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The Forum > Article Comments > Making babies - co-operatively! > Comments

Making babies - co-operatively! : Comments

By Daniel Donahoo, published 24/2/2005

Daniel Donahoo argues that men and women need to work together to fulfill parental aspirations.

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Finally an article about children and family, that even incorporates men and fathers.

However I think the author has a big job trying to convince many others of his opinions, including it seems Kay Patterson, the Minister for Families and Community Affairs. The following is from Ambit Gambit at

“An interview on ABC radio this morning said it all (no audio that I can find, so no link) - we all belong to families, apparently. Minister responsible for Family Impact Statements, Kay Patterson, was asked to define exactly what a family was. After not much rambling she revealed that even a person living alone was a family, because, well, we all have families don't we? The department appears to have been putting some thinking into defining this concept.”

So it appears from this, that the Minister believes a family can be made up of just 1. Over time this concept of family has reduced from say 4 to 2 to now 1. Of course if the 1 is reduced, then a family becomes 0, and no children will be born at all, (although this would make the work for the Minister and the Department of Family and Community Services much easier).

So there is a considerable amount of work to be done to convince other people (including persons in government) that a family should be at least 2.

Not surprisingly the Department of Families and Community Services seems to act as a Magic Bucket, that pours money into a variety of organisations that are often feminist in orientation. When that Magic Bucket starts to get empty, the taxpayer just tops it up again.

Best of luck Daniel in trying to convince others of your concepts regards men and women, and their desire for children and family.

PS. Still don’t trust the word of Leslie Cannold, who left fathers out of the title of her new book.
Posted by Timkins, Thursday, 24 February 2005 12:13:23 PM
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What l find interesting about this article is the choice of language and inference in characterising men and women who don't breed.

For women its a simple logical and pragmatic choice between career and family.

With men its 'just grow up.' Ad hominem, emotionally manipulative shame therapy. l don't understand how the author intends to sway men with emotional manipulation. lt's condascending and offensive. It sems like a low success strategy.

As usual, these boiler plate fertility articles, trot out the same modus, the same focus and the same ommissions... yaaaawn.
Posted by trade215, Thursday, 24 February 2005 2:12:39 PM
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Agree wholly with what Daniel Donahoo has to say re: people not having children or as many children as they would like because of the lack of faith ‘in our ability to provide the “best” environment for them.’ Except I think this should be extended further to take in other socio-economic considerations: like, how are people supposed to be able to afford children in the major cities, given exhorbitant real estate prices? And look at the way we’re barrelling down the path to two-tiered health and education structures which are ultimately set to make decent healthcare and education more expensive. Add to that the backdrop of world terrorism and warmongering and you have the perfect recipe for caution. I don’t think the linkages between these factors are made often or strongly enough. And it does seem there is a potential link here also with the higher rates of abortions for women over 35 who have already established families. I doubt a pissy little baby bonus is likely to assuage any of these factors (or to provide that third baby for Peter Costello and ‘Country’) in a hurry.

Timkins – I think Patterson’s point was that a single person living alone is still part of a family network and can still have familial obligations – e.g. a middle-aged single woman living alone might have obligations to the welfare of her aging relatives and occasional childcare for nieces, nephews, etc. As far as I can see, this kind of policy approach seems wholly in keeping with the government’s mutual obligation emphasis on welfare reform post-the McClure report and I think it's potentially a positive development. (This kind of approach to extended family relationships and obligations is already being pioneered in Indigenous policy through ‘shared participation agreements’ like the ‘Wulan Hygiene Pact’.)

And – wouldn’t you want to include the single dad who lives largely by himself except for maybe fortnightly custodial visits from his kids within a family impact analysis?

Here’s the link for the interview with Sen Patterson:
Posted by EleanorH, Thursday, 24 February 2005 2:32:36 PM
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A lot of childless people I know don't want kid's because they think it will cramp their lifestyle. They simply don't want the responsibility that comes with kids. Economic factors are irrelevant, it seems the poorest people have the most kids! Or maybe they are poor because they have kids. Anyway, a change in attitude is needed. People should relax, the world does'nt end when you have kids.
Posted by davo, Thursday, 24 February 2005 4:56:09 PM
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I agree, and if the author’s derogatory remarks about men were true, then they could be easily reversed to be equally true of women (but perhaps that would be misogynist or something).

But the author did include terms such as “men and women”, which is very unusual in today’s media, and he did leave his derogatory remarks about men until near the end of the article, whereas Cannold threw her derogatory remarks at men in the first few paragraphs of her article.

I was bothered by the following though:- “Tapping into men and women’s shared longing to have children we can produce intelligent and confident future generations.” This seems to be suggesting that people should be “tapped” or manipulated, or exploited in some way by the state.

It is a fact that a family of 1 is a small step away from being a family of 0. That is a fact, although the Department of Family and Community Services does not seem to be overly concerned by this.

Try as I might, and cannot envisage a Family Impact study ever being undertaken into the 10,000’s of fathers presently in Australia, who have been removed from their children, but allowed to visit them every fortnight so that they can maintain an interest in them, and therefore be more likely to pay money to the mother, (which currently termed Child Support). Although the mother is under no obligation to discuss how she spends that money “of course”.

And try as I might, I cannot envisage such a Family Impact study ever being carried out while there is an Office for Women, (but not for Men also). Or when there are people such as the current Sex Discrimination Commissioner, who has made some of the most vilifying, demeaning, and objectionable remarks about men, while nearly all of her remarks about men have not been based on any creditable or unbiased research.

So try as much as I can, I cannot imagine a reasonable Family Impact study being carried out in such circumstances. Can you?
Posted by Timkins, Thursday, 24 February 2005 9:43:09 PM
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"but we are consistent in our aspiration to be parents"

That statement lost it for me - I have read the rest but quite honestly this assumptive leading statement is complete and utter garbage.

Although I am father to two daughters who I love dearly, I can honestly say that whilst I was always happy to participate in the process of coitus, I had no aspiration to be a parent.
That I am a parent is more a "conformation" of the girls mother (even then we left it until she was 30 - before her clock ran on too far) than any "aspiration" of mine.

Most of the rest of the piece seems to be devoted to developing some supposed Nirvanic co-dependent relationship, not the healthiest of practices and often the basis of matrimonial breakdown.

The Individual is the best one to decide if that individual wants to have children. It is not a common aspiration as this article presumes - and it never has been.
Posted by Col Rouge, Friday, 25 February 2005 7:03:24 AM
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