22 March 2021
Ossian, Dashiell and I want everybody to know that it's Multiple Birth Awareness Week this week. It's important because, even though multiple births account for only 1.5 per cent of births across Australia, the health risks for multiple births increase tenfold for both mothers and babies. The risk of preterm birth is 10 times higher for multiples, and the risk of postpartum depression is double for parents of multiples. The theme of Multiple Birth Awareness Week this year is 'Identical or fraternal? Testing for zygosity matters'. I can tell you, on behalf of all the twin parents out there, it's the No.1 question you get asked: 'Are they identical or fraternal?' Australia, these guys are fraternal. The goal is to drive awareness around the misconception that, when it comes to determining zygosity of multiple-birth children, it relates to whether or not they look alike, but, actually, it's about understanding tissue compatibility in organ transplantation and assessing disease risk.
I never expected to be standing in front of the House with twins, and that is the experience of many twin parents out there. I just ran into a twin mum, coming into this place, who said, 'Is it the case that Centrelink and Medicare still do not consider twins to be a multiple birth?' I said: 'Yes, that is the case.' Centrelink and Medicare do not consider twins to be multiple births as it currently stands. She said, 'You get in there and tell that parliament that, when you are giving birth to twins, it definitely feels like two babies are coming out,' and I promised to do that. So, twin parents: I see you, I hear you, and I'm here for you.