Just weeks out from giving birth to her second child, Victorian Senator Jana Stewart has posted a proud portrait of herself on Twitter, as the 47th Parliament begins sitting today.
“Casually taking my seat in the Senate today at 35 weeks pregnant,” the Labor senator wrote.
The proud Mutthi Mutthi and Wamba Wamba woman wanted to remind fellow Australian women that no barriers should exist when it comes to representing ourselves and our communities in politics.
“An important message to all women that you belong in Parliament, and in all places where big decisions are made, no matter what stage of life you’re in.”
Stewart, 34, was elected in May, becoming Labor’s first Victorian Aboriginal senator.
“It’s an incredible privilege to be elected to the Senate and there’s been a lot of talk about all the glass ceilings that have been broken,” she said earlier this year.
“The incredible amount of First Nations people… in this federal parliament: six for Labor, the doubling of First Nations caucus, an increase of multicultural people across our parliament.”
“I am incredibly excited about that. [I] look forward to a day when we don’t have to celebrate those things, that these are just things that are business as usual for our country and for our parliament.”
The former family therapist said she wanted to inspire other young First Nations women to follow in her footsteps.
“To me, it’s an incredibly powerful message to lots of other young Aboriginal women children who can see themselves reflected in our national parliament, that this is a place that you can aspire to be,” she said.
“This is a place that you belong. Because you’ve got incredible people like Aunty Linda Burney and Senator [Malarndirri] McCarthy in places like this as well who who have come before me. It’s a really powerful message.”
Stewart’s appointment replaced a vacancy left by the sudden and tragic death of Kimberley Kitching in March from a heart attack. The former bureaucrat ran against federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in his Melbourne seat of Kooyong in 2019, and previously worked as the deputy secretary of Victoria’s Department of Justice.