‘Historic’ moment mum breastfeeds while asking question on ABC Q&A TV show

‘Historic’ moment mum openly breastfeeds on live TV as she asks an ABC’s Q&A panel about Australia’s rental crisis: ‘Love that it’s now normal’

  • Breastfeeding mother Kat Watkins is praised for performing act in Q&A question
  • She told host Stan Grant about cost of living pressures in Wagga Wagga 
  • Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth declined call to impose rental cap 

Social media has erupted with praise after the ABC’s Q&A program broadcast a question from a young mum about the cost of living while she breastfed.

Kat Watkins’ baby gripped her blouse on Thursday evening as she told host Stan Grant how she had moved to Wagga Wagga, in southern NSW, to find a good job and a more affordable house.

The young mum asked Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth a question about rent control, reporting how her weekly rent increased sharply with every lease renewal, as she breastfed.

The vast majority of viewers praised the Skype call moment. 

‘Breastfeeding on QandA must be a first. Well done’, said one Twitter user.

‘Hats off to the mum breastfeeding her kid as she asks a question on Q&A,’ said another. 


A young mother has been hailed as a ‘breastfeeding crusader’ after asking a question on the ABC’s Q&A program while cradling her baby

‘We’re in the 21st century!’ another man celebrated.

Not everyone was as welcoming: ‘I could have done without the distraction of the breastfeeding on national TV,’ said another. 

In addressing Ms Watkins’s question about possible rent control, Ms Rishworth said tenancies were a matter for state governments, even though the previous Coalition government in 2020 had imposed a six-month moratorium on tenant evictions.

‘Well, look, I mean tenant rules and laws are matters for state government,’ she said.

Labor went to the May 2022 election with a $10billion Housing Australia Future Fund promise to build 30,000 new social and affordable housing properties in its first five years.

Q&A host Stan Grant asked Ms Watkins about the cost of living pressures she is under

Q&A host Stan Grant asked Ms Watkins about the cost of living pressures she is under

What the banks are now expecting

WESTPAC: 3.6 per cent cash rate by March 2023 (up from 3.35 per cent in February)

COMMONWEALTH BANK: 2.85 per cent cash rate by November (up from 2.6 per cent)

ANZ: 3.6 per cent by May (up from 3.35 per cent cash rate by December)

NAB: 2.85 per cent cash rate by November

‘We’ve made a commitment where we’re going forward as setting up a Future Australia where we’re actually going to build public housing, community housing,’ Ms Rishworth said.

The cabinet minister promised to work with local councils to build public housing but declined to commit to putting a cap on rental increases, citing the constitution when Greens deputy leader Mehreen Faruqi challenged her.

Senator Faruqi called for the federal government to freeze rents for two years and called for a million new homes over the next 20 years.

‘Rents are sky high,’ she said.

‘The situation is so bad in Australia that people are living in cars, they’re living in tents, they’re living in caravans.

‘They’re moving from motel to motel.’ 

The New South Wales Riverina region, taking in Wagga Wagga, has a tight rental vacancy rate of just 0.5 per cent, SQM Research data showed.

In early 2018, it was at 2.5 per cent. 

Ms Watkins said weekly rents were increasing sharply with each annual lease renewal, which meant she was more financially stressed working fewer hours to raise her children.

‘That was originally maybe $10, $20 a year with every new lease but the most recent lease went up $50 and that coincided with maternity leave and me working less,’ she said.

Landlord investors who rent out homes are also being squeezed with the Reserve Bank of Australia in October raising the cash rate for a sixth straight month to a nine-year high of 2.6 per cent.

The latest increase means a borrower with an average $600,000 mortgage will see their repayments climb by another $89 a month to $3,055, with the major banks all passing on the RBA’s 0.25 percentage point increase. 

Grant noted Kat’s son was resting comfortably following the live TV discussion ‘after enjoying his meal’.

The ABC had shown footage of her nipple as she breastfed during the Skype call on live television.

What a 0.25 percentage point rate rise in October will mean for you

$500,000: Up $74 to $2,546 from $2,472

$600,000: Up $89 to $3,055 from $2,966 

$700,000: Up $104 to $3,564 from $3,460

$800,000: Up $118 to $4,073 from $3,955  

$900,000: Up $133 to $4,582 from $4,449

$1,000,000: Up $148 to $5,091 from $4,943 

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