Over the past 7 years I have given my heart and soul to reforming Australia's maternity system, with particular emphasis on women being able to choose the care of a known midwife (funded).
I have met/spoken to many politicians and bureaucrats across several states.
I have watched:
Both the Federal and State Governments refuse to provide assistance to private practicing midwives, despite funding indemnity to medical practitioners to the tune of hundreds of millions.
State Labor Governments by and large be very slow or refuse to facilitate women's choice and enable midwives to practice as they are educated and registered.
The Federal Government bring in amendments to Medicare Item No 16400 that enables RN's EN's (without midwifery qualifications) and Dr's (without obstetric training) to provide antenatal care to rural and remote women (a move unprecedented in health).
And all the while our interventions escalate and in my view women's positive experiences (and the view of mothering) are diminished.
I have had hope that a federal Labor Government would work with us to bring about major reform. In recent weeks I have less hope that this will happen without considerable pressure.
To date those of us that front politicians simply appeal to their good nature (despite compelling argument). We have nothing really to bargain with.
I have thought long and hard about forming a political party.
Nervously I announce that I plan to register a political party called What Women Want to contest senate seats and key marginal seats across Australia. The main aim will be to gather media attention and as much electoral support as possible in order to pressure the major parties to achieve key election promises (ie Medicare funding for midwives).
The Australian Electoral Commission requires 500 signed up members before a party can be registered.
I ask that you look at the website and consider joining.
We only have a couple of months to get 500 members so if you are supportive, please JOIN SOON!
Annual membership is $15 (in order to make it accessible). This fee is not even likely to meet the costs of registering candidates for the election (unless we get thousands of members).
The website reveals a 'feel for the party' there is a lot to do. I am hoping to recruit some passionate and skilled women in the coming weeks to help build on what's there.
I am approaching you as an individual and will not be seeking the support of either Maternity Coalition or Homebirth Australia in any way. Maternity Coalition and Homebirth Australia are apolitical organisations. Maternity Coalition and Homebirth Australia are not in a position (via their constitutions) to support any political party regardless of its aims.
Please pass this on far and wide
Secretary – What Women Want
PO Box 625
SCONE NSW 2329
Ph: (02) 65453612
Mob: 0408 210273
E-Mail: info@whatwomenwant. org.au