Jacinta Allan and Parliamentary Secretary for Men's Behaviour Change Tim Richardson MP

Australia’s First ‘Parliamentary Secretary for Men’s Behaviour Change’

5 June 2024

3.9 MINS

In a national, and probably world first, the Australian state of Victoria has appointed a Parliamentary Secretary for Men’s Behaviour Change after the Prime Minister declared a “national crisis” of male violence against women earlier last month.

The new role is intended “to make Victoria a safer place for women and children and work to end the tragedy of deaths of Victorian women at the hands of men,” said Premier Jacinta Allan in a statement on Tuesday.

Tim Richardson MP, who is taking on the role of Parliamentary Secretary for Men’s Behaviour Change, said in a social media thread that he “will focus largely on the influence the internet and social media have on boys’ and men’s attitudes towards women and building respectful relationships.” Richardson will work alongside the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence.

Moral Panic

This year, Australia has seen a wave of protests and calls for action as news headlines have been littered with stories of violent murders of women at the hands of male attackers, some incels, some disgruntled lovers, and others with no apparent motivation at all.

A report from the Australian Institute of Criminology documented a 30% increase in the rate of women killed by an intimate partner in Australia in 2022-23, compared to the previous year. 16% of all homicide incidents were intimate partner homicides, of which 89% of these were perpetrated against a female victim aged 18 years or over (although 69% of all homicide victims in 2022–23 were male).

The victims’ families want to see change, and it is universally agreed that women should not have to fear such violence.

However, reporting and political discussion on the issue have tended to occur in a contextual vacuum, with little attention paid to why the problem exists, whether rates of overall violence or male-on-male violence are also rising, and so on.

Similarly, the political imperative to ‘do something’ has yielded two-dimensional talking points about controlling access to ‘misogynistic material’ online, to hectoring men for being so awful, to issuing rallying statements like “men have to stop killing women.

At the same time, maleness has been cast as having latent toxic potential that must be ameliorated with special educational programs. Coercive control laws and bureaucratic processes set up to protect women have caught innocent men in their net, leading to growing frustration and a sense of embattlement for men who have experienced this, or are aware of the problem.

In Victoria specifically, the performatively progressive Labor Government has driven the state into a debt crisis which it intends to tax its way out of, while shrugging off numerous corruption allegations and failing to take accountability for any of the harms incurred by its world-famous draconian Covid response, including egregious human rights violations. While claiming to want to protect women, the Victorian Government has also facilitated self-ID laws that allow men to enter womens’ safe spaces if they say they’re a woman.

It is in this context that the announcement of Richardson’s appointment as Parliamentary Secretary for Men’s Behaviour Change has not garnered the praise that the Victorian Government was perhaps hoping for.

The announcements from Richardson and Premier Allan were ‘ratioed’ on social media. A ‘ratio’ is urban slang to describe the way dislike of a post is expressed on social media sites that don’t have a dislike button. Instead of liking the post, people who don’t like it will comment on it. A high ratio of comments to likes indicates that the reaction to a post is predominantly negative.

men's behaviour change

men's behaviour change

A selection of comments below will help readers to gauge the general mood in response to the Victorian Government’s appointment of the new Parliamentary Secretary for Men’s Behaviour Change. Out of the thousands of comments, the great majority were negative, with the general sense being that commenters felt that the government was blaming all men for the bad actions of a relative few.

men's behaviour

In light of the lack of faith in government displayed above, Richardson’s first project should be to address the behaviour of former Premier Daniel Andrews, who bullied and gaslit 6.7 million Victorians for years.

Since learning of our world first Parliamentary Secretary for Men’s Behaviour Change, my mind keeps returning to Sexmission — a 1984 Polish cult sci-fi film in which two men wake up from a scientific hibernation experiment after 53 years to find themselves in a post-nuclear world. The men discover that their sex has become extinct, and the world is now run and populated exclusively by women (reproduction is handled in a lab). Men have been written out of history, except for taking the blame for all evils in society.

Upon discovering the awakened men, the women try to get the men to sign a waiver claiming they were born men against their will, and asking for their male behaviour to be cancelled. When the men refuse to sign, the women vote to force the men to undergo sex reassignment surgery. Don’t worry, they escape in the end!

The film conveys one of the core sentiments expressed in the social media comments under the Parliamentary Secretary for Men’s Behaviour Change — that male behaviour in general is being cancelled, and that masculinity is treated as inherently toxic. This may not be the Victorian Government’s view or intention, but it’s what many commenters believe it to be.

Source: YouTube

What do you think — will the new Parliamentary Secretary for Men’s Behaviour Change make Victoria a safer place for women and children and work to end the tragedy of deaths of Victorian women at the hands of men?


Republished with thanks to Dystopian Down Under.

Image courtesy of Tim Richardson — Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan, left, and Parliamentary Secretary for Men’s Behaviour Change Tim Richardson MP, right.

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  1. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich 5 June 2024 at 9:48 am - Reply

    Just another waste of money by Victoria. What about the many innocent men “framed “by women or assaulted by women ? See Bettina Arndt’s campaign reported in the site “Wrongful Convictions “—the terrible case of a young man who was falsely accused of rape—not an isolated case , and, the huge expense and heart-ache it caused his family to prove his innocence. Despite the court decision which proved no forensic evidence, etc and proof that the police prosecution had persecuted an innocent man, he and his family have received no apology from the police. Maybe we should look at female behaviour as well ?

  2. Christine Crawford 5 June 2024 at 10:58 am - Reply

    Time for an election. Kick ’em out, get a decent party in…

  3. Peter 10 June 2024 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    I agree with the “focus largely on the influence the internet and social media have on boys’ and men’s attitudes towards women “

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