Page 402 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2012

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its first cut of the Hare-Clark bill and attempted to introduce above-the-line voting, which is why the same group of people, plus others, worked hard to have the elements of Hare-Clarke entrenched by referendum in 1995.

I want to pay tribute to those people who worked hard for the democracy of the ACT and on this 20th anniversary to show that we have got a great electoral system in the ACT that has served us well for that time and will for many years into the future.


MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (6.12): On Friday, 10 February I hosted a welcome reception for Marg Phelan, a midwife based in the Northern Territory who is cycling around Australia to promote midwives and pregnancy and birth choices for women. The Go Girl Australia trip is raising money for a not-for-profit venture that aims to promote continuity of care from a known midwife, normal birth and breastfeeding.

Go Girl believes that every Australian woman is entitled to make these choices and that far too many women are not well informed about their options in pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting. Armed with years of experience as a mother and a midwife, a well-travelled bike named Cecil, thousands of kilometres in the saddle, and wonder van Muriel, Marg Phelan is combining her life’s passions to spread the word that women have a right to choose where and with whom they give birth and to be properly supported in these choices.

Marg’s aim is to educate Australian women of all ages, lifestyles and circumstances about the benefits of care from a known and trusted midwife and the importance of good support throughout their pregnancy, birth and early parenting journey.

Marg works in the Darwin Homebirth Service and is able to offer the model of care to which she believes all women are entitled. Marg sees pregnancy, labour and birth as a normal physiological process and believes that for normal pregnancies homebirth is a safe and enormously rewarding experience.

Marg acknowledges that there will be times when medical intervention is necessary, which is why she and fellow midwives in the Darwin Homebirth Service follow the Australian College of Midwives national midwifery guidelines for consultation and referral, facilitate prompt transfer to hospital when required and continue the care while in hospital, working with other professionals as needed.

I would just like to quote some words from Marg that I think sum up her approach to midwifery and the approach she has taken also to this particular campaign. I might add that this campaign is particularly focusing on Aboriginal communities. It wants to encourage Aboriginal women of all ages to be midwives so that they can then go back to their communities and practise that, which I think is a wonderful thing.

I quote Marg from the Go Girl website:

It is the mothers and babies who are the most important people—the basis of our whole society … To be able to support women through pregnancy, labour and birth, ensuring they feel safe and are among people they trust, is a huge privilege.

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