Good news! WA Labor Opposition to introduce laws on breastfeeding discrimination

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[Photo: Families in peaceful protest outside Colin Barnett’s office last week. Posted with permission.]


In response to community pressure and protest, the Labor Party of Western Australia (currently in Opposition) plans to introduce a private member’s bill to finally catch up with the rest of the nation in breastfeeding discrimination law. WA Today reports:

Bid to protect breastfeeding mums

Opposition spokeswoman for women’s interests Michelle Roberts has taken up the mantle after breastfeeding mothers protested last week about the lack of legislated protections for women who breastfeed.

The protest was sparked when mother Mandy Crabtree was told to leave the Hyatt Hotel because she was breastfeeding her son in the hotel’s foyer.

Western Australia is the only state not to have drafted or implemented legislation to protect mothers from discrimination.

I reported on one breastfeeding protest outside Premier Colin Barnett’s office last week. Strangely, the news media decided to report on the protest with six mothers at the Hyatt, but didn’t bother with the much larger, more visible, and appropriately-targeted protest at Barnett’s Cottesloe office.

At the time, Barnett had refused to introduce laws to protect women’s and children’s right to breastfeed, but eventually reluctantly conceded that if someone else introduced them, he’d vote “yes” to stop himself from looking bad. Barnett said:

A mother, with a baby, obviously should be able to breastfeed her child in public areas and do so discreetly and modestly […] Now I am not going to be voting against that. I am not going to put myself in a position of being against mothers who breastfeed their babies, that is an absurd proposition.

Good on you to the families who protested and to all the people who have been writing letters and agitating on this issue. We’re getting somewhere.

Categories: gender & feminism, law & order

Tags: , , ,

10 replies

  1. do so discreetly and modestly […]
    Oh get fucked, old Taliban Tits.

  2. Hooray! He’d better vote for it now, or people will start calling him names 😉

  3. Thnx Helen. Snickering away so much that Miss Ten has asked me to explain.

  4. Hurray!
    Michelle Roberts was VERY sensible about it, speaking on 6PR this afternoon (I only listened because I was on hold to speak next). She said that it’s such a tiny amendment and yet so important because breastfeeding rates are so low and it has so many benefits. She even said that it’s *normal*. I know we all know that, but it was pleasing to hear a politician say it.

  5. JB women (and friends) really do rock! Go women!

  6. Update: The West now has a story also, here:

    MP to introduce WA breastfeeding Bill
    Mother-of-three, Georgina Ker, who organised a sit-in for breastfeeding mothers at the Premier’s office last week, said she was pleased the Opposition were supportive of the cause.
    “It’s hard enough for mums to breastfeed and to be parents really, in today’s society without having to worry about whether we’re going to be asked to leave a restaurant,” Ms Ker said. “Hopefully it will give mums the confidence to know that choosing to breastfeed won’t interfere with their life.”

    Congratulations Georgie! *accolades*

  7. The women at the protest outside Mr Barnetts office on Thursday have done a great job in publiscising this issue, and I appreciate the way in which you have reported it. I was a part of the protest at the Hyatt which although small did have more than 6 people. (There were 11 adults and 9 babies/young children) The media on the day seemed to miss the point of the protest, which was to argue for legislation to be introduced, not to denigrate the Hyatt in any way, they also emphasised that there wer only 8 mothers, but left out the much appreciated father and grandmothers who were also there to show their support. Thank you Michelle Roberts for taking the issue further!

  8. Hi, Proudpublicbreastfeeder. Congratulations on how successful the protests have been (misreporting by the media? Never!) I think it’s marvellous that Roberts is on side, and really really hope this can go forward without Colin “Taliban Tits” Barnett trying to introduce a “modesty clause”.

  9. “Discreetly and modestly…” Has he tried to breastfeed twins? Nothing discreet or modest about it. And now that they’re toddlers they’re prone to stop mid-feed and gaze about, grinning, leaving me blowing in the breeze. Think I’m going to plan a holiday to WA, with quite a few restaurant meals thrown in…

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