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Wednesday, 23 October 2002
Page: 5744

Senator HARRADINE (4:23 PM) —Mr Acting Deputy President, I have learnt that there is some arrangement that there will only be three speakers to the urgency motion. I was not made aware of that previously. With your consent and that of the chamber, I would like to make one comment. I would have liked to have said quite a deal about this question, as I believe it to be very important.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Lightfoot)—You can speak to the motion.

Senator HARRADINE —Thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President. I will respect the arrangements that have been made to limit the debate. I will just state that I too believe that it is very important to provide medical insurance for midwives. In the medical insurance rescue package, I am sorry to see that most midwives are not covered. As has been stated by the mover of the motion and the last speaker, it is very important that this be reviewed and that something be done to ensure that those working midwives are protected. Unfortunately, as the motion says, they will be unable to obtain professional indemnity insurance and that will precipitate an immediate crisis in the safe birthing of babies in both public and private hospitals. I suppose I should declare an interest. When I was born—out bush—there was a midwife present. Obviously I am grateful—as my mother and father and family were—for the help of that midwife. I congratulate Senator Aden Ridgeway for bringing this vital matter forward. At another stage I certainly will be explaining to the Senate how I feel about this matter, including some of the old boy type networking that goes on, where some doctors look down on people such as midwives. To be fair, other doctors are very keen on seeing that midwives are covered. I support the motion and I hope it is carried.

Question agreed to.