Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Conservative Archbishop pulls no punches about homosexual health

Some truths should not be uttered, apparently

A LABOR senator and marriage equality advocates have taken aim at Sydney's Anglican archbishop, describing as offensive his comments about the health risks of homosexuality.

As a guest of the ABC's Q&A program last night, Dr Jensen told viewers he supported the Australian Christian Lobby's view first expressed by its leader Jim Wallace.  Dr Jensen said: "I am generally supportive of ACL."

But while he did not agree with everything the Lobby stood for he said that the comments made by Mr Wallace gave "us an opportunity to talk about something significant, namely the question of health risk".

Mr Wallace made the comments in a debate last week where he compared smoking to same-sex marriage.

His insensitive comments forced Prime Minster Julia Gillard to pull out of an appearance she was due to make at a function for the ACL.

"It's very hard to get to the facts here because we don't want to talk about it and in this country censorship is alive and well," he said.  "As far as I can see … the lifespan of practising gays is significantly shorter than the ordinary so-called heterosexual man … what we need to do is to look at why this may be the case and we need to do it in a compassionate and objective way."

Federal Labor backbencher Trish Crossin told reporters in Canberra today the remarks were offensive.  "Particularly for people who have smoked, who have developed cancer as a result of that, and (for) loved ones who have lost families," she said.

Senator Crossin is the co-sponsor of a private bill to legalise same-sex marriage, which could be voted on next week.  "What we want to do is force the coalition to have a conscience vote on this, like they do with every other piece of legislation," she said.

Marriage equality advocates called on Dr Jensen to apologise for his "cruel" comments on homosexuality.

Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Alex Greenwich, said he would write to Dr Jensen highlighting the damage his comments will cause and seeking an apology.

"Although we have come to expect extreme anti-gay statement from the Australian Christian Lobby, for a religious leader like Archbishop Jensen to make such cruel claims is a betrayal of his duty of care to his parishioners, especially those who are gay or have gay friends and family members," Mr Greenwich said in a statement.


CSG miners get to drill everywhere in NSW

FARMERS have lost their fight for greater protection from coal seam gas (CSG) miners, with the state government refusing to fence off any land from exploration.  The miners were was given the OK yesterday to start drilling on farm land, albeit under the "strongest restrictions in the world".

The government released its strategic regional land use policy, outlining the extra hurdles companies will have to jump to start work.

Mining companies will have to prove any extraction will not destroy water quality, or prime farming and grazing land.

And in a bid to appease farmers, the government has removed the clause that gave it power to override the restrictions in exceptional circumstances. All CSG companies will have to meet the strict guidelines.

Farmers Association president Fiona Simson said farmers were not protected by the policy.  "We got an incomplete package with watered down water protections and a virtual green light for exploration and mining right across most of the state," Ms Simson said.

Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham accused the Premier of "declaring war" on farmers.

But Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said the increased regulation would make NSW less attractive for mining companies.   "The area of land classified strategic has increased threefold since the draft mapping was first released in March, so much more land will be covered by the new gateway assessment process," he said.

"This new layer of project assessment comes at a time when commodity prices are falling and production and other input costs in Australia are rising."


Suspect wheat variety not used in GM trial

CALLS to abandon a genetically modified wheat trial in Western Australia amid reports certain varieties could cause liver failure have been dismissed by the state government as scaremongering.

New Zealand-based genetics lecturer Jack Heinemann has warned that if humans eat one of the CSIRO's genetically modified wheat varieties, it could suppress glycogen production, leading to liver failure.

CSIRO said the claims had not been published in a peer-reviewed journal but would be considered by the organisation and regulatory bodies along with all other relevant research.

It was trialling both GM and non-GM versions of high amylose wheat, which had increased levels of resistant starch that could have positive benefits for bowel health and people with diabetes, CSIRO said.

Resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate that is not digested in the small intestine and travels into the large intestine, where it plays a key role in digestive function.

In the wake of the report, WA opposition agriculture spokesman Paul Papalia called on the Barnett government to abandon a trial of GM wheat in Merredin, which was announced in 2010.

However, a spokesman for the state's agriculture minister Terry Redman said the variety in question was not being trialled in WA.

Mr Redman said a trial of the variety in the ACT was not complete, so it was too early to say whether it was safe.

"To claim halfway through a trial, speculating in fact, that something's unsafe now is quite frankly too early to do so, and I think scaremongering," he told ABC.


ACCC still harassing Google

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has told the High Court that Google is responsible for misleading content in its sponsored links.

Google is fighting a ruling that it engaged in misleading conduct when some advertisers used the names of competitors to attract searchers to their links.

The ACCC says these sponsored links give the false impression the businesses are linked.

In April, the full Federal Court found that Google had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct.  Google has gone to the High Court to challenge the decision.

Lawyers for the ACCC have told the High Court that Google is liable because its program Adwords, from which advertisers buy search keywords, sets the conditions under which advertisements appear.

But Google argues it is only a conduit and the advertisers have determined the content.

In a statement, the search giant says, "we believe that advertisers should be responsible for the ads they create on the AdWords platform".

Google has also raised concerns in the High Court that the volume of material which passes through its program would make any compliance obligations difficult and could potentially decimate its sponsored link program.

Law expert Justine Munsie, a partner in the media and intellectual property area at law firm Addisons, has been following the case.

She says Google has faced court cases in the US and Europe over what users expect to see when conducing an internet search, but this case is different.

What the case is about is the ACCC saying that consumers have been misled and deceived by the way that Google runs its search engine formulas and policy.

Because when you or I put a search term into a Google search, two sorts of things come up in the search engine. One is what they call the organic search results, which are those search results that relate directly to the search term that we enter.

And then there are the sponsored links; so that if a person enters a search term on Google, that person's ad pops up as a result but it is in fact not a response to a user's query but essentially an ad, a link to that person's own business.

So you'll find competitors buying search terms of their own competitors so that when people put in a search term, in this case, for example, for Harvey World Travel, a competitor of Harvey World Travel will buy the search term and their ad, the competitor's ad, will pop up as a search result.

And the ACCC took umbrage at this because they said: well, this is bad for consumers because consumers don't know when they are searching on Google whether what they are getting is a real answer to their search question or whether it's simply an ad for somebody else's business.


Graffiti vandal loses freedom of expression appeal

A serial graffiti artist has lost his court fight for the right to paint over public advertising as an act of free expression.

Kyle Magee, a university student from Collingwood, told police he painted over an advertisement on a tram shelter as part of his personal protest against the global advertising industry.

He was convicted and fined $500 for damaging property.

Magee appealed against his punishment, arguing the Victorian Human Rights Charter gave him the right to deface advertising under freedom of expression.

The Supreme Court judge ruled the graffiti did not constitute a protected form of expression and he was ordered to pay the court costs.

Magee has previously spent weeks in custody for painting over city advertising.

Outside court, he refused to speak to reporters, taking issue with what he called a "corporate media presence".


1 comment:

Paul said...

"the lifespan of practising gays is significantly shorter than the ordinary so-called heterosexual man …"

I keep saying it, its the promotion of promiscuity within the lifestyle subculture. Until that stops (which it won't) nothing will change.