Elena Phillips is only six months old, but she's already spent more time (almost) crawling in the halls of power than many people dream of.
This week marked Canberra MP Alicia Payne's return to Parliament after giving birth to Elena in September, a milestone the Labor MP described as "daunting".
"It's not easy, but it's the juggle families all around Australia are facing," she said.
The juggle for a politician is made easier by rules allowing babies to be brought onto the floor of the House of Representatives, and that Ms Payne has been able to have Elena in the office, along with a cot, toys and her "parliamentary play palace" playpen.
Elena is also part of a baby boom in Parliament, with Ms Payne's Labor colleague Anika Wells also returning to Parliament this week with her twin boys. A handful of other MPs have also welcomed new additions in recent months.
"I'm not pretending you can do your work when you've got a baby but just to have her, and be able to give her cuddles and things, because if I suddenly wasn't with her for the 12-to-14-hour days of Parliament, that would be really hard," Ms Payne said.
"Many jobs, obviously, you can't do that. But many, you probably can, if people were more accepting of it."
For Ms Payne and her husband, academic Ben Phillips, the return to work has been smoothed by the Australian National University's parental leave policy, which has allowed Associate Professor Phillips to start six months' leave as Ms Payne goes back to work full time.
"When it becomes normal for both parents to take time off, when a baby's born, or to go part time with children, that will be the key to gender equality in the workplace," she said.
It was significant for Ms Payne that her return to work, with her second child in tow, came as Parliament reckoned with the treatment of women within its walls, and Australia more broadly faced a call from women for an end to sexism and justice for sexual assaults and harassment.
"We've seen an eruption of a feeling of not being listened to," Ms Payne said.
"Really, the crux of this issue is women just want to be treated as equals, as human beings.
Ms Payne said she hopes Elena will grow up in a more equal world than earlier generations, but she also feels responsibility in raising her three-year-old son Paul.
"I want to see both of them when they're adults share the same responsibilities and opportunities. So I want to see them both feel the same entitlement to jump up for a promotion or a job as they do to jump up and do the washing up," she said.
Ms Payne said she was sickened by allegations made by anonymous female Labor staffers that they, too, had been subject to sexual assault and harassment.
"I would encourage all current and former staffers to tell their stories, and that no one should be afraid to come forward," she said.
Before entering politics as an elected representative, Ms Payne worked in two political offices as a staffer, for former Labor leader Bill Shorten and former Labor minister Jenny Macklin. The recent debate around conditions for staffers has hit home for Ms Payne, having experienced parliamentary offices from both sides of the equation.
"We do need to change the culture here - the workplace culture - and part of that is about putting the structures in place," she said.
"Working as a staffer, it's not like other jobs where there is an HR area that looks after you, there's less focus on the individual's career progression or investing in them in terms of training.
"And it is a culture where certain things can fly that wouldn't in normal workplaces. And it's it's not just around the sexism, it's a culture where it can be accepted to yell at people or be grumpy because you're the boss, that sort of thing. So as an MP now, I take real personal responsibility that I want to be the kind of employer that I would like to be employed by."
One of the MPs who walked to the lawns out the front of Parliament to attend the March 4 Justice on Monday, Ms Payne said she identified with some of the words of former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins, whose allegation she was raped inside Parliament House lit the fuse and sparked the current push for change.
Ms Higgins said her trauma was compounded because she was let down by the people who were her "idols".
"It's your dream job, when you come as a young staffer and have this opportunity to work on policies for the nation with people you deeply admire," Ms Payne said.
"People work incredibly hard, but it should never be that you need to accept things that are unacceptable in other workplaces."
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