International Midwives and Nurses Days

12 May 2021

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (12:52): I will be quick for a few reasons—because a lot has been said already and because the member for Hurtle Vale tells me that the nurses are getting hungry and looking forward to some lunch. Given that my wife is a nurse, I understand exactly how difficult it can be to squeeze in a meal break or a tea break and how often you go without them, so I will make sure that does not happen today.

I wholeheartedly support the member for Hurtle Vale's motion for International Nurses Day and International Midwives Day and wholeheartedly support the key themes: for nurses, 'A voice to lead: a vision for future healthcare', and for midwives, 'Changing the world one family at a time'. Let me say, through you, Mr Deputy Speaker, to the people in the gallery that it is a pretty special mark of respect when one of these motions continues on for the whole 90 minutes of time that is allowable. Normally, we get through three, four, five or six motions. When you have this many members of parliament wanting to speak and wanting to contribute, you know that a good motion has been brought to the house and that a lot of MPs feel strongly about it.

My main contribution is to share an opinion that nurses are the glue that holds the whole healthcare system and the health industry together. There is an enormous range of professions other than nursing in health care and an enormous range of subprofessions, I suppose, within nursing. My wife is a theatre nurse. She loves her work; she has been doing it for over 30 years and every day she thoroughly enjoys her work. She often likes to say that she is one of the old guard who is hospital trained and that they are much better than any of the newer ones coming through these days, but I know that—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Be nice there, minister.

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN: —there are some outstanding nurses coming through these days as well. As a particularly strong advocate for country health services throughout South Australia, nurses play a huge role. I am especially keen on doing what our government and our parliament can to support the ongoing development of nurse practitioners and extending the practical hands-on professional role nurses play through a wide range of opportunities, which in my observation typically exist more in the country than they do in the city, as it is for GPs.

A wider range of work is available to a GP in the country than in the city because a specialist is not necessarily right there on hand, so GPs—sometimes because they want to, sometimes because they have to—learn to do a wider range of things and become comfortable doing a wider range of things, and it is exactly the same for nurses. Nurses are the glue that holds together health care and the health industry.

Finally, it dawned on me while listening to this range of speeches that, certainly in this chamber and certainly on this side of the chamber, there are a significant number of MPs whose partners are nurses. I know that we are all very proud of what they and all their colleagues throughout the state do.