17 Aug It’s a political baby boom
Annika Smethurst – The Daily Telegraph – Sunday 16 August 2020
Dummy spits, tantrums set to surge in corridors of power AS if there are not enough tantrums in the corridors of power, Canberra is about to be hit by a parliamentary baby boom.
A dozen new political babies will arrive by Christmas.
In November, Labor MP Anika Wells will become the first federal MP to give birth to twins in office. She is planing to bring her twins to Canberra for sitting weeks along with daughter Celeste, 3. The Queenslander, 35, said the baby boom reflected the fact there were more young people in Parliament who were trying to time pregnancies around election cycles.
Ms Wells is one of six Labor MPs, including SA senator Marielle Smith, expecting a baby in the coming months.
Canberra MP Alicia Payne is due to give birth to her second child in September and Victorian MP Kate Thwaites is expecting her second baby in December.
The wives of WA MPs Patrick Gorman and Matt Keogh are also pregnant. Townsville based Liberal MP Phil Thompson became a father for the second time in April, while International Development Minister Alex Hawke and wife Amelia recently welcomed their fourth son.
Mr Hawke went on 12 overseas trips last year as well as travelling from Sydney to Canberra for sitting weeks.
Mr Hawke said he tried to give his wife a half-day without the children each week, acknowledging how difficult it was for the parent who stays at home.
“We love it but I think four will be enough,” he said.
Mr Hawke welcomed the baby boom, believing it meant MPs would be more focused on the needs of families.
“The place is benefiting from having more young MPs and female MPs,” he said. Queensland Liberal MP Julian Simmonds and wife Maddy welcomed baby Isabelle in June, while Victorian Liberal Senator James Paterson and wife Lydia are expecting a baby girl next month.
Senator Paterson admitted he was a “bit anxious” ahead of the birth because of Victoria’s strict lockdown measures.
“Our family won’t be able to visit the hospital and it might mean a longer time away from grandparents,” he said.
He said the pandemic had a “silver lining” because he has been able to spend more time at home with his wife and young son.
“This pandemic is a terrible thing but it’s allowed me to be home for dinners which is an unusual thing,” Senator Paterson said.