Wednesday, February 28, 2001
Plan to block IVF use by single women
in Australia is questioned by Senate committee
A story published today by the Australian Associated Press reports that Prime Minister
John Howard's bid to prevent single and lesbian women from accessing IVF was ripped apart
by a Senate committee, which found it would erode human rights.
Yesterday, a Senate committee found the legal arguments put forward by the government to
amend the Sex Discrimination Act would contravene an international treaty on human rights.
It suggested the issue be revisited in the Senate to consider whether or not the
controversial plan should proceed.
Last August Mr Howard moved to amend sex discrimination laws to allow for the ban,
condemned by Labor and a host of lobby groups.
His move followed a court decision that Victoria's ban on single women accessing IVF
(in-vitro fertilisation) programs breached federal laws.
At the time Mr Howard said the rights of children in society, with other things being
equal, was to have the affection and care of both a mother and a father.
Tuesday, the committee said it reached its conclusion based on legal arguments.
"The committee finds the arguments advanced during the course of its inquiry,
especially the legal arguments, that passage of the Bill would contravene an international
treaty to which Australia is a party," the report said.
"And (it would) undermine Australia's strong record in advancement and protection of
human rights, as embodied in the Sex Discrimination Act 1984.
"The committee suggests that if the Senate, after reviewing the arguments and the
evidence, is similarly persuaded, it should consider whether it wishes the Bill to
Labor said the finding confirmed its view that the government's amendments were simply bad
Australian Democrats Leader Meg Lees challenged coalition women to cross the floor when
the Bill came to a vote, saying the committee's report had shown what most people had long
Tuesday, February 20, 2001
Singles spending less in Japan
A story published today by EFE via COMTEX reports that the
average monthly spending by single people in Japan fell 2.7 percent last year, to 182,310
yen ($1,558), officials said Tuesday.
While single people spent less on activities like dining out last year, spending on items
such as cell phones and Internet service actually rose 14.1 percent in 2000.
Average monthly spending among salaried single people slipped 2.9 percent in 2000, to
203,958 yen ($1,743), mostly due to lower wages.
The decline in spending by singles is attributed to widespread corporate layoffs.