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.




Faith-based ‘October Baby’ brings abortion to the big screen


When 19-year-old Hannah (Rachel Hendrix) collapses on stage during a performance, her parents decide it’s finally time to tell her the truth about where her health problems stem from: She was adopted after her birth mother attempted to abort her. Bewildered, angered and confused, Hannah turns for support to Jason, her oldest friend. He agrees to let her come along on a spring break trip with friends. They’re headed to New Orleans, but they stop in Mobile, Ala., where Hannah was born, along the way. This plot line, meant to spark thoughts and conversations about abortion in today’s society, belongs to the new film October Baby, which hits theaters this Friday.

Abortion pill safety concerns ignored and Australian woman dies

Shannon Buckley - MercatorNet

Australia has had its first death of a woman using the abortion pill to terminate her pregnancy at home. The Australian confirms that the woman died of sepsis “some days after” having the medical abortion at one of Marie Stopes International Australia’s (MSIA) 14 Australian clinics back in 2010. The Australian further reports that: "In the six-month period to June 30 last year – the latest for which figures are available – the drug was given to an extra 5383 Australian women, a spike of 48 per cent. About 85,000 abortions a year are performed in Australia, mostly for women who choose not to continue pregnancy."

Bonhoeffer on Abortion

John Piper - Desiring God

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is claimed as a patron saint by theological schools, ranging from God is Dead to evangelical conservatives. Eric Metaxas sees his biography as one step in the rescue of Bonhoeffer from the most bizarre misuses of his thinking. Along the way he points out, for example, Bonhoeffer’s clear and strong views on abortion. They are decisive on the immorality of it, and pastorally compassionate toward the persons in crisis.


R18+ computer game rating set to become law

Shalailah Medhora SBS World News Australia

An adults-only computer game rating in Australia is one step closer to being realised, with a bill introducing an R18 classification set to become law. Up until now video games intended to be played by adults have either been banned or given a lower classification, enabling children to obtain them. The decision has been hailed as a victory by gamers, but conservative groups argue video games should not be classified according to the standards of other media, such as films. "Because of the interactive nature of them, the repetition and the very high degree of simulation which is changing all the time, "said Brigadier Jim Wallace from the Australian Christian Lobby. "So their effect on people is much greater than the one-off for instance, exposure to a film," he added.

ACT considering R18+ rating for video games in Australia

Daily Telegraph

The ACT will be the first state or territory to consider laws that implement an adults-only rating for computer games. The ACT Government will put a bill to the Legislative Assembly this week to create an R18+ classification for games. This follows Commonwealth legislation, which passed the House of Representatives last week and is now being considered by the Senate.

Sandilands banned from certain words - but who knows which ones?

Julian Lee - SMH

Kyle Sandiland is back on air this morning as his employer, Southern Cross Austereo, fights new licence conditions aimed at curbing its controversial star. The Australian Communications and Media Authority has ordered Sandilands not to say anything that could be regarded as offensive or demeaning to women or girls.

Donor Conception & Surrogacy

Millionaire fighting to be a father

A millionaire businessman who secretly helped a single friend conceive by IVF has won limited access to the child while a court decides if he's legally a parent. The wealthy entrepreneur wiped away tears as he listened to evidence of the potential damage his son might suffer from not knowing his biological dad. The unusual case has highlighted an apparent conflict between state and Commonwealth law regarding known sperm donors, which could potentially affect other single Victorian women using IVF to conceive.

Drugs & Alcohol

Councils feel helpless to fight spread of liquor outlets

Marion Joseph - Herald Sun

A boom in bottle shop numbers has health authorities and councils crying foul. Many believe their proliferation - the number has doubled in two decades to almost 1400 across Melbourne - is linked to increased domestic violence. And they feel helpless to stop their advance. They say they cannot afford to fight challenges in VCAT. Up to 75 per cent of all liquor consumed in Victoria is bought from packaged liquor outlets.

Drug import sting nets waiter

Mark Russell - SMH

A drinks waiter faces up to 10 years' jail after today admitting he helped a friend import party drugs through the mail from China and the United States. Athanasios Polychronopoulous, 21, from Wantirna South, pleaded guilty in the County Court to three charges of assisting in the importation of the drugs methylone and methylendioxprovalerone (MDPV).


Education the aim for Support After Suicide seminar

Kristen Alebakis - Bendigo Advertiser

Support After Suicide is a program that provides counselling and assistance to people touched by suicide. Program co-ordinator Louise Flynn spoke to a sell-out audience in Bendigo on Friday on the eve of the city’s first suicide awareness walk. “I spoke to TAFE students who were studying mental health and also other people in the industry on what they could do to help those affected by suicide. It was an education session,” she said.

Girls' schools pressured to expel Jenny Craig

Staff writers - Daily Telegraph

A group that represents girls' schools across Australia is under pressure today after inviting a weight loss guru to speak at its conference. Jenny Craig CEO Amy Smith is due to present to a conference of educators for the Alliance of Girls' Schools (Australiasia) (AGSA) on May 25 in a move which has sparked an angry backlash from women’s groups. Enlighten Education, which works with girls in schools on self-esteem and body image, has already withdrawn its sponsorship of the conference earlier today.

Human Rights

Carr gives $1.6m to UN tribunal rocked by resignations

Lindsay Murdoch - SMH

The Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, has pledged a further $1.61 million of taxpayers' money to a United Nations tribunal that is set to allow a Khmer Rouge commander who sent two Australians to their deaths to escape justice. Senator Carr pledged the money days after the tribunal was rocked by the resignation of the Swiss judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, who had been blocked from pursuing prosecutions of former Khmer Rouge commanders, including Meas Muth, a former navy commander.


New moves to develop indigenous education


There are further moves to improve indigenous education in the south east of New South Wales. The Illawarra and South East education region says it is encouraged by figures that show aboriginal retention rates for Year 12 have improved from three per cent in 2001, to 23 per cent in 2006. Teachers will soon take part in a pilot program titled "No Gaps - No Excuses," which is designed to make the curriculum more applicable to the students.


Clock ticking on marriage inquiry


This is the last week in which the Senate’s inquiry into Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s Marriage Equality Amendment Bill will accept public submissions. The cut-off date is April 2, so if you want to make a submission you have only six days left. The Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee is due to report back on the issue by June 6.


Social conservatism saw KAP beat Greens vote

Katherine Feeney - Brisbane Times

The political spectrum mightn't figure it, but by his own admission freshly minted right-wing Mt Isa MP Rob Katter shares more than a few political views with the left-wing Queensland Greens Party. On issues like coal seam gas and the power of Coles and Woolworths, Mr Katter aligns with the Greens, though it “hurts (him) politically to admit it”. But when it comes to social platforms on issues such as same sex marriage and gun laws, the line of his father's Bob Katter's Australian Party is the polar opposite than the position taken by their Greens rivals. KAP won at least two seats at the state general election at the weekend while the Greens again won none. The newer party attracted 11.6 per cent of the vote state-wide, compared with the Greens' 7.4 per cent, although KAP state leader Aidan McLindon lost his seat of Beaudesert.

Queensland tsunami is heading for federal ALP

Peter Costello - SMH

Wayne Swan claims mining billionaires threaten our democracy. But the likes of Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart do not threaten him nearly as much as another, far more important, species - the Queensland voter. The Treasurer was elected to the seat of Lilley on Green preferences. He holds it by 3.2 per cent. On Saturday the Liberal-National Party swept all the state seats in his electorate. On those results Mr Swan will lose his seat at the next election.

ALP evacuees have no love for The Greens

Sophie Mirabella - The Punch

Reading the entrails of the Labor carcass in Queensland will no doubt keep an army of commentators and party strategists occupied for some time. This was not a simple routing, or another “they’ve been there too long” swing. It was something new altogether. It wasn’t merely a large number of swinging voters deciding they wanted a change of Government. The magnitude of the swing points to a desertion by Labor’s true believers. While the fact they fled their party is interesting, more interesting perhaps is where those disenchanted dyed-in the-wool Labor folk went.

Surprise pick to lead Labor in Queensland

Michael McKenna - The Australian

Former Labor transport minister Annastacia Palaszczuk is set to become Queensland opposition leader after ousted education minister Cameron Dick yesterday rejected party overtures to contest Anna Bligh's now-vacant seat of South Brisbane. Labor's hopes of parachuting Mr Dick into the Labor leadership of the shattered state caucus were dashed during a day of confusion and recriminations over the historic defeat of the Bligh government. Just ive Labor MPs have been confirmed as retaining their seats while counting continued yesterday of pre-poll votes.

Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

South Australia: Disabled deserve the joy of sex

Lauren Novak - The Advertiser

The state's Dignity for Disability MP wants taxpayers to fund sex workers for people with disabilities. Today, Kelly Vincent will weigh into the debate on decriminalising sex work by calling for a more "permissive" culture around using disability services funding to pay for access to a sex worker or sex therapy. Ms Vincent conceded there would need to be eligibility criteria and limits to government-funded access to sex workers but this could be facilitated through the Government's new self-managed funding system. However, this would be reliant on the passing in Parliament of a Bill decriminalising sex work.

Religious Freedom & Persecution

Islamists nearly wipe out Christians in Syrian city

Christian Post

While the world is raising concerns over rights abuses by anti-government forces in Syria's ongoing violent conflict, few would even know that militant Islamists have expelled the majority of Christians from the western city of Homs, according to the country's largest church. The Catholic news agency Fides says it has received a note from the Syrian Orthodox Church, which represents 60 percent of the Christians in Syria, about "an ongoing ethnic cleansing of Christians" by members of the a militant Islamist outfit, Brigade Faruq, which has links with al-Qaida.


Customs staff accused of smuggling

Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker - SMH

Australian border security officials are helping organised crime syndicates smuggle multi-million-dollar shipments of illicit drugs and other contraband into Australia. More than two dozen Customs and border protection officials are under investigation for corruption or misconduct by law enforcement agencies. Suspected offences include drug trafficking and leaking sensitive information.