Lawmakers can now breastfeed in the Australian Parliament after the government changed the rules on Tuesday to make politics more family-friendly. But none of the nursing mothers appeared keen to take up the opportunity.
The rule change in the House of Representatives — where 40 of the 150 members are women — on the first sitting day of the year means that lawmakers can now bring their babies into the chamber. Previously children were confined to the public galleries or offices.
“No member, male or female, will ever be prevented from participating fully in the operation of the Parliament by reason of having the care of a baby,” government minister Christopher Pyne said after moving a motion for change.
A parliamentary committee decided to examine rules for nursing mothers in the chamber after three representatives gave birth within a span of three months last year.
Opposition lawmaker Kate Ellis, whose son will have his first birthday in April, welcomed the change.