Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 October 2018) . . Page.. 4513 ..
women will always choose to use formula. That is their choice. But to be able to provide a milk bank and to provide an option to supply milk to mothers, or to fathers if the mother has unfortunately not made it through the birth, is an important part of a baby’s start to life.
I note Ms Cheyne has talked about the importance of breastmilk in the early stages of life. I remember with my first child, and as Mrs Jones has mentioned, getting mastitis because of the oversupply of milk. I will not tell you what my father told me to do in those circumstances, but anyone that grew up on a farm and knows about cows can use their imagination. Luckily, in today’s society, it is a much more pleasurable fix than what my father suggested. It is important for all women to understand and to know that there are options out there.
I hope that in talking about and developing strategies to introduce milk banking for the ACT there is an opportunity for mothers of infants today, and mothers of infants in the past, to have their say and to talk about some of the things that may have helped them when they had their babies.
I commend Ms Cheyne for bring forward this motion. I thank her, those who have spoken to the motion and those who are about to comment on this motion. It is wonderful to see, as Ms Le Couteur commented, a motion that brings us all together to stand up for our community and to talk about things that matter.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (10.55): I thank Ms Cheyne for bringing this motion to the Assembly today. With the historic numbers of women in this Assembly, I hope that many mothers and future parents will be able to enjoy the work we do in this place in achieving a breastfeeding milk bank for parents in the ACT to be able to utilise if they need to.
I want to touch on a couple of reasons why a mother might not be able to breastfeed their baby. One of them is domestic and family violence or sexual assault. This obviously is a very terrible issue, and if it were the case that a parent were unable to choose to breastfeed their child because they were exposed to or experienced domestic and family violence, that would be a terrible tragedy.
I wanted to touch on that because there is work happening in the ACT that was co-designed through the family safety hub on how we might be able to better support women and parents who might be at greater risk of experiencing violence. Research suggests that women can be at greater risk of experiencing violence from their partners during pregnancy and postpartum, especially when they separate. According to ANROWS, over half of women whose former partners used violence against them experienced it during pregnancy. One in five women whose current partners use violence against them experience violence during pregnancy. Most of these women, 60 per cent, experience violence for the first time during their pregnancy. Other research tells us that nearly a third of first-time mothers experience intimate partner violence before their children turn four.