Skip to content Skip to main navigation


Recruiting experts in
Accountancy & Finance

Too many babies coming to Canberra!

By johnboy - 6 August 2009 26

The Age brings word of trouble for Qantas when they failed to keep track of large numbers of babies flying to Canberra:

    Hundreds of babies, flying to Canberra next month for a national home-birth rally, were this week bumped off flights after the airline’s computerised booking system failed to alert staff that too many infants were being put on each plane.

    Civil Aviation Safety Authority rules stipulate that only eight babies are allowed on each flight to match the number of infant oxygen masks available, but more than 20 babies were booked on some journeys.

The mothers are not at all pleased about the disruption to their plans to fly in and fly out the same day.

But a little bit of a windfall to the Canberra economy as many are being forced to spend the night to spread the load across more flights.

What’s Your opinion?

Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
26 Responses to
Too many babies coming to Canberra!
el 8:31 pm 06 Aug 09

Valleyboy said :

On behalf of long-suffering air travellers, I’m just about sh!tting schadenfreude over this one. What exactly is the point of dragging a baby to a home-birth rally? To educate the public what the product of a home birth is? I’m sure we all know what a baby looks like — and anyone who had the misfortune to be trapped on one of those baby-infested flights from hell would certainly find out how they sound and smell.

Gold! Couldn’t agree more.

dvaey 8:31 pm 06 Aug 09

Just to get back on topic (since it seems to have been deviated from).. These infants are flying for free, these parents are complaining that because after they got a free ticket for their infant, they got bumped due to capacity limits.

If these parents had paid anything for their infants tickets, then Id have slightly more sympathy for their displacement, but when you travel on a conditional airfare you have to expect sometimes you might get bumped especially on a freebie.
(Disclaimer: virgin blue flies infants <2 yrs for free, I didnt check other airlines, but assume theyre the same)

emd 8:10 pm 06 Aug 09

astrojax, thanks 🙂 hope everything’s going well for both of you.
Granny, you’ve done something I can only wish to do 🙂
Valleyboy – if you’re breastfeeding a small baby, it goes wherever the mother goes. If you’re full-time parent to a child under school age, it usually goes where the mother goes.

I can assure you that registered, professional midwives do not take on true high risk pregnancies for a homebirth. The Australian College of Midwives has clear guidelines on when a midwife (an expert in normal, healthy pregnancy and birth) should refer to an obstetrician (an expert in treating illness and injury). In many countries around the world (including New Zealand, remote indigenous communities in Canada, and European countries), homebirth has been proven safe and is an easily accessible option.

For women in regional communities that don’t have a local hospital with maternity unit, having a baby means a choice between moving into the city weeks before the birth – not fun if you’re leaving behind other small children and your hubby is a farmer and you’re due during harvest; or being induced or having an elective c-section before your due date so you only have to travel to the city for the birth – and unnecessary inductions and c-sections carry increased risks for mother and baby’s health; or hoping you have a long labour so you can drive to hospital before the contractions become unbearable in the car. This is why some babies are born by the side of the road – some of these women and babies would be safer just staying home and getting the local midwife to come out (and the midwife WILL call for an ambulance if there’s any trouble – that’s what they’re trained to do).

Hospital is a great place to be in a medical emergency. But the World Health Organisation says that only 5-10% of women should be having c-sections for medical purposes. So the other 20-28% of Canberra women having c-sections are going through 6 times higher risk of death to the mother, and 5 times higher risk of breathing difficulties to the baby, when they don’t medically need to. We need to keep independent midwives in our community to maintain knowledge of things like how to do a vaginal breech delivery (obstetricians do a c-section for breech, but some breech positions can be delivered vaginally), how to determine the baby’s position by feel instead of using ultrasound machines etc. Midwives can also help with breastfeeding and baby care postnatally, and it’s the midwife who stays with the woman throughout labour (obstetricians usually just turn up for the delivery).

In the ACT, it is legal for a woman to terminate a pregnancy. It is legal for a woman to request an elective c-section for no medical reason. A woman’s right to make these choices is accepted as normal. Why can’t we just push out a baby on our own lounge room floor, with a midwife there for support, if that’s what we want to do? It costs less than hospital birth, it keeps hospital beds free for people with illnesses to get treatment, and it means the woman gets to decide who is down the business end of her body when her baby is born.

Any more questions? 🙂

Valleyboy 7:22 pm 06 Aug 09

On behalf of long-suffering air travellers, I’m just about sh!tting schadenfreude over this one. What exactly is the point of dragging a baby to a home-birth rally? To educate the public what the product of a home birth is? I’m sure we all know what a baby looks like — and anyone who had the misfortune to be trapped on one of those baby-infested flights from hell would certainly find out how they sound and smell.

Granny 5:59 pm 06 Aug 09

I am with the United Nations on this. I fully support the right of women to choose homebirth and have had a homebirth myself. For many women it is the right choice, and results in a much more pleasant and easy labour with less intervention.

Bravo Wang 5:14 pm 06 Aug 09

Send them back! I don’t care for their kind!

Pelican Lini 5:09 pm 06 Aug 09

I love babies … served with apple sauce and roast vegetables and a nice glass of Chardonny.
Home birthed babies are like free range eggs, just that little bit tastier than those delivered in sterile cubicles.
Babies … the other other white meat.

Igglepiggle 1:43 pm 06 Aug 09

Back on the topic – this isn’t a debate about safety or otherwise of homebirth- the only issue here is whether homebirth midwives wiill be able to access insurance to enable them to practice once national registration starts next year (as insurance will be a compulsory component of registering.) Compulsory insurance is a good thing as it provides the only protection for people who are unfortunate enough to have a bad outcome.
I suspect the rally really needs to persuade the government to place more pressure on insurance providers to provide this insurance. If the evidence to prove homebirth is safe exists, as the maternity coalition says it does, then it should be straightforward to convince the insureres. If however, the evidence is inconclusive or poorly designed…. or not applicable to the Australian setting as most is conducted on low risk women and most Australian homebirth midwives take on high risk women, then the current problem they have will not be fixed.

astrojax 1:39 pm 06 Aug 09

they’d all play together up the back, capitalk, so you’d never notice, as long the attendants (ie hosties) kept the wine flowing! ; )

midwives are trained birth specialists and i would happily rely on them to make the call that medical intervention (ambulance, hospital, etc) is needed: so acknowledging the mother’s own calmness is going to be perhaps the most important ingredient in her body birthing safely, and the stress hospitals etc can put her under are therefore best avoided, a midwife (birth specialist) at the mother’s home (safe, secure environment) seems to be the logical best place, so it should attract all the government support it needs…

this would seem to have the mother’s right to choice and the baby’s right to life best covered in one go. we should maybe be calling for a ban on hospitals… ; )

btw emd, great shop!

CapitalK 12:38 pm 06 Aug 09

Should I or shouldn’t I……ok…..I think the “woman’s right to choose” should come second to the babys right to live. So yes, if you can 100% guarentee you aren’t going to have complications then have a home birth – but if you can’t, is it really worth your new baby’s (or your own) life? In regards to women in regional areas I realise that they may not be able to always go to a regional hosital, but with 9 months to plan – most could probably come up with a way.

Back to the planes – could you imagine catching a place with 20 babies – WOW!! that would be an experience 🙂

Mr Evil 12:30 pm 06 Aug 09

Oh Fiona – what would you know! 🙂

Burning incense will protect any mother giving birth at home – I’ve studied it on the internet…….

Fiona 12:26 pm 06 Aug 09

It’s a right to choose so long as all the right precautions are taken and high-risk births are seen to properly with care at hand. There are plenty of good reasons why death is childbirth is so rare these days – medical care being #1…

emd 12:22 pm 06 Aug 09

This rally is going to be huge. People are flying in from Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, Brisbane, Sydney, Hobart… And that’s just the people that I personally know who are coming.

If anyone wants more detail on the rally, check here:

New Commonwealth legislation currently before Parliament will mean that women can no longer call a midwife to attend a homebirth from July 2010. This is a big problem, particularly for women in rural and regional areas who live hundreds of km’s from a hospital that has a maternity ward. Not to mention indigenous women, who can no longer birth on lands. And fundamentally, it is a woman’s right to choose – not for the government to decide where they’re “allowed” to give birth.

Ian 11:50 am 06 Aug 09

Its probably something that happens so rarely that whoever designed Qantas’ booking system didn’t even think it was worth building in a routine to check for it.

Pandy 10:25 am 06 Aug 09


Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. | |

Search across the site