Video of an Australian senator breastfeeding while moving a motion in the country’s federal parliament is showing how new mothers balance work and family.
Larissa Waters, a Green Party member from Queensland, rose in parliament on Thursday to put forward a motion on Black Lung disease, all the while holding and feeding her 14-week old baby, Alia Joy.
First time I've had to move a Senate motion while breastfeeding! And my partner in crime moved her own motion just before mine, bless her
— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) June 22, 2017
The display appeared to be received warmly by Waters’ colleagues.
Waters later joked in a tweet that her daughter “moved her own motion” before she was able to stand and address the health issue that affects coal miners.
— Stephanie Peatling (@srpeatling) June 22, 2017
Another photo shared on Twitter showed Australian Green Party leader Richard Di Natale playing with Waters’ daughter in the chamber.
“I think this is what people mean when they talk about a flexible boss,” the user wrote.
Waters made headlines in May when she became the first woman to breastfeed in Australia’s Senate.
“I am so proud that my daughter Alia is the first baby to be breastfed in the Federal Parliament,” Waters said after setting parliamentary history.
A ban on breastfeeding in the chamber was lifted last year after several contentious incidents led to a review.
Previously, children were considered visitors and were confined to public galleries and offices in the parliament building.
In 2003, MP Kristie Marshall was ejected from the Australian parliament for breastfeeding her 11-day-old daughter.
Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young’s two-year-old daughter was kicked out of parliament in 2009, an incident Hanson-Young described as “humiliating.”
The treatment of MPs with children worsened in 2015 when Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer was told by the government whip to breastfeed faster in an effort to avoid missing parliamentary votes.
Despite the changes to provide parliamentarians more access to nurse their children in the workplace, Waters still believes more can be done.
“We need more women and parents in parliament. And we need more family-friendly and flexible workplaces, and affordable child care, for everyone.”
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