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Tuesday, 13 June 1989
Page: 3905

Senator POWELL(9.04) —Senator Puplick's final remarks were significant. In a sense, the Government has offered a commitment. The Australian Democrats say that at the moment, prior to, hopefully, the passage of this amendment, there is nothing in place. There is no commitment; there is a vacuum. Senator Jenkins, having participated quite significantly in two homebirths as the birthing parent, has some commitment to this amendment-as do various others of us for other reasons. We do not believe that failure to support this amendment can be excused on the basis that it is a motion developed on the run-if you like, housebirth rather than homebirth.

If it is an issue which is of concern to the Opposition, equally as it is to the Democrats, the Opposition would be able to understand the process that is at work here. If you like, it is democracy in action. There is a proposal before the Senate to fill a very important vacuum. It is one that ought to be supported on the basis that it fills that vacuum in a significant way. As Senator Puplick has said, it is a commitment. It may not be the commitment which the Democrats sought to get at the beginning but it is certainly one on which we are prepared to build. Indeed, I understand from Senator Puplick's remarks that the Opposition will be prepared to build on it. Therefore, it is a good foundation for the future of homebirths in this country.