News

Sorry's not enough as mums to protest pool breastfeed ban

Liana Webster – pictured with Kylan, 6, Jayda, 5, and daughter Rori Webster-Camilleri – has faced discrimination after breastfeeding at the Bribie Island Aquatic Centre.
Liana Webster – pictured with Kylan, 6, Jayda, 5, and daughter Rori Webster-Camilleri – has faced discrimination after breastfeeding at the Bribie Island Aquatic Centre. IAIN CURRY

AN APOLOGY to a young mum asked not to breastfeed at a public pool was not enough.

That is the view of more than 30 mothers who plan to protest on Saturday outside a council-owned  pool.  

Liana Webster, 26, said she was humiliated and in tears after being asked to stop breastfeeding her youngest child at the side of the public pool while she was watching her other youngsters swimming.

Liana Webster, 26, was visiting Bribie Island Aquatic Centre, run by the Moreton Bay Council, with her three children.

Ms Webster said she was left embarrassed and ashamed when told by an employee she was not allowed to breastfeed while sitting alongside the pool.

A council spokeswoman apologised yesterday for the incident.

Ms Webster said she was told to move to the baby change room or to a more secluded area and to cover herself.

"I said that telling me to stop feeding was illegal, but the staff member insisted that it wasn't," she said.

"I was told I was offending other patrons."

Ms Webster said the incident made her cry due to the embarrassment of being told in front of her children.

"My boys are five and six," she said.

"They heard everything that was going on and they asked me why I was upset.

"We were at a pool where people were showing skin in all kinds of directions. It made me feel as though I was doing something I should be ashamed of."

Ms Webster said she asked for a refund as the family had to leave, but was refused.

More than 7000 people shared Ms Webster's Facebook posts about the incident.

Since then Ms Webster has started an open Facebook group inviting mothers to a nurse-in at the pool on Saturday.

"Anti-discrimination laws were broken and I was left publicly humiliated," Ms Webster said.

"I have organised this nurse-in to spread the word to as many people as possible that no matter what your opinion is, breastfeeding in public is not illegal."

Dr Maya Griffiths, from the Australian Breastfeeding Association, said under federal law breastfeeding was a right.

A Moreton Bay Regional Council spokeswoman said staff at the Bribie Island Aquatic Leisure Centre had received a complaint about a mother breastfeeding in the pool from a family also in the pool.

"Moreton Bay Regional Council regrets any distress caused to the mother or her family, and staff have been made aware of the relevant legislation in this area," the spokeswoman said.

A Sunshine Coast Council spokesman said the council had no policies, protocols or local laws preventing a mother from breastfeeding in council venues, facilities or on community land, unless it was a safety risk.

>> ILLEGAL OR NOT?

The breastfeeding bare facts:

Under Australian Federal law, breastfeeding is a right, not a privilege.

Under the Federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984 it is illegal in Australia to discriminate against a person either directly or indirectly on the grounds of breastfeeding.

In Queensland, breastfeeding discrimination is explicitly illegal.

Topics:  breastfeeding, editors picks, parenting




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Goomeri Pumpkin Festival program for Sunday

Fun at last year’s Goomeri Pumpkin Festival during the great pumpkin roll.

Goomeri Pumpkin Festival Program on Sunday

10 Jobs you can get in Gympie right now

Jobs board graphic.

Are you looking for work as an outdoor ed teacher, plumber, nurse or assistant...

Man in 60s suffers serious cut with grinder

A COOLOOLA Cove man in his 60s was taken to hospital this morning following an accident with a power tool at his home.

Grinder cuts mans leg and foot

Latest deals and offers

Chinese trade delegation

Chinese trade delegation visits Gympie region and meets with local producers at the...

DV support march

Darcy Cavanaugh speaks about the Refocus domestic violence support walk on May 27...

Dick Schroder

Mary Valley dairy farmer Cooloola Milk owner operator Dick Schroeder.

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked