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We condemn the new Govt gag order on Nurses and Midwives

A message from Lee Thomas, ANMF Federal Secretary

We all know that health professionals have a duty to the people for whom they care and ensuring the best care and conditions for providing that care, is an important feature of our role.

Only last week at the ANMF’s Victorian Delegates’ Conference, a Registered Nurse spoke passionately of her time treating refugees on Nauru. She told of the deplorable conditions she encountered on the island – tropical heat and rain, rats, unsanitary conditions, the lack of privacy and the poor mental health of detainees.

The ANMF believes Australia has a moral and legal obligation to treat every person compassionately and with respect, courtesy and consideration irrespective of the place of treatment.

It’s important that nurses working in detention centres are able to provide proper health care, meet their professional and legal obligations and not work under the fear that they themselves could be jailed for simply performing their role.

That’s why the ANMF have condemned new laws which silence nurses, midwives and other health professionals who speak about the poor conditions in detention centres. Read our media release.

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Annie Butler, ANMF Assistant Federal Secretary

Beware of glib offerings on penalty rates

The current debate about penalty rates in Australia is often met with incredulity and responses of “we don’t mean penalty rates for nurses” (they rarely acknowledge midwives or AINs) and “of course 24 hour health workers should get penalty rates”.

But history tells us to be wary of these glib offerings of support for nursing and midwifery.  As many of you pointed out in our recent survey on penalty rates, as with most aspects of our professions, penalty rates were hard fought for – they did not come easily.

From nursing’s and midwifery’s beginnings in Australia, every improvement sought by nurses and midwives whether in working conditions, health funding or standards of education has involved struggles and disputes, often bitter, with governments, employers and, frequently, the medical profession. | Read more