Vic cabinet may divide over IVF

Victoria's Labor cabinet may split over Catholic-opposed reforms proposed by the state's Law Reform Commission to allow gay couples to adopt children and to make IVF available to single women and lesbians.

The Herald-Sun reports that state Premier Steve Bracks will rule whether lesbians and single women can get IVF treatment in Victoria following receipt of the report commissioned by the Government in 2002.

While Mr Bracks, a Catholic social conservative, was likely to be wary of the proposals, his socially progressive Attorney-General, Rob Hulls, was likely to fight hard for the changes, the Herald-Sun says.

Labor never puts policy decision to a vote, meaning Mr Bracks will have the ultimate say.

But with the Catholic Church calling for it to be dumped and several Catholic MPs likely to oppose the changes, it could lead to a split in the usually united Cabinet.

According to the Herald-Sun, opponents could include Sports Minister James Merlino and Education Minister John Lenders.

Ministers Bronwyn Pike, Bob Cameron, John Thwaites and John Brumby would be likely to support the reforms.

Mr Bracks and Mr Hulls contradicted each other yesterday with Mr Bracks ruling out a conscience vote and Mr Hulls leaving the idea open.

"This will be a public policy matter. It won't be about personal thoughts," Mr Bracks said.

"I don't think it goes to matters of conscience."

Mr Hulls, regarded as Cabinet's most reformist member, was reluctant to rule out a conscience vote.

"In relation to that matter I'd have to have a look at what the national policy conventions are in relation to conscience votes," Mr Hulls said.

In a move that will further delay the reforms, Mr Bracks said he wanted to consult with other Australian governments and adopt a national approach.

Cabinet split looms on IVF (Herald-Sun, 8/6/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
IVF (Wikipedia)

Expect more clashes over IVF: health expert (CathNews, 10/1/07)

8 Jun 2007