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Analysis and Comment (18)

They are listening but whose side are they on? They are listening but whose side are they on? Max Rossi/Reuters

The tectonic plates of world Catholicism shift

An extraordinary two weeks in Rome ended Saturday with a standing ovation. Pope Francis had invited 191 bishops and clergy to the Synod on the family to speak their minds on issues such as divorce, premarital…
The extraordinary synod of bishops on family is meeting for two weeks at the Vatican. The extraordinary synod of bishops on family is meeting for two weeks at the Vatican. EPA/L'Osservatore Romano

Pope sets off a ‘gay earthquake’? No, the church has hardly moved

A report of debate from the first half of the extraordinary synod of Catholic bishops meeting in Rome has been described as a “pastoral earthquake” and a “seismic shift in Rome” for praising gay relationships…
Is that you, dad? SBS documentary questions oft-quoted figures on dads who are not the real father of their children. Is that you, dad? SBS documentary questions oft-quoted figures on dads who are not the real father of their children. Shutterstock

What are the chances that your dad isn’t your father?

How confident are you that the man you call dad is really your biological father? If you believe some of the most commonly-quoted figures, you could be forgiven for not being very confident at all. But…
Bless ‘em. (That’s an order.) Bless ‘em. (That’s an order.) The Yorck Project

Modern day ‘Cinderella law’ has roots in Georgian Britain

A newly proposed “Cinderella law” seeks to make parents’ “emotional abuse” of their children a criminal offence in England and Wales. Under it, parents who deliberately ignore children, subject them to…
Politicians such as Cory Bernardi hold strong views on the family – but where does the idea of the natural family unit come from? Politicians such as Cory Bernardi hold strong views on the family – but where does the idea of the natural family unit come from? AAP Image/Alan Porritt

The science of the ‘natural’ family unit

It’s no secret that South Australian senator Cory Bernardi is a fan of what he calls “traditional family structures”. His views are back in the news this week with the release of his latest book, The Conservative…
Taking extra care and consideration for those with dementia can make Christmas a much more enjoyable experience for all. Taking extra care and consideration for those with dementia can make Christmas a much more enjoyable experience for all. brutusfly/flickr

How best to celebrate Christmas with a person with dementia

Christmas can be a stressful time for hosts and guests alike, and it’s more so for carers of people living with dementia. It’s difficult to give general advice about how to get through the holiday season…
Murder-suicide is a unique (and extreme) response to significant, stressful life events such as relationship separation. Murder-suicide is a unique (and extreme) response to significant, stressful life events such as relationship separation. Image from shutterstock.com

Extreme family violence: trying to understand murder-suicide

As details emerge of the latest appalling shooting incident in the United States, it seems the alleged perpetrator may have planned to die by suicide, after taking the lives of others - just as many have…
Safeguards to protect women and children should not be eroded. Safeguards to protect women and children should not be eroded. Image from shutterstock.com

Not for profit: the case against commercial surrogacy

For singles and couples who can’t naturally conceive and carry a baby to term, surrogacy is sometimes considered an option to have a child. Current laws across Australia permit “altruistic” surrogacy which…
Debates over family and marriage would be improved if researchers relaxed the search for scientific truth. Debates over family and marriage would be improved if researchers relaxed the search for scientific truth. paloetic

Research won’t settle debates about marriage and family life

How would you react if you opened tomorrow’s newspaper and were met with the headline, “Children of sole parents more likely to be abused”? If you’re socially conservative, you may feel affirmed in your…
Income management is being introduced in part for child protection, but is could make things harder for families. Income management is being introduced in part for child protection, but is could make things harder for families. AAP/Joe Castro

There’s no evidence that income management works … so why introduce it?

The start of the new financial year has also heralded the start of one of the major reforms of our income support system, yet few know it is happening. The Income Management program quarantines at least…
Quality relationships and time spent together is what’s important when it comes to children’s wellbeing. Quality relationships and time spent together is what’s important when it comes to children’s wellbeing. Flickr/disgustipado

Shared parenting: what’s really important when dads move out

The media often blame a lot of society’s problems on the break down of traditional family structures and the increase in single parent homes. When fathers no longer live at home, policy makers focus on…
Married people are less likely to commit crime. Married people are less likely to commit crime. Flickr/Marcus Hansson

Marriage helps reduce crime

More than half of all murders in Australia involve family members. The majority of them are committed by men who kill their partners. Here, as in many other countries, violence in the home is a major social…
ABC’s The Slap investigates the complex and very personal views of those at the heart of a smacking case. ABC’s The Slap investigates the complex and very personal views of those at the heart of a smacking case. ABC

The legality of ‘The Slap’

In last night’s ABC program, The Slap, an impulsive slap changed everything. A man struck someone else’s child at a barbecue provoking a legal challenge. In real life, that would be an assault, though…
Children of separated parents have higher rates of emotional problems but it doesn’t mean these families are bad for kids. Children of separated parents have higher rates of emotional problems but it doesn’t mean these families are bad for kids.

Separation anxiety? Stop blaming one-parent families for all of society’s ills

The mental health and well-being of Australian children is deteriorating and this is caused by a breakdown of two parent families, according to a report released today by University of Sydney Law Professor…
NRL player Craig Wing has a sister with Down Syndrome. NRL player Craig Wing has a sister with Down Syndrome. AAP

How come you don’t want one? Living with Down Syndrome

“Fuck you, Wing, your sister has Down syndrome!” These words were once hurled at NSW rugby league star Craig Wing while he was playing for the Sydney Roosters against the Canterbury Bulldogs at the Sydney…

Research and News (10)

Research Briefs (7)

Type 2 diabetes is a family affair

Spousal history may take a greater role in the detection of type 2 diabetes, as people partnered to those with the condition…

Dad’s duty: kids and chores

Husbands have been given two secrets for a blissful marriage: engage with children and do household chores, a study has found…