[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:
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.