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Was Liberal MP Kelly O'Dwyer really asked not to breastfeed in parliament?

Unsolicited feeding advice. Every new mum’s favourite rite of passage.

Apparently the Chief Whip, Scott Buchholz, would prefer if his colleague Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer didn’t breastfeed in parliament.

Despite the rules being on her side, after the birth of her daughter Olivia in May, Kelly O’Dwyer was advised to express her breast-milk rather than breastfeed in parliament, in order to prevent disruption.

(Image: Facebook)

Fairfax Media reports O’Dwyer received the ‘advice’ from Chief Whip Scott Buchholz, after she was unable to attend a speaking obligation and a division because she had just begun breastfeeding her daughter.

The issue is now said to be resolved, and the pair have refused to comment. According to sources known to Fairfax however, O’Dwyer was extremely unhappy to receive unsolicited feeding advice from her colleague.

breastfeeeding in parliament
O’Dwyer’s daughter Olivia. (Image: Twitter)

Currently, the rules stand that breastfeeding mothers are to be given a proxy vote – that is, their vote is counted in their physical absence. It is believed the Whip was unaware of the rules at the time the comment was made, but was informed by the Opposition’s Chief Whip, Chris Hayes.

Labor’s health spokeswoman Catherine King remembers the introduction of the proxy vote for breast-feeding mothers well, as it was introduced when her own son, now seven, was a baby.
“The Whip should have known,” she said.
After her return to work in August, O’Dwyer is now one of three mothers in parliament.
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