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					Religion & Ethics Australia
No. 169, 5-11 Jul 2008  A weekly public affairs review from the Tinsley Institute  Edited by Rod Benson

News & analysis News & analysis
Aboriginal & Indigenous affairs MYALL Creek, the scene of one of Australia's worst massacres of Aboriginal people, will become a national heritage site. Aust 7 Jun 08 Abortion Kevin Rudd should overturn the policy championed by former senator Brian Harradine of not providing foreign aid for abortion advice, argues Michelle Grattan. SMH 8 Jun 08 THE chief of Oxfam has pleaded with the Rudd Government to drop the ban on official Australian aid funding abortion advice to women. Age 10 Jun 08 Adoption Parents who lost their children in the devastating Chinese earthquake will be considered first for adopting orphans whose family members cannot be found. Aust 5 Jun 08 Catholic Church I don't know how World Youth Day is going down in your household but in mine it's fanning the flames of militant atheism, writes Adele Horin. SMH 7 Jun 08 Censorship TWO weeks after Bill Henson's works were seized from a gallery and Kevin Rudd labelled them "absolutely revolting", police have confirmed they will not lay obscenity charges against the acclaimed artist. Aust 6 Jun 08 As a society we simply can not legitimise the sexual portrayal of children in the name of art or anything else, writes Hetty Johnstone. O-Op 6 Jun 08 BILL Henson is free to continue his internationally renowned photographic career without risk of jail but yesterday's decision by NSW police to abandon its case against the Melbourne artist has done nothing to bridge the bitter divide between those who support his work and others who believe it is child pornography. Aust 7 Jun 08

It's said that Bill Henson, whose images were recently seized by the police, didn't intend to produce pornography. Does this mean that the images in question can't be pornography? What is it that makes art art? ABC Philosopher’s Zone 7 Jun 08 Chaplaincy Last week in Senate Estimates, Democrat Senator Lyn Allison raised concerns that the school chaplaincy program was being used to introduce a Hillsong project called 'Shine', aimed at teaching girls self esteem, through hair and make-up. The government has agreed to investigate. ABC Religion Report 11 Jun 08 Climate change Rudd's first budget failed to tackle the challenge of climate change, argues Tim Flannery. Age 5 Jun 08 GOVERNMENTS and industry need to invest at least $US45trillion ($47trillion), or 1.1 per cent of world GDP annually, to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the International Energy Agency has warned. Aust 7 Jun 08 PRESSURE is building for a review of one of Labor's key climate change policies, with a Rudd Government adviser dismissing enforceable targets for renewable energy generation as "market-distorting" industry assistance. Aust 7 Jun 08 CUTTING taxes and tariffs on imported hybrid cars may be a more effective way of making the nation's car fleet environmentally friendly than Kevin Rudd's $500 million fund to help the local industry go green. Aust 7 Jun 08 Criminal justice A few years ago it was discovered that about one in every 25 children in this country had experienced the pain of having a parent in prison. SMH 5 Jun 08 Ecology & environment A naturally occurring substance until recently seen as a basic human right has been recalibrated as a luxury item. "The bottled water industry is a testament to H. L. Mencken's belief that no one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American people." Age 10 Jun 08

Employment THE Federal Government is considering creating a new body to tackle the longstanding gender pay gap which results in women earning less than men doing comparable jobs. SMH 10 Jun 08 HIV & AIDS HEALTH and community workers are pleading with the Rudd Government to take seriously the increase in HIV infections, warning that Australia faces "significant financial and social consequences" if it does not act. Aust 10 Jun 08 Homosexual rights DISCRIMINATION against gay couples in federal laws will continue for months, after the Opposition last night vowed to delay changes until all the proposed reforms are put before the Parliament. Age 5 Jun 08 Can the terms gay and evangelical coexist? More evangelical Christians are trying to grapple with homosexuality without straying from traditionally held views that same-sex relationships violate God's word. A private conversation between leaders of a gay-rights advocacy group called Soulforce and Willow Creek Community Church on Sunday could mark a significant turning point. Chicago Tribune 9 Jun 08 Human rights law THOSE who champion the creation of a bill of rights in Australia need to take a long, hard look around the globe to see just how things can go wrong, says Jack the Insider. Aust 6 Jun 08 HERE'S a message literally out of left field. Young Labor, a group brimming with idealistic, progressive young men and women, has given the thumbs down to a charter of rights, writes Janet Albrechtsen. Aust 7 Jun 08 Should Australia have a charter of rights? It was an idea endorsed at the recent 2020 Summit. Almost every country in the world has one, as do the ACT and Victoria, but Australia doesn't. So is Australia out of step, or in this instance very much the lucky country? And what about Victoria's brand new charter -- is it making any difference at all? ABC Law Report 10 Jun 08

Hunger WORLD Environment Day this year should pierce the minds of more Australians than ever before. Across the globe, there is a massive food crisis brewing that is already threatening 100 million people, writes Tim Costello. Age 5 Jun 08 UN chief Ban Ki-moon says $US20 billion a year in aid will be needed to tackle the global food crisis, eclipsing the $US3 billion in new funds promised. Aust 5 Jun 08 Illness – mental MENTALLY ill prisoners at Long Bay Prison in NSW are being kept in solitary confinement for 18 hours a day in a move to cut costs, the Greens say. Aust 5 Jun 08 Immigration Over the past 10 years, the use of character testing has increased in traditional areas such as migration and citizenship, and has moved into new areas of law, such as the employment of persons in critical industries and criminal law. The problem is, the new form of character tests is often framed in subjective terms and can be made under ministerial discretion, raising issues of transparency and accountability. Age 9 Jun 08 Israel & Palestine The heads of Christian churches across the country have released a statement calling for the Australian Government to become more involved in bringing about peace between Palestinians and Israelis. ABC news 4 Jun 08 Read the statement here The West Bank today is an ugly quilt of high walls, Israeli checkpoints, "legal" and "illegal" Jewish settlements, Arab villages, Jewish roads that only Israeli settlers use, Arab roads and roadblocks. This hard and heavy reality is not going to be reversed by any conventional peace process, writes Thomas Friedman. Age 7 Jun 08 Israel did not replace or destroy any country and did not prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, argues Bren Carlill. O-Op 10 Jun 08 Parenting The proportion of Australian couples without children rose from 35 per cent in 1997 to 40 per cent last year, new Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show. Aust 7 Jun 08 Pedophilia FOUR children have been removed from their homes and at least 90 people will face court after a global child pornography crackdown. Aust 5 Jun 08

Politics – Australia Note, after the first stupid fuss, the abject political silence on the Henson case. They know nudity isn't pornography, but they tuck their honour behind their populist tuttutting and stay low, writes Elizabeth Farrelly. SMH 5 Jun 08 Politics & faith – Australia KEVIN RUDD wears his Christianity on his sleeve more prominently than any Labor leader since the devout Catholic Arthur Calwell. It is a stance that yielded political dividends at last year's election. But now the Prime Minister faces a decision that may alienate socially conservative Catholics and born-again Protestants. SMH 5 Jun 08 Policing CHIEF Commissioner Christine Nixon plans to scrap a discipline system senior police claim shields corrupt officers and protects incompetent ones. Age 5 Jun 08 Pornography DOZENS of men have been arrested for child pornography and abuse offences including community leaders, a police officer, a teacher and a youth worker - after the nation's biggest anti-pedophile investigation. SMH 5 Jun 08 MEN charged in one of Australia's largest internet child pornography investigations are being offered counselling to stop them taking their own lives. Aust 9 Jun 08 Religion – Australia HINDUISM, Buddhism and Islam are Melbourne's fastest growing religions, but Catholicism remains the city's dominant faith. Age 7 Jun 08 Republicanism HAVING enjoyed yet another long weekend in honour of the Queen's birthday, I am prompted to ask why we still have this holiday. Part of the reason is probably that the debate about whether Australia should become a republic has had about as much substance as an issue of New Weekly, writes Christopher Scanlon. Age 10 Jun 08 Terrorism THE alleged plotters in the September 11 attacks demanded to be sentenced to death, saying they had long sought martyrdom. Aust 6 Jun 08 War BRITAIN yesterday lost its 100th soldier in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion, when three troops were killed in an attack in the south of the country. Aust 10 Jun 08

Water FOR the past decade, the autumn rains that herald the grain-planting season and produce winter pasture have failed in southeastern Australia. Aust 7 Jun 08 Weapons AUSTRALIA can play a key role in banning nuclear weapons, according to the man who will head a new disarmament commission, argues Gareth Evans. Aust 10 Jun 08 PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has committed Australia to leading a new international fight against the spread of nuclear weapons, saying it is now the most important issue facing the world. Age 10 Jun 08 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe is being run by a military junta that took over the impoverished African nation in a "coup by stealth" after Robert Mugabe's shock election defeat in March and is now directing the campaign of terror sweeping the country. Aust 10 Jun 08

Of related interest Of related interest
GLOBAL food crisis. War in Iraq and Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden running loose. Mass killing in Darfur. Spaceship lands on Mars. Spot the odd one out, writes Daniel Flitton. Age 7 Jun 08 Modern America must embrace equality as well as liberty, Andrew West is told. SMH 7 Jun 08 Professor Peter Saunders reflects on left-wing orthodoxy, tax and churning, the demise of sociology and social welfare policies both in the UK and Australia. ABC Counterpoint 9 Jun 08

From the vault From the vault
Margot Kingston on Senator Brian Harradine on announcing his intention to retire from the Senate. SMH 29 Jun 2004

Religion & Ethics Australia is published by the Tinsley Institute, Morling College, 120 Herring Rd, Macquarie Park NSW 2113 AUSTRALIA. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the Institute or affiliated agencies. Abbreviations: Aust=The Australian; CT=Christianity Today; O-Op= Online Opinion; SMH=The Sydney Morning Herald.