AUSTRALIAN  PRAYER  NETWORK  NEWSLETTER – AUSTRALIAN NEWS 4th SEPTEMBER 2013

  • FARMERS FACE DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY PROBLEMS
  • MELBOURNE CITY COUNCIL TO BAN SEXUALISED ADVERTISING
  • ANTI DISCRIMINATION AMENDMENTS BLOCKED IN TASMANIA
     

FARMERS FACE DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY PROBLEMS

WA’s peak financial counselling service for farmers has warned of growing problems of depression, anxiety, drug use and pornography addiction in the Wheatbelt. Rural Financial Counselling Service chief executive Chris Wheatcroft said that an increasing number of farmers and their partners were being prescribed antidepressants and drugs to control anxiety. Mr Wheatcroft told a major agricultural conference in Northam that a clinical psychologist working in the Wheatbelt had been inundated with women struggling to cope because their husbands refused to acknowledge the depth of their financial problems.

The psychologist also reported that recreational drug addiction and pornography addiction were becoming big problems as farmers’ normal behaviour patterns broke down under significant and prolonged stress. “There are very desperate people out there and it is not simply about money, though perhaps falling profitability is a key cause,” Mr Wheatcroft told the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences conference. “Their individual problems are not just their problems, but a community problem.” Mr Wheatcroft said the sooner the extent of the problems was made public, the sooner communities could start to deal with them.

The financial counselling service, funded by the State and Federal governments, has about 800 clients in the Wheatbelt where huge debts and a run of poor seasons have pushed families in some communities to the brink.  Speaking outside the conference, Mr Wheatcroft said the emerging social, physical and mental problems were common to any group exposed to extreme stress for long periods. He said the counselling service focused on an holistic approach to financial counselling based on trying to help people achieve realistic goals. Financial counsellors only raised the issue of prescription drug use with their clients if it appeared to be affecting their decision-making.

West Australian Farmers president Dale Park told the conference that there was life after farming for people who had had to leave the industry. Mr Park said they often went on to have highly successful careers in other industries and were held in high regard by employers. The State Government reallocated $1.5 million from its farm relief package into operational grants of $25,000. The move came after the $1.5 million allocated for exit grants in June proved too difficult for farmers to get access to under the strict eligibility criteria.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

 

MELBOURNE CITY COUNCIL TO BAN SEXUALISED ADVERTISING

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has welcomed the decision by the Melbourne City Council to push for the banning of ads that sexualise women. ACL spokesperson Wendy Francis says the initiative is a much-needed step towards dealing with the objectification of women in outdoor advertising. “ACL congratulates Lord Mayor Robert Doyle for his stand against offensive and sexist imagery in Melbourne’s public spaces. “This sets an example for other city councils around Australia to crack-down on sexualised advertising that threatens our children’s innocence and promotes negative representations of women and girls,” Mrs Francis said.

Apart from advocating for a ban on advertising that sexualises and objectifies women, the Council will also encourage the community to report such material. The plan also includes creating special safety zones for women in the inner city with CCTV surveillance, strong lighting and security patrols. “It is also encouraging to see the Brisbane City Council pass new legislation around flashing billboards so they don’t cause distraction to drivers. “These are the types of measures we need to ensure our public spaces are made safe for all, especially women and children,” Mrs Francis said.   

Source: Compiled by APN from information supplied by ACL

 

ANTI DISCRIMINATION AMENDMENTS BLOCKED IN TASMANIA

The Tasmanian upper house has decisively defeated a controversial change to the State’s Anti-Discrimination Act which would have made it an offense to offend or insult a person on the grounds of religious or political belief. This is a win for common sense and for freedom of speech. An amendment to allow for faith-based schools to be excluded from the Act when selecting students from their particular faith, failed to be passed with a tied vote 7-7. A more restrictive exemption was passed allowing for schools to discriminate in choosing students of faith only when there are more students than places. The amendment bill must pass the lower house for it to become law.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports