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New Zealand Speaker babysitting an MP's newborn during debate wins hearts on social media

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Social media was flooded with love and praises for New Zealand Speaker Trevor Mallard after his photo of babysitting lawmaker Tamati Coffey's newborn son in Parliament amid a heated debate over rising fuel prices in the country went viral.

Mallard gained an enormous fan following across the for his sweet gesture of babysitting Coffey's one-month-old son while carrying out his duties.

Seated on his chair, the speaker not only cradled the little boy but also fed him milk while Coffey took part in the debate which he was presiding over.

Australian writer and social commentator, Van Badham, took to Twitter saying, "This. Let's do this, people. Let's look after one another, and care for children, and make power and parliaments look like all of us."

"Good on you, @tamaticoffey and @SpeakerTrevor - and your comrades and colleagues - for showing us all how it is done," she added.

Videos showed Mallard rocking the baby as he listened to the debate. At one point, he warns a lawmaker that their time had run out, followed by a gurgle of agreement from the baby.

"Thank you for normalizing the family unit," one person tweeted in response to Mallard's photo, adding "We need to see more of this. Workplaces need to adapt to enable this behavior."

Another Twitter user said, "New might be a small country, but you have a huge lesson to teach the world!"

Many lawmakers were just as supportive. Gareth Hughes, a Green Party parliamentary member, posted a photo of Mallard holding up and smiling at the baby. "Lovely to have a baby in the House, and what a beautiful one," Hughes tweeted.

Last year, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made history by bringing her baby daughter along to her debut speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, sending out a powerful message about women in leadership roles, and about parents in the workplace. She later returned to her job, while her partner, Clarke Gayford, became a stay-at-home dad.

Prior to this, Australian Senator Larissa Waters had addressed the Parliament while breastfeeding her baby" in 2017. In Canada, Liberal MP Karina Gould breastfed her three-month-old son during a debate on legalising marijuana in the country.

However, breastfeeding is not permitted in the House of Commons.

Citing a recent incident, a female lawmaker, Zuleikha Hassan, earlier this month, was asked to leave the Kenyan Parliament after she brought her 5-month-old baby along.

Even though children are not allowed in the Parliament, the lawmaker took the step after she could not find a sitter. Her move also highlighted that the Parliament lacked a daycare centre, even though one was promised back in 2013, according to CNN.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, August 23 2019. 02:55 IST