Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 1012 ..
As MLAs, we are supposed to be straight shooters. If we are going to bring issues into this place we need to be genuine about them. Mrs Cross is about as genuine at securing mothercare as I am about giving Saddam six more months to disarm. It is against this background that I rise to express this concern. If we are going to bring serious issues to this place, we cannot exercise hypocrisy.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Pratt, I think you can withdraw "hypocrisy".
MR PRATT: I so do, Mr Speaker.
MR STEFANIAK(11.29): Ms Tucker and Ms Dunne made some very good points about the need to get the views of the community. We have facilities here, and for the life of me I cannot think how the chamber would be conducive to breastfeeding a child, with all the nonsense that goes on here.
I note from an article that breastfeeding was banned from the mother of parliaments in 2000 when someone tried to do it there. The comment was made that we would not be the first. The Norwegians have been breastfeeding for over 20 years, apparently.
I close by expressing the views of a woman who was quite angry at the prospect of this Assembly allowing breastfeeding in the chamber. She saw it not so much as snouts at the trough but as politicians making rules for themselves. She said that you could not possibly have checkout chicks and shop assistants breastfeeding and that you do not see judges and magistrates breastfeeding. She saw this as politicians making a rule for themselves when ordinary people could not benefit from a similar rule.
It is important for ordinary members to have a say on this. There are a lot of issues. Ms Tucker's amendment is a sensible one. It will enable all the issues to be canvassed.
MR STANHOPE(Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for the Environment) (11.32): Mr Speaker, the government will not support Ms Tucker's amendment. We will support Mrs Cross's motion.
I am deeply surprised that members of this Assembly believe that an issue as simple and as straightforward as whether or not a female member of this place should, if she so chooses, have the capacity to breastfeed her baby in this chamber requires consultation with the community or requires further and detailed consideration by a committee of this place.
On what basis do members of this place think that this issue needs to be the subject of consultation with the community or deep consideration by a standing committee of this place? What is it about the notion of female members of this place breastfeeding in this chamber that other members believe needs further consideration? What doubts do Ms Tucker, Ms Dundas and the Liberal Party have about the notion of female members breastfeeding in this chamber?
What is it that this standing committee is going to add to the consideration of this issue? Are they going to say yes or no? Why can this parliament not say yes? I think it is an