Tasmanian Labor Senator Helen Polley has today once again pleaded for the installation of “Baby Safe Havens” across Australia following the abandonment of baby boy in a drain at Quakers Hill in Sydney.
“Today a newborn baby boy has thankfully been found alive down a drain near the M7 at Quakers Hill in Sydney's west. It is nothing short of a miracle that this dear baby was found this morning, on what was going to be a 30 degree day in Sydney,” Senator Polley said.
A cyclist riding the track alongside the M7 rescued the baby after hearing it cry at 7:30am this morning. New South Wales Police are currently trying to find the baby's parents and have consequently releases a picture of the newborn. The baby has since been taken to Westmead children's hospital for precautionary checks. It is understood there are no obvious signs of injury.
“Thankfully this baby was found this morning by a passing cyclist and is alive and from what I understand doing well, which is remarkable under the circumstances,” Senator Polley said.
Senator Polley argued that what happened today could have been avoided if the country had addressed the public policy issue of baby abandonment and adopted national uniform laws to stop people from abandoning their babies in the street.
“If Australia had responded to the incidence of baby abandonment years ago, today would not have occurred. Mothers and babies need our help, they need the option of Baby Safe Havens and they need this option available now. We can’t delay action any longer,” Senator Polley said.
Baby abandonment in Australia is not a new issue with countless high profile cases in recent history.
“Today is not the first time a baby has been abandoned in this country. In July 2013, a baby was abandoned outside an ambulance station in Rockhampton. Four days earlier, another baby, since nicknamed “Moses,” was left outside the door of a family’s home in the Logan City suburb of Kingston near Brisbane. Further cases include the case of baby Catherine, left outside Dandenong hospital in Victoria in May 2007 and baby Joan, left on the doorstep of a Sydney church also in 2007. And who can forget Baby Willow who was found dead between Willow Avenue and Hawthorne Drive at Kingston by council workers on October 17, 2011,” Senator Polley said.
Senator Polley said that today should be the last day a baby is abandoned and their life is shamefully put at risk.
“The circumstances of this abandoned baby boy could have been avoided if State and Territory leaders had acted on this issue. These tragic consequences of continued baby abandonment across the country demand a public policy response. I demand a public policy response and desperate mother’s right around the country demand a response from government,” Senator Polley said.
Senator Polley maintained that law makers need to change their perspective about baby abandonment and the safe haven debate. At present, baby abandonment is treated as a criminal offence, with the parent able to be prosecuted for the offence. A national system of laws would allow for the creation of baby safe havens across the country in pre-established, fully-staffed community buildings, such as fire stations, police stations and hospitals. Here, a parent could legally abandon a baby without fear of criminal prosecution. At the same time, they would be able to leave their newborn in a safe environment where that child would receive proper care and medical treatment if required.
“This is an issue which is not going to go away. It is an issue which may affect all Australians at some point in their lifetime. Let’s make sure mothers and babies are provided the services and compassionate of a modern society. We can do this with national baby safe haven laws, to protect mothers and their babies”.
Senator Polley called on the community to rally for change and a system of laws which protect innocent babies.
“I will continue to advocate for a real policy response to baby abandonment until policy action is implemented. I encourage people to contact their local representative in order to stop future cases of baby abandonment,” Senator Polley said.
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