News Update - 7 March - Elections, Transsexuality promoted, Zoe's Law, homosexual 'marriage, paedophilia

News mike Fotolia 57267122 320x200First the news on the upcoming elections, then a wide variety of news items form the past fortnight.

The Christian Values Checklists for the SA and Tasmanian elections will be distributed later today.

God bless you!

Jenny
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News Update - 7 March 2014

Australian News 

1. WA Senate election date… Saturday 5 April, 2014
The date for the Western Australia Senate election has been announced by the WA Governor - it will be held on Saturday 5 April.
Campaigning has already begun – it is expected that MORE candidates will contest the election!
For FULL information on the election: visit the AEC’s WA Senate election webpage.
Media report: Campaigning begins in WA after Senate re-election date announced, ABC, 1/3/2014.


2. Elections for Tasmania and South Australia on March 15
Two state elections will be held on Saturday 15 March, 2014 – Tasmania and South Australia.
In Tasmania, the election is ONLY for the House of Assembly – in South Australia it is for BOTH the House of Assembly and the Legislative Council.
If you live in these states, please check our webpage with information on the election – includes the information from yesterday’s email.


3. Australian Story – Transsexuality, Lieutenant Colonel McGregor and Tony Abbott
Last week’s Australian Story on the ABC featured Lieutenant Colonel McGregor, who had entered the Army as a man, Malcolm, but has in later life changed his ‘sex’ to become ‘Cate’. After serving in the Army, Malcolm McGregor worked for various politicians as a speech writer before re-joining the Army.
The program was introduced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott – he said in the introduction that he had been a friend since university days. Unfortunately, the introduction serves as an endorsement of the action taken – when one holds such a high profile position it is no longer just a ‘personal account’.
Australian Story – ‘Call me Cate’ – click here for episode (includes video and transcript).

Immediately prior to the Australian Story episode, the 7.30 program featured a surfer, Peter Drouyn, who had also had a sex change to become ‘Westerly Windina’. Lt Col McGregor cited this story as influential in deciding to ‘transition’ to being a woman.
The 7.30 report about Peter Drouyn – click here for video and transcript.


4. NSW: Zoe’s law to be debated in the NSW Legislative Council SOON!
Family Voice ask us all to act on this Bill…
“A bill to recognise a 20-week-old unborn baby as a person needs your support!
"The Crimes Amendment (Zoe’s Law) Bill (No 2) 2013, which passed the Legislative Assembly last year,  needs support in the Legislative Council where it could be debated as soon as next Thursday, 11 March. 
The bill is called Zoe’s Law after baby Zoe, who was killed when her mother Brodie Donegan was eight months pregnant.  A driver, high on methadone and valium, ran into Brodie on Christmas Day 2009.  The driver was charged with assaulting Brodie, but not with killing Zoe – because the law does not recognise her as a person.
"Zoe’s Law opponents see the legislation as a threat to the absolute right to abortion – even though medical procedures are specifically excluded from the bill, which is solely about recognition of the unborn in cases like Zoe’s. 
"Upper house MPs have been deluged with emails opposing Zoe’s Law from pro-abortion zealots.  They have had hardly any emails from people supporting Zoe’s Law. Numbers for and against the bill are very close, but you could make a difference.”

ACTION: If you live in NSW, please phone or email all MLCs, urging them to support Zoe’s Law!
Click here for ALL the NSW Legislative Council Members – names, email addresses and phone numbers.

5. Federal – Labor’s Tanya Plibersek plans another homosexual ‘marriage’ Bill
Labor MP Tanya Plibersek has announced that she plans to introduce a private member’s Bill to the federal parliament to legalise same-sex ‘marriage’.
She is now seeking a Coalition MP to co-sponsor the Bill – as she knows that would put even MORE pressure on Tony Abbott to allow a conscience vote on the issue.
Media reports:
Gay marriage: Labor's Tanya Plibersek to introduce private members bill, ABC, 25/2/2014.
Plibersek tells Libs to act on gay marriage, Australian, 3/3/2014.


6. Vic: Mary Wooldridge loses pre-selection for Kew
Coalition government Minister Mary Wooldridge is looking for a new seat in Victoria's Parliament because her current seat of Doncaster has been abolished in the re-distribution of electoral boundaries. Last weekend she lost pre-selection for the seat of Kew. High profile Liberals had supported her bid – many local people and pro-life groups were concerned about her being pre-selected, since Mary Wooldridge voted for the Abortion Law Reform Act and she is also supportive of homosexual rights.
Election Boundaries
The Victorian election will be held on Saturday 29 November, 2014 - click here for info.
The ‘Electoral Boundaries Commission’ published its report in October 2013, re-drawing the electoral boundaries. Click here for their report.
The Victorian Electoral Commission has an interactive map which will enable you to easily find your DISTRICT (Legislative Assembly) and REGION (Legislative Council) electorates by typing in your address.

Click here for the ACTUAL interactive map page - Click here for the webpage.


7. Graham Preston – arrested for protesting outside Tasmanian abortion clinic
Graham Preston has been arrested for protesting outside a Tasmanian abortion clinic in the middle of Hobart – for holding two placards and handing out leaflets.The new Tasmanian abortion law (the Reproductive Health Act) prohibits anyone from protesting within 150 metres of an abortion clinic.
Graham has previously been jailed for refusing to pay fines associated with similar protests in Brisbane. Graham was released on bail and will appear in court at a later date.
Please pray for Graham and his family.
Media report: Brisbane man charged over anti-abortion protest in Hobart, ABC, 4/3/2014.

Bill Muehlenberg writes:
“Graham Preston has been arrested again. Is he a serial rapist? A fire bug? A convicted child abuser? No, much worse, apparently: he seeks to rescue unborn babies from their slaughter..." 
Article: Stand up for babies, you will be arrested


8. Update - Overseas adoption laws to be changed
The federal government, through Prime Minster Tony Abbott, has announced the first change to the overseas adoption law to make it easier for Australian couples to adopt children.
As a first step, the government will alter court processes so that people adopting children from countries which have not signed up to The Hague Convention, but have bilateral agreements with Australia, will have the full adoptions will be recognised automatically in Australia – these include Ethiopia, Taiwan and South Korea. Currently this can take up to 12 months in the court system.
Mr Abbott has already established an inter-departmental committee to look at how to simplify the process. That report is in its final stages.

Media report: Federal Government to introduce changes to regulations for overseas adoptions, ABC, 4/3/2014.
Government media release: Automatically recognising overseas adoptions from Taiwan and South Korea


9. Augusto Zimmermann: Call to amend Family Law Act
Augusto Zimmermann, our friend who is a lecturer in law at Murdoch University in WA, has recently spoken out on the flaws in the Family Law Act and called for changes to be made. He is particularly concerned about the nature of the ‘no-fault law’, stating, “To stabilise marriage, the Family Law Act must be amended to remove the present incentive of no-fault divorce, which enables a spouse to unilaterally leave a marriage without any fear of losing custody of children and property. This egregious legal anomaly is a standing invitation to irresponsible behaviour.”
Following this article in News Weekly, Augusto was invited to do a couple of media interviews.
Article: FAMILY LAW: The innocent victims of 'no-fault' divorce
Augusto Zimmermann - News Weekly, March 1, 2014.

Interview on 2GB – Sunday March 2, 2014 - The link to the podcast of Augusto’s interview – click here.
Click on ‘download audio’ to listen (around 20 minutes).
Radio interview about this article on the ACL’s Political Spot (6 min) – click here.


10. New political party – Australian Liberty Alliance
A new political party, the Australian Liberty Alliance, will be launched in Perth next year – Dutch MP Geert Wilders is planning to visit Perth to launch the party. A media report from News.com connected the party to the Q Society because they hosted a visit by Geert Wilders last year – and are running the ‘Symposium on Liberty and Islam’ in Melbourne this weekend, along with SION.

The Party is not connected to the Q Society which will remain as a group analysing Islam in society.
Article: Australian Liberty Alliance, backed by anti-Islam Dutch MP Geert Wilders, set for launch, News.com, 4/3/2014.


11. Royal Commission into institutional child abuse continues
The Royal Commission investigating child sexual abuse within institutions is continuing.
This week they have been investigating horrific reports of abuse and rape at Parramatta Girls’ Training School, which was run by the NSW government (Case Study 7).
See media reports – ABC and Daily Telegraph.

Royal Commission website - http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/

Case Study 7 – click here.
In Case Study 6, the Royal Commission considered the ‘the response by the Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Toowoomba, to allegations of child sexual abuse’ – this related to allegations of abuse at a Catholic primary school in Toowoomba.
Click here for Case Study 6.


Overseas News

1. UK: Pro-paedophile group in the NEWS
Media reports from the UK reveal that the former Labour Secretary for Health, Patricia Hewett, was the General Secretary of the National Council for Civil Liberties (now called Liberty) in the 1970s when the pro-paedophilia group ‘Paedophile Information Exchange’ (PIE) was an active member of the group.
PIE has since been disbanded.

Quite separately, I recently came across information about the ‘Paedophile Information Exchange’ whilst investigating activist campaigns for lowering the age of consent in the UK. Peter Tatchell had recently called for lowering the age of consent to 14, with a two year gap between minors, but puts a disclaimer on his website saying he opposes paedophilia (read his article online).  

However, this interesting article by journalist Enza Ferreri notes that “Peter Tatchell wrote the chapter "Questioning Ages of Majority and Ages of Consent" for a book openly advocating paedophilia and finding ways "to make paedophilia acceptable". This book, published in 1986 and called The Betrayal of Youth (spelling BOY), was edited by Warren Middleton, then vice-chairperson of the now-disbanded Paedophile Information Exchange, Britain’s number one paedophile advocacy group.”

So it is a huge web….

On the current matter of Labour MPs and PIE, the Daily Mail ran their first article in December 2013, and more articles in recent weeks:
The truth about Labour's apologists for paedophilia: Police probe child sex campaign group linked to three top party officials in wake of Savile scandal, Daily Mail, 18/2/2014.
- Apologists for paedophiles: How Labour Deputy Harriet Harman, her shadow minister husband and former Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt were all linked to a group lobbying for the right to have sex with children, Daily Mail, 14/12/2014.

Christian Voice has an insightful overview (more info in Comments section):
Labour Figures’ Bizarre Link to Paedophile Groups, Jan 2014.  

Enza Ferreri quoted Stephen Green, of Christian Voice: “Stephen Green writes: "The book was part of a campaign to abolish all ages of consent, destroy the responsibilities of parents for their children, deny any ill-effects on children of interference by paedophiles, and withal to make it easier for paedophiles to gain sexual access to children." (Quote from this 2010 article about the book and Peter Tatchell’s chapter.)

The BBC News Magazine ran a detailed article recently:
They write, “It's part of the story of how paedophiles tried to go mainstream in the 1970s. The group behind the attempt - the Paedophile Information Exchange - is back in the news because of a series of stories run by the Daily Mail about Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman. . . Many of the revelations are not in fact new. The story's return to the front pages demonstrates the shock people feel about how a group with "paedophile" in its name could operate so openly for so long….”

Article: How did the pro-paedophile group PIE exist openly for 10 years? BBC, 27/2/2014.


2. Belgium: King signs child euthanasia law
On Thursday 28 February the organisers of the petition that asked King Phillippe of Belgium NOT to sign the law allowing the euthanasia of children travelled to Belgium and presented a petition of more than 200,000 names to the King.

Unfortunately, the media now reports that King Phillippe has signed the Bill into law.
Article: Children’s euthanasia bill signed by Belgium king, RT News, 3/3/2014.

Commentary: Lessons to be learned as Belgium King signs measure legalizing child euthanasia National Right to Life, 3/3/2014.
In this article, Dave Andrusko analyses the decision, and reflects on how we actually got to this position of euthanasia for children. Most compelling is the statement from Dr Peter Saunders, “I have never been convinced by the term ‘slippery slope’ which implies passive change over time. What we are seeing in Belgium is more accurately termed ‘incremental extension’, the steady intentional escalation of numbers with a gradual widening of the categories of patients to be included. . . “The lessons are clear. Once you relax the law on euthanasia or assisted suicide steady extension will follow as night follows day.”

Events

40 Days of Prayer and Fasting for Revival and Transformation of Australia
This follows on from the National Day of Prayer and Fasting.
You can sign up to receive prayer points and to participate at www.40daysofprayer.com.au

 

News Update - 21 Feb - WA Senate, Family Breakdown tragedies, Religious education, homosexuality in schools etc

News ball Fotolia 31010118 320x200Another busy week - not surprising! 
- WA voters will go back to the polls, religious education in schools is in the spotlight, three tragic 'family breakdown' stories, marriage in WA, pharmacist dumped... and there are probably twenty more items I could have included!
One piece of good news - the Russian Prime Minister signed a law to ban the adoption of babies to same-sex couples and singles in countries that have legalised same-sex 'marriage'!
Jenny
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News Update - 21 Feb - WA Senate, Family Breakdown tragedies, Religious education, homosexuality in schools etc

Australian News

1. WA Senate – WA voters to go back to the polls
2. Senate rejects dumping of Lord’s Praye
3. Victoria: Labor will REQUIRE ALL public high schools to join the 'Safe Schools Coalition'!
4. Tragic cases – children and family breakdown…
    4.1 Murder of Luke Batty
    4.2. Baby bashed by 15 year old father who is a ward of the state
    4.3. Child calls step-parent ‘Dad’ AND ‘Mum’
5. Government announces Review of ‘Renewable energy’ scheme
6. Pharmacist dropped by Soul Pattinson over action on contraceptive pill
7. WA: Same-sex ‘marriage’ bill
8. Religious education in schools – Vic Principal drops SRI
9. Debate: Faith based education in public schools
10. Coalition – same-sex ‘marriage’
11. Review of National Curriculum - submissions invited by 28 Feb
12. Islamic Museum opens in Melbourne
13. WA – Euthanasia legalisation being pushed
14. Copyright law reform

Overseas News
1. Russia introduces law to restrict adoption
2. UK - Proposed law to ‘ban’ reparative therapy
3. UK: Conference on assisting people with unwanted same-sex attraction

On the issues
Homosexuality – new study claims some link to genes

Coming Events
National Day of Prayer and Fasting. - Sunday 2 March, 2014

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Australian News

1. WA Senate – WA voters to go back to the polls
The High Court handed down its decision on the disputed election result for the WA Senate representatives on Thursday 20 February, 2014. Justice Hayne declared the election void. Voters in Western Australia will go back to the polls to vote for the Senate.

The date of the election will be left to Prime Minster Tony Abbott. The poll is expected to cost more than $13 million – more candidates are expected to contest the election this time!.

On Tuesday Justice Kenneth Hayne stated that the loss of those ballot papers meant some electors were prevented from voting and ‘two Senators were not duly elected’ -  indicating a new poll was likely.
Articles: High Court Judge indicates WA likely to go back to polls for fresh Senate election, ABC, 18/2/2014.
Article: High Court judge voids Senate vote, 20/2/2014.

2. Senate rejects dumping of Lord’s Prayer
The Senate voted overwhelmingly to reject a motion brought by Greens Senator Richard di Natale to have the prayer at the opening of each day’s parliamentary proceedings replaced with a minute of silent reflection. Coalition and Labor Senators voted against the motion - the motion took 24 seconds, according to Lifesite!.
Report: Australian Senate defeats move to abandon Lord’s Prayer at start of day, Lifesite, 13/2/2014.

3. Victoria: Labor will REQUIRE ALL public high schools to join the 'Safe Schools Coalition'! 
We’ve previously reported on the ‘Safe Schools Coalition’ in Victoria – currently about 120 public schools are members (see our last report – Nov 2013). They run ‘gay-straight alliances” groups in schools and commit to promoting diversity and acceptance of homosexuality.

Labor recently committed, if elected in November 2014, to extending the program to REQUIRE all public high schools to participate in the program! Labor has committed to spend an ADDITIONAL $1 million over four years to expand the program.

The program is aimed at ‘dealing with homophobia’ and includes ‘training for teachers’ to help them support same-sex attracted students!

Article: Victorian ALP plan to support gay students that ''come out'', The Age, 2/2/2014.
The homosexual press report on the promised $1 million - click here.

‘Safe Schools Coalition’ website.

4. Tragic cases – children and family breakdown…
Three tragic events in the past week or two … showing that without God and His principles people quickly lose their way.

4.1.  Murder of Luke Batty
Eleven year old Luke Batty was murdered by his father in Tyabb, Victoria. Luke’s mother had obtained an intervention order, but when Luke asked if he could spend a few minutes with his father after cricket practice, she agreed. The father apparently had mental health problems and there were warrants out for his arrest. Family Voice look at some factors and report that the father used cannabis and was recently charged with watching child pornography in a library.

Family Voice media release – click here.
Media reports:
Father who killed son, Luke Batty, at cricket ground had history of mental illness, says boy's anguished mother, ABC, 14/2/2014. 
Killer dad Greg Anderson was an angry, confused and tortured man, friends say, Herald Sun, 14/2/2014.

4.2. Baby bashed by 15 year old father who is a ward of the state
A teenage father bashed his 28 day old son whilst he was on a visit to the child and mother in hospital in WA – the baby, who was still in hospital after a premature birth, has critical head injuries and is on life support.

The boy has had a troubled past and is ‘under the care of the state’ – he has now been charged.

Media article: Troubled past for baby bashing accused, WA Today, 18/2/2014.


4.3. Child calls step-parent ‘Dad’ AND ‘Mum’
If that sounds confusing, it’s because it IS confusing!

A case before the Family Court in Queensland recently considered an access request from the former partner of a lesbian. The lesbian is the mother of a 7 year old child.

The partner, known as ‘Mr Brown’, had been with the woman when the child was born. The partner has now become transgender - presenting as ‘male’ and growing a beard. This person is now in a relationship with another transgender male.

‘Mr Brown’ was seeking regular access visits with the child – the court heard that the child was confused about Mr Brown’s gender, and called ‘Mr Brown’ both ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’.

The judge granted access visits and said, “I find that it is likely on balance that the child will see (Mr Brown) in the role of parent and because he has a beard she will in her mind probably over time accept him as a “father” or “Dad”.’

Article: Girl, 7, confused about step-parent after woman became transgender male and grew beard, Family Court hears, Courier Mail, 13/2/2014

What a sad and confused world we live in!


5. Government announces Review of ‘Renewable energy’ scheme
The federal government has announced a review of the ‘Renewable Energy Target’.
Media Release: Review of the Renewable Energy Target, 17/2/2014.

The law requires a review to be conducted during 2014. The Review will be headed up by headed by Mr Dick Warburton.
Ministers Greg Hunt and Ian McFarlane said, "In particular, the review will consider the contribution of the RET in reducing emissions, its impact on electricity prices and energy markets, as well as its costs and benefits for the renewable energy sector, the manufacturing sector and Australian households.”

On the ABC’s 7.30 program, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s chief economist, Burchell Wilson, proposed that the scheme should be phased out or at least wound back. He said, “There needs to be more clarity around the cost it's imposing on consumers, the cost it's imposing on industry and the sort of inefficiencies it's giving rise to in the energy sector.”

ABC 7.30 InterviewChief economist backs cut to renewable energy targets, 17/2/2014.

6. Pharmacist dropped by Soul Pattinson over action on contraceptive pill
Simon Horsfall
is a pharmacist in Thurgoona, a suburb of Albury-Wodonga, who objects to the use of the contraceptive pill on the basis of his Catholic beliefs. As a result, he had placed a note in prescriptions of the drug, noting his concerns, and concluding, “If your primary purpose for taking this medication is contraceptive, then it could be appreciated that, in the future, you could respect our views and have your OCP prescription filled elsewhere”.

The local paper reported on the situation in 2005 – and Mr Horsfall has been taking the action for 12 years!
However, the situation recently erupted when someone posted a copy of the note on Facebook. In the aftermath, Soul Pattinson, the pharmacy group that Mr Horsfall had been linked with, has asked him to change his practice or ‘re-brand’ – which effectively removed him from their group.

A Facebook page supporting Mr Horsfall has been set up: “I stand with Simon Horsfall.”

Article: Soul Pattinson drops Catholic chemist owner who discourages customers from buying contraception, News.com, 14/2/2014. 
Article: Thurgoona pharmacist disappointed at being dropped by Soul Pattinson, Border Mail, 14/2/2014.

7. WA: Same-sex ‘marriage’ bill
On the same day the High Court ruled against the ACT same-sex ‘marriage’ law in December 2013, the WA Greens introduced a same-sex ‘marriage’ Bill into the Parliament. The first opportunity that the Greens have to bring the Bill on for debate will be during their allocated session of non-government business on Thursday 20 March.  They will also have opportunities this year on 15 May, 25 September and 27 November.

ACTION: If you live in WA, please write to your Members in the Legislative Council – you have SIX MLCs representing your region. 
Please state that the High Court has ruled this is a debate for the federal parliament, NOT the states – thus it is a waste of the State parliament’s time in debating such a Bill and a waste of money if they have to defend a High Court challenge to the law.

Click here for details of your WA MLCs
Click here for our WA Parliament/MP contact page.

If you don’t know your REGION, click here to find out.


8. Religious education in schools – Vic Principal drops SRI
The subject of ‘Special Religious Instruction’ (SRI) in schools was in the media again this week – and the subject of intensive debate on the ABC! 
The issue was raised when one Principal, Joe Kelly of Cranbourne South Primary School, said he had decided not to have it in his school – it was reported in The Age and on the ABC’s ‘The World Today’.

What are the ACTUAL conditions of SRI in schools?
Primary Schools are supposed to allow time for 30 minutes of SRI a week.
Read the Guidelines at the Department of Education website – click here.

The new Chair of Access Ministries, Elida Brereton, the former Principal of Camberwell High School, spoke on ABC 774 explaining how SRI works.

Article: Primary school principals shut down religious education classes, The Age, 16/2/2014. 
Report: Vic principal calls for abolition of compulsory religious instruction, The World Today, 17/2/2014.

9. Debate: Faith based education in public schools
The subject of whether faith-based education has a place in public schools will be debated in Melbourne soon. The title of the IQ2 debate is “Faith-based Religious Education Has No Place in Public Schools'. It is to be held at the Melbourne Town Hall on Wednesday 26 February. If you want to attend, you have to book tickets.
Click here for full details.  

VOTE: You can cast your vote on the MOTION! 
Click here
Please vote AGAINST the motion. 
Thank you for voting last week – the vote was then 38% against. It is now 86% against – but still with only 236 votes.
So PLEASE VOTE NOW – and get all your friends to vote too!

10. Coalition – same-sex ‘marriage’ 
Thank you to everyone who wrote to their federal MPs and Senators on the subject of same-sex ‘marriage’ recently. Some MPs report that they received hundreds of emails. The subject wasn’t raised in the Coalition party room!

ACTION: If you haven’t contacted your MP (if they are Liberal) and your Liberal/National Senators yet, please do so. Ask them to maintain a Coalition policy of supporting marriage between a man and a woman voluntarily entered into for life’ – and to not allow a conscience vote for Coalition MPs.

Click here for MP/Senators details – and how to find your electorate.

11. Review of National Curriculum - submissions invited by 28 Feb 
A review of the National Curriculum is currently being undertaken – the federal government has appointed Professor Ken Wiltshire AO and Dr Kevin Donnelly to do the Review.

The reviewers will provide a preliminary report to the Commonwealth Minister for Education by 31 March 2014. The Panel will provide its final report to the Commonwealth Minister for Education by the 31 July 2014. 
Read the Terms of Reference for the Review - click here.

Making a Submission
Members of the public can make a submission to the review by completing the submission form by Friday 28 February 2014.

Areas you may want to address:
- Including Australia’s Christian heritage in the curriculum. 
- Teaching about the contribution of Christianity to society.
- The teaching of evolution to children and the prohibition on the teaching of creation.

12. Islamic Museum opens in Melbourne
A new $10 million Islamic Museum will open in March in Thornbury, Melbourne. The museum has mostly been privately funded – however one media report stated that around 20% of the funding has come from government sources.

The museum was the idea of former corporate banker Moustafa Fahour, a Muslim – it is reported that he “won funding support from all levels of government, community and industry to bring the project to fruition.”

The Museum aims to get school groups to attend – apparently 30 schools have already enquired about tours.
The Museum has five galleries: Islamic faith, Australian Muslim history, Islamic contributions to civilisation, Islamic architecture and art; the fifth has a series of visiting exhibitions.

One feature – “Students will be able to try on clothes pilgrims to Mecca would wear"!

Media Reports:
Art, history, sweets: our first Islamic museum opens, SMH, 6/2/2014. 
Islamic Museum of Australia opening in Thornbury next month, Northcote Leader, 3/2/2014.
 

13. WA – Euthanasia legalisation being pushed
The issue of euthanasia has been raised in Western Australia this week. A Perth man, Laurie Strike, who has terminal cancer, is calling for euthanasia to be legalised. The ABC talk back programs were busy discussing the issue!
In 2010, a Bill to legalise euthanasia was introduced by Greens MP Robin Chapple – it was defeated by 24 votes to 11. 

Media article: Terminal cancer patient Laurie Strike says he wants to end his own life by voluntary euthanasia, ABC, 17/2/2014.

14. Copyright law reform
The Australian Law Reform Commission has handed its report of their review of Australia’s copyright laws to the Attorney-General George Brandis, who made it public last week.

The ALRC has recommended changes – including ‘fair use’ provisions.
Here are two articles on the matter:
Copyright reform needed to drive economy: Labor, SMH, 19/2/2014.
Why deny US-style Fair Use copyright laws to Australians? The Age, 19/2/2014.


Overseas News

1. Russia introduces law to restrict adoption
The Russian Prime Minster, Dmitry Medvedev, has signed a decree banning the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples, as well as by unmarried citizens, of countries where same-sex 'marriage' is legal. The new law is based on a law passed in mid-2013 and clarifies what is happening – married adults from those countries will be allowed to adopt.

Following the passing of a law by the Belgium parliament that allows euthanasia of children (read our report), "a Russian MP, Roman Khudyakov, a member of the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, has requested the Russian Foreign Ministry to investigate the Belgian euthanasia law’s implications for children adopted to that country. He wants to see adoption to Belgium banned because of the new law."

Media report:  
Russia bans adoptions by foreign same-sex couples, RT, 13/2/2014. 
Russia tightens gay adoption ban, politician wants to outlaw Belgian adoptions over child euthanasia, Lifesite, 18/2/2014.

2. UK- Proposed law to ‘ban’ reparative therapy 
We mentioned a few weeks ago that the UK Parliament is considering a Private Member's Bill, brought by Labour MP Geraint Davies, called the Counsellors and Psychotherapists (Regulation) Bill - it attempts to regulate counsellors generally, but its' real purpose is to ban the use of 'reparative therapy'. 

The Bill proposes a code of ethics, but states, "The code must include a prohibition on gay to straight conversion therapy."
The second reading is scheduled for 28 February, 2014. 

Please pray that the Bill is NOT passed.

INFO - The actual Bill - click here for info on the UK Parliament website.

3. UK: Conference on assisting people with unwanted same-sex attraction
Various groups and individuals who work in the area of assisting people deal with unwanted same-sex attraction met in London at a conference during January. Called ‘Setting Love in Order’, the conference challenged the notion that such therapy is harmful. Interestingly, the conference was opened by Geraint Davies, the Labour MP for Swansea West and the proponent of a bill to regulate the psychotherapy sector in such a way that would ban gay to straight conversion therapies. He argued that conversion therapy was ineffective and harmful, and that a registered psychotherapist should not be allowed to offer them.

Everyone else at the conference opposed that view!

Article: Christians challenge claims that gay conversion therapy is harmful, Christian Today, 17/1/2014.


On the issues

Homosexuality – new study claims some link to genes
Yet another study is claiming some link to genes as a ‘cause’ of homosexuality. 

In this latest study, “Scientists tested the DNA of 400 gay men and found that genes on at least two chromosomes affected whether a man was gay or straight.”

The lead researcher is Michael Bailey, who has done research studies on identical twins and homosexuality.

One of the matters being discussed is a ‘genetic pre-natal test’ to determine homosexuality. As the Guardian pointed out, “The flawed thinking behind a genetic test for sexual orientation is clear from studies of twins, which show that the identical twin of a gay man, who carries an exact replica of his brother's DNA, is more likely to be straight than gay. That means even a perfect genetic test that picked up every gene linked to sexual orientation would still be less effective than flipping a coin.”
Article: Male sexual orientation influenced by genes, study shows, Guardian, 14/2/2014.


Coming Events

National Day of Prayer and Fasting. - Sunday 2 March, 2014
In Canberra at the Great Hall, Parliament House.
- or wherever you are around Australia!

Date: Sunday 2 March, 2014.
Time: 10 am to 4 pm.
Followed by ’40 days of Prayer and Fasting’

Click here for full details.

 

News Update - 13 Feb - parliament, marriage, politics, God, underage marriage PLUS!

News hand Fotolia 43542893 320x200Another big week - with the federal parliament commencing. . .

I've been busy on the website this week ... check it out! The About Us, contact MPs, complaints and Contact sections are revised!

May God bless you as you follow Him!

Jenny

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News Update - 13 Feb
- parliament, marriage, politics, God, underage marriage PLUS!

Australian News

1. Federal parliament starts in Canberra. . .
The federal parliament started this week. . .
Members from both sides of parliament attended the opening church service.
Then it was down to business!

- The federal government announced a Royal Commission into building/unions.
- The Prime Minster presented the ‘Closing the Gap’ report’ (see No 2) 
- The Greens announced they will introduce a MOTION today (Thursday) to remove the Lord’s Prayer (article here).
- The parties had their initial meetings. At this stage we do not know if the Coalition Party Room discussed the issue of homosexual ‘marriage’ – so please keep writing to them… more on this next week.

2. Closing the Gap – report on indigenous health
Prime Minster Tony Abbott has presented the annual ‘Closing the Gap’ report to federal parliament. Media outlets have been discussing the report, and its measuring of the gap in health, welfare, education and life expectancy between indigenous and other Australians.
The Report: Closing the Gap – Prime Minister’s Report 2014 (20 pages)
Read Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s speech to parliament – click here.
Media Report: Closing the Gap: Tony Abbott delivers mixed report card on Indigenous disadvantage, ABC, 12/2/2014.
The COAG Framework/Agreement on ‘Closing the Gap’ – click here.

3. High Court defers decision on WA Senate vote
In late January the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns in Melbourne, heard the case regarding the disputed WA Senate election result. As you will recall, this case has come about because of the AEC LOSING more than 1000 ballot papers during the r-count.

High Court Justice Kenneth Hayne ‘reserved his decision’. It is not known when he will announce a decision – possible options apparently include ordering a new election, alternative ways of resolving the count and referring it to the Full bench of the High Court.

Media report: High Court judge reserves judgment on botched West Australian Senate election, ABC, 30/1/2014.

4. Labor wins Griffith by-election
The Labor candidate, Terri Butler, has won the Griffith (Queensland) by-election. There was a swing to the Liberal National Party candidate Bill Glasson.This is the first time in nearly 20 years that there has been a swing to the government in a by-election.

The Australian Family Association reported that Bill Glasson’s support for same-sex ‘marriage’ may have cost him the election! He made that commitment prior to the 2013 election, saying, "I believe in a conscience vote and I would vote in favour of gay marriage . . . I think it comes down to respect. It should not be a gender-based decision; it should be a principle-based decision" (source).

Both candidates supported homosexual ‘marriage’ (source).

Media report: Swing to LNP sours Labor win in Griffith by-election, The Australian, 10/2/2014.

5. Tony Abbott thanks God
In a recent interview on the ABC’s 7.30 program, Tony Abbott thanked the people of Australia – and God - for the opportunity of being Prime Minister.

He said, “Well, you don't realise just how exhilarating it is to have these opportunities, and sure, there are some heavy burdens as well. Oppositions complain; governments decide. It's much easier to complain than it is to decide. But nevertheless, every day I give thanks to the public of Australia for the honour they've bestowed upon me, and dare I say it, I give thanks to God for the honour that I've been given."

Click here to watch interview – comments at 14 minutes.

6. NSW – Imam charged for performing underage ‘marriage’
Last month a 12 year old girl from the Hunter region in New South Wales was ‘married’ to a 26 year old man. The illegal ‘marriage’ was performed by an imam – both the people involved are Muslims.

The imam, Riaz Tasawar, who until recently was the imam at the Mayfield mosque in Newcastle, has been arrested and charged with ‘solemnisation of a marriage by an unauthorised person’. The girl’s father sanctioned the ‘marriage’ and police are considering if they can charge him.

The story was discovered when the girl and the ‘husband’ tried to apply for spousal benefits!
Media reports:
Hope for further charges over marriage of 12-year-old NSW girl, ABC, 11/2/2014.
Alleged underage marriage uncovered when a 12-year-old child bride and husband, 26, tried to apply for spousal benefits, News.com, 8/2/2014.

7. Faith based education – a debate – Comment and VOTE!
The next IQ2 debate, being held in Melbourne, is titled 'Faith-based Religious Education Has No Place in Public Schools'.

It is to be held at the Melbourne Town Hall on Wednesday 26 February. If you want to attend, you have to book tickets (see link).
As you might expect, the Humanists are promoting it to their members!

Those speaking FOR the motion are:
David Vann (author), Marion Maddox (Professor of Politics at Macquarie University) and Professor Peter Sherlock (Vice-Chancellor of the University of Divinity.

Those speaking against (and in favour of faith-based education) are:
Tim Costello (World Vision), Dr Justine Toh (Snr Research Fellow Centre for Public Christianity) and Nick Cater (journalist, CIS).

Details of the debate – click here.
You can also make a COMMENT on the site!

VOTE: One page also allows you to cast your vote on the MOTION! Click here.
Please vote AGAINST the motion.
The current votes are low – but against us!
ONLINE VOTING RESULTS:
FOR: 62 % 28 VOTES     AGAINST: 38 % 17 VOTES.

8. Homelessness – Salvation Army report
As one of the key Christian organisations assisting the homeless, the Salvation Army’s recent report, on the data and their response, is helpful and insightful.
The report covers the period July-December 2012. It was released in November 2013.
The Report: Homelessness across Australia – the Salvation Army’s Response

At a time when the Royal Commission is investigating serious cases of child sexual abuse in Salvation Army homes, it is important that we remember …

-          There were apparently five Salvation Army personnel accused of abusing children. This is a very small number compared with the huge number of dedicated staff and officers. This is the same in any organisation – most people are faithful and dedicated and abhor the abuse that occurred.

-          The Salvation Army provides support and assistance to a huge number of people across a wide range of areas.

-          Please pray for the leaders, officers and their families as they deal with the fallout from the Royal Commission.
Click here to read the Salvation Army’s response as the Commission began their hearing.

 

Overseas News

1. Scotland passes same-sex ‘marriage’
The Scottish parliament has passed a Bill to legalise same-sex ‘marriage’ – by 105 votes to 18 votes.
The Bill was opposed by the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church.

Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson supported the Bill – which is not surprising since she is a lesbian!

Reports note that Scotland is the 17th country to legalise homosexual ‘marriage’

Article: Tears of relief after same-sex legislation, Herald Scotland, 10/2/2014.


2. Belgium: Vote on euthanasia of children
The Belgium parliament is expected to vote soon on legislation that would allow the euthanasia of children. Belgium legalised euthanasia for adults in 2002. The proposed law extend the current law to apply to children faced with "unbearable physical suffering". The vote could be this week.

There is NO lower limit on the age of the child.

The Netherlands have also legalised euthanasia for children, but the child must be at least 12 years old.
Churches in Belgium have lobbied against the legislation. A petition from 160 paediatricians petitioned MPs to postpone the vote on the grounds it was both ill-prepared and unnecessary. A spokeswoman argued that pain relief and palliative care are a much better approach.

In addition, 58 members of Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Group recently signed a Written Declaration affirming that the move "betrays some of the most vulnerable children in Belgium" and "promotes the unacceptable belief that a life can be unworthy of life which challenges the very basis of civilised society".  

Media report: Belgium set to extend euthanasia laws to children, ABC, 13/2/2014.

3. USA: Federal benefits for all homosexual ‘couples’
The US federal Attorney-General has announced that homosexual couples will be given the same federal benefits as heterosexual married couples, even in States where same-sex ‘marriage’ has not been introduced.

'In a speech in New York last weekend, Attorney General Eric Holder said that for the first time a memorandum will formally instruct “all Justice Department employees to give lawful same-sex marriages full and equal recognition to the greatest extent possible under the law". Under the new measures all US States, including the 34 that do not allow same-sex ‘marriages,’ will be required to provide new federal benefits to homosexual couples, including survivor benefits and prison visits, where the federal government has jurisdiction.

A number of pro-family groups opposed the move – these included the American Family Association, National Organisation for Marriage and the Family Research Council

Read Christian Concern’s report which includes their statements:
Federal benefits for same-sex couples to be extended to all US States, 11/2/2014.

On the Issues

1. The danger of interfaith dialogue
In this insightful article about the dangers of Muslim-Christian “interfaith dialogue”, Robert Spencer highlights statements made by William Kilpatrick in New Oxford Review, January 2014.

One major warming is that often Christian leaders engage in this dialogue without knowing much about Islam – and not understanding the GOALS of the Muslim participants! He mentions the responses by some Catholic leaders who banned him (Spencer) from events without knowing the full facts – he says, “Kilpatrick shows how these incidents were part of a larger pattern of naive accommodation on the part of Catholic leaders that is ultimately not just self-defeating, but suicidal….”

Read the article by Robert Spencer – click here.

Read the original article:
“Has the Church in the U.S. Succumbed to the Charms of Islam?,”, William Kilpatrick, New Oxford Review, Jan 2014.

2. Homosexual parenting – synthetic gametes
In what is really a ‘Brave New World’, bioethics writer Michael Cook reports on a newly-published paper on ‘synthetic gametes’ which would potentially allow homosexuals to have their own children…

The author of the paper acknowledges some people will have ethical concerns, but concludes, “Synthetic gametes do raise questions of ethics in regard to parenthood for gay men and lesbians, but these are largely questions of access and equity, not questions of parental fitness and/or child welfare.”

Article from Bio-Edge: Synthetic gametes could enable homosexuals to have children 
by Michael Cook, 8/2/2014.

Journal Article abstract, The meaning of synthetic gametes for gay and lesbian people and bioethics too, Journal of Medical Ethics, 31 Jan 2014.

 

News Update - 6 Feb - heroin, blasphemy, child abuse, stem cells

News with man Fotolia 60714122 320x200Sometimes it seems we are surrounded by bad news. We need to remember to focus on the good - in order to avoid the bad...  
If people followed the principles of marriage and family as God intended, some of the tragedies we see around us would be avoided.
Jenny 
___________________________________________


Australian News

1. Victoria – needle vending machines for drug addicts 
The latest move to facilitate drug taking is a proposal to have needle vending machines in Melbourne. 

The plan is backed by Liberal Health Minister Mary Wooldridge.

The lead story on the front page of the Herald Sun newspaper recently was  headed ‘HEROIN STREET SHAME’.

Shane Varcoe, of Dalgarno Institute, writes, “The kicker for the story was “Needle vending machines are set for heroin hot spots – even as addicts shoot up in the street.”  
Shane says, “This is just another ploy for total drug liberalisation and eventual legalisation. There is almost ZERO effort to address the drug issue, in fact all these endeavours only increase drug use and the accompanying harms.”

Many drug addicts share needles anyway; there is no attempt to ‘exchange’ them and this just promotes drug use.

Article: Alarm over plan for needle vending machines in city’s drug hot spots, Herald Sun,  5/2/2014.

POLL- PLEASE VOTE
The Herald Sun is running a POLL – ‘Do you support needle vending machines in the suburbs?”
PLEASE VOTE NO – the NO vote is currently 48%. Click here and scroll down.

Then write to Health Minister Mary Wooldridge and Premier Denis Napthine. 
Ask them NOT to support needle vending machines.
Premier Denis Napthine - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
Health Minister Mary Wooldridge - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

2. Adelaide Fringe Festival – blasphemous show 
A huge furore has erupted in Adelaide, where the Adelaide Fringe Festival includes a show called ‘Come Heckle Christ’. It involves a person playing ‘Christ’ – people are encouraged to heckle and ask questions of the figure. The event is advertised as suitable for a variety of people, including ‘disgruntled Christians’!

Family groups have protested, including Family Voice Australia and the NCC. Rev Fred Nile voiced his concern, as did SA Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson and Family First MPs Robert Brokenshire and Dennis Hood. The Islamic Society of SA also expressed their opposition to the show.

But the Festival organisers are unmoved and say it will continue (source)!

The show was actually presented at the 2013 Melbourne Fringe Festival (source).

Reports and Action:
- Lifesite News reported on the show being in the Adelaide Fringe Festival – click here.
- The Adelaide Fringe Festival details about the show – click here.
- The NCC has set up a page to deal with the issue - click here for Update.
- A petition has been set up – click here to sign the petition.
-  A full list of sponsors is provided – click here to view list - and contact them.
- The SA election is coming up on 15 March – if you live in SA, please contact your MPs (details here).

 

3. Royal Commission – Case Study 5 – Salvation Army Boys Homes
The Royal Commission has heard evidence that there were incidences of child sexual abuse in four Boys Homes run by the Salvation Army. Some whistleblowers have told the Commission they were dismissed after reporting child abuse.

The revelations named several men who had allegedly sexually abused boys. One victim even talked of the boys being provided to other men outside the home.
The ABC reports, “The inquiry has previously heard that a large number of boys in Salvation Army care ran away before authorities were made aware of a child prostitution racket. The commission has been shocked by claims that boys from the Alkira home in Indooroopilly were being flown to Sydney and sexually abused in the 1970s.”

Although the cases of child sexual abuse are instances of men sexually abusing boys, no-one wants to talk about homosexuality as a factor in the abuse.

In their report on the Royal Commission, the ABC’s 7.30 program interviewed Queensland man Lewis Blayse. He had been abused in one of the Salvation Army homes, and had campaigned for decades to have the accused abusers brought to justice – and had led to the setting up of the Royal Commission.

The 7.30 Report began, “Last Friday, Lewis Blayse told the story of his experience in the Salvos' horrifying homes to 7.30. A few hours later on Friday evening, he died of a heart attack. His family wanted his last interview to be aired….”
Watch/read the 7.30 report: The dying wish of a man abused at a Salvation Army home, ABC 7.30, 3/2/2014.

Articles:
Governments have failed children in need, royal commission told, ABC, 6/2/2014.
Salvation Army whistleblowers dismissed from Indooroopilly, Qld, home for reporting alleged abuse, royal commission hears, ABC, 6/2/2014.
Royal Commission website – http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/ 
      - Case Study Five (Salvation Army) – click here.

 

4. On the family: “The facts prove kids do better”
In response to recent criticism of Senator Cory Bernardi’s comments about the importance of the natural family, Cardinal George Pell had an article in the Telegraph last weekend. . .

He began, “Family structures are in the news. The push for same-sex marriage continues and in the campaign against random, indiscriminate violence, against coward punches, the dysfunctional family life of many offenders surfaced briefly. Most of us know wonderful step-parents and single parents, but it is a commonplace that children are generally best served by being with their married birth parents. . . “
Article: The facts prove kids do better, Sunday Telegraph, 1/2/2014.

 

5. Rev Fred Nile defends ‘reparative therapy’ for homosexuals
Following the ‘motion’ proposed by homosexual activist MP Alex Greenwich, and supported by the NSW Legislative Assembly, in November 2013, condemning ‘reparative therapy’ and counselling for people who choose to deal with unwanted same-sex attraction, Rev Fred Nile made a speech supporting ‘reparative therapy to the NSW Legislative Council on 14 November, 2014.
Congratulations, Fred!   Read his speech…
Media Release: Rev Fred Nile strongly defends reparative therapy for homosexuals

 

6. Midsumma’s Pride March promotes same-sex ‘marriage’
The issue of same-sex ‘marriage’ was promoted at Victoria’s homosexual ‘Pride March’ last Sunday, 2 February.
Christine Forster, Tony Abbott’s sister, who has declared she wants to ‘marry’ her female partner, marched alongside other ‘Liberal politicians’.
Victorian Chief Police Commissioner Ken Lay marched along with other police members. He also marched in 2012 (source).
Media report: PM Tony Abbott's sister Christine Forster on the march for gay marriage, Herald Sun.

 

7. New political party – promoting GLBTQI rights
A new political party was launched at the Pride March on Sunday 2 February.

The Australian Equality Party (AEP) aims to be a voice for the homosexuals community. Same-same reports, “AEP Convenor and potential Senate candidate Jason Tuazon-McCheyne will officially launch the Party along with members of the AEP Committee at the 2014 Melbourne Pride March this Sunday. “There’s never been an independent gay political party before, and we think it’s time..”
Same-same reports, “Broadly, the aims of the AEP are to achieve marriage equality for all Australians regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, work towards an Australia free from discrimination against GLBTIQ people and their families, act as a voice for GLBTIQ people in local, state and federal politics in Australia, and provide a human rights approach to political discourse for the benefit of all Australians….”
Report from same-same: New political party focuses on LGBTI equality, 31/1/2014.
- Jason Tuazon-McCheyne and his male partner have a surrogate child (source). 

 

8. Children’s’ Commissioner calls for discussion about ban on smacking
The federal Children’s Commissioner has called for a discussion about a ban on the smacking of children. In her first report to Parliament, in December 2013, Commissioner Megan Mitchell ‘points to the United Nations recommendation that all corporal punishment be banned in Australia.’ She told ABC, "One way to do this is to contemplate a law that prohibits corporal punishment."
Prime Minister Tony Abbott rejected the proposal.
Media report: Tony Abbott says 'gentle smack' can be good for children, ABC, 12/12/2013.
Report: Children’s Rights Report 2013

 

Overseas News

1. UN Report - child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church
The UN reports, “The United Nations Committee monitoring compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, briefed reporters in Geneva today, highlighting the achievements and challenges in regards to child protection in Congo, Yemen, Portugal, Russia, Germany and the Holy See.”

Much of the media attention focused on the statements made by the Committee regarding child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. Last month the Committee interviewed Vatican officials in Geneva.

The Report is critical of the handling of child sexual abuse by the Church. The Report urges the Holy See to “Immediately remove all known and suspected child sexual abusers from assignment and refer the matter to the relevant law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution purposes” (No 44b, P 9, UN Report).

The Report was critical of ‘the "practice of offenders' mobility", referring to the transfer of child abusers from parish to parish within countries, and sometimes abroad. The committee said this practice placed "children in many countries at high risk of sexual abuse, as dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to be still in contact with children".’

The UN Committee urged the Vatican to “Ensure that the Commission created in December 2013 will investigate independently all cases of child sexual abuse as well as the conduct of the Catholic hierarchy in dealing with them.”

The Vatican said they would subject the Report to “a thorough study and examination”.

The Report also criticised the Church’s position on homosexuality, abortion and contraception and said they should change the Church’s canon law on these matters. Understandably, the Catholic Church objected to these statements, claiming that ideological principles were behind the UN Report.

It is unfortunate that the Committee has made these statements about these moral principles, because it takes away from the emphasis on needing to deal with pressing issue of child sexual abuse in the Church.

Articles:
Vatican 'must immediately remove' child abusers – BBC, 5/2/2014.
Scathing UN report demands Vatican 'immediately' act against child sexual abuse, ABC, 6/2/2014.
Vatican blasts back at UN report on pedophile priests, abortion, Fox News, 5/2/2014.

Official documents:
UN Report: Overview: Sexual abuse, early marriage, forced recruitment among concerns highlighted by UN child rights body, 5/2/2014.
REPORT: Concluding observations on the second periodic report of the Holy See  
Vatican Statement:
Holy See responds to UN Committee on Rights of the Child, 5/2/2014.

 

On the Issues

New discovery – ethical stem cells
Michael Cook, of Bio-Edge reports: “It’s the ultimate confirmation of the notion that stress is good for you. A team of researchers from Japan and Boston have discovered that subjecting ordinary cells to stress will make them revert to a state in which they can make any cell in the body. It is an astonishingly simple door to the promise of personalised medicine which has obsessed scientists for the last 15 years.

“It’s a startling result that makes you stand up and go, ‘Wow!’” says George Q. Daley, a leading stem cell researcher at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. “With an equal dose of amazement and skepticism.” And colleague Douglas Melton, says, “It’s just a wonderful result; it’s almost like alchemy. It says one has found a way to reveal the hidden potential of cells with a relatively straightforward method.”

"The bombshell research was published in the journal Nature this week...."

Read report: Stunning discovery creates ethical stem cells, Bio-Edge, 31/1/2014.

News Update - 30 Jan – Governor General, Corruption in building, Australian of the Year, marriage, homosexual festivals and more

Newspaper-dog shutterstock-SmHardly a week goes by without some major developments in the public arena. Read on to find out SOME of what is happening around us!
Jenny
_________________________________

News Update - Jan 31 – Governor General, Corruption in building, Australian of the Year, marriage, homosexual festivals and more

Australian News

1. New Governor-General – General Peter Cosgrove
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced that Australia’s next Governor General will be General Peter Cosgrove. He will take up the appointment in March 2014, when the current Governor-General Quentin Bryce completes her term. Peter Cosgrove was the leader of the Peacekeeping mission in East Timor and was then the Chief of the Defence Force. In his acceptance speech, Peter Cosgrove said that he would not deal with ‘political’ issues. He refused to be drawn on issues such as the republic or same-sex ‘marriage’ – two issues that the current Governor-General recently said she supported.

He also said, “You're no longer a private citizen in the Office of Governor-General and I think your responsibility is to shine light but not to generate heat.” He said the parliament has the responsibility to debate political issues, not the Governor General.

We congratulate General Cosgrove on his appointment.

Articles:
Peter Cosgrove to 'shine light' as Australia's new Governor-General, SMH, 29/1/2014.
Next governor-general Peter Cosgrove will keep out of politics, The Australian, 28/1/2014.


2. Corruption in building industry and union exposed
A report by the ABC and Fairfax has revealed that ongoing corruption exists in the building industry, with a whistle blower who was an official in the CFMEU alleging that union officials and bikie gangs are involved.The Prime Minister has promised an investigation – prior to the election the Coalition had talked of a ‘judicial review’ but it could be a Royal Commission. There is now talk about it being extended to cover the ‘union movement’.

This is not the first time inquiries have been conducted into corruption in the building industry. The Cole Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry was conducted between 2001 and 2003. The Royal Commission investigated unlawful practices, fraud and corruption.

Following the Commission’s report, the Howard Government established the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) to monitor the building industry to enforce compliance with the law.

The ABCC was abolished on 1 June, 2012 and replaced by the Gillard government with Fair Work Building and Construction which had much weaker powers.

What is really needed is enforcement of the law and investigation into allegations of corruption.

Articles/Information:
Tony Abbott pushes for return of Australian Building and Construction Commission following union corruption claims,
ABC, 28/1/2014.
The 7.30 report segment – click here.
Cole Royal Commission – click here for details and reports.
IPA Media release on the abolition of the ABCC – click here.

 

3. Australian of the Year – and ‘racism’
Footballer Adam Goodes has been named ‘Australian of the Year’. As an indigenous man, he has campaigned against ‘racism’ and was in the headlines when he was critical of a 12 year old girl who called out from the stands.

Mr Goodes has called for recognition of aborigines in the Constitution. In turn, this was supported by the Prime Minister. He said that people today have 'more heart' than the framers of the Constitution. However, as Keith Windschuttle has noted, the Constitution is not racist - aboriginal people had the vote at the time of federation in states where it had already been granted (all except Queensland and WA). States that hadn’t given aboriginal people the vote were penalised! In fact, he says, the Constitution makes all people equal.

Of course, as we have seen before, it might well depend on how any mention in the Constitution is ‘worded’. We are all Australians, no matter how we came to be here. Any statements included in the Preamble or the Constitution will have legal significance. One government advisor is talking of each aboriginal ‘first nation’ signing a ‘treaty’ with the federal government, with rights to land in their ‘area’! That could get very complicated and undermine the idea that we are one nation.

Whilst we all abhor ‘racism’, dwelling on it often divides us. We are all human, and there is only one ‘race’ created by God!
Andrew Bolt highlights that in his article. He says, “But those of us opposed to dividing Australians on the basis of their “race” should be vehemently against this “crusade”.”

Articles:
Indigenous recognition a crusade: Tony Abbott
, AAP, 26/1/2014.
First nations need to sign treaties, says Warren Mundine, The Australian, 27/1/2014.
Andrew Bolt: Abbott insults conservatives on his racial “crusade”, 27/1/2014.
Keith Windschuttle: The Constitution is anything but racist, Quadrant, 24/1/2012.

 

4. Federal government announces $200 voucher for marriage counselling
During the last federal election the Coalition made a commitment to provide a $200 voucher to couples for pre-marriage counselling. This was one of the questions on the ‘Christian Values Checklist’ and we welcomed the government’s commitment in this area, although it was said that the voucher would also be available for relationship or parenting education. .

The government, through Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews, has now announced that this will begin from 1 July 2014. A 12 month trial will be conducted, at a cost of $20 million, providing for 100,000 couples.

Unfortunately – in this age of ‘not discriminating’ – the $200 voucher will also be available to couples who are NOT married or intending to marry and this will include same-sex couples!
Article: Federal Government offers newlyweds $200 voucher to attend marriage counselling, News.com, 23/1/2014.

 

5. Vic Premier launches homosexual Midsumma Festival
Yes, we could hardly believe it either. . .
Victorian Premier Denis Napthine, previously considered a ‘conservative’ in Victorian Liberal ranks, has attended the homosexual ‘Midsumma’ festival – becoming the first Victorian Premier to do so.

But he went further and actually ‘launched’ the festival!

At the festival Dr Napthine announced that any criminal convictions relating to homosexual sexual activities from before homosexuality was legalised in Victoria in 1980 would be ‘erased’.

If the Premier had decided to enact such legislation he could have made the statement at a different time and place. Supporting and launching the ‘Midsumma Festival’ is a step much too far…

The media reports continued to exaggerate the crowd numbers – stating 90,000 to 120,000 people attended. The Alexandra Gardens aren’t very big – and there is lots of empty space in the photos…
Article: Midsumma Festival draws massive crowd, The Age, 12/1/2014.

 

6. Royal Commission - Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
The Royal Commission is continuing to hold public hearings. The latest series of public hearings – Case Study 5 - began this week, on 28 January.
Case Study 5 deals with the “The response of The Salvation Army (Eastern Territory) (“The Salvation Army”) to child sexual abuse within [four] homes operated by it…”
Click here for the Royal Commission’s website.
Click here for full details of ‘Case Study 5’.
Click here to listen to the webcast.

 

7. Bernard Gaynor – a step closer to being ‘de-commissioned’…
We have previously reported that Bernard Gaynor has been told that he may be ‘de-commissioned’ because of his actions in speaking up about the endorsement by the military of homosexuality and their participation in the ‘mardi gras’.

Bernard reports that this is now a step closer…

Bernard writes, “The Australian Defence Force has moved a step closer to terminating the commission of Army Reserve Major, Bernard Gaynor, despite internal Defence investigations clearing him of allegations of unacceptable behaviour or that he failed to comply with military law. The Chief of Defence Force, General David Hurley, has issued a Termination Notice to Mr Gaynor and given him until 5 February, 2013 to respond. . .”
Read Bernard’s detailed Press Release:
Defence to terminate commission of Christian officer

 

8. Dealing with alcohol-fuelled violence
The NSW government has announced that they plan to introduce tougher measures to deal with alcohol-fuelled violence. Premier Barry O’Farrell announced they would force venues to lock out new customers from 1.30am and cease alcohol trading by 3am. Much of the focus has been on street violence, especially ‘one-punch’ incidents.

Of course the problem is much broader, with violence in the home often being fuelled by alcohol as well. Last month, the NSW Police Commissioner urged people to “fall out of love with alcohol”.

Other measures being debated are an increase in taxes on alcohol, especially cheap cask wine, and restrictions on take-away sales, as well as the proposal to raise the drinking age to 21.
Articles:
- Barry O'Farrell announces 'tough' laws to combat alcohol-fuelled violence, SMH, 21/1/2014.
- Fall out of love with alcohol, police chief urges,SMH, 16/12/2013.

 

Overseas News

1. Malaysia – printer bows to Islam
The BBC reports that a printer in Malaysia has ‘blacked out’ pigs faces in order to be comply with Muslim sensitivities. The New York Times recently carried a story about farming and had a picture of pigs - the Malaysian edition had the pigs' faces covered!
Article: Altered Images: Malaysian printer blacks out pigs' faces, BBC, 24/1/2014.


2. Utah – same-sex ‘marriage’

Two rallies were held a the Utah state capitol building on Tuesday evening, 28 January. . .
“The National Organization for Marriage, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that opposes same-sex marriage, held its rally inside the Capitol building with a local group called Celebration of Marriage. About 500 people attended.”

The other rally was held three hours earlier – with about 300 people supporting same-sex ‘marriage’ rallying on the steps of the building.

Here are the developments since we last reported on the move by a federal judge to legalise same-sex ‘marriage’ in Utah in December 2013. . .
- In late December, a federal judge overturned Utah's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage re-off over gay marriage (it was passed in 2004).

- More than 1,000 gay couples ‘married’ in December after that decision.

- In early January 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court granted Utah's request for an emergency halt to the weddings.

- Republican Governor Gary Herbert then ordered state agencies to freeze recognition of the marriages.

- Utah has appealed the federal judge's ruling to the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is expected to decide in a few months.
Article: Utah gay marriage backers, foes hold dueling rallies, USA Today, 28/1/2014

 

3. UK – Schools told to declare their sex education curriculum
Schools in the UK have been told to set out what is taught in their ‘sex education’ curriculum on the school’s website in response to concern about the increasing sexualisation of children. This comes after a call by the Telegraph’s ‘Wonder Women’ website to include teaching on the dangers of the internet in sex education classes.

Colin Hart, of the Christian Institute, welcomed the proposal to have the curriculum on school websites, saying, “I strongly welcome the requirement for schools to set out their approach on their website in this sensitive area. It would be ideal if parents could actually see online a copy of the materials themselves. The potential threat of a parental backlash would help block the use of inappropriate materials.”

At the same time, Labour is trying to move to make sex education compulsory in schools, a move that is being opposed by the Government.
Article: Schools forced to disclose what they teach about sex on their websites,The Telegraph, 28/1/2014.

 

4. UK - Proposed law to ban counsellors using 'reparative therapy'
Recently we wrote about the capitulation of the UK 'Association of Christian Counsellors' and their decision to ban their members from providing assistance to people who request help for dealing with unwanted same-sex attraction. We mentioned the UK's Equality Act as being one reason for their decision.

There is another reason - which I didn't mention!

The UK Parliament is currently debating a Private Member's Bill, brought by Labour MP Geraint Davies, called the Counsellors and Psychotherapists (Regulation) Bill - it attempts to regulate counsellors generally, but its' real purpose is to ban the use of 'reparative therapy'. 
The Bill proposes a code of ethics, but states, "The code must include a prohibition on gay to straight conversion therapy."
The second reading is scheduled for 28 February, 2014. The Bill was mentioned in The Guardian article by Patrick Strudwick.
INFO - The actual BIll - click here for info on the UK Parliament website.

 

Events
National Christian Heritage Sunday
This Sunday, 2 February, is National Christian Heritage Sunday. As we reflect on the coming of Christianity to our nation, check out the NCHS website and also the Christian History Research website for information and resources.

Elections in 2014
Federal – By-election for Griffith, Queensland
Date: February 8, 2014.
Resources:
- Antony Green’s profile for the by-election: click here.
- Official AEC information for the by-election: click here.

WA Senate
This week the High Court has heard the case regarding a new WA Senate election.
A decision could be announced later this week, or the decision could be deferred or referred to the Full Bench or the Federal Court. See current ABC media report.
High Court – full details and documents relating to the case – click here.

Tasmania – election on March 15
Visit the Tasmanian Electoral Commission website for full information on the election.

South Australia- election on 15 March
Information: Electoral Commission South Australia

Victoria– election on 29 November
Victorian Electoral Commission website – click here.

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