Rise in complaints due to breastfeeding controversy

IMPAIRMENT and race still spark the most number of discrimination complaints in Queensland by far but it seems more breastfeeding mothers are standing up for their rights.

Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland received six complaints in 2012-13, compared to just one in the previous financial year.

Smack in the middle of that financial year was the national furore sparked when a Bribie Island pool asked a mother of three to stop feeding her 11-month-old baby in the open.

Protests followed with nursing mothers and the media in full support of her right to feed her baby while taking her family for a dip on a hot day in January.

"A baby has the right to be breastfed wherever and whenever necessary," the Australian Breastfeeding Association says.

"Every baby is an individual, with different feeding, sleeping and crying patterns.

"A mother should be encouraged to respond to all her baby's needs."

During 2012-13 financial year, the ADCQ responded to 3331 inquiries, and finalised 648 complaints.

Of the complaints finalised, 27.5% related to impairment discrimination, 10% were about race discrimination and 8% alleged sex discrimination. Sexual harassment complaints, mostly gender based, made up a further 9.7% of the total.

Discrimination on the basis of impairment remains the dominant ground, consistent with previous years.

Race and sex discrimination allegations also remain significant, followed by family responsibilities, pregnancy and age.

Sexual harassment complaints make up a further 9.7% of accepted complaints but have dropped 12% from last year.

This may involve allegations of unwelcome sexual behaviour such as comments about a person's body or sex life, blue jokes, requests for sexual favours, sexualised emails and text messages, gestures, touching and even rape.

Victimisation complaints, remaining at last year's high levels of 9.5%, arise where a complainant or witness feels they have been picked on for being involved in a complaint.

"The number and proportion of work related complaints shows that workplace fairness is the most significant area of people's lives," the report reads.

"Sixty-six per cent of discrimination complaints arose in the workplace or when seeking work.

"Twelve-and-a-half per cent of complaints arise in the area of the provision of goods and services, which includes access to public places and buildings.

"A significant number of race discrimination complaints arose in connection with the provision of goods and services (18%)."



  • Age 32
  • Breastfeeding 5
  • Family Responsibility 38
  • Gender Identity 1
  • Impairment 168
  • Lawful Sexual Activity 1
  • Parental Status 21
  • Pregnancy 33
  • Race 62
  • Relationship Status 3
  • Religion 12
  • Sex 51
  • Sexuality 11
  • Trade Union Activity 1

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