Australian Senator Larissa Waters on Tuesday made political history by choosing to breastfeed her two-month-old daughter Alia Joy in the Australian Parliament. The Greens Deputy Leader, who returned from her maternity leave on Tuesday, came to the Parliament with her daughter. “So proud that my daughter Alia is the first baby to be breastfed in the federal Parliament! We need more #women & parents in Parli #auspol,” Waters tweeted. The tweet has been retweeted more than 1,100 times till now.
The move, considered the first of its kind in Australia, was possible due to Australian Parliament’s decision last year to change it rules over breastfeeding in parliament. Earlier, breastfeeding mothers were given a proxy vote since they could not be inside the senate while nursing their kids. The rules were changed last year to make the Parliament more ‘family friendly’ thereby allowing parents to care for their children or tend to their needs while and Senator Waters had played a crucial role in the welcome change. “It is important we make all workplaces more family friendly, not just parliament,” she was quoted as saying to media.
Taking to Facebook on Wednesday, Waters recalled how an MP was ejected from the Parliament in 2003 for breastfeeding her child. “In 2003 Kirstie Marshall a Victorian MP was ejected from State Parliament for breastfeeding her 11-day old baby girl. Sometimes it’s difficult not to get disheartened by the sexism women still face in the workplace. But sometimes it pays to look back and see how far we have come,” the Queensland Senator wrote. In 2009, another Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young had been in news after her two-year-old daughter Kora was taken from her arms and ejected from the Senate chamber.