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Outrage after breastfeeding mum asked to leave Melbourne courtroom



Campaigners are speaking out after a breastfeeding mother was asked to leave a public gallery at a Victorian court.

County Court Judge Mark Gamble addressed the woman directly in front of a busy court during a high-profile trial yesterday, telling her she needed to leave because she may be causing a distraction.

The woman, who has chosen to remain anonymous, has said that after leaving the courtroom at the County Court in Melbourne CBD, she started crying and felt shocked and degraded.

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Medical professional and and advocacy groups have been outraged over the move, while the County Court and the Judge himself have not publicly commented on the matter.

Edwina Sharrock, midwife and founder of Birth Beat, told Today she "can't fathom" the Judge's comments.

"It is so important that we do address this and call this behaviour out," she said.

"The only positive that can come out of this story is for anyone watching today and for the public, if you do see a breastfeeding mother, offer them a smile, offer them a drink of water, tell them they're doing an amazing job. Use this an opportunity to promote breastfeeding mums."

Naomi Hull from the Australian Breastfeeding Association told Today that "all around Australia there is still a bit of work to be done on ensuring that breastfeeding is seen as culturally normal and it is welcomed everywhere".

Breastfeeding is allowed in Australian Parliament, with laws changed to allow babies to be brought into the House of Representatives in 2016.

While there are many rules that stipulate what can be worn and done in Victorian courtrooms, breastfeeding is not mentioned in the rules.

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