October 19th 2002

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Bush changes US strategic doctrine

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: ALP Conference: triumph of 'spin' over substance

CANBERRA OBSERVED: PM's loopy housing scheme evades rebuke

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Social 'reforms': Rann's devious politics

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Yes - it is about oil, and arms, and ... doublethink

SUGAR: Behind the sugar crisis

OBITUARY: Ted Serong: a great Australian

FINANCE: A $50 billion war chest for the ALP?

LETTERS: Superannuation and the ALP (letter)

LETTERS: Democrats (letter)

LETTERS: Life matters (letter)

WATER: Wimmera-Mallee major water conservation project underway

CHINA: China will remain the major challenge to America

COMMENT: Share collapse: we've seen it all before

BUSINESS: Just how 'ethical' can business be?

COMMENT: Dysfunctional Victoria

BOOKS: Wilful murder: the Sinking of the Lusitania, by Diana Preston

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Dysfunctional Victoria

by Babette Francis

News Weekly, October 19, 2002
A State election may be held in Victoria at any time after November 2002. Voters should consider the blight - or should one say blights - that have descended on this State since the election of the Labor Government. Many otherwise conservative voters were so antagonised by the arrogance of the Kennett Liberal Government that they prayed for a change. This brings to mind the wise counsel of a long-ago sage: "Be careful what you pray for - God may answer your prayers". Here's what has happened in Victoria since Labor came to power:


The incidence of crimes of violence has risen, and Chief Police Commissioner, Christine Nixon, has asked the public to help her with suggestions on priorities. One suggestion I have frequently made to her is that she should not waste her time or police time by marching in the Gay Midsumma Festival. I would much prefer her and her force to march up and down the streets of in full uniform, at all hours of the day and night. This might help reduce the number of burglaries and break-ins.


A headline in the Herald Sun announced: "AIDS: The Grim Reaper is back". The article highlighted the horrific increase in AIDS cases and HIV infections in much of southern Africa, in Thailand and Cambodia. There have been increases also in the US, UK, France and Canada.

Dr Rob Moodie, Chief Executive Officer of VicHealth and Chairman of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on AIDS, said that after a decline in incidence of the disease in Australia, Victoria has witnessed the greatest rise in new HIV diagnoses in Australia, with 218 cases diagnosed in 200l, a 56 per cent increase on 1999. The overwhelming majority of these cases have occurred in homosexual men.

So what has been Dr Moodie's response to this tragedy? Well he has written a foreword to ALSORTS, a "homosexual awareness guide" which is to be distributed free to school students. The book is published by the ALSO Foundation, which is Victoria's largest gay and lesbian group.

Author Daryl Higgins, a Deakin University psychology researcher, says the book is aimed to ease the pain of young people coming to terms with their sexuality, but according to Bill Muehlenberg, National Vice-President of the Australian Family Association, "the homosexual lobby are just using teenagers' sexual confusion to encourage homosexual activity. Feelings for the same sex are a normal part of growing up, but for most adolescents it is just a phase".

What we can be certain about is that there is no message about abstinence in ALSORTS.


The present Victorian Government has not defended its own legislation (either in the Federal Court or the High Court) restricting IVF to married couples and those in stable de facto (heterosexual) relationships who are infertile.

The consequence is that following the McBain/Sundberg decision in the Federal Court, IVF is now available to single and lesbian women - the latter claim they are suffering not from physical infertility but from "social infertility", i.e. they do not want to have relationships with men.

The recent tragedy in Victoria where a lesbian mother killed herself and her toddler son because his donor father, who had initially promised he would not ask for visitation rights, but changed his mind and succeeded in legal action to see the boy on special occasions, highlights the uncertainties in manufacturing children in such circumstances.

  • Babette Francis

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