A politician in Australia has become the first woman in the country’s history to speak in parliament while breastfeeding her child.
Larissa Waters, a Senator representing the left-wing Australian Greens, addressed the chamber while feeding her baby daughter, Alia, who is 14 weeks old.
As this video from this week shows, the 40-year-old was speaking about black lung disease – a condition from which coal miners suffer – while her baby suckled her breast.
Waters made history in May when she became the first woman to breastfeed in Australia’s parliament. It changed its rules last year to allow mothers to breastfeed in the chamber. Previously, they had to leave it in order to breastfeed and were required to seek a proxy for any votes. Now she has outdone herself by breastfeeding while moving a motion.
Others present this week appeared to be pleased that Waters was multi-tasking and Waters herself seemed delighted with her achievement, tweeting about it afterwards with a joke that the baby had been to the bathroom shortly before she spoke.
She wrote: “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.”
But some members of the public seemed less impressed.
One commented on Youtube: “Sorry but no matter how hard these psycho women try to make breastfeeding something that can be done ANYWHERE, it will ALWAYS be a selfish/stupid way of thinking. It is inappropriate, you live in a SOCIETY and it isn’t just ALL ABOUT YOU.”
In the UK, the idea of women being allowed to breastfeed in parliament has been debated from time to time.
When the issue was raised in 2001, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Betty Boothroyd, was firmly against it. She said: “You wouldn’t start feeding your child if you worked on a supermarket check-out.”