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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 October 2018) . . Page.. 4517 ..


had a conversation like this in parliaments a hundred years ago, let alone 50 or even 10 years ago. There have been women, including Mrs Jones and Ms Gallagher in this place and members of parliaments right across the nation supporting breastfeeding in the community, in parliaments. And there is nothing like a parliament reflecting its community to really let people know that members of parliament do represent them, do hear what they are saying and do get on the floor of parliament and talk about issues which really do reflect the lived experiences of people in our community.

It has been great to understand a range of medical issues which people can confront when giving birth—some expected, some very unexpected. The power that comes from struggling, in some cases, to breastfeed and succeeding in that struggle can do a lot for women to support their journey of new motherhood. Ms Berry reflected on the contemporary issues we are grappling with in our community around family violence and the importance of providing breastfeeding support to women in those instances.

The complexity of learning to breastfeed is certainly something that has to be learned. My own experience of difficulty to start with and of frozen cabbage leaves and strange balms was something that no-one can quite prepare you for. But persevering through those things meant I was lucky enough to be able to breastfeed all my kids for 15 months each. I, too, called the breastfeeding hotline and received significant support.

There is community advocacy also that is incredibly powerful. There are stories, and I know these too, of friends meeting in homes, where advocacy takes place at the most basic grassroots level. It can influence daily lives, but it can also influence national strategy and major decisions and investments by governments. This motion has covered it all. It goes to the power of the Assembly. It goes to the power of the community. It goes to the power of a good member working with people right across the community to get something done. We are really pleased to support Ms Cheyne’s motion today.

MR WALL (Brindabella) (11.11): I am going to be adventurous here and try and tell a little part of the other side of the story that has not been touched on today. We have heard from a large number of the female members of the Assembly, but as a two-time proud dad I think there is a role for dads to play in supporting the women in our lives when it comes to breastfeeding.

It has been touched on that it is often a process that seen as natural, that your body will take care of it and it will just happen. That is certainly not the experience for all mums. It is something that is learnt: mothers need to learn, but the babies need to learn as well. From a mother’s perspective, particularly straight after birth, there is a lot of insecurity, especially after a first child. “Why isn’t my body doing what it is supposed to? Why am I struggling with this? Why is it so difficult? Have I done something wrong? Am I a failure? Should I have done this? Should I have done something different?” I think there is a great role there for dads to step up and be that reassuring and supporting voice.

I remember an experience when my first daughter was born. Breastfeeding was a bit of a challenge for my wife, and that is a pretty normal experience. What sometimes


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