Abortion

Victorian state election: major parties vow to maintain abortion law


Julia Medew – The Age



Victoria’s two major political parties have vowed to maintain the state’s existing abortion law if they win this month’s election. Victorian Health Minister David Davis and opposition health spokesman Gavin Jennings told a women’s health forum in Melbourne on Tuesday that they would not change the law if their parties were elected at this month’s state election.




Children & Family

Family violence campaigner Rosie Batty named Victorian Australian of the Year


ABC



Family violence campaigner Rosie Batty has been named the 2015 Victorian Australian of the Year. Ms Batty rose to prominence for speaking out about violence in the home after her son Luke was killed by his father Greg Anderson.




Donor Conception & Surrogacy

New Delhi emerging as a surrogacy hub


Archana Mishra – Deccan Herald



Over the years, women’s health has become an issue of prime importance and concern, especially maternal health. Topping the concern is the issue of surrogacy and exploitation of women, especially from the poor sections, who compelled by poverty are renting their wombs for money, unmindful of the risks involved. This is an alarming situation compounded further by the fact that there is no proper regulatory mechanism to ensure their rights and safety.




Drugs & Alcohol

Airport drug bust nets meth haul


Nick Clarke - The Mercury



A tip-off from the public resulted in the seizure of $500,000 of methamphetamines at Launceston Airport on Friday afternoon. Detective Inspector Scott Flude said police would allege a young woman had 580 grams of crystal meth — known as ice — taped to her upper body when arrested.




Education

Families will pay higher school fees to help the poor, says Council of Catholic Parents


Alexandra Smith – SMH



Families are prepared to pay higher fees at Catholic schools in Sydney’s richer areas if it helps poorer schools, the NSW Council of Catholic Parents says. The council’s acting executive director, Linda McNeil, said it was “part of the Catholic ethos” to help the less fortunate, and so long as tuition fee increases were not too extreme, parents would accept the introduction of differential fees.




Review of Scripture in NSW announced while VIC parents get more informed choice on religious education

Kaley Payne & Sophie Timothy – Eternity



An independent review into Special Religious Education (SRE) in New South Wales state schools is on its way, according to NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli. Piccoli spoke at an SRE celebration at Parliament House in Sydney last week, and told his audience the review has been put out to tender.




Palmer pledges to block university fee overhaul

The New Daily



Clive Palmer has declared “bye bye” to the Federal Government’s university overhaul, saying his party will vote against the measures.




Gambling

Unlicensed offshore betting is sucking up 14% of Australia's gambling dollars


Chris Pash - Business Insider



Unregulated offshore betting shops are attracting about 14% of the gambling dollar from Australia, according to Tabcorp chairman Paula Dwyer. Australians are estimated to spend more than $20 billion a year on gambling.




Health

UK: GPs urged to report ‘radicalisation’ and abuse


Six Minutes



UK family doctors are being urged to identify children at risk of radicalisation, child-trafficking and all forms of abuse. A toolkit published by the Royal College of General Practitioners says doctors must be alert to cyber bullying, female genital mutilation and forced marriage and have a duty to report such issues.




Indigenous

When white kids go missing, we rally. When black kids go missing we turn away


Amy McQuire - New Matilda



The public outpouring of support for missing child Michelle Levy was heartening. But to the families of missing Aboriginal children, it is also a reminder of their place in society. Amy McQuire explains.




Questions proposed for indigenous referendum

Michelle Grattan – The Conversation



The parliamentary committee on constitutional recognition of Australia’s first people has put forward three possible propositions for change. It has also said the vote should be “at or shortly after the next federal election in 2016”.




Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Cambodian anti-sex trafficking activist breaks silence, defends story


VOA News



Cambodian anti-sex trafficking activist Somaly Mam has broken her silence to defend herself and her work, saying she didn’t lie about how she became a victim of sex slavery.




Refugees

Calls for moratorium on deportation of asylum seekers to Afghanistan after abduction, torture claims


Stephanie March - ABC



Refugee advocates are calling for a moratorium on the deportation of failed asylum seekers to Afghanistan as the Australian Government prepares to forcibly return a 20-year-old Hazara man to Kabul.




Religious Freedom & Persecution

Nigeria girls detail horrific Boko Haram abuse


Sky News



Girls who escaped Nigerian terror group Boko Haram have described the physical torture, rape and forced marriage that many endure in their secret forest camps. Some victims are also forced to take part in attacks and carry ammunition for fighters during battle. Others have been used as 'bait' to lure Christian men to their deaths.




In expansive Pakistan, Christians struggle to find space for cemeteries

Tim Craig - The Washington Post



In this tiny village where most homes don’t have windows and meals are cooked over fire pits, Christians are used to feeling like second-class citizens.




Other

Cardinal Pell: ‘Today we have one of the more unusual popes in history’


Cardinal Pell - Life Site News



“The story of the Popes is stranger than fiction, but the contribution of the many good Popes far outweighs the sins and mistakes of the minority,” Cardinal George Pell wrote in a homily delivered on his behalf in Rome’s parish dedicated to the traditional Latin Mass. “Today we have one of the more unusual popes in history, enjoying almost unprecedented popularity.”