Abortion

Contract awarded to Catholic Counselling service

Radio National Health Report. 27th April 2012

Now you might have noticed the fury in some quarters a few weeks ago when it became public that a sub contract in relation to a 24 hour telephone counselling service for women seeking a termination has been awarded to a Catholic organisation Centre Care, which sees itself, and I quote “as an instrument of Christ’s liberating presence in the world”.

 

Children and Family

Telstra pulls out of Porn Market after customer backlash

SMH, Karl Quinn

Telstra has bowed to pressure from anti-pornography campaigners and removed salacious content, previously available to stream and/or download for a fee, from its Big Pond service. In a newsletter issued to staff on April 11, Telstra chief David Thodey wrote that he had recently received emails from customers who ”thought we shouldn’t promote adult-orientated movies or videos that objectify women.

Classification

Christian lobby wants Hitler sniper game banned

Nathan Mawby – The Herald Sun

A CONTROVERSIAL new video game that lets players assassinate Adolf Hitler and shows graphic, “X-ray” footage of bullets tearing through people will be in the hands of Australian kids by Friday.

Just days before Sniper Elite V2 is released to the public it has been branded as “sick” by the Australian Christian Lobby.

Drugs

Dutch ban foreigners from buying Marjiuana from Coffee Shops

The Bulletin by Mike Corder and Toby Sterling

AMSTERDAM — This country of canals and tulips is also famous for “coffee shops” where marijuana joints and cappuccinos share the menu. Now, the Netherlands’ famed tolerance for drugs could be going up in smoke. A judge on Friday upheld a government plan to ban foreign tourists from buying marijuana by introducing a “weed pass” available only to Dutch citizens and permanent residents.

Education

Pull your kids out of NAPLAN tests, say Educators

The West by Bethany Hiatt

Educators from across Australia are urging parents to withdraw their children from national literacy and numeracy tests next month, saying they are a waste of money, create fear and stifle creativity

Homelessness

There is more to homelessness than rooflessness

The Conversation by James Farrell

It’s fair to say that homelessness is at crisis point in Australia. According to the 2006 census, almost 105,000 Australians were homeless on any given night. And the problem clearly hasn’t disappeared over the past six years, with more than 91,000 Australians seeking assistance from specialist homeless services in the three months to September 2011. One in five of those people were aged under ten.

Human Rights

Faithful need ‘ bill of rights’ to protect religious freedom

Adelaide Now by Sheridan Holderhead

“I’m someone who believes we should have a bill of rights … generally freedoms could have a stronger form of protection and maybe religion is among those.” World Vision Australia chief executive and Baptist minister the Rev Tim Costello said he supported proposed bill of rights and was disappointed the Federal Government did not accept it.

Marriage

Gay marriage is threatening our freedom of faith

Jim Wallace – The Punch

The concurrent parliamentary inquiries on gay marriage mark a new low point in what has been the constant manipulation of truth and democratic process by gay activists in the pursuit of same-sex marriage.

As the inquiries closed it was evident that they had been reduced to the status of cheap public polls instead of what they should be – our highest forums for review for public policy.

Overseas Aid

Australia can make a difference

ACRATH website 26th April 2012

“Over the past few years Australian aid has contributed to halving the number of people worldwide living without clean water. It has also helped thousands more girls – both in neighbouring countries and beyond – to get an education. Australian aid dollars are reducing poverty and enriching people’s lives.” (Oxfam)

Politics

Besieged Gillard cuts her losses

The Australian – Sid Maher & Brendan Nicholson

JULIA Gillard has jettisoned Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper in a dramatic political backflip to avert a backbench revolt over the scandals engulfing her government and to clear the decks for next week’s budget.

Declaring “a line has been crossed about respect for the parliament”, the Prime Minister forced both Mr Thomson, the Labor backbencher accused of misuse of union funds, and Mr Slipper, the parliamentary Speaker who denies criminal allegations of entitlement misuse and civil allegations of sexual harassment, to stand aside from their positions.

 

Julia Gillard attempts to uphold high standard for Australian Parliament

ABC News 29th April 2012

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she hopes Craig Thompson’s resignation and Peter Slipper’s continued exile from the Speaker’s chair will help uphold the respect of the Parliament.

 

Council polls strengthen LNP’s grip on power

Andrew Fraser The Australian

THE Liberal National Party juggernaut has continued to roll through Queensland, increasing its hold over the Brisbane City Council and with a prominent LNP member taking the mayoralty of the state’s second-largest city, the Gold Coast.

 

The Politics of Faith and American Exceptionalism

The Huff Post by Mugambi Jouet

Two major objects of attention during this election season reflect a key dimension of American exceptionalism: religion. First, America may soon have a president of Mormon faith, Mitt Romney, who served as a Mormon missionary and bishop before becoming a politician. Second, Rick Santorum, the runner-up in the G.O.P. primaries, led a campaign focused on religious moralizing. Santorum notably declared that “Satan” is threatening America, and decried the evils of secularism, pre-marital sex, contraception, abortion, and homosexuality.

 

Other

Where are the centrist beliefs?

US journalist Ross Douthat recalls a gentler time when religion was “a uniter, not a divider”.

This was a time when you might have attended a Presbyterian church and your neighbour was a Catholic, but both churches acknowledged and shared basic truths.

Suspicions lingered between Catholics and Protestants, and among Protestant denominations, but their larger aim transcended those differences.

 

Vatican posting for Carr’s mate

Adam Gartrell – The Canberra Times

The federal government has appointed one of Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s oldest friends to represent Australia at the Vatican.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Senator Carr confirmed yesterday weeks of speculation that long-term NSW Labor lawyer John McCarthy, QC, will be Australia’s next ambassador to the Holy See.