Page 975 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 28 March 1990

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Wednesday, 28 March 1990


MR SPEAKER (Mr Prowse) took the chair at 10.30 am and read the prayer.


MR BERRY (10.31): I move:

That this Assembly acknowledges the need for high quality obstetric care for the women of the ACT and their children with a range of options to cater for both high and low risk pregnancies and opposes the removal of any obstetric beds from the public sector which would limit those options, particularly for women without private insurance.

Mr Speaker, the issue of obstetric beds allocation and utilisation is an important one which needs the fullest exploration and understanding by all members of this Assembly. The reason that this motion arises is because of concern amongst women in the Territory and amongst the members of the Labor Opposition about the philosophical position of the Government opposite. The Liberal factor in the Government opposite has a bent towards privatisation. The Residents Rally factor of the Government opposite has a very flexible bent. It is very difficult to find out what their direction is in relation to their own policies at any one point in time, except, that is, for the recent failure of their leader on civil libertarian issues. In relation to the No Self Government factor, of course, there are many words from Ms Maher about her position in relation to services for women. However, having regard to the performance of the No Self Government factor of the Government in the past, people would find her position very difficult to believe.

This is a complex issue and covers such issues as individual rights of women and children in the ACT, the training and career paths of nurses - particularly midwives, the medical profession, and the economics of service provision in ACT hospitals. It has become more evident in recent times because of a dispute, if one should call it that, arising from issues concerning a homebirth. A woman who had chosen homebirth in the first place later required admission to the hospital system because of some complications.

I suppose it is timely that this issue should turn up now because yesterday Mr Humphries made a statement which highlighted the benefits of the collocation of specialist services in which he claimed that there were efficiencies

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