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A sad boob


I’m generally pretty pessimistic. A bit cynical maybe. One of the advantages of that approach to life is that bad news and stupid behaviour isn’t so likely to take me by surprise. I was kind of expecting it anyway.

But every now and then something so nasty and idiotic comes along that it still manages to shock me.

This story is an example.

OK, the legal system is perverse, judges are authoritarian and hubristic. I knew that.

Baseless pseudo-science is routinely accepted as evidence in court. I spent years fighting against it.

Your most fundamental human rights can be swept away by the stigma of mental illness. That’s hardly news to me either.

A lot of the sexism in our society comes to a head around ‘motherhood issues’ such as breast-feeding. I’d come to expect that as well.

But for a male judge to rule that a mother cannot breastfeed her infant on an utterly bogus claim of HIV risk because he thought she should be receiving medication for post-natal depression …

This time it will be overturned on appeal. There are too many political hot buttons in the case and our courts are nothing if not political. Maybe Judge Myers doesn’t care if this hits the front page but his fellow silk and horsehair fetishists are unlikely to be so sanguine.

But when you go to bed tonight, reflect for a second. There are thousands of people lying in cells and locked wards across the country as a result of procedures and prejudices like these.

From → politics

  1. Lisa H permalink

    Wow, who is this Matthew Myers and how did this even make it into a court room?


    • If you think he’s so different to his colleagues you should sit in on a few court cases some day. Darwin courts provide some excellent education in that respect.


    • how did this even make it into a court room?

      From my reading of the story Myers met the woman’s ex during a custody hearing and put the idea to him to take out an injunction against breast feeding. Of course it’s likely to be a bit more messy and complex than that but a lot of weird stuff gets into the legal system via the family courts.


  2. The follow-up story said Myers’ ruling was overturned, thank goodness.

    While it’s still not clear to me, it looks like the whole issue was about custody. Where’s *any* evidence that this mother’s PPD was a danger to her child? How can a *judge* decide whether someone needs medication or not? What’s the deal with the baby’s father–did he file some kind of complaint and then chicken out?

    What a horrible ordeal for this mother, who is already suffering. You’re right–this sucks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A friend of mine noted that the guidelines for access and custody in Australia change quite a bit according to whether a child is being breastfed. And a lot of psychiatric medications tend to preclude breastfeeding too. So yeah it would seem that Myers was trying to create a situation in which Ms Jackson’s ex could gain greater access to the child. Maybe even exclusive custody if he intended to play the mental illness card hard enough.

      I’m not sure that Myers was the judge in the custody case but he did hear the injunction against the breast feeding, so if it really was his idea it’s a pretty serious conflict of interest and might make him liable to official reprimand at the least.

      And his quixotic tilting at “the front page” hints at some pretty impaired judgement on his part.

      So maybe he’s just lost the plot. Happens to lots of judges.
      Or maybe the story would be different if we heard his side.

      But no matter how you look at it I still can’t get over the fact that the legal system sees fit to impose its jurisdiction there in the first place. Or the procedural perversity it employs to project its power.


  3. For Fox Sake permalink

    Let’s see, the mum would have been 17-18ish when she got knocked up and
    had the baby. Teenage mums are traditionally the low-hanging fruit when it comes to
    the Victorian-Edwardian double-standards which is still the starch in our legal system.

    I’m betting my shift that this young mother is drawing the Single Parent’s pension
    and she can afford to get tattoos? With the tax-payer’s money?

    What I find absurd is the assumption that the great-grannie and paternal pop are
    assumed to be the ‘responsible adults’. That old equation of ‘age=wisdom of Solomon’
    just never adds up in real-life.

    Stooges for another agenda here all the way around. Strangely, I am reminded
    of Neruda’s poem, “Ode to a Lemon”

    Anyway, my fine-feathered friend, you missed the punchline. Judge Matthew
    Myers was the first aboriginal australian to be promoted to the Federal court.
    This is a coon hunt.


    • Judge Matthew Myers was the first aboriginal australian to be promoted to the Federal court. This is a coon hunt.

      That does put a pretty interesting complexion on it.

      Pat O’Shane was a favourite whipping-girl of the Australian media and never received much solidarity from her fellow beaks either. I wonder how much the reporting of this case is influenced by that kind of attitude. On the face of it at least, Myers’ alleged actions and motives seem scarcely credible.

      Still, I find it hard to believe that lawyers and the media made up the story of the injunction against breast-feeding from whole cloth, even if some of the details have been polished up to reflect more poorly upon Myers. And lets face it, any Aborigine who wants to be a judge would have to have pretty poor judgement.

      That Neruda reference was kinda obscure wasn’t it? Keep in mind that I don’t get poetry.


    • the Victorian-Edwardian double-standards which is still the starch in our legal system

      When was it upgraded from medieval?

      You know that barristers wear black because they’re still in mourning for Victoria?

      These guys have consciously and deliberately alienated themselves from society for centuries as a way of maintaining the mystique of their bogus authority. In doing so they’ve rendered themselves irrelevant to the concerns of real people and utterly unfit to judge them.


      • For Fox Sake permalink

        Ya know, I almost said ‘medieval’ but thought maybe I was out-of-the-loop
        and behind the times, hence my generosity.

        I think the sheer tyranny of distance automatically alienates and quarantines
        us antipodeans from broader societal progressions. We’re just bloody frogs in the well
        down here chowing down each morning on our toads of disgust. I’ve been
        trying to render myself irrelevant for decades but some arsewipe keeps
        covering me up with aluminium-siding!


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