Posted on 26. Mar, 2012 in Speeches

Mr LIM (Clayton) — Much has been said in this chamber about the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Supply by Midwives) Bill 2012, and I would like to bring the debate to the human level of my personal experience and as having two sisters in this category of the medical profession. They are both midwives who trained here in Melbourne.

I came from the horror of the country of Cambodia during the time of Pol Pot. My mother always wanted every single one of her children to be doctors. She would be horrified to know that I have become a politician in this new country. Eight of my friends in the contingent of 40 people who came to be trained in this country under the Colombo Plan in the 1970s were killed. They were sent to the notorious S21 torture chamber by Pol Pot.

My mother felt very strongly about this because of the experiences she had before she died. The only profession that the Pol Pot killers tolerated was the medical profession because they needed its members, no matter what. People in other professions — accountants, lawyers or engineers — were eliminated if they were found out. My mother’s strong wish was that every single one of her children should become a doctor. I am so proud to stand here and say that one of my younger brothers, after he escaped through Thailand and came to Australia, was trained at the University of Melbourne and became a practising doctor and now works in the northern suburbs.

My two sisters, who were in their second year at the medical school in Phnom Phen in Cambodia, did not have that chance and they had to reduce their ambition. They became midwives, and I am very proud of them. In their case what is important is that as midwives they speak two other languages, Cambodian and Chinese, and so they have been able to help as medical professionals on the front line, particularly during the early years of the flood of refugees from Indochina. They did and do a tremendous job.

The bill allows the front‑line workers in the medical profession to take the next step in delivering their unique service to patients. I am very proud of this bill. It is one we need, had to have and must pass as soon as possible.

Without saying much more, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and wish all the best to our colleagues the members for Brunswick and Bendigo East on delivering two Dragon babies this year. I hope they will both have safe deliveries, and I wish them all the very best.


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