This Bill deals with two matters. It allows midwives who are registered to use a distinctive badge which no other person will be at liberty to use. It also is designed to restrict the handywoman from attending women at childbirth. That is a very necessary provision. In the original Act, these women were allowed a certain latitude for five years. Since then quite a large number of women at childbirth were attended by handy-women. This provision is intended to restrict that practice and to make it obligatory for every woman at childbirth to be attended by a midwife, if a midwife is available, or by a doctor. Both these provisions, I think, are very desirable. Maternal mortality has been far too high, and there is a consensus of opinion in England and in other countries that it should be reduced. At present the death rate in this respect is about five per thousand.
Public Business. - Midwives Bill, 1931—Second Stage.
The Bill deals largely with the question of badges. Perhaps Senator Sir Edward Bigger would tell us whether it is to be compulsory on all midwives to wear these badges.
It is optional.