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Home :: Blog :: Blog :: Make a Submission to the Senate Inquiry

Make a Submission to the Senate Inquiry

Please consider doing this, it is vitally important for the future of our choices in maternity care.

Submissions Deadline is December 11, 2009.

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From the Maternity Coalition.
Australia’s National Maternity Consumer Advocacy Organisation.

Dear supporters of birthing choice for women,

As most of you will be aware the Government has sought to amend the midwifery legislation before Parliament to force independent midwives to have “collaborative arrangements” with doctors before they are able to register and be eligible for Medicare and insurance support. The Australian Medical Association pushed heavily for this amendment. If the amendment goes ahead midwifery as we know it will be changed forever. This applies to any birth choice that might be provided through an self employed or private practice midwife. It means that it will be impossible to get true midwife-led care in Australia.

The good news is that the Greens have succeeded in referring the amendments to a senate inquiry.  This provides an opportunity for the amendments to be closely scrutinised. The challenging news is that submissions to the inquiry are due by 11 December 2009. We know that this is a crazy time of the year and the deadline is a very tight one. However it is essential that we get as many submissions as possible to the inquiry. We need to equal (or preferably greatly exceed) the record number of submissions we made to the earlier senate inquiry. We must show the government that we are not giving up. We are asking you to make your own submission and to consider asking your partner, friends and family members to also write a submission.  At the last inquiry over 2000 submissions were received.  Let’s break this record! The senate prefers to receive submissions electronically as an attachment – – otherwise by fax (02 6277 5829).  Maternity Coalition would also welcome receiving a copy of your submission so we can use examples when presenting at the senate.  Contact us at

Please consider doing this, it is vitally important for the future of our choices in maternity care.

What do I write?

Some general points to raise are:

  • The amendments remove choice for women and will make it impossible for a woman to choose private practice midwife led care in Australia.
  • The amendments put doctors rather than women at the centre of maternity care.
  • The amendment puts the ability of midwives to practice in the hands of doctors rather than an independent registration and licensing body.
  • The AMA and Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists do not support homebirth and it is unrealistic to expect that members of these organisations will readily enter into collaborative arrangements with midwives providing women with this choice;
  • The amendments will have a greater impact on women living in rural areas.
  • Ask that a woman’s right to choose self employed midwives for maternity care be respected and not restricted as a result of the amendment.
  • What sort of care (public, private, midwifery) did you choose for your pregnancy, labour, birth and postnatal care? Why did you choose this type of care?
  • Did you feel your choices were respected when interacting with doctors, midwives, hospitals?
  • Who should control your ability to access Medicare rebates for midwifery care?
  • What has good collaboration between doctors and midwives meant to you?

Your submission does not have to be long; it just needs to illustrate your personal views and experiences.

Telling your individual story is the most important thing you can do. Demonstrate that private practice midwives are trained and competent caregivers who should not be under the control of doctors. Show just what happens when doctors are in control of pregnancy and birth.

If you have experienced independent midwifery care – Detail why you chose a midwife for your care and provide an overview of the care you have received.  Discuss how your midwife worked with other medical professionals during your pregnancy and birth (positive stories about what midwives are already doing are important as are those that show the failure of doctors to willingly collaborate with midwives). If you have struggled to find supportive GPs or faced resistance from other medical professionals you should share this (as it goes to the heart of whether the amended legislation is workable). Highlight the differences between your pregnancies and births if you have used different models of care.

You can find the terms of reference for the inquiry and copies of the Bills here:
http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/clac_ctte/health_leg_midwives_nurse_practitioners_09_nov09/index.htm

Please find below two documents that may help you further. The MC briefing paper on the problems arising from the Government’s amendments and a document that helps you get started with the formalities for making a submission so that you can just get on with the writing.

Thank you for your support,
Regards,

Lisa Metcalfe
President
Maternity Coalition
http://www.maternitycoalition.org.au
0437 577 576

(Please note: you must include your name and address in your submission for it to be valid. There are more details in the documents below)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Fixing the “collaborative arrangements” problem (PDF)

Senate Letter (DOC)

Here is an example of a senate submission if you need some ideas.

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One Response to “Make a Submission to the Senate Inquiry”
  1. Leah Stacpoole

    The amendments remove choice for women and will make it impossible for a woman to choose private practice midwife led care in Australia.
    The amendments put doctors at the centre of maternity care when there are other ways of dealing with, lets no over medicate having a birth such as an independent registration and licensing body.
    You can not argue that it is safer and has less intervention using a doctor than a midwife.

    The amendments will have a greater impact on women living in rural areas.
    A woman should have the right to choose midwives for maternity care be respected and not restricted as a result of the amendment.

    We need choice, I have had 2 children and although I choose to have my children in a private hospital with ob, I respect the right of some of my friends to have a homebirth with a mid wife or to be in a mid wife run maternity wing. This is choice and nothing is clear cut and black and white especially with having children. With an understanding of exploring all options we can meet different needs of maternity care. My friend who went down the path of homebirth had the beautiful with very little intervention, I had to have intervention but very happy with all outcomes and another friend who for her 2nd opted for ob in a private hospital as opposed to a midwife care in a public hospital as she had done in NZ for her no. 1. She felt railroaded by the ob into an early induction, which she never got the real reason for and she ended up with all possible intervention. But we all had choice!
    And why is it in NZ and in the UK, midwifery based homebirth is very successful but we are afraid of it here.
    best wishes in your discussion but please lets keep our options open a women.

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