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
No move by social workers to stop baby for 14-year-old

Rory Callinan - The Australian

Child safety workers were warned that a 14-year-old Queensland girl with a history of self-harm and overdosing on drugs was trying to have a baby, yet they opted not to try to discourage her, it was alleged yesterday.  It also emerged that Child Safety Services officers placed a boy connected with the case into a "scummy" caravan park virtually unsupervised, where he went on drug and alcohol binges despite supposedly being in official care.

Cabbies beat child sex assault bans

Joe Hildebrand and Lisa Davies - The Daily Telegraph
Two taxi drivers accused of sex offences against children have been allowed to keep working on Sydney's streets after a tribunal overturned a ban by authorities, ruling the child sex allegations should not stop them picking up passengers. The Administrative Decisions Tribunal has ruled the drivers, who between them face five counts of sexual assault on a person under 10, are of "good repute".  The move overrules a ban by Transport NSW which deemed the men unfit to continue driving taxis because of the seriousness of the charges against them.

Drugs & Alcohol
Victoria to ban sale of bongs
Daily Telegraph
The sale of bongs will be banned in Victoria from next year under new laws to end confusion about cannabis use.  While cannabis is illegal to buy or use, its primary delivery device, a bong, is widely available for sale.  Ice pipes and cocaine kits are already banned from sale in Victoria.


Ex-prisoners dying of drug overdoses
Fatal drug overdoses among former prison inmates have reached alarming levels, according to researchers from the Burnet Institute and University of Queensland.  The latest research shows that in 2007/08 almost 140 ex-prisoners in Australia died within a year of release from jail of drug-related causes.


Nile's bid raises spectre of philosophical illiteracy

Bede Harris - Canberra Times
The introduction of a Bill into the NSW Parliament by Christian Democrat MP Fred Nile to prohibit the teaching of secular ethics in state schools raises an important, yet under-appreciated, issue. Courses in secular ethics exist as an alternative to scripture classes that have long been offered by state schools. They provide a choice to parents who do not wish their children to receive religious education.

Being who you are

Michael Short – The Age

SOMETHING good is about to happen. It is overdue, and it is essential. The failure to do it sooner has contributed to needless suffering and to the very loss of many young lives. Catherine Reidy was so close to being one of those lost that it is chilling. Instead, she has survived and has given our community a gift born of pain and decency and clarity.


Lib MP breaks ranks on schools leadership

Anna Patty - SMH
A NSW Liberal MP has contradicted government policy by calling for the creation of fully publicly funded independent ''charter'' schools in NSW.


Catholic education official calls for revision of pay for teachers

Justine Ferrari
A senior figure in Catholic education has called for a restructuring of teachers' salaries and urged the federal government to rethink its reward scheme, in which teachers receive one-off bonuses.


Kids lead the way to new schools of thought

Verity Edwards
A leading international education expert says schools are being forced to adapt to new learning methods as children tackle literacy and numeracy in increasingly sophisticated ways.


Human Rights

Law institute's charter report trumps naysayers
Chris Merritt – The Australian
WITH impeccable timing, the Law Institute of Victoria yesterday released a publicly funded report on the benefits of the state's Charter of Rights less than half an hour after leading lawyers, academics and politicians called for its repeal.

People-smuggler law faces legal challenge in court today

Farah Farouque - The Age
An Indonesian man who was detained after steering a boat to Christmas Island carrying 49 asylum seekers will mount a legal challenge today that threatens to undermine the federal government's tough new laws on people smugglers.  The test case could potentially make all criminal prosecutions of alleged people smugglers much harder. The accused people smuggler, Jeky Payara, will today ask the Chief Judge of the Victorian County Court, Michael Rozenes, to refer the point of law to the Victorian Court of Appeal.


A dad does matter to a child, whether gay couples like it or not

David van Gend – The Australian
A BIGOT is someone who refuses to see the other point of view. Articles by Peter van Onselen and James Valentine in The Weekend Australian smeared opponents of gay marriage as bigots, yet both men refuse to see the other point of view -- and that means the point of view of the child.


Same-sex marriage: why it needs to be opposed
Bruce Ryan - CAM

The official position of the Catholic Church is on same-sex marriage is not a new teaching, but it does require some explanation and pastoral reflection.  For the person in the street, religious and moral arguments do not cut the mustard, however, there are good practical and secular reasons that also underpin the Church’s stance on this issue.


Church hall may become gay museum

Miki Perkins - The Age
The first gay and lesbian museum and cultural centre in Australia could be established in an old church hall in Collingwood, under a proposal before Yarra City Council.


Religious Persecution
Nigerian army said to help in slaughter of Christians

Dan Wooding - ASSIST Ministries
Compass Direct News (CDN) is reporting that Muslim extremists with the alleged help of Nigerian army personnel killed 24 Christians this month in central Nigeria’s Plateau state, area sources said.  According to CDN, the attacks started Aug. 11 in Ratsa Foron village, where assaults that day and on Aug. 15 left six Christians dead; also on Aug. 15 in Heipang village, Muslim extremists killed nine members of one Christian family along with another Christian, the sources said.

Aussie pupils to connect with school for refugees

Kim Arlington - SMH
The search is on for a school to take part in a ground-breaking "interactive pen pals" program, linking an Australian classroom with a school for refugee children in Uganda.  The Here & There project has been developed by Australia for UNHCR, the United Nations' refugee agency's charity in Australia.  Students at the Nakivale refugee settlement - one of the largest in Africa - will get to know their counterparts at an Australian secondary school, chatting over the internet through Skype voice and video calls.


Surge in visa success rates 'luring' boatpeople

Paul Maley, National security correspondent
Success rates for refugee claims have leapt from 30 to 70 per cent in just six months, sparking accusations the government is encouraging boatpeople by virtually guaranteeing them visas.

Detainees to appeal directly to the UN
A group of refugees who have had their asylum claims knocked back on security grounds are taking their cases directly to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.  Sydney University law professor Ben Saul is coordinating the petition on behalf of 38 asylum seekers who have been assessed as genuine refugees but refused release into the community.

Sexualisation of Society

Pub stripped of lewd ad

Katherine Feeney - Brisbane Times
An image of a woman lying naked on her stomach, one breast revealed and backside thrust upwards has fallen afoul of the Advertising Standards Bureau.  The ad was banned after being at the centre of the latest clash between a regional Queensland publican, a local community and the advertising watchdog.  The provocative image captioned “skimpy girls here” appeared on a banner for the Star Hotel in Emerald, until complaints prompted an ASB investigation.