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					    Religion & Ethics Australia
    No. 164, 1-7 May 2008  A weekly public affairs review from the Tinsley Institute  Edited by Rod Benson

News & analysis
News & analysis                                Bioethics – organ transplantation                Disability
                                               A SPECIALIST doctor says young, healthy          The Leprosy Mission has welcomed the
Aboriginal & Indigenous affairs                people should be allowed to sell their           UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons
                                               kidneys for $50,000 to the Federal               with Disabilities, which comes into force on
SERIOUS cases involving Aboriginal
                                               Government, which could then give them to        3 May, as “excellent news” for millions of
offenders to be heard by Australia’s first
                                               sick patients who now must wait years for a      people left disabled by leprosy.
Koori County Court, to be set up in Victoria
                                               transplant or travel to Third World              Christian Today 2 May 08
by the end of the year, are not expected to
                                               countries to buy the organs. SMH 5 May 08
include sexual offences. Age 6 May 08                                                           Bonded by catastrophic injuries that meant
                                               CRAIG GILL took “less than 30 seconds” to        a life lived without legs, Cynthia Banham
A “SICKENING” report on child sex abuse
                                               decide that he would sell his kidney to          and Gill Hicks arranged a meeting. This is
in outback South Australia has revealed the
                                               finance ballet lessons and a home deposit        Cynthia’s story. Age 3 May 08
widespread abuse of Aboriginal children,
                                               for his two-year-old daughter, Petal. After
particularly young girls. Former Supreme                                                        Disaster
                                               hearing of the call to legalise the sale of
Court judge Ted Mullighan tabled a report
                                               kidneys in Australia, Mr Gill called the SMH     THE Burmese junta last night threw a
in the state’s Parliament yesterday after
                                               to place an advertisement for one of his         roadblock in the path of the biggest regional
conducting a 10-month inquiry in the
                                               kidneys for $50,000. SMH 6 May 08                rescue operation since the 2004 Boxing Day
Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands
                                                                                                tsunami, as the toll from Cyclone Nargis
in the state’s north-west. Age 7 May 08        Climate change
                                                                                                rose to 22,500 dead with a further 41,000
Abuse – child                                  Global warming stopped six years ago. It         people missing. Aust 7 May 08
                                               might start again tomorrow, but from 2002
THE children of Josef Fritzl’s incestuous                                                       When disasters occur overseas, Australians
                                               until now, average global temperatures have
relationship with his daughter have                                                             are generally among the largest donors on a
                                               remained fairly constant. This is in contrast
emerged from their claustrophobic dungeon                                                       per capita basis through our public
                                               to the previous period when, as everyone
with harrowing physical and psychological                                                       donations to international aid agencies,
                                               knows, the temperature trend was upwards,
damage. Its scale is only just starting to                                                      such as World Vision Australia and Oxfam.
                                               writes Michael Duffy. SMH 3 May 08
become apparent as they have been                                                               Canberra Times 7 May 08
reunited with their siblings. SMH 1 May 08     Like it or not, carbon and the forestry
                                                                                                Domestic violence
                                               debate are now firmly linked. Peppered
Ageing                                         throughout Garnaut’s report are references       Domestic violence policy is overwhelmingly
The number of elderly people who live in       to how land cover change, and especially         dominated by the idea that it is something
abject squalor - among rotting piles of        de-forestation, is connected to worsening        that men do to women, writes Roger Smith.
garbage, scurrying rodents, sodden             climate change. Aust 7 May 08                    O-Op 2 May 08
bedclothes, faeces-encrusted carpets and       A partnership between the Institute of           Drugs
sometimes a menagerie of dogs, cats and        Public Affairs and the University of
pigeons - appears to be on the rise,                                                            More than 100 police, some in bulletproof
                                               Queensland to support environmental
presenting local councils, welfare workers                                                      vests, descended on the Redfern streets and
                                               research aims to provide a haven for our
and neighbours with financial and ethical                                                       stormed the crumbling houses with guns
                                               scholars without ideological or commercial
dilemmas. SMH 5 May 08                                                                          drawn as they hunted 30 heroin dealers.
                                               interference and with no prescription as to
                                                                                                SMH 1 May 08
Alcohol                                        the end point of their inquiries, writes
                                               Bryant Macfie. Aust 7 May 08                     CANNABIS would be sold legally in post
UNDERCOVER teenagers could be                                                                   offices in packets that warn against its
deployed to ensure bars, nightclubs and        Consumerism
                                                                                                effects under a proposal outlined by the
bottle shops are not selling alcohol to        Rather than realizing the enriched social life   head of a Sydney drug and alcohol clinic.
minors, as part of a new Victorian             that Kellogg’s vision offered us, we have        SMH 6 May 08
Government plan to prevent alcohol abuse       impoverished our human communities with
and violent attacks. Age 3 May 08                                                               Employment
                                               a form of materialism that leaves us in
                                               relative isolation from family, friends, and     The job of government is to carry out the
Bioethics – reproductive technologies
                                               neighbours, writes Jeffrey Kaplan.               wishes of the people with sensible policies.
Legislators now recognise that knowledge       Orion Magazine May/Jun 08                        The will of the people is that women should
of biological inheritance is so important to                                                    be able to combine work and families. It has
                                               Criminal justice
the development of identity and finding                                                         been expressed plainly by numbers. The job
fulfilment in life that children are, at the   TWO new jails will be built in Victoria          of the government is to make that feasible
very least, entitled to information about      under a $600 million budget initiative           and equitable in the interests of the whole
their parents, writes Tom Frame.               designed to ease overcrowding in the state’s     population, especially the children, writes
ABC Perspective 6 May 08                       prison system. Aust 6 May 08                     Natasha Stott-Despoja. O-Op 1 May 08
Food                                            Marriage                                         Transport
THE Asian Development Bank has rushed           Pre-nuptial agreements, which lawyers            MELBOURNE is set to become the new
to offer cheap loans to poor countries in the   report are increasingly used by Australian       production home of Toyota’s hybrid Camry,
region to help them cope with the world         couples, may cover anything the couple           with negotiations between Australia and
food crisis. Age 5 May 08                       wishes, from a sensible allocation of assets     Japan likely to conclude by mid-year.
                                                to bizarre “lifestyle clauses”, regulating       Age 3 May 08
                                                behaviour rather than money. Enforcing
THE Iemma Government will defer the             them is another matter. SMH 3 May 08
poker machine tax payments of scores of                                                          A SUDANESE cameraman with the Arab
clubs in a bid to compensate for a loss of                                                       satellite news channel al-Jazeera arrived
revenue since the indoor smoking ban came       VICTORIAN police have been caught                home early yesterday after being detained
into force. SMH 1 May 08                        speeding 735 times and drink-driving 109         without charge for six years at the United
                                                times since 2003. Some off-duty police           States-run Guantanamo Bay military
ANTI-POKIES crusader Nick Xenophon
                                                were caught with a blood alcohol reading         prison. Age 3 May 08
will press the Rudd Government to
                                                more than four times the legal limit.
introduce a levy on poker machines, similar                                                      Work
                                                Age 5 May 08
to the 70% tax rise on alcopop drinks
                                                                                                 I was walking through Ashfield shopping
announced last week. Age 5 May 08               Politics – Australia
                                                                                                 centre at 10 o’clock last Sunday morning.
Homosexual rights                               It would be unwise to regard leadership as       Every shop was open. It could have been
                                                the only problem facing the Liberals. This       any day of the week. If I had been on the
IN DECEMBER, Kevin Rudd gave hope to
                                                issue disguises a deeper cultural problem        west coast it would have been different. In
gay and lesbian couples by indicating he
                                                that turns on the intellectual weakness of       Western Australia a referendum to
would not use Commonwealth powers to
                                                the politically conservative tradition in        deregulate Sunday trading was soundly
override same-sex marriage laws passed by
                                                Australia, compared with that which              defeated in 2005, writes William McKeith.
states and territories. Yesterday those hopes
                                                prevails in similar democracies such as          SMH 6 May 08
were snuffed out when the ACT Labor
                                                Britain and the US, writes Gerard
Government abandoned gay marriage plans
                                                Henderson. SMH 6 May 08
after the Rudd Government said they would
be overridden. SMH 5 May 08                     Politics & faith – Australia
                                                                                                 Of related interest
                                                                                                 Of related interest
THE ACT Government has accused Kevin            When it comes to same sex couples and
Rudd of pandering to the “extreme               marriage, a Charter of Rights, or child          Philip Jenkins has looked at the effect
Christian Right” in its threat to scuttle the   surrogacy, how effectively does the              of birth rates on the world’s Christian
territory’s controversial civil partnerships    Australian Christian Lobby represent the         populations. Third World Christians, with
bill. Aust 6 May 08                             mainstream churches? When the ACL                their much more conservative, Bible-
                                                lobbies with government, how does its            focused beliefs, are likely to dominate the
Human rights
                                                perceived constituency find a genuine voice      big Christian churches. ABC Counterpoint
“Hitler is alive in Burma” reads a cardboard    in its policy-making? ABC Religion Report        5 May 08 [audio only]
sign, held aloft by Ellen Page in a 90-second   7 May 08 See also here and here.
                                                                                                 What makes a „Good Society‟ and
human-rights public awareness message
                                                Poverty                                          should it be measured in purely material
that has begun appearing on video-sharing
                                                                                                 terms? asks Tristan Ewins. O-Op 6 May 08
websites. SMH 5 May 08                          HOW is it that after 15 years of
                                                unprecedented levels of prosperity in
Human trafficking
                                                Australia, more than a million people are on
Claims are often made that large numbers
of migrants are trafficked around the world
                                                welfare? Why are so many people locked
                                                out of the high standard of living the rest of
for sex. Laura Maria Agustin has looked         us take for granted? Worse, they are also
                                                                                                 In “Iraq: Will we ever get out?”
closely at the evidence for this and            effectively locked out of the broader
                                                                                                 Thomas Powers reviews ten books on the
concludes that the figures are exaggerated.     community, condemned to the social
                                                                                                 Iraq war and related people and issues.
ABC Counterpoint 5 May 08                       isolation that often comes with low grade
                                                                                                 New York Review of Books 29 May 08
                                                housing, poor health, limited access to
                                                transport and lack of meaningful work,
BIG business will be able to speed up           writes Philip Freier. Age 5 May 08
controversial 457 visas to import foreign
workers after employers complained of
                                                Prostitution                                     From the vault
                                                                                                 From the vault
significant processing delays. Age 6 May 08     As anti-prostitution groups increasingly try     Judy Putt, Human trafficking to
                                                to thwart the sex trade by going after the       Australia : a research challenge,
                                                customers, they say they have faced a big        Australian Institute of Criminology research
Conventional wisdom holds that the Israeli-     problem - researchers have only the crudest      paper, June 2007.
Palestinian conflict now is primarily a         grasp of why men buy sex. Age 6 May 08
matter of borders and “occupation”. But as
                                                Social justice
Israelis celebrate their Independence Day                                                        Religion & Ethics Australia is published by the
and Palestinians’ prepare to mourn their        A $1 BILLION social justice package              Tinsley Institute, Morling College, 120 Herring Rd,
naqba (“catastrophe”), it’s clear that the      targeting disabled people and “at risk”          Macquarie Park NSW 2113 AUSTRALIA. Views
                                                                                                 expressed are not necessarily those of the Institute or
shadow of 1948 looms as large as that from      groups such as Aborigines and new
                                                                                                 affiliated agencies. Abbreviations: Aust=The
1967, writes Adam Frey.                         migrants will be a centrepiece of                Australian; CT=Christianity Today; O-Op= Online
Canberra Times 7 May 08                         tomorrow’s state budget. Age 5 May 08            Opinion; SMH=The Sydney Morning Herald.