Out of the many topics mothers are judged for, whether it be homeschooling versus public schooling, or letting their children choose their own gender-related toys, breastfeeding in public is the hottest debate these days. Larissa Waters, Australia's Greens Party co-deputy leader, became the first woman to breastfeed on Parliament floor. When her daughter, Alia Joy, grows up she will be reminded that she was the first baby to openly breastfeed during a Chamber meeting.
Last year, Waters pushed to have existing rules extended to allow new moms and dads to care for their children on the floor, and that is exactly what she did. Although the breastfeeding has been allowed in the Chamber since 2003, Alia is the first to enjoy a meal while sitting in on a Chamber meeting. Waters explained the rule changes are geared towards allowing moms and dads to join Parliament and create more of a community voice.
Waters sees no issue in feeding her baby. "if she's hungry, that's what you do, you feed your baby," She told The Courier-Mail. Her baby is "probably going to be better behaved than many of the pople in that room."
In 2009, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young's two-year-old daughter, Kora, was ejected from the cabinet. While saying goodbye to her daughter before the toddler flew back to Adelaide, she brought her into the chamber meeting. Senate President John Hogg was unimpressed and stated that they "can't allow children to be in here for a division." After being taken from her mother, Kora's crying could be heard through the closed Parliament doors. Similarly, Financial Services Minister, Kelly O'Dwyer, was targeted to lose her seat on the Cabinet after the birth of her second child.
Waters commented, “One in five women experience severe discrimination on the basis of their parenthood," and wanted to stress how "even Cabinet ministers can be subjected to that as well."