Women Members of Parliament (MPs) should be allowed to breast-feed their babies in the chamber of the House of Commons, Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said today. In the past year, more than 10 MPs have become mothers but they are still looked down upon when they bring their babies to work.

"It's 2015 and it's time," Hanson-Young told AAP news (via 9 News) on Monday in an exclusive interview. Hanson-Young's statement was prompted by the recent controversy surrounding new mum and cabinet minister Kelly O'Dwyer, who was asked to skip breastfeeding and be in attendance in parliament during voting. O'Dwyer was also asked to express more milk for her baby, rather than breast-feed her in the House of Representatives.

Liberal MP Andrew Southcott told ABC News that a committee is now reviewing the rule that bans children in the chamber. "As the numbers of breastfeeding members in the House have increased, the need for adequate provisions to support these women has become apparent,” Southcott said. A parliamentary enquiry is inviting submissions from MPs to express their opinions on how to better support breastfeeding colleagues.

While mothers are now allowed to breastfeed in the Senate, they cannot breastfeed their newborns in the House of Representatives. Senator Hanson-Young recalled of a time in 2009 when she was forced to remove her two-year old daughter from the upper house chamber because the toddler was crying while others were casting their vote. Calling it the "most humiliating" situation of her life, Hanson-Young said that the parliament should take more steps to support new mothers.

"It's all well and good to pay lip service to women's participation but what we actually need is practical changes like this," Hanson-Young said. Labor MP Clare O'Neil echoed her sentiments and urged committee members to allow breastfeeding in the chamber.

The ban on chamber breastfeeding has forced many politician mums to either neglect their infants or be asked to leave the chamber. In 2003, Labor MP Kirstie Marshall was removed from the Victorian parliament after she breastfed her baby in the chamber. In 2009, MP Jackie Kelly was forced to leave her then three-year-old son Lachlan alone and unattended in the public gallery of Parliament House when she was required to attend Question Time.

The presence of children in Parliament has always been in the news, not only in Australia but other countries too. In Italy, Licia Ronzulli, Member of the European Parliament became a 'media star' in 2010 when she first brought her 44-day old baby Vittoria to the European Parliament to highlight the need for more rights for women in reconciling work and family life. In various pictures over the years, the toddler can be seen smiling and even raising her hand, mimicking her mother, to cast a vote.

According to The Guardian, Ronzulli's gesture to bring her daughter to parliament was “not political but maternal,” as the infant was still breast-feeding. She was allowed to take the child with her “as long as proceedings weren't disrupted.” Ronzulli has been applauded by her gesture by French magazine Madame le Figaro, who ranked her in 3rd place on its list of most influential women of 2010.

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