Breastfeeding fury: Debate between bottle and breastfeeding turns vitriolic in WA parliament
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Breastfeeding fury: Debate between bottle and breastfeeding turns vitriolic in WA parliament

A fiery exchange about whether MPs should be allowed to breastfeed in Parliament has led to suggestions Transport Minister Rita Saffioti accused Nationals leader Mia Davies of not understanding the issue because she doesn't have children.

But Ms Saffioti is vehemently denying she disparaged Ms Davies in this way.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti during a fiery debate in Parliament over whether women should be allowed to breastfeed in the chamber.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti during a fiery debate in Parliament over whether women should be allowed to breastfeed in the chamber.Credit:Nine News Perth

Ms Saffioti was speaking about her experiences when she was banned from breastfeeding her children in the chamber.

She said she was laughed at and mocked by Liberal politicians.

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"They made it very difficult," she said.

"They talk about bonding, but their actions impacted me and my child.

"They attack the women talking about their emotional time when they had their children."

Ms Davies, who said during the debate that she didn't have children, accused Ms Saffioti of politicising the debate and said she had "more front than Myer".

But Ms Saffioti said the right to breastfeed her child was one she was denied and was mocked over.

"The Leader of the Nationals has not been in that situation," she said.

"She does not know what it is like but she let her colleague mock me."

Ms Davies was visibly shaken by the remark.

It is understood Ms Saffioti maintains she was not referring to Ms Davies' personal circumstances but the experience of being mocked for wanting to breastfeed in the chamber.

Ms Davies had moved that bottle feeding of infants should also be allowed in the chamber, but this was voted down after it was opposed by government MPs.

During the debate, Cottesloe MP David Honey accused Ms Saffioti of "making up" the impact not being able to breastfeed had on her and her child, a remark Mr Honey withdrew.

Ms Saffioti also withdrew an accusation Mr Honey was sexist.

Deputy opposition leader Liza Harvey said Ms Saffioti's behaviour had been appalling.

"She stood up in the chamber, acted like a complete bully, tried to politicise what should be a very simple amendment that has unanimous support to both houses of Parliament," she said.

"Her behaviour today was disgraceful and certainly very hurtful to some other members."

Yesterday Premier Mark McGowan urged members of Parliament to leave family members out of political attacks.

Nathan is WAtoday's political reporter.

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