On October 2, 2020, Senator Pauline Hanson spoke one of her most sensible speeches.
But sadly, it has gained little traction. She told her fellow senators that this was the time for a government focus on men through a Minister for Men.
Before you dismiss this as another Hansonesque rant, the seriousness of the situation and the potential benefits are well worth examining.
She said: “I'm of the firm view that it's time that the Federal Government appointed a Minister for Men.”
“The Federal and Queensland governments have a Minister for Women which works across government to deliver policies and programmes to advance the lives of Australian women.
However, she lamented the plight of Australian boys and men is on the decline.
Consider these stats:
In 2019, for every 100 girls or women who die on the job, 1294 men die.
For every 100 girls or women who are expelled from schools, there are 291 boys.
The morbidity rate of men aged 25 to 34 years old is 132% higher than women. That equates to 100 women for every 234 men.
Homelessness and unsheltered rates for boys and men are 142% higher than women.
For every 100 girls in public schools classified as having emotional disturbance, there are 355 boys.
And for every 100 women in adult correctional facilities, there are 1000 men. That's a damning 10 times.
If this isn't enough to ring alarm bells and force a shift in our ministerial focus, then we need to be better connected with our community.
Pauline Hanson is a mother of three boys and one girl, and speaks from the heart about her concern for the future of her young men.
“I believe in what's fair and just, and I'm sick and tired of this bashing men in Australia, especially if you're white.”
On December 5, 2019, Senator Hanson recognised the “unique and important role of males in the community”.
“I wish to honour the everyday men of Australia - the many males who go about their lives working hard to provide for their families, putting food on the table, without any fuss and without expecting any fanfare or huge accolades.
“You men help make Australia what it is today. It's not often that the dedicated and hardworking men in this country collectively get a pat on the back as they deserve, so I'd like to do that now.”
An all-of-government embrace of Hanson's call for a Minister for Men is overdue and would put Australia at the forefront of social welfare.
It's about looking at the big picture and throwing resources in the smartest possible way at the right problem areas, especially in the areas of prevention and education.
We do it for youth, for women, for children, for multiculturalism, for seniors and for the Indigenous who all have their own government ministry.
The push for a Minister for Men is not just coming from Senator Hanson.
There are strong pushes in New Zealand, the UK, the USA and Luxembourg.
In Australia, as far back as 2015, Mamamia social commentator Joanna Robin wrote she was surprised there has been no appointment of a Minister for Men by then prime minister Tony Abbott.
She labelled it as “a glaring lack of equality in Abbott's front bench”.
To ignore Senator Hanson's call for a Ministry for men condemns us to continued mediocrity and heartache.
Letter writer John Schalch