Australian 2016 Federal Election: No party willing to step up to the mark for men & boys

The last Australian federal election was held on 2 July 2016, and was ultimately (narrowly) won by the Liberal Party/National Party Coalition.

This post concerns those gender-related policy positions adopted by the three main players during the campaign: the Australian Labor Party (ALP), the Liberal Party/National Party Coalition (LNP), and The Greens.

In another blog post I provide details regarding the relevant positions adopted by some of the minor parties.

Gender issues did not feature amongst the key issues debated during the election campaign. The one specific gender-related issue which was aired was domestic violence. With that in mind, let’s look at what the major parties had to say on that topic:

The Domestic Violence statement provided in the ALP web site can be found here. The number of times the terms ‘men’ or ‘male’ (e.g. male victims) feature in this document = 0

The Domestic Violence statement within the Liberal Party web site is accessible here. The number of times the terms ‘men’ or ‘male’ (e.g. male victims) feature in this document = 1. That sole mention refers to the contentious ‘Mensline’ counselling service – read more about Mensline here.

The Domestic Violence statement in the National Party web site is here. The number of times the terms ‘men’ or ‘male’ (e.g. male victims) feature in this document = 0

The Greens Domestic Violence Policy is here. The number of times the terms ‘men’ or ‘male’ (e.g. male victims) feature in this document = 0. By way of contrast, the word ‘women’ features 31 times.

None of the major parties have shown any interest in addressing issues that detrimentally affect men and boys. None of them have issued significant statements in support of male victims of domestic violence, nor have they made reference to female perpetration of violence.

The major parties are essentially all in lockstep with the feminist movement, the only area of divergence being the amount of money that each is willing to relegate to/waste on feminist causes.

Amongst the major parties, the Greens offer the most ardently pro-feminist perspective, with the ALP running a close second. It was the Greens, for example, who were the driving force behind the current federal Inquiry into Domestic Violence and Gender Inequality.

The federal budget released by the Government in May 2016 represented the first salvo in the election campaign:

“In this Budget the Government has allocated $100.0 million over three years for Domestic and Family Violence: New Initiatives To Break the Cycle of Violence. This builds on the $101.2 million provided for a Women’s Safety Package announced by the Government in September 2015 (detailed in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Year Outlook 2015–16). This measure will draw on the recommendations of the Third Action Plan (part of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–22), due for release in mid-2016. [Footnote]” (Source)

Further details of what were proposed and some related background information are provided at:

Domestic and family violence budget review 2016-17
The number of times the terms ‘men’ or ‘male’ (e.g. male victims) feature in this document = 0. Again, by way of contrast, the word ‘women’ features 28 times.

Budget Paper No. 2. Part 2 Expense measures. Social Services (See Domestic and Family Violence — new initiatives to break the cycle of violence)

With respect to media coverage, the first relevant item I noticed discussed one particular funding measure announced by the Government … see ‘Family violence legal aid boost of $30 million won’t solve crisis: Lawyers‘ (12 May 2016). As is essentially ‘par for the course’ , the article implies that all victims of domestic violence are female.

The next cab off the rank was the ALP in ‘Federal Election 2016 Campaign: Bill Shorten promises $65 million funding boost to family violence services‘ (14 May 2016)

“Labor will provide funding certainty to frontline family violence organisations if it wins government, Bill Shorten has promised. The Opposition Leader has committed $65 million over six years to ensure 1800 RESPECT, Our Watch and Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) can continue their work in tackling family violence.”

Again, each of the major Australian political parties is unambiguously pro-feminist, regardless of how overtly they choose to express it. At this point none of these parties have chosen to raise awareness of, or to provide practical support for, male victims of domestic violence.

During an otherwise tedious and predictable campaign at least Mark Latham entertained via poking pins into feminist/white knight thought bubbles.

Further coverage of gender issues during the campaign:

Feminist group ‘Fair Agenda‘ compiled their own scorecard on how the parties stack up in relation to domestic violence. You can probably guess that their criteria differ from my own.

Here is the election wish-list of another feminist group, the ‘Australian Women Against Violence Alliance‘. They sent me a tweet stating “All victims should have access to support” yet there is no mention of male victims here.

Suicide prevention funding not reaching men says Labor senator (16 June 2016)

Bill Shorten speech launching Labor’s gender equality policy (11 June 2016) Bill uses the word ‘men’ five times versus 55 times in the case of ‘women’. Whilst Australian women get reassurance, support and encouragement, the men get this:

“men who have harmed them and their children”
“men rely on women for childcare”
“childcare remains a responsibility that Australian men too often unfairly leave to Australian women”
“25 per cent of women nominate a lack of childcare as their reason for leaving the workforce. In the case of men, it is 3 per cent.”
“It is primitive and wrong that women are paying the mortgage on houses occupied by men who have harmed them and their children”

The ALP sees providing a myriad of policies to support women whilst providing none to address men’s issues as “gender equality”. But wait, there’s more.

Bill goes on to state that “Australia cannot afford six Liberal years of ‘budgets for blokes’.” Seriously Bill? You mean all that money lavished on the Ministry of Men’s Affairs? Oh wait, there isn’t one is there? In fact all I can see is hundreds of millions poured into organisations like these.

**I challenge Bill or any other ALP politician to add a comment to this post providing examples of current federal budgetary allocations which they feel only benefit “blokes”**

Bill has also promised a hand-out for women’s health. Real men don’t get sick right, mate? {insert gratuitous joke about ‘man-flu’ here}

What might political parties include in their electoral platforms if, you know, they gave a damn about men and boys? In this paper a fellow put forward some ideas in relation to the  2015 UK election.

Female journalists expose barrage of federal election sexist abuse (1 July 2016) With just one example of alleged abuse provided in this and the linked article, and no details provided regarding online abuse of male reporters, it’s hardly convincing case of a campaign of gendered trolling.

Despite the rhetoric, this election fails the feminist test (28 June 2016) The word ‘women’ appears 17 times in this piece by rusted-on feminist Eva Cox (‘men’ = 0 btw). But it’s ok, as we are reassured that “feminist issues are about a better society for all, not just advancing women in a male defined world”. And while feminists want more, they are being offered a veritable buffet compared to the situation for men/boys.

“While both the Liberal Party and the Labor Party have issued women’s policy documents, these are strong on equality rhetoric but short on the continuing gender inequities, instead offering some funding to fix service problems.” What a shame that the dog chewed the corresponding men’s policy documents.

Election 2016: Labor commits $88 million to provide safe houses for domestic violence victims (11 June 2016)

The f-word enters the campaign and trips up both major parties (8 June 2016)

Malcolm Turnbull declares himself a feminist and chokes up over his family history, Turnbull finds it easy to declare himself a feminist, and Grandfather PM talks up the power of girls (6 June 2016)

Australian Brotherhood of Fathers election campaign round-up (2 June 2016)

Gender differences in voting intentions in the current campaign as of 16 May 2016

Gender differences in voting patterns in previous Australian elections

Powerful coalition of women call for both parties to stop their war on women‘ (17 May 2016) The election campaign demands of one feminist organisation (WEL)

Why neither party should ignore gender in this election (13 May 2016)

Domestic violence: Rosie Batty launches Australian election campaign push (5 May 2016)

Finally, a quick glimpse of what’s happening in the U.S Presidential campaign: here and here. This UK article is entitled ‘Why are men’s issues consistently ignored in electoral manifestos?‘  (29 May 2017)

Here is Bill Shorten’s take on domestic violence – notice how much attention he offers re: male victims. (July 2017)

It looks like the 2019 federal campaign may see gender issues given a higher profile, though I suspect purely employing the feminist perspective. Here was the first shot fired … (more details here)

Shorten promises $400 million to boost women’s superannuation (19 September 2018)

Elsewhere in this blog you might also be interested in the following posts:

Partners in alms: A primer on the ‘Domestic Violence Industry’

Australian taxpayer-funded organisations that do little/nothing for men (other than demonising them)

Dealing with mens issues – The current situation in Australia

Sadly, Australian politicians only find the courage to criticise the feminist lobby after they retire

When even the Prime Minister’s office imposes pro-feminist censorship …

abbottOn 4 March 2015 staff of the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, uploaded this post to his Facebook page. It was all about Tony pledging his support to the pro-feminist #HeforShe campaign which I discuss here.

I then contributed my own thoughts on the matter. Oh, wait you can’t see anything. That’s because the site administrator filtered it out of the timeline. I assume this was because he/she is either pro-feminist, or anti-MRA, or both. I can’t think of any other reason, for example, there is no profanity in my post. It was not due to my post containing a hyperlink (many other visible posts include hyperlinks), and I note that there are some fairly strident pro-feminist posts left visible.

Anyway, after I logged into my account, there was my post (visible in the second screen save), just below the post by Henry Poulsen.

abbott_uncensored

abbott_censored

 

 

 

 

 

 

That, folks is what you call ideological censorship. Whereas the office of the Prime Minister should be right at the forefront of protecting our democratic right to self-expression, here they are seen to be inhabiting a very different place.

Yet another of the tremendous advances achieved by the feminist movement.

#sarcasm

abbott2

 

 

Malcolm Turnbull (Minister for Communications) uploaded a very similar post onto his Facebook page on 2 March, and I provided the same response. It’s pleasing to note that in his case my post was not removed.

Ah, but then in September 2015 Malcolm Turnbull was appointed Prime Minister, and guess who suddenly fell into lockstep with the feminist lobby?

“The PM told Today’s Lisa Wilkinson that “the issue of family violence, or domestic violence as it’s often called – which is just violence against women, which is the way I prefer to describe it – is an enormous one.” (Source)

No Malcolm, domestic violence is emphatically not “just violence against women”.

On 24 September 2015 the Prime Minister announced a huge swathe of public funding to address the issue of domestic violence. Here is the media release … you will see that public comments are enabled. That’s great, but unfortunately once the tide of comments turned against the Prime Minister’s position, the moderator stopped uploading all contributed comments (no matter how civil they were).

In the screen-save provided below (from my Disqus account) you can see a number of posts marked “pending”. Thus rather than deleting comments, the moderator simply didn’t approve/upload those critical of the Prime Minister’s approach.

disqus

Dealing with mens issues – The current situation in Australia

This view of the current situation in relation to addressing mens issues in Australia has been compiled by one who is relatively new to the field. As such it may contain some errors or omissions, so please feel free to contribute further information or correct any inadvertent mistakes.

Australian men’s issues have both a physical and online footprint that is vastly smaller than is the case for women’s issues. There are a number of reasons for this, but the primary one is the enormous disparity in government support in relation to the two. Pro-feminist media bias in combination with feminist tactics of shaming and censorship has also proved quite effective in stifling male activism and lobbying up to this point in time.

Of those Australian organisations and sites dealing with mens issues that do have some public profile, almost all have a health focus. Most of these organisations/sites appear to be rather introspective and self-effacing in nature, i.e. essentially to keep under the feminist radar and to avoid jeopardising whatever pitiable amount of funding or government support they might receive.

Those few mens programs that do attract funding, for example the men’s shed movement, only manage to do so as they are seen as somewhat twee and posing no threat to the achievement of feminist objectives.

Government agencies: I am not aware of any federal or state government agency that deals specifically with mens and boys issues, nor even a dedicated section within a government agency. This is a huge point of difference in comparison with the situation with women’s and girls issues.

Of those government agencies that do address specific men’s issues, the most prominent are agencies dealing with mental health and with domestic violence. With regards to the latter at least, the primary emphasis is on ‘educating’ and ‘treating’ male perpetrators of acts of violence and abuse. Whilst some claim to offer services to male victims, any mention of such services is virtually confined to the ‘fine print’ within relevant web sites.

The way that domestic violence web sites are worded gives the impression of a distinct pro-female and anti-male bias (example). Given that men are already less likely to reports acts of abuse against them, one could suggest with confidence that the character of domestic violence web sites acts as a significant disincentive to come forward.

I deal with the issue of government agencies and ‘not-for-profit’ organisations that ignore or downplay men’s welfare in this other blog post.

Mens studies: As you can see in this thread, an attempt was recently made to establish a men’s studies course in Australia. This was met with a furious feminist backlash and was shelved. One of those who spoke against the initiative was Michael Flood, a staunch feminist who misrepresents himself as a spokesperson for the Australian men’s rights movement. The only remaining part of that initiative was, I think, one or two subjects on men’s health being made available.

Mens health: Men’s health advocates comprise a mix of individual counselors, universities, and non-government organisations. Their stance towards men’s rights varies between one of neutrality to a ‘deer in the headlights’ stance brought about through their concern that any perceived association with MRA could threaten their political acceptability and hence access to government funding. The latter position is demonstrated by the charity discussed in this other blog post. There are, however some virulently anti-MRA outliers such as Michael Salter, Michael Flood, and more recently some character by the name of Joshua Roose (an example of his unfortunate mindset).

The level of government funding for Australian mens health issues/organisations (as with men’s issues/organisations generally) is miniscule in comparison to that allocated to women.  I recently also became aware that funding for The Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre had been slashed.

Here is the web site for Men’s Health Week (11-17 June 2018)

Some of the better-known men’s health organisations/spokespersons include:

Men’s Health Australia
Australian Men’s Health Forum (see also their ‘links‘ page)
Australian Institute of Male Health and Studies
Centre for Advancement of Men’s Health
Men4Life support group
Men’s Health Clearinghouse
The Shed Online (an initiative of Beyond Blue)
Dr Elizabeth Celi
Inspire change counselling

‘Relating to Men’ was a great site that was sadly removed after sustained online harassment of the author, Jasmin Newman

Fathers issues (incl. divorce, custody, etc):

Dads4Kids
Lone Fathers Association
Australian Brotherhood of Fathers (See related article here)
Dads in Distress support services
Fathers for Equality
‘Dads on the Air’ radio program
Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)

Men’s rights activism:
The most popular online forum for sharing news and information is Reddit Mensrights
Mens Rights Agency
Mens Rights Sydney and Mens Rights Melbourne (with a further group formed in Brisbane in early 2015)
Australian Men’s Rights Association

A couple of other recognised spokespersons on mens/boys issues outside the realm of politics are:

Dr. Greg Canning is the Australian liaison for the US-based organisation ‘A Voice for Men‘, and has written many articles and submissions on men’s issues. ‘A Voice for Men’ also now has its own Australian committee.

Greg Andresen works for the ‘One in Three’ organisation which advocates for male victims of domestic violence, and is the Australian liaison for the US-based organisation ‘National Coalition for Men‘ as well as being an active advocate for men’s health.

Australian politics and gender issues:

An argument put forward by feminists is that men can’t possibly be discriminated against because most politicians are male. This point was addressed in a comment I came across online:

“Men in power do not act in the interest of other men. They are widely influenced by women and their lobbying efforts, and are more likely to act in the interests of them.” (Source: http://time.com/2949435/what-i-learned-as-a-woman-at-a-mens-rights-conference/)

This is certainly the case here in Australia, where most of our politicians, from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on down … are too busy cowering in fear at the thought of being labelled misogynists to contemplate representing the interests of 50% of their constituents. You can see some of Malcolm Turnbull’s unfortunate early comments on gender matters here, here and here. One ray of hope, however, might be foreign minister Julie Bishop.

I can’t help wondering what could be achieved if only we had an Australian politician with the tenacity and courage of Philip Davies in the UK (see this example of his efforts). Philip’s pioneering efforts with gender equality are also discussed in this article.

Meanwhile other MP’s like Tim Watts (Australian Labor Party) are pathetically eager to champion feminist causes and/or push men under the bus (see related reddit discussion here).

There are a few exceptions to the rule:

George Christensen, Federal Member for Dawson: Of the hundreds of state and federal politicians paid for by us taxpayers, George is the only one with the guts to come out and openly support ANY fathers/mens/boys issue. George is currently chairing a Parliamentary Inquiry into the Child Support Program. Here is a speech by George concerning family law, and another paper regarding the issue of child support. And this is what George gets for speaking up on these issues.

Senator John Madigan (Independent) and George Christensen launched the Parliamentary Friends of Shared Parenting on 16 June 2015 … “We need to end parental alienation because every child deserves a meaningful relationship with his or her mother and father.” Feel the hurt from this feminist journalist as she bemoans the fact that these politicians dared to corrupt public policy by (shudder) listening to men.

Another federal parliamentarian, Bob Katter has also previously expressed concern regarding anti-male bias within the family court system.

Labor’s Member for Greenway in Western Sydney, Michelle Rowland, has asked a parliamentary inquiry examining the child support system, to consider whether custodial parents should be accountable for how they spend child support money (Source)

Senator Cory Bernardi dared to suggest that it might sometimes be appropriate to use a headlock on a violent woman during an incident of domestic violence, and was publicly accused of encouraging violence against women. In June 2016 Cory was also criticized for tweeting a link to an article by Roosh V concerning social justice warriors.

Victorian MP Graham Watt is another one to watch after attracting media attention for refusing to give misandrist DV lobbyist Rosie Batty a standing ovation. See this article also (including readers comments)

Senator Mitch Fifield warrants an honourable mention for his refusal to accept a sexist slur offered by Katy Gallagher.

Senator Leyonhjelm (Liberal Democrats) has also made a name for himself in this regard, but is now in the process of moving from the federal to the state (NSW) arena (see video).

In Queensland, Opposition Corrective Services spokesman Tim Mander accused Labor of exceeding its party’s gender quota system in relation to appointments to the Parole Board.

See also my posts in relation to the views of both the major parties and minor parties in relation to feminism and gender-related issues.

By and large the only Australia politicians with the courage to challenge the feminist orthodoxy are ex-politicians, as discussed in this other blog post.

One person to keep an eye on going forward is Augusto Zimmermann, who is Law Reform Commissioner at the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia. Dr Zimmermann has been proposed as a possible replacement for Gillian Triggs at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The Australian media:

The MSM in Australia is a lost cause for the time being, with very few journalists willing to be seen to question feminist orthodoxy. Those that do, know full-well what they can expect. Some examples might include Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine and Rita Panahi.

Where are things up to in Australia at the moment amongst the general population? Well I would liken the situation with most men to frogs being boiled in a pot. The temperature is going up slowly and steadily and guys just aren’t noticing how hot things are. The temperature in this case being the increasing anti-male bias in the media, in the law, in politics, etc.

Further, and contrary to the notion of patriarchy, men’s own innate behaviour is such that they lend themselves to being taken advantage of. For example, the default setting for most men is to help and protect women rather than criticise them. Men are also very reluctant to been seen to portray themselves as victims, and would prefer to internalise problems and deal with them on their own (rather than for example join a men’s group).

Most men (and women) have little knowledge of the mens rights movement, and consequently the views of many reflect the deeply biased picture painted in the mainstream media, i.e. MRA as being violent, as being ‘rednecks’, as being ultra-conservative, and as being ‘woman-haters’. By the same token, most men (and women) are equally ill-informed about the true nature of feminism and so accept the benign ‘dictionary definition of feminism’ as portrayed in the media.

Nevertheless, however, many men are reaching the inescapable conclusion that the pendulum has swayed far beyond the mid-way point with regards to the rights of women vis a vis the rights of men. They also recognise that there is also a widening gap between the respective rights and obligations of men and women.

Many men are increasingly unhappy and dissatisfied in their interaction with women. Many men have also either suffered considerable psychological and financial trauma as a result of divorce, or know friends who have been shattered in this manner. (And coincidentally or otherwise, women have also become increasingly unhappy.)

As a consequence whilst the majority of Aussie guys remain unwilling to take collective action, or to identify as an MRA, I am seeing many more men and women expressing their views in the online world in response to media articles that have an anti-male bias (example 1 / example 2 / example 3).

Another telling indicator is the huge number of visitors to MHRA sites like ‘A Voice for Men’ versus the relatively small number who are actually registered members. This suggests to me that there are a lot of people ‘sitting on the fence’ at the moment awaiting a tipping-point, whereupon we will see far greater and more organised expressions of assertive (yet assiduously non-violent) activism.

Further background material

The trumpet blasts of the monstrous regiment (26 September 2016)

It was great to see fitness advocate Michelle Bridges bravely speak out for male victims of domestic violence on the Studio Ten TV show, despite the fact that the comperes made their own pro-feminist views abundantly clear (10 November 2015)

http://www.australianmensrights.com/Fathers_Rights-Australia/Rise_of_Australian_Fathers_Rights_Groups_Worries_Australian_Feminists.aspx

Feminism: Past its use-by date? (1 August 2014) An ABC radio interview with Australian feminists and anti-feminist activist Janet Bloomfield (plus readers comments)

A lesson from the U.K. for Australian political parties thinking of wooing feminist voters (14 November 2014)