Jetstar announces hiring spree and bigger domestic planes


Jetstar will go on a hiring blitz to fill hundreds of new roles as airline switches some of its grounded international fleet towards domestic flights which are surging in demand.

Jetstar chief executive Gareth Evans revealed they were preparing for three Boeing 787s to be brought into service for domestic flights later this month, with a further two potentially added if demand persisted.

“As a low fares airline, we’ve always been nimble, responding quickly to opportunities, but the COVID crisis has led us to be even more creative in finding new markets and different ways to use our Jetstar Group fleet,” Mr Evans said.

“Operating our B787s domestically is a really good example of that — and I know our team and our customers can’t wait to see them flying overhead in a month’s time.”

The move comes after Jetstar’s operating schedule was whittled down from 700 daily flights to just 12 at its lowest point in the pandemic, with the majority of its staff stood down. The overall Qantas group permanently shed close to 9000 roles.

However in a major shift, domestic flights are now at the same levels they were before coronavirus and operations are expected to rise to 120 per cent by the end of the year.

Mr Evans said they would be hiring hundreds more for additional jobs across cabin crew, operations and engineering.

The larger planes will initially service flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Cairns and the Gold Coast.

Passenger capacity on these routes will increase by 135 seats.

Jetstar Captain Philip Schwarz said more than 100 pilots would be able to fly the Boeing 787s domestically from June 1.

“In the last couple of weeks we have had the opportunity to get some of the pilots back into the aircraft,” said Mr Schwarz, who is also one of Jetstar’s main training pilots.

Crew are being trained to work on the larger aircraft.

Flight attendants Genevieve Burke and Rebecca Kiervan were used to international flights on the 787’s and said they are looking forward to doing domestic routes.

“With international flying we spend a lot of time together, we become like a little family and the family has kind of been split up (since COVID-19),” Ms Kiervan said.

“Getting this aircraft back in the air is like getting the group back together.”

Jetstar is also bringing across six aircraft from it Japanese business to service Australian domestic routes.

The budget airline has also been helped by the fact budget rival Tiger Airways bowed out of the Australian market once the pandemic hit.

Virgin Australia scrapped Tiger Airways after it went into voluntary administration last year.

The majority of its international crew and fleet remain stood down while international borders are closed.



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Kelly Wilkinson’s alleged killer Brian Johnston formally charged with murder, wakes from coma


The accused killer of mother-of-three Kelly Wilkinson has been formally charged with murder after spending 10 days in a coma.

Police visited Brian Earl Johnston at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital where he has been under guard and in an induced coma for 10 days.

Ms Wilkinson’s burned body was found in the rear of a Gold Coast house on April 20 while Johnston, 34, was located nearby shortly after, police say, suffering serious burns to his hands and airway.

Johnston’s lawyer Chris Hannay confirmed to NCA NewsWire police had formally charged his client with murder on Friday

He said he instructed Johnston, who was heavily medicated and struggling to talk, not to be interviewed.

“I saw him this morning, with two police officers, and wanted to talk to him and confirm what has happened so far with his charges and was told he had been charged with murder,” Mr Hannay said.

“Police wanted to interview him but we obviously rejected that as he wasn’t in any position to do an interview.

“He was able to speak to me in a whisper, obviously his throat is sore and I understand he has been out of a coma since yesterday and was coherent.

“He nodded and whispered ‘yes’, and police had informed him he had been charged with murder and he said ‘yes’, but made no comment about it and he didn’t even mention the incident to me.

“He was not in any fit state and was still heavily medicated.”

Mr Hannay said Johnston wanted to retain him as his representative.

More to come…



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Hundreds gather to honour Kelly Wilkinson, Lordy Ramadan


Hundreds of domestic violence survivors and allies have gathered at rallies around Queensland to mourn two women allegedly murdered at the hands of their partners.

Dressed in black and armed with a single red rose, mourners gathered in the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Ipswich, bowing their heads in a minutes silence to pay their respects to Kelly Wilkinson and Lordy Ramadan, and to rail against a system leaders say ‘failed’ them.

Speaking at the Domestic Violence corner at Norm Rix Park in Labrador – not far from the Arundel backyard where Ms Wilkinson was allegedly set alight by her estranged husband Brian Johnston – Laura Gerber, the LNP member for Currumbin, issued a furious call for action.

“On average, one woman a week dies from domestic violence in Australia,” she said.

“On average they have reached out to police or a service 27 times before they lose their lives.

“That’s 27 times a service has had an opportunity to save them … And the system has failed them.

“The time for talk is done.”

Among the crowd was the mother of Tara Brown, who was killed by her ex-partner after dropping their three-year-old daughter to daycare in 2015.

A coronial investigation earlier this year found police failed to launch a proper investigation after she approached officers about a domestic violence protection order five days before her death.

The director of the Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence expressed her “outrage” that another two women from the community had died.

“Tragically we were here just last month … Now another two Gold Coast women (have died),” Di Macleod said.

“Kelly Wilkinson and Lordy Ramadan were real people with hopes and dreams who had a right to safe.

“Sadly both were allegedly killed by someone close to them who felt they had the right to do so.

“We need to say their names. We need to remember them by how they died, not by how they lived their lives.”

Ms Macleod said while it was all “well and good” to be moved to tears by these tragedies, action was needed.

“We have made real inroads, but it’s hard to stand back and pat ourselves on the back when women and children are still dying,” she said.

“Kelly is the 10th woman to die (from domestic violence) this year, and Lordy is the 11th. But they are not just statistics or victims, they are real people.

“Their deaths cannot be in vain.”

Member for Gaven, Meaghan Scanlon, said the establishment of a new Domestic Violence Taskforce would improve the system and hold perpetrators to account.

“We know the real consequences of a system that lets people down,” she said.



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Florists call for labelling of foreign flowers amid toxic chemical concerns


Unsuspecting Aussies could be decorating their homes or wedding and birthday cakes with flowers dipped in toxic chemicals, industry insiders have warned.

Flowers are currently the only perishable product sold in Australia that does not require ‘Country of Origin’ labelling, a potentially dangerous loophole that could exposure consumers to serious health issues.

The flower industry’s leading body is ramping up calls for ‘Country of Origin’ labelling with Australians unknowingly buying native flowers, such as Kangaroo Paw, that have been grown overseas and dipped in toxic chemicals for up to 20 minutes before sale.

Flower Industry Australia is lobbying the federal government on behalf of the $600 million-a year-industry and consumers to introduce labelling that will help buyers identify locally-grown flowers when they shop.

“When you sniff a bunch of roses in the supermarket, you might be sniffing chemicals,” says FIA director and flower grower Michael van der Zwet.

“The flowers are fumigated with methyl bromide and dipped in glyphosate before they are sent to Australia.

“Everything you buy from a supermarket has to have a label – except for cut flowers.”

The industry is concerned most consumers are not aware of the potential dangers of buying flowers grown overseas, and that the requested labelling changes will not be passed without more concerted public pressure.

Overseas flower imports ramped up in 2012, driven by demand from supermarket chains.

In the 2019-2020 financial year, Australia imported $74.2 million worth of cut flowers from countries including Kenya, Colombia, Ecuador, China and Malaysia, according to Horticulture Australia.

“Local growers couldn’t compete,” says NSW Flower Growers group secretary Sal Russo of the rise of imports.

“We had 300 rose growers in Australia, now it’s down to about 30 and that’s a result of cheap imports being brought into Australia.”

COVID has brought the crisis within the flower industry to a head, with increased freight costs due to a lack of international flights contributing to a drop in imports and creating flower shortages which the decimated local industry is working hard to meet.

In Queensland, Currey Flowers owner Sonia Bitmead has worked seven days a week for almost 18 months to meet demand, growing 13,000 Gerberas and 60,000 Roses in greenhouses across 2.5 acres.

“There’s been an Australia-wide shortage of flowers at times during COVID,” she said.

“It has really made people think about where their flowers are coming from.”

Industry veteran and Melbourne florist Michael Pavlou said the volume and variety of cut flowers coming in from overseas is staggering and now even extends to beloved natives including Kangaroo Paws.

“Australia used to be the main exporter of Kangaroo Paws but Africa has taken over as the main producer, to the point where now we are importing them from Kenya and Ecuador,” he said.

Stakeholders agree the rise of overseas cut flowers has been driven by economics, with foreign growers paying as little as $7 a week to their labourers, allowing importers to undercut local produce.

Late last year, the Australian flower industry united to promote Australian-grown flowers with 150 FIA members beginning a campaign to introduce Country of Origin labelling.

“It’s not about saying no to imports,” FIA chief executive Anna Jabour said.

“It’s about choice. We are a collective of growers, scientists, retailers, wholesalers, teachers and stylists who feel that now is the right time.

“Our submission calls for flowers to be divided into sections: international, local and those that are mixed.”

Sal Russo, who is also a director at FIA, says 70 per cent of supermarket flowers are grown overseas but which 70 per cent is anyone’s guess.

“Labelling is a question of choice,” he said.

“We have that choice in foodstuffs [a new country of origin food labelling system came into effect in 2018]. We don’t have that with flowers. Consumers deserve to know so they can make informed choices.”

While the industry waits for a decision on Country of Origin labelling from the government, independent wholesalers have started taking matters into their own hands, with online flower supplier Flowerhub designing its own country of origin flag and a new wholesaler, launching on the Gold Coast next week, that will divide its stock by imported and local.

“Consumers got behind milk and once they realised what they were unknowingly doing to our local producers, there was a complete 180 on consumers’ attitudes to price,” Mr Pavlou said.

“Get in touch with your local MP and let them know that this is an issue you care about.”

Don’t miss our new-look At Home magazine with your Saturday paper, or visit us online At Home.



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Prime Minister slams ‘identity politics’, ‘evil’ social media


Prime Minister Scott Morrison has again lashed the misuse of social media and called out identity politics during a passionate speech at a dinner on Thursday night.

Mr Morrison was giving an address at the United Israel Appeal Dinner in Randwick when he doubled down on his criticism of identity politics and social media.

It comes after footage of the Prime Minister speaking at a national Christian convention on the Gold Coast last week was circulated online, where Mr Morrison called the misuse of social media “the work of the devil”.

On Thursday night, Mr Morrison told guests “social and moral corrosion” was “caused by the misuse of social media, and the abuse that occurs” on such platforms.

“I would say it also includes the growing tendency to commodify human beings through identity politics,” he said.

“We must never surrender the truth that the experience and value of every human being is unique and personal.

“You are more, we are more, individually, more than the things others try to identify us by, you by, in this age of identity politics.

“You are more than your gender, you are more than your race, you are more than your sexuality, you are more than your ethnicity, you are more than your religion, your language group, your age.”

Mr Morrison said all of these attributes contributed to the “incredible diversity” of Australian society, but they were not the essence of our humanity.

“When we reduce ourselves to a collection of attributes, or divide ourselves, even worse, on this basis, we can lose sight of who we actually are as individual human beings – in all our complexity, in all our wholeness and in all our wonder,” the Prime Minister said.

“Throughout history, we’ve seen what happens when people are defined solely by the group they belong to, or an attribute they have, or an identity they possess.”

He said the Jewish community understood that better than any other in the world.

Community was the major theme throughout Mr Morrison’s speech at the appeal dinner on Thursday night, where he paid tribute to many outstanding Jewish Australians, including his “dear friend” and colleague, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

“Good citizens, good neighbours and good friends, who understand through their own faith and history and sufferings that life is not what you accumulate but what you give, what you contribute,” he said.

“In my church, we talk about blessed to be a blessing and that is what you’re doing here tonight.

“So being among you tonight, I’m deeply honoured to be here, I’m deeply grateful for your contribution to our nation.”

Mr Morrison, a Pentecostal Christian, who is deeply religious, said he and his wife Jenny had been called upon to do God’s work in his speech at the Australian Christian Churches conference last week.

In the address, which was published by a secular group online, the Prime Minister also said social media could be used by “the evil one” to undermine society and revealed he would “lay hands” on Australians he met at disaster relief centres.

Laying of hands is a practice performed in some Pentecostal churches to support prayers of healing.

“I’ve been in evacuation centres where people thought I was just giving someone a hug and I was praying, and putting my hands on people,” he told the conference about a recent visit the Pilbara after Cyclone Serjoa.

”Laying hands on them and praying in various situations.”

Mr Morrison is Australia’s first Pentecostal prime minister and the denomination has grown in popularity despite only 1.1 per cent of Australians identifying with it.



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Kelly Wilkinson, Kobi Shepherdson deaths show Australia is ignoring DV breaches


On Monday afternoon, hundreds gathered at a twilight vigil to remember Kelly Wilkinson.

The Gold Coast mother-of-three’s charred body was found in her backyard last Tuesday; her estranged husband, Brian Earl Johnston, was later charged with her murder.

Ms Wilkinson’s death was one of three, at the hands of domestic or family violence, to rock Australia last week – and exposed, aside from the obvious, a “massive problem” that could have “disastrous” consequences for women and children if it continues to be ignored.

As well as being charged with murder, Mr Johnston was charged with breaching a domestic violence order (DVO) that had been in place since March, and breaching bail. Ms Wilkinson’s family told the Gold Coast Bulletin she had gone to police “almost every day” to report his alleged behaviour.

And while Mr Johnston’s lawyer, Chris Hannay, told reporters last week that “no one expected this to happen”, gendered violence experts, advocates, Ms Wilkinson’s own father and Gold Coast police lamented that the 27-year-old’s death was not just predictable, but “totally preventable” – for one key reason.

RELATED: Horrific map exposes Australia’s shame

On the Gold Coast alone, the number of serial domestic violence offenders disregarding protection orders has spiked by more than 100 in just a month – averaging 12 each day in March according to police figures.

In Adelaide, where nine-month-old Kobi Shepherdson died in a suspected murder-suicide at the hands of her father last Wednesday, chilling court documents revealed an extensive history of allegations of domestic violence inflicted by Henry Shepherdson on Kobi’s mother.

Yet charges were dropped against Mr Shepherdson last year after he threatened to kill his infant daughter and her mother – as they were for more than half of defendants (54 per cent) who made it to court in South Australia.

“It is a massive problem,” Women’s Safety NSW CEO, Hayley Foster, told news.com.au.

“We know that for most women, having a domestic violence order in place increases her safety and reduces risk for further violence. But it’s not foolproof.

“Unfortunately, it can be hit and miss, and depending upon the particular police officer or magistrate, women can experience being disbelieved and have their pleas for help dismissed.

“And we see this every day. It is not uncommon for police to dismiss domestic violence order breaches five, 10 or 15 times, but even if police take action, the matter could go before a magistrate that lets the offender off with a slap on the wrist over and over again.”

“Women regularly tell us that their ADVOs (apprehended domestic violence orders) are being breached,” Law Reform and Policy co-ordinator at Women’s Legal Service NSW, Liz Snell, told news.com.au.

RELATED: Sick excuse offered for baby murder

Last year, more than 35,000 defendants faced court charged with breaching DVOs, according to a Friday report by The Australian of unseen Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) experimental family and domestic violence figures.

“Women also often tell us that when they report breaches of ADVOs to police, insufficient action is taken by police, including a failure to lay criminal charges for the breach,” Ms Snell said.

“There need to be consistent consequences for the breaching of ADVOs by the predominant aggressor.”

According to the ABS, while 87 per cent of defendants were convicted, most received a non-custodial sentence (a penalty that doesn’t include time in prison) involving a fine (40 per cent), a community supervision or work order (29 per cent) or a good behaviour bond. Only a quarter received a custodial sentence in a prison or correctional institution.

“Currently, unfortunately, it takes a horrendous murder – as we have seen last week – for these issues to be brought to the public’s attention and for governments to sit up and take notice,” Ms Foster said.

“But the reality is, there are thousands of women and children each year affected by an inconsistent response to domestic violence order breaches.

“And we will never break the cycle and achieve a reduction in violence against women and children if we don’t start enforcing domestic violence orders consistently.”

RELATED: Kelly’s death is Australia’s shame

Considered one of the key mechanisms for protecting victims of abuse, a DVO is a civil order which can be made by police immediately and confirmed by a local magistrates court, and is used in instances where the police (and then courts) are concerned for a person’s safety from violence, she explained.

The cost of ignoring the scale in which they’re breached and “getting this wrong can be disastrous for the women and children involved”, Ms Foster added, sending “a dangerous permissive message to abusers and a message of hopelessness to victims”.

Children are also not “systematically protected” by DVOs, she explained, because police often “don’t want to interfere with a father’s access to their child”.

“It should be our primary concern to protect children from violence and abuse. We know witnessing and experiencing violence and abuse can have catastrophic impacts on children well into adulthood,” Ms Foster said.

“We need to ensure children’s voices are better heard right throughout the process, and we need to ensure they are safe first and foremost.”

This is an issue “that has been put in the ‘too-hard’ basket for too long”.

“We’ve been calling for stronger enforcement of domestic violence orders for decades,” she said.

“But Australians have had enough and they’re making their voices heard. They no longer want to wake up to another woman or child killed. They’re demanding action and governments are beginning to pay attention.”



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Cairns is Australia’s most popular city to visit in 2021


Cairns has become Australia’s favourite place for a holiday but an unlikely rival is inching closer to the top spot, according to new data on where we’re travelling in 2021.

Flight booking data released by Skyscanner this week revealed Cairns is the top destination for Australian travellers, with COVID-19 travel restrictions taking previous favourites like Bali and Phuket out of play.

The Tropical North Queensland city was found to be the top destination for travellers of all categories – couples, families and groups – for June to October this year.

That is perhaps no surprise as those months are dry season in Cairns, where the mild and sunny weather provides the perfect escape from the southern winter.

RELATED: Five best things to do in Cairns

RELATED: Cairns named Aussie town of the year

The reopening of Queensland’s notoriously strict border to most travellers in Australia could also be behind the surge in interest in Cairns, a Skyscanner travel expert told news.com.au.

“We’ve seen real pent up demand as borders and domestic restrictions have eased, with travellers itching to see more of Australia, use up annual leave and plan a getaway with friends, family and loved ones,” they said.

“There are also some great bargains to be had for flexible flights and that coupled with the good weather has been drawing travellers north to explore some of the most renowned beauty spots, right on our doorstep.”

RELATED: Cairns spot even better than Great Barrier Reef

Unexpected town rivals other tourist spots

The Queensland hotspots of Gold Coast, Hamilton Island, Sunshine Coast, Whitsundays and Port Douglas, along with capital cities like Darwin and Hobart, are also among the top destinations for travellers in 2021.

But an unexpected rival to those perennial favourites is the outback town of Alice Springs, which has suddenly become the third top trending search among all Australian holiday-makers.

RELATED: Alice Springs’ ‘graveyard’ packed with planes

The Northern Territory town, which recently hosted the 10-day Parrtjima Festival and is close to the majestic MacDonnell Ranges and great expanse of the Simpson Desert, came third behind the Whitsundays and Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef.

Broome, Darwin, Hobart, Cairns, Adelaide and Gold Coast completed the list of top trending destinations for Australian travellers overall.

Skyscanner’s latest report also shed light on Australians’ holiday habits as the country adjusts to life during COVID-19.

Trip duration is shorter in 2021 – just 16 days, compared to 21 in 2019 – which has been attributed to shorter domestic flights, according to a recent Skyscanner survey.

Price of holidays matter, with 37 per cent of participants saying price was a key factor in determining where they chose to travel.

Thankfully, we’re spending 35 per cent less on the average fare compared to 2019, due to lower prices and the shift to domestic travel.

But Australian travellers seem to be upgrading airfares from the cheapest option, prioritising direct routes, flexible fares, preferred airlines and airports of choice.

Bucket lists being re-imagined

At a time when international borders remain closed except for New Zealand, domestic tourism appears to be “booming”, Skyscanner’s head of Asia Pacific, Paul Whiteway, said.

“Our new research shows there is pent up wanderlust, with 37 per cent of those surveyed saying the culture and experiencing new things to do on holiday is impacting their destination preferences,” he said.

“This desire to get out and explore has led Aussies to re-imagine their bucket list travels for the time being and reconsider the incredible destinations closer to home.

“Where measures have been announced providing clarity on dates and restrictions, we have seen direct correlations with interest for example with the recent New Zealand travel corridor.”

Mr Whiteway said travel demand was also being driven by enticing travel deals, such as airline fare sales, and increased flexibility.

“Travellers want to get away safely and within the rules, and we expect that as we see more travel become possible, travellers will respond with their booking behaviours,” he said.

Top destinations for travellers in June-October

Families

2019: Phuket

2021: Cairns, followed by Gold Coast, Hamilton Island, Sunshine Coast and Port Douglas

Couples

2019: Rome

2021: Cairns, followed by Darwin, Hobart, Broome and Hamilton Island

Groups

2019: Denpasar (Bali)

2021: Cairns, followed by Darwin, Gold Coast, Prosperine (Whitsundays) and Townsville

Top trending searches for all Aussie travellers

1. Prosperine (Whitsundays)

2. Hamilton Island

3. Alice Springs

4. Broome

5. Darwin

6. Hobart

7. Cairns

8. Adelaide

9. Gold Coast

10. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia



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Danielle, Rhys Carroll take in Kelly Wilkinson children


The family of Kelly Wilkinson, who was allegedly killed by her estranged husband in a shocking act of domestic violence, say they want to give her three children the “best possible quality of life”.

Ms Wilkinson, 27, was found dead in the backyard of her Arundel home on the Gold Coast earlier this month. Brian Johnston has since been charged with her murder.

The pair had three children under the age of nine who have been taken in by Ms Wilkinson’s sister Danielle Carroll and her husband Rhys, who have five children of their own.

It’s believed the three children were home at the time their father allegedly murdered their mother.

The pair told the Today show what was getting them through was seeing all eight children “playing together, gelling, in a happy, safe environment”.

“That is really what’s giving us the drive to keep going, you know,” Mr Carroll said.

Mrs Carroll said they were having “open discussions” with the children as things progressed.

“Just letting them know that (there is) a sense of belonging at our house, that they are eternally loved, and that we are one big family now,” she said.

“(To put on a brave face) I just look through Kelly, what she was going through daily … She stood up and she did what she had to for those children.

“I think now that has been passed over to me and that is what we need to do.”

Mrs Carroll said her sister was “vivacious” and “gave more than she had.”

“She just gave everything … That flowed into the amazing mum she was for her own children,” Mrs Carroll said.

“She was cheeky and she was fun and she just lit up the room.”

Mrs Carroll said the support have been “absolutely outstanding”, but the family was desperately trying to adjust to make Ms Wilkinson’s three children comfortable.

“We have a car that suits a seven person family … We need to find a car that will fit us all in,” the pair said.

“The kids need the help through counselling and everything to get them through it. We are in a four-bedroom house at the moment which is fine for the kids.

“But we just want to give these guys the best quality of life that we can to get them through what they have been through … Including our own kids, they have been there and heard all the details. It is not fair on them as well.

“But the kids are all working in together in that way. The only thing we can do now is give them the best quality of life that we can to hope that these traumatic experiences don’t surface as bad as they could in the future.”



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Woman spends $15K on IVF pregnancy after relationship break-up


When Rebecca Bell split from her longtime boyfriend last year there was an extra layer of heartache.

The 26-year-old Gold Coast woman, who had always dreamt of being a young mum, had been planning on trying for a baby in 2021.

But after a doctor told her she was “basically infertile” Ms Bell made the decision to have a baby on her own and is now nine weeks pregnant after conceiving via IVF.

Ms Bell was diagnosed with endometriosis at age 16, a painful illness that causes tissue similar to the one that lines the uterus to grow in other areas.

Endometriosis can also cause fertility issues and after suffering for years with “very painful” periods Ms Bell had laparoscopy done in 2020.

RELATED: ‘Virgin Mary’ falls pregnant without having sex

The surgery revealed she had endometriosis in “all different places” which doctors said would greatly reduce her chances of ever falling pregnant.

After Ms Bell split from her partner in July last year she decided to go get a test done to see what her egg reserve was like.

“The results came back and for a 26-year-old my egg reserve was really low, which was not great to hear,” she told news.com.au.

“All I ever wanted was kids. I’ve wanted a big family and all that type of stuff.”

Ms Bell went to see a fertility specialist, who said her endometriosis and low egg count, combined by the fact she had not been using any contraception for eight years, meant she was infertile.

“Not that I had been trying to have a baby, but I’d never had any accidental pregnancies and because my egg reserve was so low he deemed me infertile,” she said.

RELATED: Mum-to-be conceives while already pregnant

Ms Bell’s doctor recommended she freeze her eggs or undergo IVF in the next few years when her chances of success would be highest.

In August, after a month of researching her options, Ms Bell decided to try IVF with a sperm donor now as it was her best chance of becoming a mum.

With the full support of her loved ones, Ms Bell used $15,000 she had received as a car accident payout to put towards her dream of being a mum.

“Pretty much every one of my family members or friends, everyone was very supportive because they all knew the situation that I was in, that I had suffered with endometriosis since I was 16 and then to find out I was infertile,” she said.

After seven months of gruelling injections and appointments Ms Bell found out in February she was expecting her miracle baby.

“I got four eggs, which again was not very high for my age. Three were fertilised, one died, I had two frozen, they defrosted one, it didn’t survive and I had one left,” she said.

RELATED: New drug offers hope to millions of women

“So this whole pregnancy was riding on this one embryo, because if it didn’t survive I would have had to start it all over again. … when I found out I was pregnant I was just absolutely over the moon that this one little embryo had made it.”

Ms Bell has been sharing her IVF journey on TikTok where she is yet to receive “one negative comment”.

But the mum-to-be sometimes gets frustrating reactions from strangers who don’t understand her decision.

“A lot of them, their reaction is, ‘Oh but you’re so young, you’ve got so much time,’” Ms Bell said.

“It’s annoying because you’re just like, ‘No I don’t, I’ve been told I have to get this done in the next few years or I may miss out on the chance.’”

RELATED: Woman’s shock after taking the pill

Ms Bell hopes that by sharing her story other women struggling with fertility issues will see that it is possible to go it alone.

“I personally didn’t want to just wait around for a man to come, to then have to be in a relationship with someone, to then build, build that relationship and finally have a baby,” she said.

“I love knowing that I can do this by myself, I’m strong enough to do this by myself.

“And I think that’s what other women (should know), we are strong enough to be able to do this by ourselves.

“I don’t need a man, you don’t need a man to start your own family and this baby is going to be loved just as much as if there was a father involved.”



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Letter found after Lordy Ramadan’s death


A letter has offered vital clues into the motives of a man suspected of killing his partner in a murder-suicide on the Gold Coast.

The body of Lordy Ramadan, 48, was found stuffed inside a wooden chest at her apartment in Labrador on Friday.

Police were called to do a welfare check on the woman after her family hadn’t heard from her in a week.

Officers arrived at the unit at 10.20am on Friday where they found the body of her partner Craig Bouma, 53, next to a note.

More than an hour later, Ms Ramadan was found deceased inside a furniture chest, with police suspecting her body may have been there for more than a week.

The case is now being treated as a murder-suicide, with Ms Ramadan’s family claiming Bouma had attempted to explain the alleged killing in a letter.

Ms Ramadan’s brother, Alex Ramadan, said the note suggested Bouma wanted to stop his partner’s suffering,

Ms Ramadan suffered from Functional Neurological Disorder, a chronic illness that caused her ongoing pain, though her condition wasn’t terminal.

“In the letter apparently it said he wanted to get rid of her pain and suffering and that’s what he’s done,” her brother told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

“That’s what we’ve been told. I’m still waiting to see the letter but it’s f***ing stupid. It doesn’t give him the right to do that.”

Mr Ramadan further explained what was in the note to the ABC, claiming the letter had stated “I did what I had to do just to get the pain away from her”.

Bouma reportedly also acted as Ms Ramadan’s carer and controlled her medication.

Police are yet to conclusively determine the time of the woman’s death, though it is believed she died days before Bouma.

Mr Ramadan told the ABC his mother had attempted to contact Ms Ramadan on Sunday, April 18 but her phone was turned off. Bouma reportedly claimed she was in bed sick and told the woman she would call back.

The family became increasingly concerned by Wednesday when they were unable to contact either Bouma or their daughter.

Mr Ramadan said there was no sign that “anything was wrong” with their relationship.

“I didn’t actually see any signs to tell you the truth, I thought everything was good,” he said.

“He was actually a gentleman – he was a gentleman to her, to tell you the truth – he did love her.”

Gold Coast District Detective Inspector Chris Ahearn said there were no domestic violence orders in place between the couple.

“There is no domestic violence orders in place and there is a suggestion that the male person was also a carer for the female person, so one of the lines of investigation is into the medical condition of the female person, prior to her tragic death,” Detective Inspector Ahearn said on the weekend.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Ms Ramadan’s family to raise money to bring her body home to Victoria.

“Unfortunately my beautiful sister Lordy had her life cut short by the hands of her partner this week in Labrador QLD,” her brother wrote on the page, which has raised almost $3900 since it was started a day ago.

“Trying to raise some money to help my elderly parents cover the costs of bringing her body home to VIC and giving her the farewell she deserves.”



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