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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 13 Hansard (19 November) . .

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All agencies and key stakeholders were consulted through the circulation of an exposure draft of this bill, and further targeted consultation occurred during the drafting stage. The Health Services Commissioner has provided valuable feedback on the draft bill, and has been consulted regularly throughout the final drafting stages.

This bill supports the government's red tape reduction reforms by simplifying the administration of certain legislation and excising redundant legislative provisions. The amendment to the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act progresses the government's commitment under its social inclusion statement, as it supports practices that respond to social exclusion and inequality.

I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hanson) adjourned to the next sitting.

Administration and Procedure—Standing Committee

Reference

MRS JONES (Molonglo) (11.51): I move:

That this Assembly requests that the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure investigate how the Assembly instigate a system whereby breastfeeding women have the option to vote from within the Assembly by proxy, as well as having the option to vote in the Chamber with their baby, as preferred by the mother based on the needs of her baby and report back to the Assembly by the first sitting week in May 2016.

I am pleased today to move this motion requesting the admin and procedure committee to investigate how the Assembly can instigate a system whereby breastfeeding women can have the option to vote from within the Assembly precinct by proxy, as well as have the option to vote in the chamber with their baby, as preferred by the mother at the time based on the needs of her baby, and to report back to the Assembly by the first sitting week in May 2016.

If we went out today to any high school in Canberra, or indeed around the nation, and asked children what they think breastfeeding women are and are not allowed to do in the parliaments of their city and their country, I think they would assume that breastfeeding was allowed wherever a breastfeeding woman was, as long as it was safe. But if we look around Australia's parliaments today, we see that that is not the case.

According to a paper prepared by Slater and Gordon, in Victoria some rules have been relaxed to allow breastfeeding since 2003. New South Wales also allows breastfeeding in its parliament. It is not specifically legislated for but it is allowed. The ACT Assembly and the Senate are the only two chambers where babies are allowed to enter and are specifically exempted from the rules regarding strangers on the floor. In all other parliaments—in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia—there are no provisions for breastfeeding mothers.


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