Politics

This Greens Senator Just Became The First Politician To Breastfeed In Parliament

It only took 116 years.

The two-month-old daughter of Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters has become the first baby to be breastfed on the floor of Australian parliament, following long overdue changes to parliamentary rules.

“I am so proud that my daughter Alia is the first baby to be breastfed in the federal Parliament!” the Greens co-deputy leader wrote on Facebook. “We need more women and parents in Parliament. And we need more family-friendly and flexible workplaces, and affordable childcare, for everyone.”

She also shared a photo of the historic moment on Twitter.

Parliamentary rules were amended last year to allow breastfeeding mothers to bring their children into the chamber. Prior to the change, breastfeeding mothers were required to vote by proxy, which is one of those facts that is simultaneously baffling and not in the least bit surprising.

The rule changes came on the heels of a 2015 controversy that saw Chief Government Whip Scott Buchholz suggest that Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer should express more milk so as to avoid disruptions to her parliamentary duties. Keep it classy Scott.

Waters’ actions have made headlines in other parts of the world, including the UK where MPs are not allowed to breastfeed in the chamber of the House of Commons. Last year Icelandic MP Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir received similar attention after presenting a bill to parliament while feeding her daughter.

Of course the fact that any of this is newsworthy speaks to the fact that there is still a bizarre social stigma attached to breastfeeding in public. Still, the more women are represented in parliament, the more common this sort of thing will become, until eventually, hopefully, no one even bats an eye.