'It has to stop': Second woman ejected from courtroom for breastfeeding
Another breastfeeding mother has been ejected from Victoria's County Court after being told her presence was distracting.
Judge Mark Gamble told Peta Brunel today she would have to leave his courtroom, soon after her five-month-old baby started crying.
Brunel attended court with a handful of other women this morning for a "peaceful" protest after a woman was ejected from court by the same judge for breastfeeding last week.
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"I really felt for her. It's difficult when you have a young baby to find places to feed and go about normal life," Brunel said outside court.
"If that had been me in the first few weeks, I would have been heartbroken.
"I felt for her and felt it was important to make a stand.
"It's a broader issue about breastfeeding spaces.
"For example, in court, they have a baby room which doesn't even have a chair.
"If you want to feed a baby, where do you go?"
Brunel was asked to leave the courtroom after Gamble and two lawyers agreed her child would be a distraction.
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She had already taken her baby outside after she started crying earlier.
"I was in court after seeing what happened last week and she became unsettled so I took her out and calmed her down. Once she was settled, I took her back in and put her on my breast to feed," Brunel said.
"Once we got back into the courtroom, she was making little noises but obviously quietened down once I popped her on my breast.
"The judge sought submissions from both sides of the court and both lawyers felt the presence of the baby in the courtroom and the breastfeeding was a distraction and on that basis, the judge ejected me from the courtroom."
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Protest organiser Stacey Harley said mothers should not be shamed for breastfeeding.
"Hopefully the power of social media helps spread (the message that) breastfeeding is protected by law under the Equal Opportunity Act of 2010. Wherever mum and baby are together, they can feed together," she said.
"So many mothers every day are shamed for doing this. It has to stop."
The County Court has been contacted for comment.
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