Doctors in government schools will be able to prescribe the contraceptive Pill to girls as young as 12 from next year. A $43.8 million program will see GPs working one day a week in 100 high schools to provide standard medical consultations for any student wanting a check-up. The State Government has not decided if parents will have to give consent for their children to use the new service. Premier Daniel Andrews rejected concerns about girls getting the Pill without asking their parents. “You can go as a student to the 24-hour bulk-billing clinic close to where you live, or you can go one day a week to a GP in your school,” he said. “The services will be no different, notions of informed consent would be no different.”


Australian Medical Association state president Dr Lorraine Baker said teenagers could already see a GP without parental consent. Children can be given medical care if they can demonstrate they understand what is happening. But Opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling said he was concerned parents were “losing their rights” to be involved in their children’s education. Vikki Fitzgerald, who has daughters aged 8 and 10, said she was “very worried” they could see a doctor without her knowing in high school. “The family unit needs to be the first place to attack and solve any issues, any questions, the pubescent issues that come up,” she said. Education Minister James Merlino said the government was still considering “operational policies and guidelines” on consent.


Parents Victoria executive officer Gail McHardy welcomed the doctors-in-schools program but said it was important “lines of communication” were kept open with parents. “The reality is that any young girl can walk into a GP without a parent’s consent, not that we would advise that. The more you can communicate to your mum or dad or guardian, the better,” Ms McHardy said. “But if you can’t, you need to go to a trusted adult, like a medical professional.” She said schools needed to explain the “existing rules” about accessing health services to parents. “If you make it compulsory about giving consent upfront, that might defeat the purpose of supporting young people,” she said. Mr Andrews said the program would provide health care to more than 70,000 students.


The government is spending $18 million to build consultation rooms and $25.8 million on staffing and operational costs. Half of the 100 schools are in regional areas and Mr Andrews said they were particularly lacking in mental health services.


Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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A lesbian couple’s bid to be officially recognised as the two “mothers” of their daughter has been rejected by a Victorian tribunal, which ruled that only one mother could legally be named. Tamara and Linda Arc–Dekker took the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages to court in an attempt to amend the birth certificate, which currently records Tamara as “mother” and Linda as “parent”. Tamara, who gave birth to the girl, told the Tribunal that the current certificate created “a discriminatory distinction between us as mothers of our children”. She said the couple’s oldest child had noticed the birth certificate and perceived that a person could have only one “real” mother, and that the distinction on the birth certificate was undermining the child’s ties to their extended family.


The tribunal heard there were contradictory positions in Australia, with Tasmania listing two women as “mother” while Queensland prohibits recording more than one mother on a birth certificate. Senior member Ian Proctor ruled that Victoria’s legislation did not allow both women to be described as “mother”, but both could be described as “parent”. “In my view, agreeing the registrar had the power to record mother/mother would go beyond a fair, large and liberal interpretation,” he said. He has asked the registrar to advise whether a birth certificate acknowledging both women as “parent” would be acceptable. Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convener Sean Mulcahy said the decision should prompt further legislative change, so two mothers or fathers could be recognised.


Victorian MPs have begun debating the Andrews Labor government’s move to allow people to change the sex listed on their birth certificate to male, female, “gender-diverse or non-binary” without any medical procedures. The opposition has called for more consultation on the bill, with legal affairs spokesman John Pesutto raising the prospect of male prisoners demanding to be recognised as female. Liberal MP Louise Staley described the bill as “postmodernist mumbo jumbo” from a government that had lost touch with mainstream Australia, prompting a backlash from transgender advocates. The bill is expected to pass the lower house and be decided by crossbenchers in the Legislative Council.


Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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Christians across the nation and across the denominational spectrum have come together in concerted prayer during October, at a time when the Federal parliament has been considering changes to the structure of marriage in this country. The initiative, by the Catholic Church’s Marriage and Family Council, has been strongly supported by many Christian denominations, organisations and networks represented in Australia. The Australian Prayer Network, which believes all Christians must stand in solidarity on this issue if the threat to traditional marriage is to be defeated, is encouraging all our members to join in the month of prayer with their brothers and sisters in Christ. Each week we are publishing prayer points covering the focus being followed by all Churches, organisations and networks. In this final week commencing 22nd October our prayers will focus on the national discussion and debate regarding same-sex marriage.


Please pray:


.  for all who participate in this national discussion that they will do so in an attitude of mutual respect.


*  that the discussion will remain focused on the issue itself and not de-generate into personal attacks on people who share a different view on the subject.


*  that God would guide the hearts and minds of the people of Australia to understand and support His plan for marriage and families.  



Source: Australian Prayer Network

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The Voluntary Euthanasia Bill 2016 is set to have its Second Reading this coming Thursday 20 October 2016 in the South Australia House of Assembly. This bill presented earlier this year by Steph Key was and remains one of the most dangerous and broadest bills we have ever seen. With many MPs expressing significant concern, the bill looked certain to fail. But the situation has quickly changed. A few days ago, on 13 October, Labor MP Steph Key, released a schedule of amendments with no less than 13 pages of changes to the bill. It now appears that the bill has become in many ways even more dangerous and bizarre than before. 


The problem with this eleventh hour tactic is that busy members of parliament may not be able to fully process the many extensive changes. There is now a real danger that they may only take note of the cosmetic changes and pass the bill!  We therefore alert you to this situation because we believe the legalisation of euthanasia in South Australia could result in a domino effect which would legalise euthanasia in other states and territories.  So we call on all our readers to pray against the passage of this bill.

Source: Canberra Declaration

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