Category: Australia

Universal Brotherhood: How a hippie dream fell apart

In the 70s, an idealistic young man decided he would change the world. With high ethical and moral principles he joined a sect in WA’s South-West. Today, he looks back on those days with some regrets. So what went wrong? Australia, the early 1970s. Garish fashions were “in”, the bra was being burned, consumerism was becoming the new religion, the drug culture had begun and the Vietnam War was further splitting society. In this topsy-turvy climate a young Sydneysider named Stephen Carthew came to WA to help launch a utopian, New Age community. Calling itself the Universal Brotherhood, the community

Model says burqa was rape protection

Model Michelle Leslie wore a burqa during her stay in a Balinese prison on drugs charges to avoid being raped, she said. In an interview with New Idea magazine, Leslie revealed she wore the traditional Muslim headdress to protect herself from men inside the prison she feared would rape her. Leslie said she awoke in the Kerobokan prison one night to find a man sitting on the end of her mattress, laughing and singing: “Jiggyjig Missa Leslie. Bali holiday. Jiggyjig”. “I knew jiggyjig translated into having sex,” Leslie told the magazine. “He was saying Australian model and stroking my leg.

Australia: Row over Bibles in hospitals

The Queensland Government has denied that Bibles have been banned from hospital bedsides because health bosses fear they offend non-Christians. Deputy Premier Anna Bligh said media reports that the Princess Alexandra and Royal Brisbane and Women’s hospitals had stopped Bibles being left by patients’ bedsides were wrong. “If a patient in one of our hospitals wants a Bible there will be one there,” Ms Bligh said today. “Policy and practice in relation to Bibles in our hospitals is unchanged and remains as it has been for many years.” However, Opposition health spokesman Bruce Flegg says a Christian group which supplies

Gibson Asked to Stage Christ’s Crucifixion

SYDNEY, Australia – Hollywood actor-director Mel Gibson has been asked to recreate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in the streets of Sydney if the city is selected to host a major Catholic gathering in 2008, a newspaper reported Saturday. Gibson’s staging of the Stations of the Cross, a live interpretation of Christ’s final hours, would be part of a bid by the city to secure the Catholic Church‘s World Youth Day in 2008, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The crucifixion reenactment — similar to scenes from Gibson’s hugely successful film “The Passion of the Christ” — would begin with the

Hatred law needs overhaul: churches

Worried about curbs on free speech, religious leaders will push Premier Steve Bracks for change. Victoria’s church leaders will tell Premier Steve Bracks it is time to change the controversial religious hatred law. All agree it is unsatisfactory, but they differ on what needs changing. The leaders of the main denominations discussed the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act last week, and were due to meet Mr Bracks today. But the meeting was postponed until next week because of today’s funeral of former governor Davis McCaughey. Anglican Archbishop Peter Watson has said the church did not look closely enough at the

Sweat lodge adherents reject ‘cult’ label

Sweat lodge enthusiasts have denied that their ceremonial groups are cults and have called the death of a Melbourne man in South Australia during a traditional American sweat lodge ceremony, “a senseless tragedy”. Rowen Cooke, 37, was pronounced dead on arrival at Leigh Creek Hospital on Wednesday after apparently succumbing to severe dehydration. A woman claiming to be a friend of Mr Cooke told ABC radio’s Jon Faine this morning the rituals may seem strange to outsiders, but they give one a sense of peace and balance, and of closeness to god. Cult FAQ Frequently Asked Questions About Cults,

Melbourne man dies in sweat lodge ritual

A man has died and another is being treated in hospital after a native American purification ritual in South Australia’s far north. Police said the two men collapsed at a campsite on a property about 100km from Leigh Creek early yesterday. A Victorian, aged in his 20s, was pronounced dead on arrival at Leigh Creek Hospital after what was believed to be severe dehydration. The second man was being treated for dehydration after being airlifted to hospital in Port Augusta. They were among of a group of 11 people, all from Melbourne, who were taking part in a sweat lodge

Policemen sacked for KKK prank

As a force struggling to shake off a racist image, the Western Australia police hardly needed a speed camera catching two officers racing through a town centre wearing Ku Klux Klan-style hoods. The incident in August 2001 was condemned by officers, before it was discovered that the culprits driving at more than twice the speed limit were colleagues in an unmarked police car. Yesterday the state police commissioner, Barry Matthews, sacked the two perpetrators of the 75mph “prank” in the rural town of Bunbury, south of Perth. “I accept it was done as a prank, and I accept there was