Home' InDaily : September 11th 2009 Contents Saree Makdisi is a professor of English
and Comparative Literature at the University
of California in Los Angeles, UCLA. He has
published widely on his area of expertise,
British Romanticism and is a regular contributor
on contemporary Arab politics and culture.
Professor Makdisi, like his late uncle Edward
Said, has also written many commentaries
on Palestine for publications such as the Los
Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Houston
Chronicle, London Review of Books and the
San Francisco Chronicle.
In 2008 Saree Makdisi published his book
Palestine Inside Out: Everyday Occupation.
The book combines the personal experiences
of daily life under occupation with an analysis
of how the occupation functions as a whole.
This is the 5th in the Edward Said Memorial
Life Impact The University of Adelaide
When: Saturday 19 September, 5pm
Where: Napier Building, Room 102,
University of Adelaide, North Terrace
Cost: $15 ($20 at the door)
• Digimob, 246 Pulteney St (cash only)
Proudly sponsored by The Australian
Friends of Palestine Association
CRICOS Provider Number 00123M
From Occupation to
Professor Saree Makdisi
Saturday 19 September
2009 EDWARD SAID MEMORIAL LECTURE
9The Independent Weekly
September 11 - 17, 2009
The power of women united
has caused the Government
to rethink its controversial
A series of rallies were held
around Australia this week to
protest against proposed federal
legislation that will ban up to
200 independent midwives from
The proposed laws introduced
to parliament in June call for a
national midwifery register.
Under the legislation, midwives
would have to be insured to join
the registry, but private insurance
companies no longer provide cover
The Federal Government
also refuses to fit the cost for
professional indemnity for
The new laws were predicted to
mean 200 independent midwives
faced deregistration from July
2010 or risk fines of up to $30,000 if
they ignored the laws. But Federal
Health Minister Nicola Roxon has
been forced to temporarily back
down on the move.
Following a meeting of state
and territory health ministers,
Ms Roxon announced a two year
exemption from holding indemnity
insurance for midwives.
"This arrangement agreed
to, ensures that home-birthing
midwives can lawfully continue
to provide their services. They
will continue to uninsured as they
currently are," Minister Roxon
announced. "We will be collecting
more data on home-birthing and
we have a process to be able to work
further on protocols that would
either bring more home-birthing
services into our public system
or potentially open the way in the
future for an insurance product to
be extended to cover them."
Supporters of home-birthing
celebrated the victory but admitted
it was only a temporary reprieve.
Independent Adelaide midwife
Wendy Thornton said midwives
have been a part of women's births
for centuries and the tradition
would continue. "I'm tired of being
blanketed as being unskilled,
irresponsible, non-caring, whatever
else they may say about us, that's
not the facts. We are skilled, we have
honed our skills over centuries, it's
passed down knowledge and this
is very much what we are going to
continue to do." Ms Thornton said.
Adelaide rally organiser Kate
McMurray applauded all those
who attended rallies throughout
the country and said the power of
protest would send a message to the
Government. She said the larger
issue is that all women need to have
a full range of birthing choices.
"To deny safe home-birth,
attended by a professional midwife
to one woman is ultimately the
same as denying elective caesarean
to another women," Ms McMurray
Urgent need for
child abuse help
Reports of child abuse are ignored
in SA because the child protection
system is overwhelmed, say those
working in the area.
Statistics this week show an
increase in child abuse cases.
Federal Government figures record
a 40 per cent rise in the number of
child protection notifications in
SA over the past five years. Other
research, from Anglicare SA, shows
that in the past 10 years the number
of children taken from their
families and placed in out-of-home
care has risen by 74.5 per cent. A
survey by the Australian Childhood
Foundation found that 16 per cent
of people who were aware of child
abuse situations did nothing about
it. But professionals working
with children said that even when
reports are made, no action is
"You take a deep breath and make
the report. It means a lot of time
spent and there's a sense that you're
not being listened to and not getting
any support when you do it," said
Dr Rod Pearce, a Beulah Park GP.
GPs are covered by mandatory
reporting laws, which also require
anyone officially working with
children be trained to recognise
children in abusive situations.
Doctors must then relay their
suspicions to Families SA or face a
fine of up to $10,000.
When Families SA receives these
notifications they are classified into
"tiers" determined by the level of
threat to the child. The only tier
which prompts immediate action is
"Tier one cases include reports
of major injuries, severe physical
abuse of younger children,
current intra-familial sexual
abuse, life-threatening neglect and
abandonment," said a spokesperson
for the Department for Families.
The spokesperson said that
cases from tier two, which include
"serious physical abuse, sexual
and emotional abuse and neglect of
young children", are not addressed
in a particular time while tier three
cases, those with "a low risk in
the short term", do not prompt an
investigation at all.
Minister for Families Jennifer
Rankine admits the system is under
"a lot of pressure".
Anglicare Chief Executive Dr
Lynn Arnold said the system was
"What we are seeing now is a
huge increase in the number of
reports and the system is just being
overwhelmed," he said.
Dr Arnold wants change in the
approach to child protection. He
says resources should be used to
prevent family breakdown before
The SA Government has
responded with a $28 million
initiative called Stronger Families,
Safer children. The program funds
to help at-risk families deal with
"The initiative has been
introduced for families who,
without expert assistance, are
likely to become separated due to
child protection concerns," Ms
This announcement is unlikely
to address Dr Pearce's concerns.
He said child protection measures
were failing because the system
was too complex and there was no
communication between services.
"There's a problem when one
sector doesn't talk to another. We
would be asking for communication
and support across sectors but the
way funding is allocated doesn't
allow for that," he said.
The Government's new early
intervention strategy could be
effective in the long term, but
workers say they need immediate
additional resources to ease
pressure on the buckling crisis-
point notification system.
Dr Rod Pearce: says child protection
authorities don't listen to GP's concerns.
Photo: Kate Elmes
One of the many rallies
held around the nation.
Photo: Andrew Meares
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