Children & Family

Welfare cash splash for working families

Lisa Martin – AAP

Families feeling the pinch from the cost of living will receive some extra pocket money from the federal budget. Treasurer Wayne Swan has announced the government will spread the benefits of the mining boom with a boost to the Family Tax Benefit Part A from July next year.


Uproar in NZ over free contraception plan

Dominique Schwartz – ABC

The New Zealand government is planning to offer free long-term contraception to women on welfare payments in a budget measure that is whipping up a storm of fury. While some family planning organisations have welcomed the move, one poverty action group says it borders on state control of reproduction. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies among OECD countries. A United Nations report last year also highlighted what it called the country's "staggering" rates of child abuse and poverty.



Aquifer storage hopes for Murray water supplies


Scientists say there is growing interest from industry and governments in proposals for aquifer storages, as a way to ensure Australia's future water security. Four rivers in three states have been identified as having the potential to test the concept of underground storage.



Extra money to help problem gamblers


Support for problem gamblers will be expanded in the federal budget with 50 extra counsellors to be trained up. The Gillard government will spend $25.9 million over four years to help problem gamblers.


Human Rights

Foreign correspondent expelled from China

Stephen McDonell – ABC

A foreign correspondent for Al Jazeera English has been expelled from China because authorities did not like what her TV network ran. Melissa Chan did not have her credentials renewed and has been forced to leave the country.



Wales: Catholic schools ordered to give students a 'balanced' view on same-sex marriage

Catholic World News

Catholic schools in Wales have been informed that they must provide their students with a “balanced” perspective on same-sex marriage. Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews told Catholic-school administrators that they violated the spirit of the law by circulating a statement that encouraged students and their families to sign a petition in favor of preserving existing marriage laws. He cited the Education Act, which stipulates that schools cannot be involved in “partisan political activities.”


Overseas Aid

Foreign aid delay to save $2.9b


The Federal Government has announced it will meet its promised foreign aid target a year later than promised. The decision, revealed in Tuesday night's budget, will save the Government $2.9 billion over four years. The Government had committed to increases in the foreign aid budget so it would reach 0.5 per cent of gross national income (GNI) by 2015-16.



COUNT THE COST: Find out how the Wayne Swan's Federal Budget affects you

Sarah O'Carroll –

SO, Treasurer Wayne Swan stuck to his guns and conjured up a Budget surplus. Whether or not his resolve to get back in the black will hurt the economy remains to be seen  but there is good and bad news in this Budget depending on your life situation. Here's a look at some of the key announcements that will affect you and your hip pocket:


Boom time for battlers

Doug Conway, AAP

Modern-day Robin Hood Wayne Swan has used his 2012 budget as a weapon to take from wealthy miners and give to needy battlers. Upping the ante in his so-called class war with mining billionaires like Andrew Forrest, Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer, the federal treasurer announced a $3.6 billion "spreading the benefits of the boom" package to share the proceeds of the mining tax with low and middle-income earning families and small businesses.


Greece on the brink as coalition talks collapse


Attempts to form a new government in Athens collapsed yesterday after the leader of the centre-right New Democracy party announced that he was unable to form a coalition in the crisis-hit country. "We did whatever was possible," Antonis Samaras told Greeks in a national address, saying he had reached out to every party with the exception of the far-right Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn), which was catapulted into parliament in Sunday's election.


Prostitution & Sex Trafficking

Vatican cardinal likens human trafficking to slavery

Catholic World News

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace hosted a conference on May 8 devoted to human trafficking. The conference, organized by Bishop Patrick Lynch of Southwark, focused on prevention, the pastoral care of victims, and their reintegration into society.


Religious Freedom & Persecution

Are Aussies too biased to try this Muslim man?

Janet Fife Yeomans and Peter Bodkin – The Daily Telegraph

Ismail Belghar is believed to be the first Muslim in Australia to be granted a judge-only trial on the grounds that a jury may be biased because of his religious beliefs. The decision in the New South Wales District Court can be revealed after Belghar, 36, yesterday pleaded guilty to detaining and assaulting his sister-in-law after she "dared" to take his wife to the beach without his permission.



Fresh blowout in asylum seeker costs

Adam Gartrell, AAP

The federal government has revealed another blowout in the cost of managing asylum seekers who arrive by boat, with next year's price tag now expected to top more than $1 billion. The government estimated earlier this year it would spend about $739 million in 2012/13 managing asylum seeker boat arrivals. But the 2012/13 budget papers now put that figure at $1.003 billion.