Workers to strike in battle with Salvation Army

IT DOES not, at first glance, appear to be the type of workplace likely to be stricken with industrial upheaval. But about 100 workers at the Salvation Army Westcare will strike for eight hours today in protest at what they say are poor wages and conditions at their Sunshine workplace.

Phyllis Downward, who has worked at Westcare for 11 years, said the workers had become frustrated at the army's failure to negotiate a first collective deal with them. "We've been fighting this for three-and-a-half years to get an agreement and to get a pay rise," she said.

Priests 'can't hide abuse'

CATHOLIC priests would be forced to report all admissions of child abuse during confession under a plan from the independent senator Nick Xenophon to make reporting child abuse mandatory.

Senator Xenophon's call was inspired by Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who launched an unprecedented attack on the Vatican this week for its failure to tackle child abuse in the church, accusing it of ''dysfunction, disconnection and elitism''.

Senator Xenophon attempted a similar move in 2003 when he was in the South Australian Parliament and has written to Mr Kenny congratulating him.

Unease as Sydney Opera House is used in jihad site

THE Sydney Opera House has appeared in an online al-Qaeda magazine on terrorism and bomb-making, prompting the federal government to try to prevent the magazine's spread to the Australian web.

The photo is included in the latest issue of Inspire, an online English-language magazine published by associates of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the most active and dangerous of the organisation's international branches.

Problems at the end of the rainbow

ELIZABETH Stuart first became suspicious when her five-year-old daughter Isabel pensively asked her on the way home from school if she believed God had made the plants and trees and rainbows.

Although Ms Stuart and her husband had indicated they wished to opt their daughter out of Christian religious education at Ringwood Heights Primary School, a clerical error meant Isabel had been attending the lessons.

The remarks appeared to breach guidelines that ban chaplains and volunteers who teach special religious instruction in Victorian government schools from proselytising.

Christian group cleared of urging students to conver

A FEDERAL investigation into the Christian group that provides religious education in Victorian schools has found no evidence that its chaplains tried to convert students in breach of government guidelines.

The federal and Victorian governments ordered inquiries after a recording emerged of Access Ministries' chief executive Evonne Paddison telling a 2008 conference: ''We need to go and make disciples.''

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Baillieu “weak” on voluntary euthanasia

Deborah Gough July 17, 2011

A FORMER Northern Territory chief minister has described Premier Ted Baillieu's political stance on voluntary euthanasia as ''weak'' and unconstitutional.

Marshall Perron, who sponsored the short-lived voluntary euthanasia laws in the Northern Territory, criticised Mr Baillieu for rejecting a call for a report on voluntary euthanasia laws for Victoria, despite personally supporting the issue.

Melbourne lawyer Alan Rosendorff, who is dying of cancer, wrote to Mr Baillieu earlier this month calling for a Victorian Law Reform Commission report on the issue.

Access Ministries to extend its “mission”.

Jewel Topsfield July 18, 2011

THE Christian group that teaches the controversial religious education program in Victorian government schools has announced a five-year ''mission'' to extend its reach into independent schools.

Access Ministries chief executive Evonne Paddison said more and more parents were choosing to send their children to independent schools.

Judge sticks to the spirit of the law

Adrian Lowe June 24, 2011

A JUDGE has rebuffed a Geelong witch who yesterday ''declined'' his ''offer'' of two months' jail for seriously injuring a policeman when he tried to pull her over for using her mobile phone while driving.

When Senior Constable Andrew Logan told Eilish De'Avalon last February that she could not use her mobile phone while driving, she told him that she was from ''another world'' and did not need a licence.

Furthermore, she said, she had a ''universal and spiritual'' name ''not recognised here'' - and she did not recognise ''your laws''.

Girl choked, raped and set on fire unlikely to ever work

Adrian Lowe June 21, 2011

A TEENAGE girl has been left disfigured after being suffocated, raped and set alight - and is unlikely to be able to work or drive, a court has heard.

The girl, 14, spent almost a year in hospital after the attack in her Caroline Springs home last May which began when she arranged with church youth leader Michael Tuano Hermogenes, 25, to meet her at her home and drink alcohol.

School claims bullying over religious education

THE Education Department has warned a Hawthorn primary school council not to survey parents about religious instruction because to do so would be "provocative".

The department's student well-being division, which enforces the law requiring schools to run "special religious instruction" where it is offered, last week tried to clamp down on debate at Hawthorn West Primary School.

It also sent schools in the eastern region a suggested statement for their newsletters, urging school councils not to seek parents' views on the subject.

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