Ministers are considering relaxing regulations governing
army quarters amid protests from soldiers who say the rules prevent
them from living normal lives.
Currently, army houses are available only to couples who
are married, even though co-habitation has become widely accepted in civilian life.
The rules can lead to difficulties when both people in a
relationship are soldiers.
For example, Corporal Neil
Burnham, a military policeman in Northern Ireland, and his soldier girlfriend were
allocated two separate quarters in the same road, even though they have two children.
Burnham and his girlfriend bought their own house off the
but are now being posted back to the mainland, where they have been told they will again
be allocated two quarters, this time not necessarily in the same area.
Lance-Corporal John Donaghue, a dog handler at the same
station, called on the army to "get with the programme" after being told that he
and his girlfriend were not allowed into each other's rooms. "We are both 26 but the
army is saying that the only places we're allowed to meet on camp are in the bar or
mess," he said.
Complaints about housing and lack of privacy are believed
to be a big factor in the army's acute manpower shortage. Although recruitment has picked
up, many more experienced personnel
are leaving because of the demands of service life. Defense ministers have admitted that service housing is often far from
Ministry of Defens
Australia seeks to curb IVF births by single mothers
A story published today by the Associated Press reports that Australia's conservative
government announced yesterday that it wants to stop single women from conceiving children
through in vitro fertilization.
Prime Minister John Howard said his government plans to
amend federal laws on sex discrimination in an effort to let state governments ban single
mothers from receiving the procedure, which involves the fertilization of a woman's egg
with sperm in a laboratory.
''This issue involves overwhelmingly, in the opinion of the
government, the right of children in our society to have the expectation, other things
being equal, of the affection and the care of both a mother and a father,'' Howard said.
The government's decision follows a successful challenge
last week to Victorian State laws that banned single women from using in vitro
fertilization services. A senior judge ruled that such
provincial laws are invalid because
they are consistent with Australia's federal Sex
That ruling was immediately attacked by the Roman Catholic
Archbishop of Melbourne, George Pell, who said children, whenever possible, should have
the love and care of both a father and a mother.
A gay and lesbian rights
lobbyist, Kathy Sant, immediately denounced Howard's announcement, seen as a move to stop lesbians from
conceiving through in vitro fertilization.
''This government's shown itself to not always be in favor
of human rights in general, and it's been quite openly hostile to lesbians and gay men in
particular,'' Sant said. ''The reality is that there's a large number of family forms in
modern Australia and it's time Mr. Howard ... was willing to see that.''
A story published by Reuters expanded on this hot
That story reported that politicians in Australia's opposition Labor
party and the small but influential Democrats pledged to block the move by using their
balance of power in the upper house Senate, where legislative amendments are approved or
"For women who are single, who desperately do want to have
children, I think (IVF) should remain an option,'' Democrats leader Meg Lees said.