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.



New IVF fits the Bill – breakthrough delivers hope to desperate couples

Letitia Rowlands – The Daily Telegraph

After Tracy Britton experienced the heartache of miscarriage for the fifth time, she began to doubt she would ever become a mother. "It's very hard physically as well as emotionally to want something so bad, but your body keeps failing you," she said. Eleven weeks ago Tracy, 38, and husband Paul Jensen welcomed son Bill thanks to an IVF genetic screening technique helping couples become parents.

Children & Family

Teenagers more stressed than ever over looks and learning

Stephen Lunn – The Australian

Young women are far more worried about their bodies than even two years ago. And anxiety about succeeding at school has increased for all young Australians over the past few years. The findings in Mission Australia's 10th National Survey of Young Australians, published today, give pause for thought about the intensifying pressures teenagers face and who is there to help. While parents are the first port of call for most young people wanting to discuss their problems, one in five 11 to 24-year-olds say they have no one to turn to.

Fury at 'sleazy' targeting of first-time callers

Lucy Battersby – SMH

A new mobile service aimed at teenagers launched this morning with a "cherry-popper starter kit" sim card, encouraging potential customers to "get it on" and "flip around". But the launch, which comes a week after the Australian Association of National Advertisers released a new ethics code with tougher guidelines against advertising that may sexualise children, has angered campaign groups.

Gun-weilding 13 year olds 'robbed servo'

Louis Andrews – The Canberra Times

Four teens – including two 13-year-olds – have been locked up on remand after allegedly robbing a south Canberra service station at gunpoint. The four boys, who cannot be named, were arrested earlier today and faced the ACT Children’s Court this afternoon charged with aggravated robbery. None of them applied for bail but two, aged 13 and 17, entered pleas of not guilty.

Drugs & Alcohol

The biggest dopes are the parents giving kids pot

Lucy Kippist – The Punch

Australia has a long standing love affair with cannabis. More than half of us have tried it, 10 to 15 per cent smoke it at least once a day and five per cent of us love it so much, we find it hard to do anything else. Our biggest problem is that we’re passing the habit on. Sixty per cent of young people use it. And they’re starting young; more Australian 12 year olds have tried it than cigarettes.


Gene therapy an alternative to assisted suicide for pain

Rebecca Taylor – LifeNews

Chronic pain is a major problem for many and some pain does not respond to traditional pain medications or some people cannot tolerate the side effects. The culture of death has their solution for those suffering from chronic intractable pain: assisted suicide. Researchers at the University of Michigan have another more hopeful approach: gene therapy. They have engineered a herpes virus to deliver the gene that encodes for a natural pain killer. This virus migrates to the nerves and makes the nerve cells produce the pain killer for a month to six weeks. Researchers think they can extend this effect for up to 6 months.


Gambling ads are raising the stakes


New research shows that Victorians are increasingly concerned about the risks posed by gambling marketing strategies, including gambling advertising at sporting events. In a new study of Victorian gamblers published in International Gambling Studies researchers from Monash University investigated how aware individuals were of gambling advertising; their attitudes towards gambling advertising; and what role they felt that different marketing strategies had on gambling behaviours.


Poverty and family structure: new data

Carolyn Moynihan – Mercatornet

Child Trends, a Washington nonprofit, has published an analysis of child and parent poverty in the United States based on 2010 census data released recently. Although the recession and factors such as the age of parents or their children have a bearing on poverty, the outstanding indicator is family structure.


Christian lobby gathers strong support to contest law change

Dennis Shanahan and Milanda Rout – The Australian

Lobbying of delegates on the issue of same-sex marriage has intensified in the final hours before the ALP national conference, with the Australian Christian Lobby compiling a petition of 90,000 signatures against any changes in the law. The number of signatures -- which have been organised into electorates -- exceeds the votes required for Labor to lose some of its marginal seats.

Same-sex unions: ALP debate hinges on wording

Andrea Hayward – Brisbane Times

Whether Labor supports gay people saying 'I do' or a conscience vote on the issue hinges on the form of words presented to the party's national conference. Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes said although he personally supported same-sex unions, he had not yet decided ahead of this weekend's conference how he would vote.

Queensland Parliament passes same-sex civil unions bill

Andrew MacDonald – The Courier-Mail

Queensland MPs have voted in favour of legalising same-sex civil unions during an historic night in Parliament. After almost four hours of debate Andrew Fraser's private member's bill was passed by a vote of 47 to 40. The bill, introduced by Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser, enables same-sex couples to register their union with the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Pincer move on Gillard over gay marriage

Michelle Grattan – The Age

The Labor Party's two most prominent gay politicians - one from the Right and one from the Left - will spearhead the push for marriage equality, as Julia Gillard struggles to maintain her authority on the issue. ACT Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr, from the Right, will move and federal Finance Minister Penny Wong, from the Left, will second a ''Rainbow Labor'' motion at this weekend's ALP conference declaring that Labor ''will amend the Marriage Act to ensure equal access to marriage under statute for all couples irrespective of sex''.

Julia Gillard faces double defeat over same-sex marriage

Milanda Rout and Dennis Shanahan – The Australian

Twenty-four hours before Labor's national conference, concerns are growing that Julia Gillard faces defeat over same-sex marriage, both on changing the party platform and on her proposed compromise of a conscience vote. It appears the Prime Minister's backers have already conceded she may be defeated on the floor of the conference on a general motion supporting same-sex marriage, with an amendment to change the party platform likely to succeed.

We won't vote for gay marriage even if party changes its position, say Labor Right MPs

Phillip Coorey – SMH

Federal Labor MPs from the Right faction say they will cross the floor and risk expulsion rather than vote for gay marriage, should the party change policy to one of support rather than a conscience vote. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, supports changing policy from opposition to a conscience vote at the ALP national conference, starting tomorrow, but the Left will push for a policy of outright support.


Union leaders crashing Labor party, says former premier Morris Iemma

Simon Benson – The Daily Telegraph

Former Labor premier Morris Iemma has warned a power grab by union leaders for greater control of the Labor Party at tomorrow's national conference posed the greatest threat to the party in 50 years. He urged Prime Minister Julia Gillard to resist, or risk relinquishing the government's control over policy to a handful of unelected union leaders. Writing for The Daily Telegraph ahead of the ALP national conference, to be held over three days in Sydney, Mr Iemma warned the party risked being destroyed if the unions were successful.

Why Labor's not working

Tom Quinn – SMH

Rock-bottom support. Plummeting membership. A broken structure. Labor is in trouble and its very existence is at stake. But if the hacks are serious about fixing the party at its national conference this weekend, they must deal with one issue underpinning all of Labor's woes - the collapse of the party's traditional base. While opinion polls this year have hammered home the dire level of support for Labor, with its primary vote often wallowing in the 20s, the party's main concern is the plummeting number of paid-up members. Official numbers are hard to come by, but insiders report that membership is now below 20,000, the lowest level in decades and half the number the party had as recently as 2007 when Kevin Rudd was elected. The swiftness of this loss is compounded by the changing nature of Australian society, presenting the question of whether numbers can be regained quickly or indeed ever.

Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Sex trafficking bigger than Australia thinks - UN

Authorities are underestimating the number of people being trafficked into sexual, domestic and labour slavery across Australia, a senior United Nations official says. The UN's Special Rapporteur for people trafficking, Joy Ezeilo, believes Australia's official records - which point to only 192 trafficking cases, resulting in just 14 prosecutions - don't reflect the true nature and scale of the problem.


Bowen wants to lift refugee intake by 50%


Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says Australia should increase its refugee intake by 50 per cent. Mr Bowen will propose at the Labor Party's national conference this weekend to increase Australia's resettlement of refugees from 13,750 to 20,000.

We can give hope to people who could never dare to dream

Chris Bowen – SMH

Every ALP national conference I have ever been to has invoked a passionate debate about asylum seeker policy. I expect this weekend's national conference to be no different. But there will be much that we all agree on. We will all agree that Labor governments must ensure that Australia continues to play a very significant role as one of the world's key resettlement countries I think we will all agree that Labor governments should give more people the chance of a new life in Australia.

Sexualisation of Society

Premarital sex OK; at home, not so much

While most Australia parents are OK with their kids having sex before marriage many are not comfortable with them doing so in the family home. A survey of 500 parents has found 80 per cent think sex before marriage is acceptable. But one in four of those still would not let their child share a bed with their boyfriend or girlfriend in the family home.