On 26 February 2020, the Senate referred an inquiry into domestic violence with particular regard to violence against women and their children to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for report by 13 August 2020.
The Inquiry has been completed earlier than was scheduled and its report is available here.
This article describes the early completion of the report and the adverse reaction it received from the feminist lobby. I have yet to fully read the report, but one useful feature is a brief summary of the many enquiries that preceded it.
From an egalitarian perspective the dissenting report from Senator Rex Patrick is disappointing – and hypocritical beyond belief in terms of what was, wasn’t, and should have been addressed by the Committee.
I note too that the term ‘male victim’ appears only twice in the 44 page report, in each case only as a brief passing reference to recommendations from earlier inquiries.
2. The Inquiry (Revised version)
What do you do when a powerful part of your audience isn’t happy? Yes, that’s right, you commence another inquiry:
“Applications for our MBA scholarship with @Sydney_Business close this Monday 11 May. Don’t miss your chance. Apply today” (linked information)
Each of these scholarships is worth over $60,000 and is “to recognise outstanding leadership, with a commitment to enhancing women’s rights and opportunities”.
I then wrote to ‘Anti-Discrimination NSW‘ using the survey facility on this page of their web site. Their response, dated 12 May 2020, is provided below. Curiously this communication was marked ‘Private and Confidential’, the significance of which which I am now seeking clarification. I also sent a query to the Uni of Sydney Business School and others earlier via Twitter, to which I am yet to receive a response.
“I refer to you enquiry received via the community response survey on our website on the 11 May 2020 concerning the University of Sydney offering a scholarship to women only.
Exemptions under the Anti-Discrimination Act NSW 1977 (ADA)
Under the ADA there is no general special measures provision, which applies to all grounds under the Act. Rather, under the sex provisions of the ADA it provides:
Exception—genuine occupational qualification (in employment only) s.31and,
the Attorney General may grant exemptions (s.126 and s.126A).
Exemptions are granted where the purpose of a particular program or service is to achieve equality between a disadvantaged group and those who are not disadvantaged by addressing past or present disadvantage experienced by particular groups in our community.
In this sense such measures are non-discriminatory, in that they aim to redress disadvantage. That is, the purpose of such measures is achieving substantive equality, as opposed to formal equality, and these measures are critical to preventing and eliminating discrimination.
In July 2019 the University of Sydney was granted an exemption to offer, advertise, and facilitate scholarships for women only in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine, and finance for a period of ten (10) years. Please refer to our website (under the tab ‘exemptions’) for more information.
Since an exemption has been granted, the program the University of Sydney is providing is exempt from all the provisions of the ADA, so that they cannot be the subject of a complaint because they are providing services or programs designed to achieve equality and redress disadvantage experienced by particular groups in our community.”
Their second last paragraph refers me to this section of the agency’s web site, where you can note that Sydney University has been granted exemptions to provide female-only scholarships in relation to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine, finance, and agriculture/environment. Looking through both this page (Section 126 exemptions) and the page for Section 126a exemptions, the most striking thing is that the overwhelming majority of exemptions granted have been in relation to female-only programs or services.
I wrote back to ‘Anti-Discrimination NSW’ to query aspects of their response:
“Thank you for your agency’s prompt and helpful response to my query to which I would now appreciate some further clarification.
1. Would you kindly advise, in relation to the exemptions granted to Sydney University, what factors you consider to confirm or verify proof of disadvantage for female students, relative to their male counterparts.
2. I have noted the pages in your web site in relation to Section 126 and Section 126a exemptions. My immediate reaction is concern regarding the overwhelming number of exemptions granted in relation to programs or services that cater only for women.
I question whether this does not, in itself, constitute proof of gender-bias by your agency. How otherwise do you justify this inequity in the light of the existing situation in Australian society?
In drafting your response to these queries you may wish to consider the information presented in the following sources:
Section 126A certification is granted by the Attorney General. Section 126A of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 provides that the Minister may certify a program or activity to be a special needs program or activity if satisfied that its purpose or primary purpose is the promotion of access, for members of a group of persons affected by any form of unlawful discrimination to which this Act applies in an area of discrimination to which this Act applies, to facilities, services or opportunities to meet their special needs or the promotion of equal or improved access for them to facilities, services and opportunities.
Under section 124A of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 it is an offence for the President or staff of Anti-Discrimination NSW to disclose information obtained during the exercise of functions under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977.”
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic the mainstream media has been following what is by now a well-established script. That script is one that involves playing down or ignoring the negative impacts of an issue or situation on men, whilst focussing on the perceived negative impacts on women. It also involves playing up the positive contribution of one gender over the other, with regards to fixing the problem. And if this sometimes involves misrepresentation, exaggeration or even fabrication – as it invariably does – well apparently, so be it.
That article mentions “a man diagnosed with coronavirus who recently travelled to Hamilton Island“. Actually it was a woman. Until this tourist travelled there, there were no other reported cases of COVID-19 in the region. The article also mentioned that the “ABC understands the patient recently travelled from New South Wales where they were first tested.”
A regional newspaper article published on 19 March 2020 (pay-wall protected) provides further/clearer details of the incident …
“A woman admitted to Mackay Hospital on Tuesday with coronavirus defied health orders and flew to Hamilton Island after being diagnosed with novel coronavirus in Sydney. It is understood the UK tourist, in her mid-30’s, was found on a Hamilton Island beach after NSW Health authorities alerted their Queensland counterparts”.
“She is understood to have told health authorities she did not understand the directive to self-isolate after testing positive to Covid-19“.
Domestic violence – or more specifically domestic violence against women – has been one of the major gender issues appearing in the media thus far. I have addressed that issue, or at least one aspect of it, in another post.
Further items related to the impact of Covid-19 on women, and vice versa:
“It’s a free country” (12 April 2020) & in another incident … “A 20-year-old woman stopped in Port Macquarie gave police her twin sister’s details before police dropped her home with a warning. She refused to go inside, walked off, gave police the finger and was promptly handed a $1000 fine.”
But what’s going on? There appears to have been a change of feminist tactics, as this is the 2nd paper I’ve read today admitting that there had been no boost in the number of calls from DV victims since the commencement of the pandemic.
“At 9.20am yesterday, a woman was walking south along Sharp Street, Cooma, in NSW, when she allegedly stepped in front of another woman and intentionally coughed in her direction.The woman allegedly continued to cough at members of the public as she walked past them, including a woman with a young child.”
Malaysia apologises for telling women not to nag during lockdown (1 April 2020) Many recent articles express sympathy & frustration on behalf of women forced to isolate with men who (allegedly might) beat them, or at least don’t wash more dishes. But sympathise with men who have to put up with nagging or condescending women …. ooh no …that’s some serious #misogyny. Stop it now, you hear?
Tellingly, media outlets like The Guardian reported this as ‘young people’ rather than “young women”. Most of those that didn’t (initially), either amended online copy or removed it within hours of publication.
“Seriously people, this is not the time for judging, finger pointing or shaming. Our world is in uncharted territory, we are all desperately trying to filter through the mass of news we’re consuming eager to decipher what works for us and our families.”
Yes, similar to the way feminists refrain from finger-pointing at, or shaming, men. All the time. Oh please, spare us the tunnel-vision!
One surprising inclusion in the 2020 Australia Day honours list was a Member of the Order of Australia award for Bettina Arndt. It was surprising not because the recipient was undeserving (which she wasn’t), but because such public awards tend to favour those pushing politically palatable (and increasingly left of centre) causes.
You would probably be aware that Bettina is an active supporter of various issues affecting men and boys, and that this has put her in the cross-hairs of the feminist lobby on more than a few occasions.
And thus once the awards were announced, the feminist lobby went rather crazy. This has included approaches being made to the Governor-General’s office by a number of politicians, including the Victorian Attorney-General, seeking to have Bettina’s award withdrawn.
And true to form, although Bettina’s views have been described as “dangerous”, most of the media comment have focussed on her professional integrity rather than the specific issues she raises. Look for example at the Twitter stream for ‘New Matilda’ (@newmatilda) and you’ll see tweet after tweet after tweet concerning Bettina’s academic qualifications, but none addressing her views regarding (for example) an alleged campus rape culture.
Kindly read on for relevant details, including Bettina’s response to those launching the attacks on her.
One specific criticism that has been levelled at Bettina is in relation to her allegedly ‘going soft’ on paedophiles, particularly in relation to one specific interview she conducted. One of the odd things here though, is that I have yet to hear any feminist speak out about the burgeoning problem of female paedophiles. And thus more feminist hypocrisy.
“The Federal Government will launch an inquiry into the family law system, after accusations the court system is failing vulnerable Australians.
Coalition backbenchers and the crossbench, including One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, have been calling for an inquiry for some time, arguing the system is too expensive and slow.
The inquiry will be run by former social services minister and long-serving Liberal MP Kevin Andrews.” (Source)
The feminist lobby and their domestic violence industry took great umbrage at this announcement. And so it began.
The Committee’s home page can be found here, and details concerning the making of submissions can be found here.
The first specific matter that the feminists got upset about was Pauline Hanson’s reference to the practice whereby some women make false claims against their former partners in family court, esp. in relation to domestic violence and sexual assault (refer example of outrage in the media).
In terms of topics related to the treatment of victims, another issue was that of couples counselling (related article). The feminist DV Industry is generally opposed to this practice, claiming that it exposes women to additional unnecessary risk. But not everyone was of the same view (related article).
Another curious complaint from various feminist spokespersons was that there had been too many inquiries, and the proposed inquiry was both unnecessary and would delay progress. This is extraordinary given the ongoing vocal urging for more inquiries/commissions/etc despite the many state and federal inquiries that have taken place – particularly related to domestic violence. A number of these inquiries can be seen listed in the relevant section of my Table of Contents page.
Submissions to the Family Law Inquiry have now closed, and a final report is due to be submitted in October 2020.
In closing, how many, if any, of the following groups explicitly represent fathers/men and/or male victims of domestic abuse? How many have anything approaching gender equality with regards to their board and/or their staff?
Other posts in this blog that you might find relevant include:
The first gender-related issue raised in the campaign proper was the use of gender quotas to attempt to increase the number of female politicians. The emphasis here was on bashing the Liberal Party regarding its (alleged) serious ‘women problem’ (example).
Not surprisingly the issue of domestic violence soon made an appearance:
I know, it’s an aside, but I can’t help but wonder how many Australian female pollies have belted their partners, and whether their colleagues would support them in the same manner that British MP Ms Layla Moran was supported:
The next thing, the feminist lobby looked around and noticed lobbying by the Australian Better Families Party, and no doubt some of the many, many, reader’s comments being attached to pro-feminist articles in the mainstream media.
Misleading political campaigns? No thanks, we’ve had enough, by Anna Kerr (22 March 2019). Who would have thought that seeking recognition and support for male victims of domestic violence occurs because the Men’s Rights Movement “denies the gendered nature of domestic violence”? Well, Team Harpy clearly does.
What did Tuesday’s Federal Budget actually do for women? We break it down (4 April 2019) Note that ‘Domestic Violence’ is listed as something we (women) “got”, so I guess male victims shouldn’t get their hopes up then? “But on the whole, women are not the winners in this budget“. Huh? Countless millions down for women, but apparently someone else’s way better off.
And then … “Prime Minister Scott Morrison will on Saturday announce a $75 million package to help women back into the workforce after looking after their children or elderly parents.
Mr Frydenberg said career checks will be aimed at women aged 30 to 45 so they can get professional advice and training.
Sport is also on the agenda for the prime minister, who will be campaigning in Melbourne.
Mr Morrison wants to spend $70 million on upgrading sports facilities and creating high performance facilities.
He’s also promised $15 million to set up a permanent home in Melbourne for the national women’s soccer team, the Matildas. Senator McKenzie said the government wants women athletes to have high performance facilities “just like the guys do”.” (Source)
Existing party policies specifically related to gender (where one or more could be readily identified):
The Labor Party: Australian Women – Labor’s Plan for Equality. “A Shorten Labor Government will put achieving gender equality for Australian women at the centre of our priorities with a National Strategy for Gender Equality.” This translates into more than $1.2 billion in hand-outs.
In January 2019 I was blocked from the twitter stream of the CEO of NTV, Jacqui Watt, without explanation. I became aware of Jacqui’s stream via browsing the Twitter stream @OurWatch CEO, Patty Kinnersly. (Credit to Patty for not blocking me, although I am blocked from the OurWatch general account)
Until recently I regularly browsed the Twitter stream of an organisation known as the Australian Gender Equality Council (@ausgenderequal). Well I did until I was blocked after posting a benign response to one of their tweets. This occurred without any warning or explanation.
Their twitter stream was of interest due to the topics covered and as new tweets were added daily, despite the fact that their members never appeared to respond. But despite their name, their pro-feminist bias was ongoing and pervasive. Calling themselves a ‘gender equality’ council is just absurd. I don’t recall a single instance of a tweet being issued that had a supportive, or even sympathetic, stance on any issue negatively affecting men and boys.
They define themselves as a national not-for-profit organisation – here is their ACNC entry. I’m not sure about what public funding they currently receive, but a report lodged in December 2017 stated that they did not receive any grants “from the federal, state or local governments” (source).
“AGEC’s vision is simple – to achieve gender equality in Australia. Through high profile national awareness campaigns, advocacy and research, it aims to drive a cultural shift in Australia so that women and men have the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of the community. We believe that gender equality will be achieved when the different behaviours, aspirations and needs of women and men are equally valued, respected and are manifest in Australian society.
AGEC’s founding members collectively represent over 500,000 women and girls.”
Their two current projects are listed as a National Gender Equality program for high schools, and modelling the gender pay gap and superannuation outcomes for women.
I will add to this page as and when I locate additional information.
Update April 2019: I just tweeted Victoria Weekes (Board Chairman) to enquire about my ongoing blockage from their twitter stream. On this occasion I simply wanted to alert the AusGender folks to this rather interesting piece from Suzanne Venker.
Special domestic violence courts were trialed in Western Australia and then discontinued as they were found to be costly and ineffective.
A new offence. Yes, that’s going to make a big difference. Like the new offence recently proposed for strangulation. We don’t already have enough suitable offences in our legal armory? Oh please! But it sounds effective, right? This particular proposal is discussed in this article.
The LNP could have chosen to offer a real alternative to the policies of the Labor Party. Something bold that went ‘back to the drawing board’, challenging the entire feminist/Duluth model mindset. Something that would reap tangible results in terms of reducing domestic violence, in contrast to the ineffective feeding trough for feminist organisations that the taxpayers are currently supporting.
Instead the LNP have opted for the safe path and offered Queensland voter’s nothing of value or substance, and we are all the poorer for it.
Today the Australian media reported on a High Court case involving a pre-nuptial agreement (‘pre-nup’) between a wealthy property developer and his younger bride, who he met via a “web site for potential brides”:
Pre-nuptial agreements have never been a magic bullet to prevent financial exploitation where one spouse (usually the man) takes far more assets into a marriage than the other. It has always been a case of it being better to have a pre-nup than nothing at all, in order to reduce the likelihood of subsequent divorce-rape.
In Australia, and elsewhere, even competently and ethically prepared pre-nups are subject to legal challenge. In the case cited above, the nature of the agreement was found to constitute ‘unconscionable conduct’. This was said to be on the basis of both a demand that the agreement be signed or the marriage would not go ahead, and with respect of the terms of the financial settlement set out in the agreement.
One alternative that might be considered would involve relatively minor changes to relevant Australian law. What is proposed here is by no means a complete fix, but it would represent at least a step in the right direction.
In Thailand, as in various other countries, the law differentiates between assets accumulated prior to marriage, and assets accumulated during the marriage:
Sin Somros is/are the marital assets or property of the marriage jointly owned by husband and wife, in general all properties acquired after the marriage (except those listed in section 1471 under 3) (Source)
Sin suan tua is property which is exclusively owned by only one of the spouses. The owner of the sin suan tua property is free to dispose of it without having to account to the other spouse. Under the Civil and Commercial Code (CCC), property comprising the sin suan tua of a spouse consists of: (i) property belonging to the spouse before marriage; (ii) property for personal use, dress or ornaments suitable for the spouse’s station in life, or tools necessary for carrying on the profession of the spouse; (iii) property acquired by the spouse during marriage through a will or gift if that property was intended to be sin suan tua; and (iv) the khongman (a betrothal gift). (Source)
Thai law also allows for couples to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement, the details of which are as set out here.
The reality is that the current divorce laws in western countries favour the interests of women and were written at a time when society was a very different place, for example pre-advent of no-fault divorce and at a time when most women were house-wives.
Read this other blog post to see what happens in a situation where the husband still typically brings far more assets into the marriage than the wife (indeed the wife is more likely to be in debt at the time of marriage), where most divorces are initiated by women, and where the court system is dominated by white knights and older gents guided more by chivalry than a genuine commitment to justice.
A situation where pre-marriage assets are quarantined from seizure seems to be eminently fairer to me, but which politician/s in Australia would publicly support it? Sadly, very few or none at the present time – and certainly no-one in the ranks of the major parties.
Failure to consider and introduce legal reforms such as this will only accelerate the trend of men avoiding marriage and de-facto relationships, and the deleterious social impacts arising from that.
It will be interesting to see if a positive outcome of same-sex marriage in Australia will be greater enthusiasm for law reform related to the distribution of assets in the event of divorce. When straight men are the only ones impacted then such reform is anything but urgent (think, ‘glacial’). Indeed we have already seen heightened interest in the reform of laws related to alimony and spousal support brought on by the increasing numbers of cases involving divorces involving female spouses as primary bread-winners.