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.



2UE host's remarks on prophet investigated

Heath Aston

August 14, 2011


THE radio presenter Michael Smith is being investigated by the media watchdog over his assertion that the prophet Muhammad ''married a nine-year-old and consummated it when she was 11''.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority confirmed in a letter dated July 21 that it was investigating the remarks by the 2UE afternoon host.

Counsellors ordered to get counselling after being bad


A SCHOOL counsellor who smoked drugs and had a lesbian affair with a student, and a psychologist who sent a saucy letter to a patient offering a "night of delicious passion", are among 18 practitioners hauled before the Psychologists Registration Board of Victoria in the past five years.

Another psychologist who tried "sexual therapy" on a female patient by allowing her to perform oral sex on him during a session was among practitioners deregistered by the board.

Some of the wayward counsellors were, ironically, ordered to go to counselling to put them on the straight and narrow.


Cash up or lose elections, Libs told

THE federal Liberal Party is struggling to bring in enough funds, federal president Alan Stockdale has admitted, casting doubts over its ability to fight a snap election.

Mr Stockdale used his speech at the West Australian Liberal Party conference to appeal for donations.

"We do not have the resources we need right now," he said.

"We are not garnering resources at the rate we need to garner to remain an effective political organisation with the chance that our leadership and Tony (Abbott) and his colleagues deserve of being elected to government."


First bloke Tim Mathieson for auction at swimwear parade

FIRST Bloke Tim Mathieson will auction lunch with himself at The Lodge as part of a Miss World bikini pageant fundraiser.

The auction for four people to dine with Prime Minister Julia Gillard's partner will be held at a swimwear parade of Miss World finalists.

The Lodge lunch will be auctioned at the fundraiser, which organisers are boasting will include a panel of celebrities including the trouble-prone Wayne Carey, Brendan Fevola and Jeff Fenech.


A Washington State Indian Tribe Approves Same-Sex Marriage

PORT MADISON INDIAN RESERVATION, Wash. — There were no protests and not much politics when the Suquamish Tribe quietly confronted one of the most tender social issues of the day.

This spring, a young woman stood up at the tribe’s annual meeting on its reservation here on Puget Sound and asked it to formally approve same-sex marriage. The response from the 300 or so people present was an enthusiastic “yes” in a voice vote. There was no audible dissent. Then, after another, smaller meeting (still no opposition) and a little work by the tribal attorney, the tribal council voted unanimously this month to approve same-sex marriage.

No court fights. No ballot measures. No billionaires behind the scenes.

“It was an important statement, but it wasn’t one that was a real struggle to make,” said Leonard Forsman, chairman of the tribe. “We really saw this as a housekeeping issue.”

Promising Better Direction, Perry Enters Race

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Gov. Rick Perry of Texas announced Saturday that he was running for president, declaring it was “time to get America working again” as he sought to offer the Republican Party a candidate who appeals to both fiscal and social conservatives.

As many of his fellow candidates flooded Iowa over the weekend to woo voters at the Ames Straw Poll, Mr. Perry, 61, headed here to the RedState Gathering, an annual convention of conservative bloggers being held in South Carolina, another early primary state, to begin seeking his party’s nomination on a small-government, anti-Washington platform.

“I came to South Carolina because I will not sit back and accept the path that America is on, because a great country requires a better direction, because a renewed nation needs a new president,” he said.

Ex-MP's cheques checked - ALP wants a refund

THE Victorian Labor Party has demanded that one of its former MPs, Craig Langdon, return $9346.13 that was handed to him from a party bank account in 2008 and 2009.

The ALP disputes tribunal has found that the money remained the property of the party, but that it was ''impossible to have any certainty'' about how it had been spent.

Over 12 months, 10 cheques were made out to Mr Langdon from the party's Ivanhoe bank account, worth $6074.13. They were all signed by people close to him, including one of his staff members. Over the same period, he was also handed eight more cheques made out to cash and totalling $3272.




Sexless Bert and Ernie won't be political puppets


SESAME Street has long championed diversity and difference, but gay marriage may be a cause too far. The popular children's television program yesterday issued a statement clarifying that Bert and Ernie are really just good friends. And not in the euphemistic way of Hollywood.

''Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves,'' the public television program said in its statement. The denial was issued after a Facebook campaign by US gay rights activist Lair Scott asking that Bert and Ernie get married on the program to teach acceptance of gays and lesbians sparked a heated social media debate. ''Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation,'' the statement said.


Do we really need a Victorian human rights charter?

The state's charter of rights divides opinion as a decision on its fate looms.

ROB Hulls always knew making Victoria the first Australian state to have a human rights charter would be contentious. By the time the Bracks government passed the legislation in 2006, after 15 months of consultation, 2524 public submissions and weeks of parliamentary debate, critics remained unconvinced.

Some called it ill-conceived or undemocratic, others abominable and ridiculous. For Hulls, the state attorney-general at the time, it was a simple decision: ''We've made it clear to other countries that we don't agree with their human rights record in some instances. Well, how can you do that on one hand, and on the other hand be one of the last Western societies in the world not to have a human rights instrument?''


Sexting punishment is unjust says magistrateA SENIOR Victorian magistrate who presided over a case in which a youth pleaded guilty to teenage sexting offences has condemned as ''so unjust'' the mandatory laws that meant the young man was registered as a sex offender.

The magistrate, who works in country Victoria, said the lack of judicial discretion in such cases meant severe consequences for young people who posed no threat to society and were often guilty of little more than naivety.

The magistrate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had made the unusual decision to speak out because he was troubled by cases recently identified by The Sunday Age.


Disability plan sees Labor's form return

TONY Abbott has been overseas on holiday for two weeks, and hasn't it been lovely?

It's been so very peaceful, so very quiet. No hysterical shrieking from the Leader of the Opposition, no fear-mongering about the carbon pricing mechanism (yes, that is what I'm calling it from now on).

Instead, we've seen a kinder, gentler polity, with the calm and orderly unveiling of policy from the government, including one I'm very excited about - the new National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The NDIS, which has a tick of approval from the Productivity Commission, is one of the missing links in our social policy framework.

Rivals jockey for advancement on both sides of politics

DUELLING frontbench reshuffles being delayed for months will add to instability to both sides of politics.

With Mike Rann due to step down as Premier on October 20 in favour of Jay Weatherill - despite Opposition calls for an immediate handover - MPs on both sides now are looking to their own careers in the new order.

The Weatherill camp is pleading with MPs to maintain discipline and not comment on their own ambitions as it seeks to paper over the clumsy semi-toppling of Mr Rann and restore the image of unity.


Melham sorry for outburst

A LABOR MP was forced to telephone constituents to apologise after becoming hot under the collar at a public rally against his government's proposed mandatory pre-commitment scheme.

Banks MP Daryl Melham is under pressure to resign as president of the Revesby Workers Club or cross the floor when legislation imposing a cap on betting limits is introduced.

Mr Melham's vote is critical if the proposed legislation is to be passed. If he abstains, the Gillard government risks losing the support of independent Andrew Wilkie.

Local club presidents claim Mr Melham has to lose one of his roles given the conflict of interest. Bankstown RSL president Bruce Pawley said his position was "untenable". The pressure appeared to get too much for Mr Melham who denied losing his temper but admitted raising his voice when addressing almost 3000 people at Bankstown Sports Club on Thursday.


Notorious Muslim Brotherhood Movement gang off the street

ONE of Sydney's most notorious and violent street gangs - the Muslim Brotherhood Movement - has been "ripped apart" after a series of undercover police raids.

Head of the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad, Detective Superintendent Deb Wallace said the once "powerful" MBM has been "dismantled and disrupted".

"When you take out people who see themselves as significant players and those who can direct activity, it's like cutting the head of a snake," Supt Wallace said.

"We put a lot of work into what they were up to."

It's Magistrate vs MP over drink driver

A MAGISTRATE has criticised a state MP for standing up for a mate facing a drink-driving charge.

Magistrate Roger Prowse said the request for leniency by Nationals Kevin Anderson was hypocritical - and angrily told a lawyer to shred the MP's reference.

He was also agitated that the politician tried to pass himself off as a businessman and not as a member of the state government.

The furore has embroiled Premier Barry O'Farrell and deputy Andrew Stoner - who are accused of misleading parliament in defending Mr Anderson.


The tyranny of petitions that go viral

Against the backdrop of anarchy in Britain, it is timely for the O'Farrell government to consider another cautionary tale from there.

I was in London recently - a time when shopping was still done via the checkout rather than karate kick through the front window. A major preoccupation for Fleet Street was the Tory government's adoption of so-called e-petitions, which, it boasts, are ''an easy way for you to influence government policy''.


Does a belief in God hold back students?


Brian Rosner, a Christian Scholar, challenges columnist Peter FitzSimons over his opposition to religion classes in public schools.

 I AM a Fitzphile. I read The Fitz Files first thing when the paper arrives on Saturday. I turn to the non-sporting version every Sunday. I own a couple of Peter FitzSimons books. I love his sharp wit and the way he often says out loud what I'm thinking, especially when he mocks Shane Warne, Greg Norman and Michael Clarke.

But the smirk was wiped off my face when, as a Christian and an academic, I was among those mocked in his column on Fred Nile's opposition to ethics classes. I agree with Fitz that ethics should be offered as an alternative to scripture classes. As, by the way, do all of the major Christian denominations.