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First Australian politician to breastfeed in parliament

Australian Senator Larissa Waters from the left-wing Greens party has become the first politician to breastfeed in the country’s parliament.

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Waters fed two-month-old daughter Alia Joy during a vote on Tuesday, BBC reports.

“We need more women and parents in Parliament. And we need more family-friendly and flexible workplaces, and affordable child care, for everyone.” she posted on Facebook.

The lower house last year joined the Senate in allowing breastfeeding, but no MPs in either house had done so. It followed a backlash two years ago, when Kelly O’Dwyer, a government minister, was asked to consider expressing milk to avoid missing parliamentary duties.

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“Women have been doing it in parliaments around the world. Women are going to continue to have babies and if they want to do their job and be at work and look after their baby… the reality is we are going to have to accommodate that.” said Labor Senator Katy Gallagher.

Politicians have been permitted to breastfeed in the Senate since 2003, but the subject remains a sensitive issue in many parliaments around the world.

Last year, a report on diversity in UK politics recommended that allowing breastfeeding in the House of Commons should be considered, althoughone MP in 2015 warned it could risk ridicule from the press.

Claire Reynolds