Law­maker first to breast­feed baby in Par­lia­ment

New Straits Times - - World -


“So proud that my daugh­ter Alia is the first baby to be breast­fed in the fed­eral Par­lia­ment! We need more #women & par­ents in Parli,” she wrote on Twit­ter.

Be­ing able to breast­feed in the cham­ber fol­lows new rules in­tro­duced last year to cre­ate a more “fam­ily friendly” Par­lia­ment in the wake of what has been de­scribed as a “baby boom” among politi­cians.

Un­der previous rules, chil­dren were tech­ni­cally banned.

“In 2003, Kirstie Mar­shall, a Vic­to­rian MP, was ejected from state par­lia­ment for breast­feed­ing her 11-day old baby girl,” Wa­ters added.

“Some­times it’s dif­fi­cult not to get dis­heart­ened by the sex­ism (Clock­wise from left) A girl of­fer­ing prayers in a Bud­dhist tem­ple on the oc­ca­sion of Bud­dha Purn­ima fes­ti­val, also known as We­sak Day, in Agar­tala, In­dia, yes­ter­day; Monks lead­ing devo­tees to pray out­side the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery in Sin­ga­pore on Tues­day; and, Sri Lankan devo­tees pray­ing at the Ke­laniya Tem­ple in Colombo yes­ter­day.AGEN­CIES women face in the work­place. But some­times, it pays to look back and see how far we have come.”

Breast­feed­ing in pub­lic has be­come a hot topic in many coun­tries, and fe­male law­mak­ers have been crit­i­cised for tak­ing their ba­bies to par­lia­men­tary ses­sions.

Last year, a politi­cian in Ice­land spoke in Par­lia­ment while breast­feed­ing her baby daugh­ter, and in­fants are al­lowed in the Euro­pean and Span­ish par­lia­ments.

Labour front­bencher Katy Gal­lagher said the mo­ment de­served to be ac­knowl­edged.

“Women have been do­ing it in par­lia­ments around the world... It is great to see it is able to oc­cur in the Se­nate,” she told Sky News.

“Women are go­ing to con­tinue to have ba­bies, and if they want to do their jobs and be at work and look af­ter their baby... the reality is we are go­ing to have to ac­com­mo­date that.”

Wa­ters has changed her Face­book pro­file to an im­age of her­self breast­feed­ing in Par­lia­ment, at­tract­ing dozens of mostly pos­i­tive com­ments.

“Thank you for shar­ing this beau­ti­ful picture and help­ing to nor­mal­ize breast­feed­ing in our so­ci­ety!” one user wrote. AFP



Greens’ se­na­tor Larissa Wa­ters sooth­ing Alia Joy af­ter breast­feed­ing her in the Se­nate Cham­ber at Par­lia­ment House in Can­berra on Tues­day.

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