This week she had another victory, which will mean a significant improvement for some of the most vulnerable women and children in our community, with the passage of her Corrections (Mothers with Babies) Amendment Bill into law yesterday. You can read Bradford's speech on the final reading at the Greens' website. Here's an extract:
There are heart rending stories, some of which we heard during the Select Committee process, of mothers who went through the emotional rollercoaster of being told, while pregnant, that they could and then couldn’t keep their baby in an on-again off-again fashion that is absolutely devastating. We heard of the grief and trauma of having your baby taken from your arms after the allocated time was up.
We heard of women who have turned their lives around after being allowed the privilege of keeping their babies with them – evidence came to us that for some women, the opportunity to keep their baby with them in prison was lifechangingly positive. We’ve also heard of the opposite effect on the chances of rehabilitation when your baby is torn away from you.
Bradford's latest bill will change that environment and give those mothers, and their children, a chance. They'll be able to breastfeed, and babies will be able to live with their mothers, which will have a big impact on rehabilitation for Mum and feeling loved and connected for Bubs.
I don't know Bradford at all really, although I have talked to her at a few things, and we've exchanged the odd email about various matters over the years. What always strikes me about her is her compassion, which seems to me, as an outsider looking in, to be motivating her to achieve positive change for those so often marginalised in our society.
As Idiot/Savant points out, Sue has done an amazing job with her strategy of seeking improvement through the Members' Bill process:
...this means that Sue Bradford has hit the trifecta, and had three members' bills passed in a single term. This is an incredible achievement - looking back, no single MP has had more than a single bill passed in the whole 1996 - 2008 period. Getting three through is a testament to Bradford's skill at picking issues, negotiating compromises, and assembling majorities. These are all vital skills under MMP, and other parties could learn a lot from her.When Bradford was first elected there were many who thought her public history of controntation and protest would be ill-suited to life in the House. Yet now her achievements show how well she has adapted, whilst still staying true to her values, and the reasons she ran for Parliament in the first place. Surely she could now be seen as Jeanette Fitzsimmons' successor in the Greens' co-leadership role, or am I just too optimistic?