Sunday, February 28, 2010

Parliament is no place for babies

West Australian Labor politician Rita Saffioti and her supporters argue that she should be allowed to take her new-born baby with her onto the floor of Parliament because it is, after all, 2010 and not the dark ages:

Ms Saffioti says she can keep tabs on parliamentary debate by watching it on TV in her office while she nurses Grace.

But she wants to be able to take Grace into parliament when a vote is taken on various pieces of legislation.

At most, her baby would be in the Assembly for only a few minutes, she said.

Ms Saffioti said she would not breastfeed her baby in the Assembly, but would feed her with breast milk in a bottle.

She believed a woman had the right to breastfeed her baby in parliament if she wanted to.

There are dissenters, however:

But National Party MP Vince Catania argued that the Assembly was no place for a baby.

"Imagine have a screaming baby in the chamber when you are trying to debate vital legislation."

Taking a baby into Parliament might by Okay as a one off in exceptional circumstances but certainly shouldn't be the norm. If it's alright for a mother to take her child into Parliament then it's also appropriate for fathers to do so. And where would the line be drawn? Should beloved but senile aunt Agnes be allowed into Parliament where she couldn't wander off into the bush to die of exposure? And what about a critically ill close relative who could fall off the perch at any moment? Should a bed, ventilator and a medical team be allowed? Continue the debate, ignoring the continuous flat-line beep and zapping of the defibrillator.

Nope, Ms Saffioti chose to have a baby and should now work out for herself how she's going to look after it – it is not up to her employer to accommodate her. She will perhaps need to divert some of her Parliamentary salary to child minding.


Anonymous Dan Lewis said...

Or divert some taxpayer funding to it instead...

7:23 AM  

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