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Monday, 18 October 2021
Page: 26


Senator MCCARTHY (Northern TerritoryDeputy Opposition Whip in the Senate) (13:36): [by video link] Friday 15 October was International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, when we remember the babies lost through miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death and acknowledge the ongoing loss experienced by their families. It was back in February that the Australian parliament officially recognised the day and determined that it would be observed on 15 October, alongside the international community.

The work of the Senate Select Committee on Stillbirth Research and Education has helped shine a light on what can still tend to be a hidden tragedy, and I am certainly proud, still, to have been a chair of that committee and to have worked with my Senate colleagues on it. We've seen so many things done on many fronts, in terms of stillbirth prevention, as a result of the solid efforts of senators and of those individuals and organisations that gave evidence and made submissions. But we must continue to drive this change. There is still an enormous amount of work to do to tackle the fiscal, social and emotional toll of stillbirth in this country. In Australia, six babies are lost to stillbirth every day. That is approximately 2,200 babies every year. The rate of death from stillbirth is higher than the national road toll, and stillbirth is the No. 1 cause of death for infants. There are still too many babies lying unclaimed in hospital wards in Australia.

I am proud of the work of the Senate select committee, in that it has gone some way to breaking the culture of silence around stillbirth. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month is all about providing a space for those hundreds of thousands of Australians who suffer in silence every year when they are experiencing what is often the worst moment of their lives. I acknowledge those lost babies—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Chandler ): Order, Senator McCarthy. Senator Hanson, remotely.