The National Agenda

Lori-Ann Sharp

This presentation aims to give an overview of the ANMF work and policy directions over the last 12-18 months. This will also include significant health policy developments that have occurred in each State and territory, for example VAD legislation in Victoria.

Given that the theme for the CRANAplus Conference is diversity, this presentation will spend some time discussing how the ANMF embraces diversity and some of the projects where nurses and midwives have contributed.


Lori-Anne Sharp is a registered nurse who has been nursing for over 22 years. The majority of her career has been in district nursing working for the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) across a variety of roles and sites.

A decade ago she took up a role with the RDNS Homeless Persons Program (HPP), a specialised team of Community Health nurses who provide healthcare to people experiencing homelessness. Previously working as a Team Coordinator managing a team of nurses who deliver healthcare to some of the most vulnerable.

Lori-Anne became a more active member within the ANMF starting as a Job Representative in 2001 before joining the Victorian Branch Council in 2004 through to 2018. During this time Lori-Anne has held positions on Branch Executive, Branch Vice President and Federal Vice President. She became a pivotal cog in the union effort negotiating EBAs on behalf of members and supporting landmark policies such as nurse-to-patient ratios. Lori-Anne officially began her new post as ANMF Assistant Secretary in June 2018.

Lori-Anne describes herself as a natural leader, approachable and able to connect people together. She is committed to the nursing profession and mobilising the nursing workforce. She says her promotion to Federal Assistant Secretary heralds a great opportunity to further her dedication to the union movement.

Now an integral part of the ANMF’s Federal Executive, Lori-Anne says she hopes to bring people together and build on the union’s reach. “I’d like to empower all nurses to get active within their union, organise and support each other to speak out about injustices. Nurses should be encouraged to hold leadership roles within their workplaces and communities.” I am passionate about improving the lives of those who are most marginalised and vulnerable and am committed to empowering nurses and midwives to lead change.

Embracing the Silver Rainbow

Samantha Edmonds

Silver Rainbow National Project Manager


There is a general invisibility of LGBTI elders within mainstream society and within LGBTI communities. In addition, LGBTI elders have experienced prejudice and discrimination over the life course, from government, agencies, organisations, health providers, businesses, families, friends, and individuals.  These experiences cause LGBTI elders to: remain in or return to the closet; be reluctant to reveal their sexual orientation or their intersex status; feel unable to affirm their gender identity or express their gender freely; be afraid to disclose their gender history or experience when relevant; or be hesitant to confront stereotyping about who they are and what they need.

Many LGBTI elders have significant fears about accessing services. They are concerned that service providers and health and other professionals will be indifferent to their sexuality and gender identity, or, at worst, actively hostile. They worry that services are simply ‘not for them’, or that they will receive worse treatment than their non-LGBTI peers.

This session will discuss who L,G,B,T and I peoples are and the issues that affect these distinct populations, and why we need to address their genders, bodies, relationships, and/or sexuality differently. It will demonstrate why we need to move from ‘but we treat everyone the same” to “how can we meet each person’s individual needs”. It will explore the learnings we have gained on inclusive practice and provide practical tips on how this can be done.

Birthing with Country – grounded in truth

Karel Williams, RM, B Mid., BA Admin

The health disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is influenced by the effects of colonisation resulting in the current gaps in health outcomes.

The Council of Australian Governments committed to achieving life expectancy equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians by 2030, and to halve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths among children ages 0-4 years by 2018. Despite this commitment, progress has been slow and inconsistent, and has not equalled the improvements in health achieved among non-Aboriginal Australians.

We know that pregnancy, birth and early childhood are critical periods for women and their babies and there is growing evidence that health inequity trajectories start early. We also know that there are many factors that influence an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander woman’s engagement with maternity services, such as the availability of culturally appropriate and culturally safe services, racism in health systems, and the lack of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals.


Karel Williams is a proud Aboriginal midwife based in Canberra, with family connections to the Palawa and Western Arrernte Nations. Prior to becoming a midwife, Karel had a long career in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy and program areas in the Australian Public Service, including one year on an executive exchange program working in the then Department of Indian Affairs in Canada. Karel has also taught and been a guest lecturer in tertiary courses related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, including health.

Karel completed her Bachelor of Midwifery 2014 and at her graduation ceremony was the inaugural recipient of the University of Canberra’s Tom Calma Medal. Karel has researched and published on the topic of racism as a determinant of health and is currently undertaking a higher degree by research at UC. She is a finalist in the 2019 Alumni Excellence Award at UC.

Karel is an active member and previously a Board Member of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) and is its representative on the National Birthing on Country Strategic Committee.

From a remote possibility to a medicare item number and beyond!

Sarah Brown


Purple house started with the dream of getting people home to country. An auction in 200o raised million dollars and allowed Pintupi to develop a whole new model of dialysis care on country.

From November 2018 there will be a medicare number for a dialysis in a remote community.

Sarah will tell the story of the Purple house, how this little dream turned into a great big beautiful monster!

Delivering health care in difficult locations; How does the Australian model translate Internationally?

Michael Jenkins


Australia is famous for its outback, remote areas where the delivery of healthcare faces many obstacles. To deal with these obstacles, health services in Australia have had to develop unique strategies to deliver care. Famous examples—such as the Royal Doctor Service—where technology allowed those distances to be reduced come to mind. But these services were never going to meet the needs of most people living in difficult locations. Starting in the 1980s, groups of health care practitioners began to coordinate how to provide consistent, remote health care. CARPA (Central Australian Remote Health Practitioners Association) and CRANA (Council of Remote Area Nurses Association) began to develop approaches to support practitioners working in these difficult locations, and the protocols, procedures and training for remote practitioners we see today sprang from these efforts. Around the world, other health practitioners work in difficult locations (difficult due to remoteness, lack of resources, conflict or combinations of these factors). What relevance does the Australian experience have for these practitioners and how can this experience translate and transfer to other locations?

Qantas’ role as the National Carrier in times of conflict or crisis

Ian Hosegood


Qantas is the world’s second oldest airline and has its roots in rural and remote Australia, helping to overcome the tyranny of distance.  Qantas also has a proud tradition of supporting Australians and Australia’s national interests in times of conflict, crisis and natural disaster. This paper provides an overview of Qantas’ historical involvement in such events and its ongoing capability to assist when needed.

Rural Nursing in Canada – Characteristics, Barriers and Opportunities

Barbara Shellian


There are 298,000 registered nurses in Canada and approximately 10% of registered nurses work in rural and remote areas of the country. Nursing in rural and remote Canada is subject to many challenges including geography, weather, access to resources and poor health outcomes for aboriginal populations.  There are many similarities between rural and remote nursing in Canada and Australia and this presentation will highlight the characteristics of rural and remote nursing in Canada, identify the factors that facilitate or hinder nurses’ practice and discuss what the future looks like for rural and remote nursing in Canada.

Heath Workforce: Future Issues

Professor Ian Wronski AO

Australia has made significant gains in addressing health workforce shortages in rural and remote areas. New workforce models such as medical and allied health rural generalism have increased supply in rural and remote areas and Australia has established an international reputation for rural and remote health workforce development. However, epidemiological and demographic transitions, such as an ageing population and rising rates of multimorbidity, require further innovation in workforce models. Technological innovations in health, such as telehealth, augmented reality, machine learning and enhanced communication through the use of nanosatellites have the potential to increase access to health care in rural and remote areas, and will change the nature of health service delivery in these areas. On a global scale, developing economies are seeking to develop their workforce to meet universal health access goals and cross-country exchange of knowledge, skills and health professionals will increase. Australia, with its substantial skill base in health service delivery, can play a global role in health workforce development.

Birthing On Country – What it means and why you should care!

Professor Sue Kildea

Director of the Midwifery Research Unit – Mater Health Services Brisbane and the University of Queensland


At a national workshop on ‘Birthing On Country’ in Alice Springs in 2012 participants proposed that the term ‘Birthing On Country’ be understood as: “a metaphor for the best start in life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies and their families, an appropriate transition to motherhood and parenting for women, and an integrated, holistic and culturally appropriate model of care for all.” Critically, participants felt that Birthing On Country Service Models must drive system-wide reform that moves from being aspirational (policy) to actual (practice). Despite the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council endorsing a document describing the Guiding Principles for Developing, Implementing and Evaluating a Birthing On Country Service Model for adaption from remote through to urban areas the uptake has been slow, prompting a call to action from: CRANAplus, the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives and the Australian College of Midwives. This presentation will identify the key components of these models, describe the development and impact of an urban based model, provide an overview of the work of the National Birthing on Country Committee and discuss the opportunities for Birthing on Country in remote Australia.


Professor Sue Kildea is the Director of the  Midwifery Research Unit and holds a Clinical Chair in midwifery, a joint appointment between Mater Health Services Brisbane and the University of Queensland. She is a registered nurse midwife with clinical, management, policy, education and research experience across both acute and primary health care settings. She has spent many years working in the remote Australia, in particular the Northern Territory.

Sue is a strong collaborative researcher and many of her research projects aim to make a difference to the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. Together with a Senior Elder from Maningrida in Arnhem Land she was a  joint recipient of the UTS Human Rights Award for contribution to advancing reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians (2004).

Sue spent 11 years on the Board of CRANAplus and has long been an advocate for returning birthing services to the bush and back to Aboriginal Community Control. She is currently working side by side with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in several sites to progress the ‘Birthing on Country’ agenda.