Recently elected Independent MP for the Victorian seat of Indi, Dr Helen Haines, has put healthcare at the forefront of her agenda, as she makes her first speech to the Federal Parliament.
Dr Haines, a nurse and midwife by profession, spoke of the multitude of health “challenges” which affected her northern Victorian community, which stretches from the outskirts of Melbourne to the Victorian-New South Wales border.
She noted how her three decades in healthcare, spanning from roles in nursing and midwifery, to academia and corporate directorship, has given her a “keen understanding to the challenges of rural health”. For example, she spoke about disparity in accessing mental health services between the city and the bush.
On midwives, Dr Haines noted the need for “continuity of midwifery care for mothers and babies”, noting the comprehensive national and international evidence that dictate this model as being both safe and cost-effective.
“Midwives are the hand that guides the hand that rocks the cradle that rules the world,” she said.
She further discussed her priorities in regards to older Australians, disability, education and climate change.
Dr Haines joins former Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation President, Ged Kearney, as one of two nurses in the current Federal Parliament.