Children & Family
Family focus is eluding the Prime Minister

Miranda Devine - Herald Sun

Australians value family life above all else. They also say the economy, public health, education, crime and unemployment are more pressing than a carbon tax. What is the great Australian dream? What do Australians want most out of life? You might think the answer would relate to something economic. But the truth is rather more prosaic and quite wonderful. The latest snapshot of Australians' hopes and fears from the pre-eminent social researcher, David Chalke, tells us what Australians really want - and it's not a carbon tax. More than anything, they say they want a good marriage.

Doom creator dismisses video game violence debate

The creator of one of the most infamous video games in history says there is more evidence that violent games help than harm. John Carmack, the lead programmer on Doom — which was linked to the 1999 Columbine High School massacre — spoke about the topic in an interview with Industry Gamers.

Violent video games withdrawn from Norwegian stores after Oslo attacks
The Age

Two video games used by far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik in planning his July 22 killing spree have been withdrawn from a number of stores across Norway, one co-op chain said. Coop Norge, one of the country's major grocery store chains and its main co-op, said it took the decision "out of respect" for the families of the 77 people slain in the twin attacks.

Drugs & Alcohol
Violence against emergency department nurses

Nursing Careers Allied Health

Threats of violence and actual violence against nurses are yet to be stamped out in Australian hospital emergency departments, according to the Australian Nursing Federation. The July 12 stabbing of a Blacktown Hospital nurse highlighted the dangers nurses face in Australian EDs. Blacktown Hospital nurse Edith Castro-Rivera, 48, was stabbed in the arms, back and chest by a 39-year-old male patient while she worked at her computer at about 2am on July 12. The incident comes as ED nurses in the United States begin pushing for broader protections and for hospitals to report violent incidents.

Class of his own: Nile pushes for ethics review

Sean Nicholls - SMH

Fred Nile has asked the state government to commit to a review of ethics classes next year in the latest push from the Christian Democratic Party MP, who would like to see them removed from NSW schools. Two weeks ago Mr Nile threatened to use his party's votes in the upper house to ''torpedo'' the government's public sector wages policy unless it agreed to remove the classes or shift them from being in competition with special religious education lessons. Following a meeting with the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, last Thursday Mr Nile dropped his threat after Mr O'Farrell told him his bill to remove the classes would go to cabinet and the joint party room for consideration.

High Court challenge to school chaplains
Matt Wordsworth – ABC

Back in Australia the High Court will soon begin hearing a constitutional challenge to the Federal Government's school chaplaincy program. Toowoomba parent Ron Williams launched the campaign because he says the program violates the separation of church and state and encroaches on the state's powers over education.

Chaplain funds face high court challenge
Miranda Forster - The Australian

Australia's school chaplains say a legal hitch could force them out of the areas that need them most. Queensland dad Ron Williams will next week take on the federal government in the High Court over its funding of a chaplain at his children's school.

Woman seeks 'suicide drug'

Nick Clark – The Mercury

A Tasmanian motor neurone disease sufferer is one of seven Australians to have sought special access from the Therapeutic Goods Administration to the "suicide drug" Nembutal.

Homeless people 'not all drug addicts'


A man who used to earn $80,000 a year says it's easy to become homeless. At the Sydney launch of Homeless Persons' Week, Andrew said he was doing well in the cleaning industry until he lost his job in January last year. "The bills and letters from the bank kept coming," he said. He became depressed and unable to work, which led to the bank foreclosing on his mortgage, he said. By October he was living on the streets.

Investment means young homeless get hope
Michelle Griffin – The Age

It cost $25,000 a year to turn Nicole from a frightened homeless 17-year-old runaway to an ambitious young woman who rents her own one-bedroom home and has just started a paid internship at a welfare agency.

Homelessness has many faces
Mark Arbib – The Age

On Sunday I sent a message on Twitter about the upcoming Census and the need for an accurate count of the homeless.

Human Rights
Strides made to equality, but much is left undone

Helen Szoke – The Age

The laws are in place, but discrimination still permeates our society.

Same-sex marriage would kill gender

Bruce Ryan - Catholic News

The official position of the Catholic Church is on same-sex marriage is not a new teaching, but it does require some explanation and pastoral reflection. For the person in the street, religious and moral arguments do not cut the mustard, however, there are good practical and secular reasons that also underpin the Church’s stance on this issue. The family is well-accepted as the bedrock of society; it comes first and society follows; this has been the case for millennia.

Overseas Aid
Red tape delays famine aid

Mike Pflanz - The Age

Children arriving at the world's largest refugee camp are having to wait up to 10 weeks for proper food rations as a result of red tape in the Kenyan government, aid agencies have warned.

Western Australian Liberal speaks out against brothel Bill

Liam Croy - Stirling Times

Carine MLA Tony Krsticevic has spoken out against his own party’s draft Prostitution Bill 2011, saying he does not support the legalisation of prostitution. Released for public comment in June, the draft Bill would legalise prostitution and ban brothels from residential areas. Under the Bill, brothels would have to be 100m from residences and 200m from ‘protected’ places, including churches, hospitals and schools.

Ramadan fighting threatens Somali famine relief

Ibrahim Mohamed - Reuters

Somali refugees caught between famine and civil war appealed to international aid organisations to ramp up the distribution of emergency relief supplies that has been jeopardized by heavy fighting in the capital Mogadishu. Hundreds of drought-hit Somalis are streaming into squalid camps in and around the rubble-strewn city every day, defying the orders of Islamist militants who control much of the worst-hit areas to stay put, only to walk into a war zone. The start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan two days ago coincided with a jump in suicide attack threats made by the al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab rebel movement, which has waged a four-year insurgency against a government it sees as a puppet of the West.