australian

He was raised in poverty in inner-Sydney tenements but became a champion of the working class, and yesterday luminaries from both sides of the political divide gathered to pay their respects to Lionel Frost Bowen - a loyal, decent and self-effacing man. About 1000 people gathered at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney - current and former MPs from all three tiers of government, former political staffers, leading members of the legal fraternity and diplomats - for a state funeral to farewell the former deputy prime minister, who died at his home on April 1 at 89. Former prime minister Bob Hawke paid tribute to a man of "pure crystal", a warm, wise, generous and shrewd deputy. He said Mr Bowen was driven by three loves - the ALP, the church and his family.

Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

How this sex ledger helped convict ACT brothel madam of 'slavery'

Louis Andrews - Canberra Times

The ledger included details of how many clients were serviced each day, and the levels of debt still owing. Photo: Louis Andrews

A former brothel madam is facing a lengthy prison stretch after being found guilty of slavery in the first case of its kind heard in a Canberra court. And it can be now be revealed Watcharaporn Nantahkhum's victim, who cannot be named, was also sexually abused by a man closely linked to her captor.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

Death to churches

Raymond Ibrahim - Gatestone Institute

While the mainstream media, government officials and so on try to portray these attacks as products of poverty, the fact is, wherever there are significant numbers of Muslims, churches are under siege. Last Sunday, many Christians around the world celebrated Easter, taking for granted that they can congregate and worship in peace. Not so in the Islamic world, where top religious officials call for the destruction of churches, Christian holidays celebrated in church are increasingly a time of death and destruction, and a time of terror.

Egypt: Every aspect of life is to be Islamicized

Oren Kessler - Jpost

The Muslim Brotherhood’s main presidential candidate seeks to fundamentally Islamicize Egyptian society if elected, according to newly uncovered footage of an extended address he gave supporters last year shortly after his release from prison. Egyptian activists have transcribed Khairat al-Shater’s 90- minute address into English, offering a rare glimpse into the worldview of the normally tight-lipped candidate who is a front-runner in upcoming elections to lead the Arab world’s most populous state.

Sexualisation of Society

Porno and pop music no longer poles apart

Sarrah Le Marquand - The Daily Telegraph

According to Ryan Gosling, or at least the scriptwriters who come up with his lines, the war between the sexes is over. In case you were wondering, it was the men who emerged victorious. When the singer happens to be female, all subsequent footage will feature as little clothing as possible as our heroine delivers her best soft-porn impersonation.


Baby found alive after 12 hours in morgue

An Argentine woman who insisted on seeing the presumably lifeless body of her p emature baby found the infant alive in the drawer of a hospital morgue. Authorities say the girl had spent 12 hours in the refrigerated room at the Perrando de Resistencia hospital in northern Argentina. Analia Bouter tells Todo Noticias television that she thought she was hallucinating when she looked at her infant in the morgue drawer and heard a whimper and saw signs of life. Doctors say the girl is now in good condition.

Retailers call for end to 'ridiculous' Easter trading ban

Brisbane Times

Retailers have called for an end to the ‘‘dysfunctional’’ and ‘‘ridiculous’’ laws that prevent shops in southeast Queensland from opening on Easter Sunday. Thousands of people from throughout Queensland flocked to the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast for the Easter long weekend but were unable to shop on two of the four days.

Autism, traffic, and unstudied vaccine components

Matthew Hanley - MercatorNet

An astounding one out of every 88 American children (and one in 54 boys) now has autism – a 78 percent increase in just the last decade – according to the latest CDC estimate just released last month. By contrast, that figure stood at less than five per 10,000 children in 1980. In the UK, the prevalence rate has reached one out of every 64 children. This sharp rise over the past couple decades is all the more terrifying since so much about its causes remains shrouded in mystery. Even if some share of the increase might be attributable to changing diagnostic criteria, we are still dealing with an alarming epidemic. Only the full force of science – properly deployed and free from ideological shackles – can meet the pressing need for answers to this devastating condition.

The ugly side of online shopping

Daniel Morrissey - Canberra Times

Shop owners are sick of people scoping their stores - only to use information to buy cheaper products online. And now, some bricks-and-mortar retailers are fighting back. Retailers are charging people to try on shoes and clothing. The nation’s peak retail industry group is aware of a few retailers in the ski-boot business that apply a fitting charge which is then subtracted from the final bill if the product is purchased.

NBN project 'missing the boat'

Clare Peddie - The Advertiser

The rise of mobile internet through smart phones and tablets threatens to make the NBN a waste of money, a prominent social analyst says. Speaking in Adelaide about the latest Australia SCAN social trend survey, Quantum Market Research's David Chalke said NBN Co was "missing the boat". "Everything is going to be wireless by the time they've dug up the roads and stuffed the pipes," he said. "It will be too late, it's all going to be mobile and wireless in the future."

ChristiaNet Reaches 1 Million Mark on Facebook

Russ Jones - ASSIST News Service

As social media has quickly become a force to be reckoned with, organizations and businesses of all types are navigating how to best use this growing phenomenon. ChristiaNet, Inc. announced this week its milestone accomplishment of being the first media company to reach the 1 million 'Fan' mark on Facebook. “A presence on Facebook has become a critical component to virtually every organizations online sales effort,” said William T. Cooper, CEO and founder of ChristiaNet, Inc. “We could see the growing challenges and limitations of email marketing and began our own conversion to Facebook about a year ago.”

Pell's performance was a revelation

Greg Sheridan - The Australian

There were times in Monday night's great debate on the ABC's Q&A between Catholic Cardinal George Pell and militant atheist Richard Dawkins when you felt the boxing authorities would step in and call a halt to the bout. Dawkins was so obviously boxing above his weight division, was so completely outclassed in all aspects of the encounter, that you felt the event promoters were being cruel to him. But here is the big story. God is not dead. In thinking so, the mavens of our culture are in a small and dwindling minority.

Bruises all round in Pell-Dawkins street fight

Neil Ormerod – Eureka Street

Late in February 2012 Richard Dawkins, internationally renowned atheist, and Rowan Williams, soon to retire Archbishop of Canterbury, debated the meaning of life, the universe and everything at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. The moderator of the event was Sir Anthony Kenny, the famous British philosopher, ex-Catholic priest and current agnostic. The debate was podcast live around the world. It was a gentlemanly affair. Dawkins was on his best behaviour, perhaps caught up in the solemnity of the occasion. Certainly Kenny did not let him get away with much. And Williams is a much respected figure even among atheists, and a genuine scholar. The audience packed the theatre but kept their place, reserving their applause until the end of the event.

A battle beyond belief

Gary Bouma - The Age

Atheism seems to be on the rise; at least it is more often in the news and its voices are more frequently heard and are occasionally strident. What is happening here? First a few facts. In the 2006 census, 3.7 million or 18.7 per cent of Australians declared that they had ''no religion'', but only 31,000 of these or 0.16 per cent wrote that they were atheists. Another 0.11 per cent wrote that they were ''agnostic'', 0.04 per cent claimed they were ''humanists''' and 0.01 per cent said ''rationalists''. Most were simply saying they had no religious affiliation.