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Larissa Waters became the first woman senator to breastfeed in Parliament

May 11, 2017 18:31 IST

Australian Senator Larissa Waters, the deputy co-leader of the Australian Greens party became the first woman in the history of Australian Politics to breastfeed her baby during a Parliamentary session on 9 May 2017.

The senator, who returned to Parliament after 10 weeks of maternity leave, breastfed her 2-month-old daughter, Alia Joy, during a vote for a Greens policy motion on a federal budget.

 Senator Larissa Waters

Waters also tweeted following the incident saying that she was so proud that her daughter Alia is the first baby to be breastfed in the federal Parliament! She also added that there is a need for more women, parents in the Parliament.

The milestone comes after Waters played a significant role in pushing the Senate to allow female politicians to bring their children into the Parliament for breastfeeding. Under previous rules, children were banned from entering the parliamentary chambers and breastfeeding mothers were given a proxy vote.

Background

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

It was coalition MP Andrew Southcott who opened an inquiry into the matter of revising house rules in November 2015 after more than 10 parliament members welcomed babies into their families.

The amendment had finally come into force on 1 February 2016.

Around the World

Even across the world, several female lawmakers have been criticised for taking their babies to parliamentary sessions.

Italian politician, Licia Ronzulli had taken her then 7-week-old daughter to European Parliament in September 2010.

Spanish MP Carolina Bescansa had provoked criticism in January 2016, when she breastfed her baby during a parliamentary session.

In 2016, a politician in Iceland spoke in parliament while breastfeeding her baby daughter.

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Breastfeeding in public is a hot topic of debate and controversy everywhere and this step by Larissa Waters is definitely a step towards making a point that it is a part and parcel of being a mother and it is a moment that deserves to be acknowledged and not criticized.

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