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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”