In adopting the medical lobby’s preferred definition of collaboration where midwives are legally compelled to seek endorsement for their care plan from an obstetrician, Determination 2010 connotes a form of militarized collaboration and thus negates all that genuine collaboration stands for–—equality, mutual trust and reciprocal respect. Using Critical Discourse Analysis, the first half of this paper analyses the submissions from medical, midwifery and consumer peak organisations to the Maternity Services Review and Senate reviews held between 2008 and 2010 showing that Determination 2010 privileges the medical lobby worldview in adopting a vertical definition of collaboration. The second half of the paper responds to the principal assumption of Determination 2010–—that midwives do not voluntarily collaborate. It argues by reference to a qualitative inquiry conducted into select caseload maternity units in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales during 2009—2010 that this presupposition is erroneous. The evidence shows that genuine collaboration is possible without legislative force but it requires a coalition of the willing among senior midwives and obstetricians to institute regular interdisciplinary meetings and clinical reviews and to model respectful behaviour to new entrants.
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