The President (Tracy Martin) of the Australian College of Midwives WA Branch & guest (Pauline Costins) National Director representative WA Branch was invited to the Australia Day Celebrations at the Town Hall on Thursday 21st January. Over 400 hundred guests were present, the guests included members of parliament, multi denominational religious dignitaries, associations, unions, volunteers, hospital and health officials....... too many for me to mention, however a mixture of peoples. We were greeted at the door by the Hon Kevin Rudd, he held out his hand and said “hello I’m Kevin”...... not what I was expecting and on his right was the Hon Colin Barnett. It was all so surreal, the hall was very hot, the drinks were flowing freely and people mingling and talking.
There was the traditional opening, followed by the National Anthem: Advance Australia Fair and the Prime Ministers speech. The Hon Kevin Rudd praised our beaches and our natural environment.
“As a Prime Minister I am doing something a little different this year....... what I have sought to do this week is to take some time to travel to each of our State capitals.... to take Australia Day to the people”
“The nation is much bigger than Canberra. The nation extends – at least at my last report – beyond the boundaries of the Australian Capital Territory. This is a vast nation.
Tracy and I spoke to many people; including the PM, he knew the name of the midwife at his birth, that was impressive, midwives are certainly on the Federal agenda, it was a great early evening event. We met the Federal Member for Hasluck Ms Sharryn Jackson MP, I had recently sent Ms Jackson an email, as she is my local Member of Parliament, asking her what her position was on Homebirth, MBS, PBS and Midwifery models of care. It was refreshing to see she had read my email and responded by saying, "yes midwives not happy, I am not happy" so lets hope things move forward.
We were also fortunate to meet the Hon Nicola Roxon, the Minister for Health and Aging, what a delight Nicola is.... we spent quite some time discussing the issues surrounding midwives and midwifery... the take home message for midwives: was to work together, all come from the same page and support each other, which also means supporting the Australian College of Midwives who is actively fighting for the rights of the midwife in Australia.
It was a fruitful evening, networking and getting to talk to the parliamentarians, I was really impressed with Nicola Roxon.... she is dynamic and intelligent, a woman before her time.... I really hope it all pays off... I believe as midwives if we could get MBS & PBS off the ground and into mainline practice.... Homebirth will follow... we have a two year grace to work out a framework suitable for independent or private practice midwifery.... lets take one step at a time, ensure the first steps and the rest will follow.... don't throw the baby out with the bath water....it will happen in due course.....