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.




Abortion pill risk

The Australian

Thank you for Angela Shanahan's article. I lost my 18-year-old daughter, Holly Patterson, who was reported to be the first woman in the US to die from sepsis/toxic shock after RU-486 medical abortion. I built and launched a website abortion pill risks last year about the risks of the abortion pill. It has reached more than 5000 unique international visitors a month. These home abortions with RU-486 may seem to be easy, but can result in life-threatening complications. Women worldwide deserve to know all the facts and to be well-informed of all the potential risks.

Children & Family

Child abuse ‘linked to parental issues'

Herald Sun

The links between child abuse and parents' drug and alcohol problems can result in child protection workers walking a tightrope in trying to act in the best interests of the children, a child protection expert says. University of South Australia Emeritus Professor Dorothy Scott said the challenge of ending child abuse lay in breaking the link between the problems of adults and the pain they imposed on their children. Substance abuse, particularly alcohol, family violence and mental illness were key risk factors for child abuse and neglect.

Workers pay the penalty for one-way flexibility

Ross Gittins - SMH

Whether or not they realise what they're doing, Australia's business people, economists and politicians are in the process of dismantling the weekend and phasing out public holidays. And they're doing it in the name of making us better off. Why is it the politicians who bang on most about the sanctity of The Family are also those most inclined to make family life more difficult?


Family affairs

Susan Hetherington - ABC

For not the first time, I was this week prompted to put pen to paper to write a letter complaining about the screening of a trailer for an MA classified film (Margin Call) in a M classified film The Hunger Games. This is a clear and obvious breach of classification rules which state : Film advertising (trailers) for a classified film can only be publicly exhibited with a feature film of the same or higher classification. Film advertising for MA 15+ films can only be screened with MA 15+ or R 18+ films. Last time I complained the cinema owner told me I would be best advised to take my business elsewhere if I didn’t like it. This time I was told I was right, the trailer would be removed and the duty manager spoken to. Fair enough but interestingly the response made comment about the relative content of Margin Call versus The Hunger Games.

- - also

The Australian Medical Association has taken the rare step of calling on the Federal Government to clamp down on ads that sexualise children saying self regulation hasn’t worked.

- - and

From tomorrow women in England will be able to be paid the equivalent of $1100 to donate their eggs for IVF for infertile couples.

Drugs & Alcohol

Dope ring surrenders in nation's war on drugs

Andrew Bolt - The Daily Telegraph

What were they smoking, these "eminent Australians" who this week reportedly called for the decriminalisation of drugs? I say "reportedly" because, just hours after they released their misleading report, you'd struggle to guess what they wanted, and why. You'd also wonder again: why was Foreign Minister Bob Carr brought out of retirement? Here's how this report, published by some government-sponsored think-tank called Australia21, announced its findings, having consulted Carr and 23 other "experts". "The war on drugs has failed" and was "corrupting civil society and government". "The prohibition of illicit drugs is killing and criminalising our children and we are letting it happen." Here's something more dangerous than our drug laws: Social reformers who don't know what they say or why they say it.

Leaders sticking with war on drugs despite calls for change from some politicians

Matt Johnston - Herald Sun

The Prime Minister, the Premier, and Victoria Police have all dismissed calls to re-assess Australia's "war on drugs", despite some MPs publicly urging change. Federal Liberal MP and GP Mal Washer told the Herald Sun marijuana should be legalised so health professionals could manage problems "out in the open". And Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Bob Carr, whose brother died of a heroin overdose, said he favoured "de facto decriminalisation" where police focused on big crime, not personal use.

Greens says subsidise drug treatment fees


The Australian Greens have called for the government to subsidise the fees charged by pharmacists to dispense the heroin addiction treatment drugs methadone and buprenorphine. The drugs themselves are subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and cost about $35 per prescription, health spokesman Richard Di Natale says. But the fees charged by pharmacists are not.


Ministers to mull over school funding shake-up

Anna Henderson - ABC

Federal, state and territory education ministers are expected to thrash out the details of a dramatic new proposal for school funding at a meeting in Sydney today. The Gonski Report into school education recommends a base level of funding per student, with loadings added based on levels of disadvantage.


$17m spent on carbon tax ads


The federal government spent about $17 million on ads explaining its carbon pricing package - almost double the amount spent encouraging people to take part in the census. A new report on government advertising for the second half of 2011 shows the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency spent $16.8 million on a campaign to support the Clean Energy Future policy package. The campaign ran from July to mid-September and included televisions, radio, newspaper and online advertisements and a household mail out.

Greens senator told to visit Murray towns


Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young has been urged to visit communities in the Murray-Darling Basin so she can hear first-hand how a draft management plan will affect them. Senator Hanson-Young was absent from meetings in Hay and Mildura this week when a Senate committee took evidence from locals. Nationals senator Fiona Nash said irrigators and residents raised concerns about the impact that proposed water cuts would have on their future and their communities.


Respect the future

David Brooks - NY Times

Last fall I asked readers over 70 to send me “Life Reports” — essays evaluating their own lives. Charles Darwin Snelling responded with a remarkable 5,000-word reflection. Snelling was a successful entrepreneur who spent decades serving his community. He was redeemed, he reported, six years ago when his beloved wife, Adrienne, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. “She took care of me in every possible way she could for 55 years. The last six years have been my turn,” Snelling wrote.

Foreign Aid

Tim Costello gives aid group response to spending cut

ABC 7.30

World Vision Australia's CEO Tim Costello responds to Federal Governments plans to cut foreign aid to help its budget.

Human Rights

Australian seniors need more cyber-safety education: Human Rights Commission

Hafizah Osman - ARNNet

Older Australians are the fastest growing group of Internet users, but according to peak seniors’ body, the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association (ASCCA), the demographic is still vastly under represented. In a committee public hearing, Human Rights Commission age discrimination commissioner, Susan Ryan, said that Australian seniors are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse online in the event that they don’t know how to look after themselves.

MP says SA's disability laws are archaic


South Australia's disability laws are archaic and flailing and need changing to ensure the rights of the disabled are enshrined in law, an independent MP says. Dignity for Disability upper house MP Kelly Vincent will introduce legislation in state parliament on Wednesday to overhaul the state's Disability Services Act. Her bill will create a disability services commissioner to oversee the provision of disability support, establish a community visitors' program to uphold standards in supported accommodation and appoint a senior practitioner to regulate and minimise the use of chemical, mechanical and physical restraints on people with disabilities.


Govt to fund Wurli to tackle alcohol issues

Katherine Times

Katherine's Wurli Wurlinjang Aboriginal Corporation will receive more than $832,000 funding to tackle alcohol and other drugs issues in the Katherine region as part of a $2.31 investment by the Australian Government to make an impact on drug and alcohol abuse in Katherine, Tiwi, the Daly region and the greater Darwin region. Minister for Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, and Senator for the Northern Territory, Trish Crossin, announced the new funding during a visit to the Wurli Wurlinjang Health Service in Katherine last week.

Yuendumu violence overshadows AFL pride

Michael Coggan - ABC

Despite producing AFL star Liam Jurrah, the remote Aboriginal community of Yuendumu is struggling with violence and the role of traditional law and culture in resolving it. The remote community of Yuendumu in central Australia is a long way from the hallowed turf of the MCG, and it's been an extraordinary journey for former barefoot footballer Liam Jurrah - from his outback home to star recruit at the Melbourne Demons football club. But the dreams of Liam Jurrah and his community came crashing down when the champion was arrested in his home town last month, and charged over a brutal attack which may see him face up to 14 years in jail.


Cardinal Pell argues against gay marriage


Sydney archbishop George Pell is pleading with the Federal Government not to allow gay marriage, saying the constructs of marriage are the glue that holds society together. Cardinal Pell says it would be a "grave injustice" if children were "deliberately deprived" of a mother and father. He made the remarks as part of his submission to a Senate inquiry into amendments to the Marriage Act.

Gay marriage 'impossible': Archbishop

Ava Benny-Morrison - Balina Advocate

Homosexuals are entitled to the same justice as everyone else, but the idea of a gay marriage is simply impossible, the incoming Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge has outlined. In his first press conference at the Wynberg House in New Farm today, the Catholic Archbishop designate of Brisbane Mark Coleridge was asked about the "torturous and hot issues" of civil unions and same-sex marriage. The Archbishop, who will leave his position as the Archbishop of the Canberra Diocese to take up the same role in Brisbane, was clear to spell out that he was not "homophobic" and strongly believed homosexuals had as much right to justice as anyone else in the world.

Poll in this story:

SCAN survey shows growing support for gay marriage

Clare Peddie - The Advertiser

South Australians are leading the way in support for gay marriage, a national survey shows. Presenting the latest Australia SCAN survey results yesterday, social commentator and market researcher David Chalke said the rapid rise in acceptance of gay marriage across Australia had taken him by surprise.


Thomson inquiry misfires

Michelle Grattan, Kate McClymont and Clay Lucas - The Age

The Craig Thomson affair has taken an extraordinary twist, with a three-year investigation by Fair Work Australia into alleged misconduct at the Health Services Union declared useless for preparing any prosecutions. The declaration came ahead of the release of an explosive internal audit that is expected to lay bare extensive corruption within the union.

NBN labelled a waste to set Labor back years

Peter Martin - SMH

It may be popular now, but Labor's $36 billion national broadband network is shaping up to be a financial disaster that will set Labor's image back decades, rebranding it the party of waste and extravagance. That's the view of Percy Allan, president of the Australian Institute of Public Administration and a former head of the NSW Treasury under premiers Wran, Greiner and Fahey.

Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Carles negotiates for prostitution bill amendments


The Independent MP, Adele Carles, says she will support the State Government's prostitution legislation if it accepts three amendments. The Government introduced a bill last year banning brothels in suburban areas, while allowing certain licensed premises to operate. The Opposition and two Liberal MPs have indicated they will not vote for it in its current form, meaning the support of either Ms Carles or another Independent, Janet Woollard, is needed.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

Pastor Behnam Irani tortured in prison

Present Truth

Pastor Benham Irani from Karaj, Iran is being held in Ghezel Hesar Prison serving a five year sentence for crimes against the order because he presided over church services and was leading people to Christ. Prison officials are allowing criminals in the prison to beat him frequently. He is now sick with some sort of intestinal disorder and from the beatings his eyesight is beginning to deteriorate.

UK: Cameron calls for a 'Christian fightback' over attempts to ban wearing crosses and town hall prayers

Jame Chapman - Mail Online

David Cameron has issued a rallying call for a 'Christian fightback' against attempts to ban the wearing of crosses and town hall prayers. The Prime Minister – who joked that he had felt like he 'needed someone to pray for me' during the recent rocky period for the Government – used a pre-Easter meeting with church leaders to say Britain needed the values of the Bible more than ever. He issued a public plea for them not to 'fall out' with the Government over plans to allow gay marriage.


Preaching to the diverted

Craig Thompson, a Uniting Church minister - Online Opinion

The weekend after this brings to Melbourne the 2012 Global Atheist Convention, a "celebration of reason." It promises to be a noisy time, for the speakers coming to town certainly justify fanfare. We can expect to hear a lot about who has said what, and probably not a little of the responses from "the religious". At the same time there is a risk that, despite all the noise, it will not be as interesting a time as it might be. For if what is presented bears too much resemblance to the content of populist atheistic publications of the last decade, not much will be said which will threaten to get to the heart of the matter. There is a risk that the lectures and addresses will largely be a preaching to the diverted. Why the diverted? Because "religion" is a convenient distraction from the difficult business of life together, even for the anti-religious.

Survey shows alarming anxiety rates

Star Observer

LGBT Australians are experiencing worrying levels of depression and anxiety, a national study has found. The La Trobe University study — Private Lives 2 (PL2) — which surveyed more than 4000 LGBT people, found almost 80 percent of participants had experienced at least one episode of intense anxiety in the last 12 months. More than a quarter of respondents had been diagnosed with, or treated for, an anxiety disorder during that same time. La Trobe lead researcher Liam Leonard said discrimination was likely to be to be a key factor in the result.

Extinguishers fan new graffiti craze

Timothy McDonald - ABC

Graffiti artists are converting fire extinguishers into giant spray cans in a craze that is becoming a costly problem for local councils. Detailed instructions available online show graffiti artists how to fill a fire extinguisher with paint and then re-pressurise it, in order to paint huge tags in a short amount of time. The artwork is usually simple, because the fire extinguisher empties out in a matter of seconds, but the letters often stretch along giant walls.