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Major parties unite against midwives and homebirths

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 16 Mar 2010

The Federal Government and Coalition have united to ensure that homebirth in Australia will be further marginalised by rejecting amendments to provide midwives with access to indemnity insurance irrespective of the location or venue of the births that they attend, the Australian Greens say.

In addition the government chose to reject Greens amendments that would have taken away the power of doctors to veto aspects of midwifery practice, such as homebirth, that they are philosophically opposed to, despite the near universal evidence that safe low risk homebirth has positive outcomes for mother and child.

"We have consistently said that the Government amendments to their Midwives legislation give doctors too much control over midwives practice," said Greens health spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert.

"It is extremely disappointing to see the major parties side together against the interests of midwives in refusing a Greens suggestion to broaden the scope of collaborative arrangements between midwives and medical practitioners to include health services, thereby ensuring that doctors can't veto homebirths.

"They have also voted down a call by the Greens for a 12 month review of the changes to ensure they are effective and don't merely restrict midwifery and women's choices as many fear.

"The Greens will not rest until the voice of midwives and women across the country are heard by this Government in such an important area of healthcare reform," Senator Siewert said.

Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas 0417 174 302

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