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
Beware the pro-lifers doing hard Labor on abortionTory Shepherd - The Punch
They want to see an ‘end’ to abortion, a position which is closer to that of the Australian Christian Lobby (the ACL has endorsed them in a newsletter) than those of the Liberal or Labor Party. On their Facebook site, they take what could be a sly dig at Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s view that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare” with links to a poster that reads: “Anti-abolitionists of the 19th Century said they just wanted to keep slavery ‘safe, legal and rare’.”Abortion opponents march to Washington Supreme CourtNewsday
Thousands of abortion opponents marched to the Supreme Court yesterday to mark the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, and supportive lawmakers urged them to further their cause by working to defeat President Barack Obama in the fall. The "March for Life" has been held every year since 1974, a year after the landmark Supreme Court ruling. It's consistently one of the largest protests of the year in Washington, although soggy, chilly conditions probably kept this year's numbers down a bit.Bioethics Sight of blind pair improved after stem cell injectionsJulia Medew - SMH
Embryonic stem cells have been used to treat human illness for the first time, improving the sight of two women with severe vision loss. The controversial development could give hope to hundreds of thousands of people suffering macular degeneration - one of the most common forms of blindness in First World countries - and has been hailed a historic step by stem cell scientists.Children & Family
Kids in courtFarah Farouque - The Age
Is the Children's Court the best place to resolve complex family issues such as protection and custody? Many welfare groups say definitely not and change is needed. Andrew McGregor describes it as a ''wisdom of Solomon'' case. It's a phrase he has developed over the years to describe the more emotional matters argued in the family division of the Children's Court of Victoria, the most sensitive legal jurisdiction in which magistrates make profound decisions about the living arrangements of vulnerable children from disadvantaged families.Drugs & Alcohol
Vodka brand gets nod to add gloss to its marketingRachel Olding - SMH
An alcohol company has been given the green light to offer free lip gloss as a promotional tool because the make-up product does not appeal to young people, the alcohol industry's advertising complaints panel has determined. A research centre at Curtin University complained about the promotion, which offered a free Napoleon Perdis lip gloss with each bottle of Skyy Vodka bought from Thirsty Camel Bottleshops, arguing it was a clear attempt to appeal to young women and encourage under-age drinking.Education
Education costs soarMerrin Jagtman - The Satellite
A staggering $300,000 plus is the cost south-west parents face to put a child born this year through private schooling over the next two decades. Figures from the Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) show the total bill for educating a Queensland baby born in 2012 from prep to Year 12 could be $330,294. The cost of educating a child through the public system is estimated to be $60,657 and $214,347 at a Catholic school.Children to learn about 'invasion'Evonne Barry - Herald Sun
Australia Day - and why some call it "Invasion Day" - will become compulsory topics for all primary and secondary school students. Education Minister Peter Garrett will announce today that "the significance of January 26" will become a non-negotiable part of history classes under the new national curriculum. The lessons will cover "what (Australia Day) means to different groups of Australians, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders".Euthanasia
'Locked-in' man seeks right to dieDaily Telegraph
Former rugby player Tony Nicklinson had a high-flying job as a corporate manager in Dubai, where he went skydiving in his free time. Seven years ago, he suffered a paralysing stroke. Today he can only move his head, cannot speak and needs constant care. And he wants to die. To try to ensure that whoever ends his life won't be jailed, the 57-year-old Mr Nicklinson recently asked Britain's High Court to declare that any doctor who gives him a lethal injection with his consent won't be charged with murder. This week, the court will hold its first hearing on the case.Gambling
Addict speaks about the burden of gamblingWaleed Aly and Julian Morrow - Radio National ABC (download audio)
According to a Productivity Commission report on gambling, between 80,000 and 160,000 Australians suffer significant problems from their gambling and these people are responsible for as much as 60 per cent of money spent on gaming machines. Someone who has struggled with that addiction is 'Margaret' (not her real name) from Logan City in Queensland. She's struggled with an addiction to pokies for 15 years.Homelessness
Forget your coins, we want change: begging should not be a crimeJames Farrell - The Conversation
The criminal offence of begging should be abolished. Criminalising begging is tantamount to criminalising poverty. It perpetuates, rather than alleviates, the marginalisation and disadvantage experienced by people who beg. It also violates the fundamental human rights of some of the most vulnerable in our society. A more effective response to begging is to deal with its causes: alleviate the disadvantage of those who beg, and particularly their need for food, shelter and health care.Human Rights
All new laws to get human rights checksPS News
All new laws coming before Parliament from 2012 on are to be checked to see if they stack up against Australia’s human rights obligations. According to Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, the aim of the process will be to ensure the key principles of freedom, respect, equality, dignity and a fair go for all Australians are considered in everything the Commonwealth Parliament does. Ms Roxon said that the measure was long overdue. “Australia has a proud human rights record that will be further strengthened by enshrining the consideration of human rights in the development of our nation’s laws,” Ms Roxon said.Bid to fill gaps in human rights lawPatricia Karvelas – The Australian
The Human Rights Commission has told the Gillard government it wants federal anti-discrimination laws to be extended to protect people on grounds such as gender and homelessness. In a submission to Attorney-General Nicola Roxon's review of national discrimination laws, the commission calls for a "broad definition" of gender discrimination.
Priority is to protect marriage
Margaret Court - Herald Sun
We live in a blessed nation but Australia is on a steep moral decline. Everywhere you look we are making excuses for a sliding lifestyle and more people are blind to it than ever before. Our Constitution is based on biblical principles and our nation is great because of it. We are a country with a moral fabric and families and marriage are at its core. But increasingly our kids are being taught that anything goes. As a society we are losing touch with fundamental Christian values, as our leaders lean towards an agenda of political correctness to keep the minorities happy.
Court's gay views cruel, says Tsiolkas
Dan Harrison – SMH
The writer Christos Tsiolkas has hit out at tennis champion Margaret Court for her anti-gay views.
Greens seek inquiry to explore gay marriage
Christian Kerr – The Australian
Same-sex marriage advocates hope a parliamentary inquiry could help persuade sympathetic Liberals to cross the floor when the matter comes to a vote. "This is an issue that's been debated throughout the community and now the community is streets and streets ahead of the elected representatives," Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said yesterday. She would move for the inquiry when parliament returned in two weeks.
Greens to call second marriage inquiry
Marriage equality advocates have strongly welcomed plans by the Greens to establish yet another parliamentary inquiry into same-sex marriage. An inquiry was held in 2009, the same year Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young tabled her marriage equality amendment bill, which is yet to be voted on. The 2009 inquiry report called for the Australian Government to reverse its ban on Certificates of Non Impediment for gay couples marrying overseas but stopped short of supporting a change in the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to wed.
PM Julia Gillard calls in entire caucus for crisis summit
Simon Benson - The Daily Telegraph
The entire Labor caucus has been ordered to an unprecedented weekend brainstorming session before parliament resumes, as Prime Minister Julia Gillard moves to keep her party on side. All 102 MPs will workshop policy ideas and strategies, with one saying: "We will be getting the butcher paper and Textas out and solving the country's problems." MPs will also be asked to raise any concerns they have in their electorates with the PM and the cabinet directly.
Refugees struggle with identity
Alana Buckley-Carr - The West Australian
Children from the Horn of Africa are growing up in Perth with identity issues as they try to adapt to a Western culture while living with traditions of the past, according to migration experts. Last financial year, WA took in the lowest number of Sudanese in almost 10 years, with just 144 settler arrivals born in Sudan. It was significantly lower than the 789 who settled in WA in 2004-05 at the height of the Darfur conflict which saw millions of people displaced and hundreds of thousands killed.
Astrologers try to change their stars
Chris Owen - The Satellite
At the start of each year, many people look to their horoscope to gain insight into what to expect. But what astrology buffs never expected was that their star signs may have changed. Astronomers with the Minnesota Planetarium Society last year dropped a bomb on the zodiac. They established that the millennia-long effect of the moon's gravitational pull on earth had caused a one-month bump in the alignment of the stars.
Cynthia Nixon: ‘For me, being gay is a choice’
Former Sex and the City star and openly gay actress Cynthia Nixon has revealed that she believes being gay was a choice for her. During an interview with The New York Times about her new Broadway show, a revival of the Margaret Edson play Wit, Nixon said it was a belief that no one could take away from her. “I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line ‘I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.’ And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. And for me, it is a choice,” she said.
Christian Movie Under 'Mob Attack' -- Atheist Groups Claim Responsibility
The highly-acclaimed Christian movie, 'Suing the Devil' has been attacked by atheist groups on the Internet. One of the groups emailed the producers warning of a 'mob attack' on IMDB.
Feminism's clique does not help the cause
Cathy Sherry - SMH
I have long considered myself a feminist and been disturbed by the parts of the sisterhood who operate like the nasty in-group in primary school. You can't be our friend because you don't wear the right pink dress. You can't be our friend unless you toe the approved party line on abortion, childcare or sexual clothing. It is astounding to watch grown women engage in exclusionary behaviour - in lifts, at conferences, in seminars and newspapers - which most of us grew out of by the age of 10.