Children & Family

Great to see eating disorders are no longer in vogue

Michaelia Cash – The Punch

According to the Mission Australia Youth Survey released in September last year, body image ranks in the top three issues of concern for young Australians. Research shows 90% of 12-17 year old girls and 68% of 12 – 17 year old boys have been on a diet of some type, and that bulimia and anorexia are among the top ten causes of burden of disease and injury in young women in Australia.


Men to receive gender equality

Natasha Bita The Australian

Big business will have to offer male employees the same family-friendly working hours as working mothers, under the federal government's new "gender equality" laws.



British government to consider internet pornography filters

Christian Today

David Cameron is reportedly to announce a consultation into whether ‘opt-in’ filters on internet pornography should be introduced. The Government has come under pressure from campaigners to introduce automatic filters that would make internet porn available only to adults who choose to ‘opt in’.


Drugs & Alcohol

Call for minors to be used in grog stings


A health campaigner is demanding the State Government look at ways to crack down on retailers selling alcohol to minors. The call comes after another weekend of wild parties in Perth's suburbs.



Ecologist warns of Australian 'extinction crisis'

Tom Nightingale – ABC

A Queensland ecologist is calling for a rethink of Australia's conservation strategy to combat an "extinction crisis". Professor Hugh Possingham, an ecologist from the University of Queensland and the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, says selling some of the country's national parks is one option.



ClubsACT makes demands about pokies trial

Lisa Martin, AAP

Poker machine clubs in Canberra, set to host a trial of mandatory precommitment technology, have demanded the assessment of the scheme looks at the impact on the industry as well as reduction of problem gambling. ClubsACT chief executive Jeff House has written to federal Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin proposing amendments to draft legislation, including requiring the Productivity Commission to assess the impact on gaming venues as well as their contribution to community.


Gillard’s time to go double or nothing on pokies

Tom Cummings – The Punch

If there’s one thing you can count on in Canberra these days, it’s that nothing is guaranteed. As the government dances along the knife edge of minority support, the balance of power seems to be shifting on a daily basis. Such is the case with Andrew Wilkie. Only a few months ago it appeared that his influence with Labor had been dealt a serious, almost terminal blow, with the role of Speaker moving from Harry Jenkins to Peter Slipper. Indeed, it was only a short time later that Julia Gillard reneged on her agreement with Wilkie, which in turn led to him withdrawing his support for her government.


Human Rights

To help stop poverty, this is what I’m eating this week

Julie Ulbricht - The Punch

Yesterday, along with thousands of other Australians, I began the Live Below the Line challenge. The idea is to live on just $10 worth of food from Monday to Friday. Why? To stand in solidarity with the 1.3 billion people who live in extreme poverty, which is calculated by the World Bank as living on what you can buy for two Australian dollars per day.



Judge breaks ranks to lash media over Mabo case


Former chief justice Sir Anthony Mason has taken the unusual step of breaking ranks to speak publicly on the historic High Court Mabo judgment. He has spoken to Four Corners, which is examining the impact of the historic judgment 20 years after it was made.



Biden's support for gay marriage stops shy of endorsement

Peter Foster – SMH

WASHINGTON: The US Vice-President, Joe Biden, has reignited the controversy over gay marriage, accusing Republicans of being ''stuck in the 1950s'' on moral and social issues and proclaiming himself ''absolutely comfortable'' with same-sex marriages. However, as he waded into one of the most divisive topics of the forthcoming US general election, Mr Biden stopped short of giving full backing to gay marriage, revealing his own party's confusion and uncertainty on the issue.


The formula for a happy marriage, sort of…

Kevin Andrews – The Punch

The Australian demographer, Bernard Salt, has calculated that of the 1.343 million women aged 25 – 34, only 86,000 single, largely heterosexual, well-off, young men were available after excluding those who were already married (485,000), in a de facto relationship (185,000), were gay (7,000), a single parent (12,000) or earning less than $60,000 per annum (568,000). At the same time, many social scientists have observed that most young adults wish to marry, ‘but not just yet.’ This attitude is reflected in demographic trends. The median age of marriage has increased significantly over the past few decades.



Swan sets test with budget surplus pledge


The Federal Government has set itself a political test by promising to turn a deficit of about $37 billion this year into a surplus in tonight's federal budget. Treasurer Wayne Swan is expected to announce a slender surplus of $1.5 billion that he says will leave scope for more interest rate cuts. He is pitching his fifth budget as the "fair go budget" aimed at families and low-income earners, with funding to establish a national disability scheme and aged care changes.


Labor divided over single mothers budget cuts

Alexandra Kirk, Louise Yaxley and staff – ABC

The Prime Minister has faced questions from two caucus members about part of tonight's federal budget announcement that would push single mothers onto the dole. Julia Gillard wants to save hundreds of millions of dollars by cutting back on parenting payments and pushing single unemployed parents onto the Newstart Allowance once their children turn eight.


We need to stop thousands of Australians from falling through the cracks

Patrick McGorry –

THE beleaguered public mental health system is under-resourced and desperately needs root-and-branch reform. Cuts to the Better Access program  - which helps people pay for their treatment - exacerbated an already serious problem, and a large number of Australians with more persistent and complex problems find themselves marooned with no access to care.


Voters vent their spleen against austerity

Karen Kissane – SMH

GERMANY is facing a threat to its economic leadership after Europeans have voted resoundingly against its tough policy of austerity to save the euro, with the French electing Socialist Francois Hollande to the presidency and Greeks savaging their two main political parties in parliamentary elections at the weekend.


Religious Freedom & Persecution

How Terry Jones can get away with it

Kourosh ZaiBari – On-Line Opinion

Burning the holy books which are interconnected with the hearts and souls of millions of people around the world is one of the most heinous and dreadful actions which one can think of. After decades of bloodshed and bigotry in the two World Wars, Civil War in the United States and Crusades against Muslims in the 11th and 12th centuries, burning the holy books can be interpreted as a new form of barbarity and ignorance in the modern era and an unforgivable crime which can be justified by no standards whatsoever.



Third asylum seeker boat intercepted


Authorities have intercepted a boat carrying 64 suspected asylum seekers north of Ashmore Islands. Customs vessel ACV Triton, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted the boat on Sunday night. Earlier two boatloads of suspected asylum seekers were intercepted near Christmas Island.


Mandatory detention: twenty years of inhumane public policy

Jo Caghlan – On-line Opinion

Yesterday, May 6th, marked the 20th anniversary of Australia's policy of mandatory detention. The policy has eroded Australia's standing as a good middle power global human rights actor. More precisely, the inclusion of children within the mandatory detention regime has bought national and international condemnation.


Sexualisation of Society

Raunchy popstars a bad influence on little kids

Katrina Stokes – The Advertiser

CHILDREN as young as five are mimicking the provocative behaviour of scantily clad pop stars, a study shows, prompting experts to urge parents to reject inappropriate children's clothing.  Research by University of South Australia academic Lesley-Anne Ey found that raunch culture is rampant among children, who are learning to pout and thrust by watching music videos. She found direct links between what children watch on television and how they dress and behave.