Babies and breastfeeding allowed in SA Parliament’s House of Assembly

Members can now bring young children into the House of Assembly, breast or bottle-feed them and be entitled to 20 weeks maternity leave, following the passing of a Marshall Liberal Government motion.

Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman says while these changes have been a long time coming, they will modernise the South Australian Parliament and make it a more ‘family-friendly’ workplace.

“A desire to have a family should not impede women or men from entering politics,” Deputy Premier Chapman said.

“It’s well and truly time these rules changed, bringing our Parliament in line with modern workplace expectations,” she said.

Under the new rules, women will be able to take up to 20 weeks’ maternity leave without weekly authorisation from the House of Assembly. It would not prevent Members of Parliament from attending or voting during this time.

This period of maternity leave is consistent with the conditions of South Australian public sector employees.

In addition, Members will be allowed to bring an infant requiring care into the House and breastfeed or bottle-feed that child, if necessary.

“This gives mothers and fathers the opportunity to continue to participate fully in the work of the House, while caring for a young child,” Ms Chapman said.

“I am pleased to see these changes endorsed by the House and hope to see them mirrored in the Legislative Council.

“I hope it signals to aspiring young politicians in this State that your family life is important and will be accommodated,” she said