This has nothing to do with football, but plenty to do with sexism and petty-minded politics going hand in hand.
By way of background, here is Senator Sarah Hanson-Young's interview with Sky News Australia yesterday, including footage of Thursday afternoon's incident in the Senate when her two-year daughter was forcibly ejected from the chamber while the division bells were ringing because, consistent with Standing Orders, the toddler was a "stranger":
The really disturbing thing about this unfortunate episode is the flood of negative and unsympathetic reaction that has appeared since. The "put her in childcare", "Parliament is no place for a child", descnding to "stay home with the bub, luv" and worse.
Going right beyond the pale was the claim by Senator Barnaby Joyce (Nat, Qld) that Senator Hanson-Young was staging a stunt. An interesting observation considering that Hansard shows that Senator Joyce was not even present for the division that was in progress at the time.
But if there's anything that makes me squirm about being an Australian, it's this blog entry by a Daily Telegraph columnist so foul that I refuse to let Google find his name on my website.
I do wonder, however, whether the reaction would have been different if Senator Hanson-Young didn't happen to be a member of the Greens?
Federal Parliament is a workplace and can be expected to have its workplace rules. As an employer, it can be expected to provide adequately for its working parents. What happened on Thursday was, as Senator Hanson-Young explained, an unusual moment and an unfortunate coincident of events. Senate President John Hogg later acknowledged that it could have been handled better.
Hopefully, when Senate resumes on Monday, rules will be changed so that the President of the Senate can exercise his or her discretion to determine that pre-school children of Senators are not deemed "strangers" when the situation arises.
Female members of parliament with young children are a fairly recent phenomenon in what has, for over a hundred years, been an extremely blokey institution. It's time attitudes changed.
Transcript of the incident in question can be seen at openaustralia.org.