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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 1016 ..

The Assembly voted-

	 Ayes 8  				Noes 9

Mrs Burke

Mr Smyth

Mr Berry

Ms MacDonald

Mr Cornwell

Mr Stefaniak

Mr Corbell

Mr Quinlan

Ms Dundas

Ms Tucker

Mrs Cross

Mr Stanhope

Mrs Dunne

Ms Gallagher

Mr Wood

Mr Pratt

Mr Hargreaves

Question so resolved in the negative

Amendment negatived.


(Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for the Environment) (11.48): I move:

Omit all words after "paragraph:"and substitute the following words:

"(a) the word "visitor"in Standing Order 210 shall not apply to an infant being breastfed by a Member".

Mr Speaker, the amendment does not change the intent or the import of Mrs Cross's motion in any way. It simply adds some certitude where some may think there is some ambiguity about the full ambit of the wording of Mrs Cross's motion. My amendment does not change the content, the import or the impact of Mrs Cross's motion in any way. It simply makes it clear that the exception from the standing order applies to the breastfeeding infant and not to the member.


(11.49): First, I would like to answer the question that Mr Stanhope put in his earlier speech. I support women breastfeeding and I support women continuing their work as they breastfeed. Any suggestion to the contrary is wrong.

The amendment Mr Stanhope has moved clarifies the wording of the standing order. I am supportive of that. I am also supportive of the intent of Mrs Cross's motion. It is certainly symbolic of the broader issue facing many families in Australia of how to juggle work and family life.

This motion was sparked by Ms Kirstie Marshall, the member of Forest Hill in the Victorian parliament, who in her first week in office caused a furore when she was breastfeeding in the chamber and was asked to leave because she had a stranger in the house. This caused a media frenzy, locally and internationally. It made the news in Canada and Ireland. It was even the subject of a comprehensive photo essay in Philadelphia in the United States.

Parliamentary Speakers around the country were asked to comment. Our Speaker said that there was unlikely to be a problem. In the Northern Territory, a change to the standing orders has been proposed. We see today that in Victoria the Speaker, having consulted with all members of the Victorian parliament, has ruled that babes in arms are now exempt from the stranger rule.

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