Breastfeeding children and women a “low priority” – Western Australian parliament

a woman feeds her baby at the breastfeeding legislation protest in 2009

Remember the protests in Perth last year about Premier Barnett’s party failing to bring WA into line with the rest of Australia with laws protecting breastfeeding families from harassment? In which Barnett insisted that there would be no need for a law if only women were “courteous” and “modest”? Even after a woman was ejected from a restaurant for merely asking for a more private place to breastfeed; even after a woman was follower and questioned in her workplace by police for expressing milk behind a curtain in a parenting room? In which Barnett pouted that any change to the law would be merely “symbolic” as far as he was concerned?

Here’s the previous Hoyden coverage:

* April 16, 2009: Mothers Not Human: In The Words Of Our Premier

* April 23, 2009: Families protest breastfeeding discrimination at Barnett’s office; is he about to flip?

* April 29, 2009: Good news! WA Labor Opposition to introduce laws on breastfeeding discrimination

* September 15, 2009: SUCCESS! Breastfeeding discrimination law likely to change in WA

That Bill? The Equal Opportunity Amendment Bill 2009? The one that passed the Lower House months ago? It’s still not gone to the Upper House. The government considers it “low priority”. The bill is absolutely straightforward; it basically changes “pregnancy” as an illegal grounds for discrimination to “pregnancy or breast feeding”, and in places includes “bottle feeding” as well.

Another mother has reported an experience of harassment in a Bunbury cafe, as reported in the West:
Upset mum lobbies for breastfeeding law

Bunbury mother Jess Beven has called for new laws protecting breastfeeding mothers from discrimination to be hurried through Parliament after she was humiliated when asked to leave a local cafe as she fed her nine-month old son.

The call comes just days after Labor MP Rita Saffioti said she intended to bring her newborn daughter Grace into Parliament, testing rules which could result in the infant being ejected from the House.

These reports are the tiny tip of the iceberg. For every one that reaches the papers, there are many more women and children harassed and removed from venues.

The article goes on:

Shadow women’s interests minister Michelle Roberts said her Bill should be expedited given its significance to WA women.

A spokesman for Norman Moore, Government Leader in the Legislative Council, said the Bill would be dealt with as a matter of course as the Council worked its way through its ordinary business.

Bills that have been passed between September and now include a bill to tweak the bookmakers’ betting levy, legislation to increase police powers of search and seizure, minor amendments to the Fisheries Adjustment Schemes Act 1987, trivial wording tweaks to the Valuation of Land Act 1978, and a set of minor statute repeals.



Categories: gender & feminism, law & order, Politics

Tags: , , , ,

4 replies

  1. Sounds like it’s time for another rally.

  2. Suggestions for ambush interviewers: “With regard to the right to eat in public without harassment as do other residents of Western Australia, our viewers wish to know: What about the children, Premier Barnett? What about the children? Does the Liberal Party wish children to starve or be hidden away from public view? Is it the LP’s official position that it is shameful to be a child?”
    Roll tape of the lack of response on the evening news, with the ambush interviewer in studio wearing a Very Serious Face. “Premier Colin Barnett’s office declined to respond to our requests for comment in time for this broadcast. We can only assume the answers to our questions are not ones the Premier wishes the voters of Western Australia to hear. Rest assured we will pursue this matter.
    “It’s for the children’s sake, after all.”
    Post the whole mess to web with transcript. Email notices to parenting/breastfeeding interest groups. Polish fingernails and bask in aura of evil turned to good ends.
    .-= kaninchenzero´s last blog ..Re: Trust Me =-.

  3. Ooh, kaninchenzero, that’s EVIL!
    I *LOVE* it!

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