Page 1911 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2016
I am pleased to say that now, 10 years later, by some lobbying I have done and with the help of some other MLAs, we are now able to have a lock on the breastfeeding room door so that when women are breast pumping in this workplace they do not have to worry about someone walking in on them. As I recently said to a colleague, you would not go to the toilet without a lock on the door, and you should not be expected to be half-naked and breast pumping without a lock on the door.
Today I hope we will be able to achieve another significant change in this place for MLAs in the future who have babies, giving them the freedom to completely fulfil the workplace demands of them, and that political parties will not lose anything in the process of giving women the flexibility to complete a breastfeed or a breast pumping even if the bells ring. Today’s motion asks the Legislative Assembly to implement a continuing resolution to allow for flexibility for mums who are breastfeeding or breast pumping—or for any parent with full bottle-feeding responsibilities—to return to work and continue their job while undertaking feeding responsibilities and keeping their child alive and well and thriving.
Originally I considered asking the whips of both parties to sign an undertaking that they would provide a pair for any woman who was breastfeeding or breast pumping, allowing her to have a standing pair upon her return to work. However, Mr Smyth, our whip, kindly assisted me to come up with a better way of making such a change more permanent and more wide reaching so that well after I have left this place and he has left this place women on all sides of parliament who have their babies will be able to return to work with a bit less stress than I had to deal with. That will be better for them and their children. Then we need to take these ideas out from this place and into the broader community.
I took this idea to Ms Burch, who is the whip for the government. She wanted the inclusion of fathers who might have the primary responsibility for bottle-feeding an infant upon their return to work. I thought this was a useful addition, and I have been happy to include it here in this motion. Therefore, I have proposed this continuing resolution which will cater for such individuals as well. I hope that today will see the very best of tripartisanship in this place and be an example to workplaces all over the ACT and our country—an example that such changes can be made in the lives of parents and mums who are trying to provide the best they can for their babies while maintaining their workplace position.
I hope that there will be tripartisan support for the motion today. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning and Land Management, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (11.44): I move:
That debate be adjourned.
That the motion be agreed to.