Australian minor political parties and their views on feminism & men’s rights

In another post in this blog I mention the fact that there are scarcely any individual politicians in Australia, let alone political parties, that are prepared to move out of lockstep with the feminist lobby.

Also in another blog post I briefly discuss the position of the major parties on feminism and men’s rights, in the context of the 2016 Australian federal election.

In this current blog post I thought it might be interesting to put this question to some of the smaller parties. First up we hear from Senator Bob Day of the Family First Party:

“Subject: Your party’s position on feminism vs mens issues

Good morning. I would be interested to learn about the position of family first concerning the influence of feminist ideology in Australia, and
particularly in the political sphere and public service. I would also be interested to learn if FF has a position in relation to one or more of the men’s issues as nominated and discussed in my blog at www.fighting4fair.com.

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you in due course”

Response received on 10 June 2015:

“Thank you for your email to Senator Day regarding Family First’s position on feminism.  Feminism has brought about social change, improved treatment & representation of women and improved productivity.  These gains are now considered commonplace factors in everyday Australian life.  Our focus as a modern political party is on the question of family and how that basic foundational institution in society can be encouraged, supported and protected from harm and government excesses of power.

Family First supports the role of the family as the foundation for Australian society, and acknowledges that male and female are complimentary, each able to make valuable contributions to the community. We encourage you to visit Senator Day’s website: www.senatorbobday.com.au  or Family First’s website www.familyfirst.org.au for further information.

Your blog www.fighting4fair.com discusses many different issues with a common theme being the role of male and female within the family sphere (domestic violence, legal custody battles, or matters pertaining to parenting in general). Regarding this matter, Family First supports the traditional family and whatever can be done to ensure that families with children stay together.  The sad reality today is that many relationships fail, and then there are public policy questions about dealing with the breakdown.  Thankfully, throughout the Australian community there are in the majority of cases accepted norms about how child access and support is resolved after separation.

A great many families resolve their post-breakdown arrangements without resort to lawyers, violence or alienation of a parent from their child or children.  Often they do so to put the children first, and the parents’ disputes second.  Regrettably, in some cases the breakdown is so acrimonious that violence and/or alienation of a parent occurs.  Moves in recent times to exclude lawyers and prefer mediation at the first opportunity have been welcome shifts away from adversarial resolution of post-breakdown child support and access questions, towards an approach that focusses on what is agreed between the parents.

Family First supports a child having the involvement of a father and mother in their life.  Studies show this is vital to their healthy development.  However, it must be stressed that there are exemptions to this position.  Modern society now has a myriad of social problems, from drug, alcohol and other substance abuse; to domestic violence; to child physical and/or sexual abuse.  Mental health of children and/or parents is also a major factor in family breakdown.  Children must be protected from situations that might expose them to harm.  The court system is so overwhelmed with allegations of this behaviour that it is rare that it gets to the bottom of those allegations.

The handling of family breakdown is further complicated by yet another example of state and federal jurisdictional ambiguity.  States and territories are responsible for laws concerning child protection and domestic violence, whereas federal law regulates child support and family law concerning post-breakdown child access and distribution of property.  At times the two areas do not connect properly with one another, at times – for instance – seeing at-risk children ordered by a federal court to go to a parent who may place those children at risk of harm.

Senator Day appreciates that you have written to him about a current issue that concerns you.  The Senator has been elected as a Family First Senator for South Australia on a platform of “Every family, a job and a house”.  This is a massive task which promotes independence and self-reliance, reducing the need for government intervention. This leads to smaller government, lower taxes and therefore more money in the pockets of families. Senator Day therefore has a limited capacity to advocate for (a) issues outside of his State or (b) policy priorities beyond that focus.  Having said that, Senator Day has indicated above what he has to say about the issues that you have raised.”

Next I sought to profile the Liberal Democratic Party, but they did not reply to my emailed invitation to put forward their views on the issues discussed in this blog. I did however note this reddit discussion thread regarding their platform, and this article in which Bill Shorten attacks Senator David Leyonhjelm regarding his views in relation to broadasting women’s sport.

It is encouraging that Senator Leyonhjelm has since written some articles in support of a gender-neutral approach to domestic violence, such as this one. He has also done some good work in committees – see this video in particular. In this video he discusses domestic violence and diversity.

In May 2017, Mark Latham announced that he intends to join the LDP.

I then approached Australian Liberty Alliance regarding their position, and they responded:

“We don’t have a policy on every issue, for this our first campaign we are concentrating on our 20 core policies. Please see Q4 from our FAQ.
http://www.australianlibertyalliance.org.au/news-media/blog/faq-frequently-asked-questions

I approached Nick Xenophon Team and await their response. Their policy position on family violence appears gender-neutral, which is a positive sign.

Another federal parliamentarian, Bob Katter (Katter’s Australian Party) has  previously expressed concern regarding anti-male bias within the family court system.

I also approached the Glenn Lazarus Team for comment (also nil response). The Team appears to have just one gender-related policy, which relates to removing the GST on women’s sanitary products:

“The Glenn Lazarus Team believes women should not be penalised financially for the need to purchase essential items such as tampons and sanitary napkins, and all women should have access to these basic sanitary items during times of difficulty and hardship. Sanitary items are essential products for women and must be GST free.” (Source)

Independent Senator Jacqui Lambie was discussed in this blog post. More recently she had the claws out for Pauline Hanson. Hardly promising.

On that note, perhaps the most positive thing to emerge from the 2016 election campaign was the success of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. This article appeared during the campaign: ‘Pauline Hanson claims women make frivolous DV complaints‘, with the party’s actual policy available here.

Immediately following the election we were treated to two click-bait article attacking both Pauline and advocates for men’s issues generally. In both cases the majority of readers comments were at odds with the biased views of the writers.

The first was entitled ‘How ‘angry man’ vote resurrected Pauline Hanson‘ (news.com.au). Apparently from this journalist’s perspective, when the major parties focus exclusively on women’s issues, that’s gender equality. In contrast, when One Nation proposes to address men’s issues, that’s indicative of a “blokes’ show“. Psst, Malcolm Farr, your white-knightery is showing.

A subsequent article, ‘Even for Pauline Hanson, doing the bidding of mean men is risky’, was from feminist journalist Wendy Tuohy. This very negative and scare-mongering offering paints Pauline as a foolish ingénue toying with drooling sociopaths (otherwise known as people seeking to have men’s issues properly acknowledged and addressed).

I had to laugh when I read this article in The Conversation where the academic author states – presumably not tongue-in-cheek – that for Pauline Hanson and the “paranoid right“, “the normal rules of political engagement – coherence, consistency, fact, logic, proportion – do not apply“. That which is “normal” for feminists and the regressive left? I’m thinking D-e-l-u-s-i-o-n-a-l

In February 2017 Pauline Hanson proposed mandatory pre-nuptial agreements as a means to reducing backlogs in the Family Court system. She has also pushed strongly for family law reform.

In October 2017 One Nation announced details of their policy direction in relation to domestic violencethis video shows the disappointing response from the Queensland Government (also addressed in this article, and again here).

Derryn Hinch and his Justice Party are discussed in this Facebook post by Leith Erikson from the Australian Brotherhood of Fathers

Finally, Cory Bernardi (Australian Conservatives) is making waves with this call for greater scrutiny of the pro-feminist White Ribbon Campaign.

Overseas examples

An interesting development across the water in New Zealand, where David Seymour of the ACT Party is ruffling a few feminist feathers with his proposal to introduce a Minister for Men, discussed in more detail here.

In this paper a fellow put forward some ideas for consideration by political parties in relation to the 2015 UK election … these are also useful thought-starters for Australian political parties.

 

Australian Senator wants a man who is rich and well-hung

This clip appeared on the ‘Sunrise’ TV show this morning, and concerns a radio interview with a recently appointed Australian senator, Jacqui Lambie. In that interview Senator Lambie let it be known that her ideal man needs to have plenty of money in the bank and a substantial “package between the legs”.

Now my primary concern is not whether public vulgarity such as this is appropriate from a member of Australia’s federal government (it’s not), but it’s the fact that if similar comments were made by a male parliamentarian then there would be immediate calls for his sacking.

Instead what we saw in the media (including viewers comments) was mainly comments along the lines of “it’s refreshing to see a politician who is honest/not pretentious” etc, or disgust about a politician speaking in the media as they might in a public bar after knocking back (quite) a few drinks.

To their credit, some journalists have drawn attention to the sexist double-standard inherent in this story, including Samantha Armytage (Sunrise) and Judith Ireland (Sydney Morning Herald).

The issue was covered by at least one of the mouthpieces of Australian feminism, mamamia.com.au, although their tone was one of mild shock and disbelief regarding the vulgarity aspect rather than strident condemnation about the sexist connotation. This focus was reflected in most of the subsequent readers comments, though some readers like Rebecca Healy, did address the sexism issue. Rebecca stated:

“There are several comments crying out that if this had been a male politician talking about a woman there would be a serious and damning article, and that this article hasn’t taken Jacqui Lambie to task over her inappropriate comments.

First of all, I think the tone of this article is one of mild shock and disbelief. This actually happened. I think without hammering down on it, there is definitely a sense that this was offensive and most definitely inappropriate for a politician.

I think this is actually offensive from a feminist point of view, as JL promotes the gender role misconception that women want to be given cash / financially supported and for the guy to be ‘hung’, and it suggests that men need to have these two things to be desirable, which is incorrect.

JL gives off this ocker / blokey / anti-feminist persona that dismisses a lot of the points that are made by feminists about not needing to be taken care of, having the ability to be financially independent, and rejecting the ingrained gender and body image roles that have defined the typical ‘Aussie Bloke’ and the acceptable traits of a female. I think this is part of her appeal at times.

It’s hard for a feminist to get up and blast her language because, although we DO see it as sexist, who are we defending? The guys that would laugh at the bloke saying this are probably laughing along with her. Are men offended by her comment? Do they want to be defended?

The issue here is also that men have not typically been undermined by media scrutiny over their appearance in the same way that women have in the past, therefore I don’t think the impact would be as significant (I’m not saying there is not impact!) as they wouldn’t feel as objectified or intimidated by the comment as a woman might feel in the same position.

If we (women/feminists) get all outraged about this issue, I feel there would just be a collective rolling of the eyes that the ‘feminists’ or ‘feminazis’ are just looking for something to be outraged about. Yet if we don’t, we are hypocrites standing silent when we would have been ‘attacking the men’ by now. We are accused of not supporting equal rights, even though that is what real feminism, not militant feminism, is about – equality.”

One the same web page ‘Guest’ wrote:

“Again I find myself confused. Last week Mamamia Rogue posted video of a young woman under the influence of anaesthetic describing in anguished detail the things she was desperate to do with a particular male celebrity’s genitalia. Clearly, she felt the urge to pleasure him. Her desires, we were assured by the Rogue, are shared by all women (“We’ve all been there, Babe”) – and we were supposed to find the clip funny to boot (I didn’t, but then, I don’t support cyber-bullying).

So clarify for me, please. Is Lambie wrong for wanting a hung man, or for being a politician and speaking openly about it, or for being a woman and speaking about men the way we complain about men speaking about women?”

Meanwhile Australian feminist commentator Eva Cox appeared unfussed by the comments:

”She’s not the sort of person you expect great finesse and politeness from,” Ms Cox told the Launceston Examiner ... I think men can take care of themselves when we talk about their private parts … Maybe it will encourage them to be less frank about their own comments.” (Source)

Sure thing Eva. This is about what a woman said, and how other women would react if a man said similar things. But feel free to exercise your feminist prerogative (or should that be, pejorative?) and twist things around to make it about what men do … wrong … to women.

Ah, but unlike the poor widdle women, “men can take care of themselves“.

Yup, we men just need to … man up and soldier on

See also:

Renowned feminist ratbag Clementine Ford goes off about the double-standard criticism of the Lambie radio interview affair – and also swipes at the #womenagainstfeminism movement. Her primary line of defence is an argument rich in circular logic … that ‘a male politician would never have been asked about his relationships’. Well a man would never have answered such a question because even a fool would know the storm his comments would invoke. Well maybe not Clive Palmer, but most guys.

A women on the other hand might be more inclined to answer knowing that society will essentially give her a free pass. Because everyone inherently recognises that this double standard exists, even journalists who ask or don’t ask accordingly.

Anyone who would seriously suggest that journalists don’t ask male politicians this sort of question because men are respected (because the patriarchy etc) must be either incredibly naive, a mental pygmy, or both of the above.

The position put forward by this fruitcake on the other hand is that the reaction against Senator Lambie’s comments is driven by outdated sexual wowserism, especially in relation to older and less attractive women! OMG, feminists love to divert into the wilderness, probably in the hope that people will become confused and just give up. She eventually sort of concedes the double-standard that is really the core issue, but waves that away on the basis that the key difference here is that in our culture we “expect” men to be sexual, to be shallow about it, to consistently convey the air of rampant virility.”

Hell, thanks Lauren. You’ve diverted to the ‘myth of rape culture‘ now, haven’t you?