SYDNEY: Larissa Waters, a Queensland senator with the Australian Greens Party, made history yesterday as the first woman to breastfeed her baby on the Parliament floor. She tweeted the picture and said she was “so proud that my baby Alia is the first baby to be breastfed in the federal Parliament!”
— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) May 9, 2017
In a duplicate post on her Facebook page, Waters added: “We need more family-friendly and flexible workplaces, and affordable childcare, for everyone.” The Australian House of Representatives revised its rules regarding children and infants in February 2016. Previously, they were considered visitors and were confined to public galleries and offices in the parliament building, but now they’re allowed in chambers and women are permitted to nurse during session. “No member male or female will ever be prevented from participating fully in the operation of the parliament by reason of having the care of a baby,” House Leader Christopher Pyne said, according to the BBC. “There is absolutely no reason that rules should remain in place which make life in politics and the parliament more difficult for women.”
In 2003, Victorian MP Kristie Marshall was ejected from Australian parliament for breastfeeding her daughter, Charlotte, who was 11 days old at the time. Similarly, in 2009, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young’s two-year-old daughter was kicked out of parliament.
In a tweet yesterday, Waters referenced Marshall’s story to illustrate “how far we’ve come.”
Here is Kirstie Marshall before she was ejected from the Vic Parliament for breastfeeding her 11-day old bub. Look how far we have come! pic.twitter.com/LrzZcIFBXq
— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) May 10, 2017