Oz MP milks the system as she breast-feeds during speech

23 June 2017 - 05:08 By Reuters
Australian Senator Larissa Waters breastfeeds her daughter Alia Joy as she speaks in parliament in Canberra.
Australian Senator Larissa Waters breastfeeds her daughter Alia Joy as she speaks in parliament in Canberra.
Image: Reuters

In a first for the nation, Larissa Waters, a Greens MP, addressed the chamber while feeding 14-week-old Alia Joy.

She was speaking about black-lung disease, an affliction of coal miners.

The baby made history in May when she became the first baby to be breast-fed in Australia's parliament and has become a regular presence in Australia's senate.

The MP's decision to speak while feeding was greeted with smiles in the chamber.

Later Waters said in a tweet: "First time I've had to move a senate motion while breast-feeding! And my partner in crime moved her own motion just before mine, bless her."

In 2009, Sarah Hanson-Young, a Greens MP, was forced to remove her two-year-old child from the chamber - an incident she described as "humiliating".

The two-year-old girl could subsequently be heard bawling just outside the chamber doors.

In 2015, Kelly O'Dwyer, a Liberal MP and cabinet minister, was told by the government whip to express more milk to ensure she did not miss votes in parliament.

But parliament last year changed its rules to allow mothers to breast-feed in the chamber.

Previously, mothers had to leave the chamber to breast-feed.

The senate, at Waters' urging, has also changed its rules to allow parents to enter the senate chamber to assist a spouse with the care of children.

"I am so proud that my daughter Alia is the first baby to be breast-fed in the federal parliament," Waters said in May.

"We need more women and parents in parliament.

"And we need more family-friendly, and flexible, workplaces, and affordable childcare for everyone."

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