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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) . . Page.. 3616 ..


The additional access to paid leave proposed under the new enterprise agreements will allow the birth parent and their domestic partner time to grieve and to access appropriate supports, including offering counselling services through the government’s employee assistance provider. This will assist in mitigating the risk of poor mental health outcomes such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder that can be associated with pregnancy loss or the death of a baby.

A total of 16 enterprise agreements, all including the updated leave provisions for miscarriage and stillbirth, are in the process of being balloted for agreement. The first three agreements have already been overwhelmingly supported by a yes vote. Voting for the other agreements will conclude in December and all agreements, if upheld, are expected to be sent to the Fair Work Commissioner for approval prior to Christmas. The provisions in the proposed enterprise agreements will, in many instances, provide more generous provisions than those offered by the New South Wales government, as was indicated in Ms Lee’s original motion, for employees who experience a pregnancy loss or stillbirth.

I think what we are seeing here is the ACT government again leading the nation in the provisions available to our public service employees. But we are committed to ongoing monitoring of the progress in other jurisdictions and continuing to review, every time we renegotiate our enterprise agreements, what more we can do to support our staff to ensure that they have the most up-to-date provisions through their enterprise agreements and that their rights at work are genuinely upheld at all times.

I commend Mrs Jones’s motion and I thank Ms Lee and Mrs Jones for bringing it to the Assembly.

MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (3.20): I rise today as both the Greens spokesperson on industrial relations but also as a father to Peanut and Connor Jack Braddock—two pregnancies that, for my wife and I, ended in a miscarriage and a stillbirth. I would like to thank both Ms Lee and Mrs Jones for bringing forward this motion. I wish Ms Lee could have been here today.

The motion builds on a tripartisan motion earlier this year to recognise Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. That motion was a very beautiful moment in this Assembly, with members of all political stripes coming together to share their stories and sorrows—some fresh, some many years in the past.

The sharing of our stories is necessary because for too long miscarriage and stillbirth have been swept under the carpet, spoken about only in whispers. This blanket of silence does not help those going through these difficult and traumatic times. I know, because my wife, Deb, and I have railed against this blanket of silence—to be open, to share our stories, and to publicly declare that this is our lived experience—and, in doing so, we have helped so many who have felt they could not share their stories. But we have also helped ourselves as well.

I use this story to demonstrate why we, as a society, need to become more supportive, more understanding and more aware in this space. And that is what this motion


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