Karl Stefanovic’s scathing message to judge who kicked out breastfeeding mum from his courtroom: ‘What is the big deal?’
- Karl Stefanovic slammed Victorian judge
- Judge ordered breastfeeding mum out of court
Karl Stefanovic has blasted a judge for booting a breastfeeding mum and her child out of a courtroom.
The Today Show host ripped into the judge and his decision to kick out the pair from Victorian County Court on Thursday.
The judge had told the woman he believed she would be a ‘distraction’, prompting her to leave the room in tears and leaving her feeling humiliated.
An outraged Stefanovic slammed the judge for how he had treated the mother and shared a blunt message for anyone who agreed with the decision.
Karl Stefanovic has blasted a judge for booting a breastfeeding mum and her child out of a courtroom
‘I can’t believe in this modern society,’ he said on Friday.
‘There are going to be people out there who say, ‘Oh, well, she could’ve gone outside somewhere else’. Come off it, what is the big deal?’
She had been observing a matter in the Victorian County Court when the judge told her to leave.
‘Madam, you will not be permitted to breastfeed a baby in court,’ he said.
‘It will be a distraction, and I’ll have to ask you to leave.’
Former Olympic skier and politician Kirstie Marshall labelled the decision ‘extraordinary and disappointing’.
The topic is particularly close for Ms Marshall after she was told to leave the Legislative Assembly while nursing her 11-day-old baby Charlotte in 2003.
‘I thought we, as a modern society, were well and truly past this,’ she told Herald Sun.
Melbourne obstetrician Nisha Khot described the incident as appalling.
‘We’ve tried so hard to get past so many barriers for women who want to breastfeed and to have this happen in a court of law is just not acceptable at all,’ she said.
‘Babies have been breastfed in the parliament of this country and in other parliaments.
‘I don’t think there is any public space in which breastfeeding a baby should be unacceptable.’
The judge had told the woman he believed she would be a ‘distraction’ prompting her to leave the room in tears and leaving her feeling humiliated (stock image)
She said breastfeeding had long-term implications for mother and child so anything stopping that could impact their health.
People are not allowed to eat, drink or wear clothing such as sunglasses and hats in court.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women are protected by anti-discrimination laws in areas of public life including work, schools, universities, shops or rental properties.
However, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s website does not state whether the legislation applies to court rooms.
The Parenthood chief executive Georgie Dent said it was incredibly humiliating to be asked to leave somewhere because of breastfeeding.
‘It creates this impression of some sort of shame around feeding your baby,’ Ms Dent said.
‘If we police people for that we just increase the isolation that mothers experience and we create a situation where breastfeeding becomes that much more difficult.’
Judges are immune from civil liability on the basis of promoting independence.
The County Court declined to comment.