Bioethics 

Vatican Radio examines question of ‘brain death’

Catholic world News

The recovery of Steven Thorpe–a young British man who recovered after four doctors declared him “brain dead”–has prompted Vatican Radio to examine the topic of brain death. “Cases like Thorpe’s have raised questions on the morality of harvesting organs from people who have been declared brain dead,” Vatican Radio reported.

 

Children & Family

Coalition defeated on schoolkid bonus

Paul Osborne, AAP

The federal government has trounced the coalition after crossbench MPs combined with Labor in the lower house to pass a $2.1 billion package of cash payments for parents to pay for the school needs of their children.

 

GPs and Labor at odds over immunisation

AAP

The federal government’s decision to scrap payments encouraging GPs to immunise children is a threat to public health “of the highest order”, doctors say. Labor cut $83.5 million over four years from the practice incentives program (PIP) in Tuesday’s budget.

 

Vaccination: objections to your conscientious objection

Martin Bouckaert – On-Line Opinion

Pretend for a moment you’re a doctor. Your job requires you to be in close contact with very sick people every day. Every day you see dozens of patients who have (or think they have) one thing or another wrong with them; something they feel requires a doctor’s precious time and training to examine and diagnose.

 

Environment

Winton urges push towards sustainable fishing

Conor Duffy, ABC

Award-winning author Tim Winton is urging the Federal Government to push ahead with plans for a new national network of marine parks. Environment Minister Tony Burke is expected to announce the boundaries of protected Commonwealth waters next month.

 

Human Rights

Pell’s threat to sue Twitter highlights law’s use-by date

Julie Power, Louise Hall – SMH

A threat by Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop Cardinal George Pell to sue Twitter for defamation over an offensive tweet by the Melbourne blogger Catherine Deveny has revealed the increasing threat social media poses to the reputations of public figures.

 

Indigenous

Delay urged on indigenous referendum

Sarah Martin – The Australian

A referendum to recognise indigenous Australians in the Constitution should be delayed until after next year because of the “toxicity” that will surround the next federal election, members of the government’s expert panel say. Warning a defeat would devastate the campaign for constitutional recognition, several members of the now-disbanded panel want the government to reconsider its commitment to hold a referendum at or before next year’s election.

 

Marriage

Obama voices support for gay marriage

AAP

US President Barack Obama says he now supports same-sex marriage, ending months of equivocation on a subject with powerful US election-year consequences.  Mr Obama said he has concluded that it is important for him to affirm that he thinks same-sex couples should be able to get married.

 

North Carolina voters approve marriage amendment

Catholic World News

By a 61%-39% margin, voters in North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment declaring that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”  The amendment prevents the state legislature from one day legalizing same-sex marriage or civil unions.

 

N.C. Vote Hits Hard at Gays

John Avlon – The Daily Beast

The underlying question is whether issues of equality and civil rights should be put to a popular vote.

It was Billy Graham versus Bill Clinton in North Carolina’s gay marriage ban vote—and Billy Graham won this round.

 

Same-sex civil unions bill fails in Colorado

Keith Coffman – Reuters

Gay rights advocates in Colorado were dealt a setback when a bill that would have granted civil unions to same-sex couples failed to advance to a full vote before the last day of the legislative session on Wednesday.

 

Half a Million Sign Petition to Protect Definition of Marriage in UK

Christian Today

A petition launched in the United Kingdom in defense of traditional marriage has passed the half million mark. More than 500,000 people have signed the petition from the Coalition for Marriage (C4M) calling upon the British government, currently led by the Conservative Party, to retain the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

 

Why I decided not to move in with my girlfriend

Bernard Toutounji – On-Line Opinion

I have been going out with my girlfriend for almost three months and thankfully all is going very well. I was filling in a friend on this news the other day and at the end of the conversation the person asked me, with a face of anticipated excitement, “Will you be moving in together”? I was initially surprised by the question as I imagined it was obvious to most people I know where I would stand on such an issue.

 

Overseas Aid

Foreign aid delay a broken promise, says Milne

ABC

Greens leader Christine Milne says the Federal Government’s decision to delay $2.9 billion in foreign aid is a broken promise and sends “selfish signals” to Australia’s neighbours. The Government had previously committed to increases in the foreign aid budget so it would reach 0.5 per cent of gross national income (GNI) by 2015-16.

 

Coalition does not oppose foreign aid cut? Christian lobby seeks for clarification

Australian Christian Lobby – Christian Today

The Australian Christian Lobby has called on the Coalition to clarify comments made last night that it may “not oppose” the Government’s plan to break its election promise and cut overseas aid. ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said the Coalition also promised at the 2010 election to support increases to aid to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income.

 

Catholic aid agency on foreign aid cut: Australia must lead the push to end poverty, not follow

Caritas Australia – Christian Today

Caritas Australia has urged the Federal Government to keep its commitment to the world’s most marginalised people after announcing a substantial drop in the forecast foreign aid budget tonight.

While announcing a welcome increase of $315 million to the 2012-2013 budget, Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr confirmed Australia would no longer meet its promise that 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income would be spent on foreign aid; a commitment it made as part of globally supported Millennium Development Goals.

 

Labor government decide not to increase foreign aid, disappoints Christians

Micah Challenge – Christian Today

Micah Challenge is deeply disappointed that the Labor Government has broken its promise to allocate 50 cents in every $100 of national income to overseas aid by 2015, in order to save $2.9 billion over the next four years. Aid contributions will remain at 0.35% GNI in the coming fiscal year, and will reach 0.5% in 2016-17, a year later than promised.

 

Politics

Super still benefits the rich, say experts

Matt Peacock, ABC

As expected, last night’s budget halved the tax concession available to high earners for their contributions to superannuation, in a move that has been welcomed by people who have criticised Australia’s superannuation regime as a rort for the rich. People who earn more than $300,000 will face a rise from 15 to 30 per cent in their tax rates on super contributions.

 

Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Human trafficking tackled in Sydney and a response to its devastating tentacles

Well-Being Australia – Christian Today

The Sydney Morning Herald recently featured an article where an alleged human trafficker was charged after the Salvation Army discovered three woman allegedly being held as sex slaves. The Australian Federal Police allege the women were told they were travelling to Australia on student visas but upon arrival had their passports confiscated and were taken to the brothel where they were held against their will.

 

Sexualisation of society

Children accessing porn younger: study

ABC

New Australian research suggests children as young as 11 are regularly accessing pornography on the internet. Sydney University Department of medicine psychologists Professor Raj Sitharthan and his wife Dr Gomathi Sitharthan surveyed 800 people about their pornography use. While they found that more than 80 per cent of those who looked at porn were male, there were other more startling results.