Page 3701 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 November 2022

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There is one thing that all of these great men seem to have in common. They need to be on death’s door, almost, before they will go and see a doctor when something is wrong or troubling them. Now to be honest, I have no idea why this is. I could spend a whole bunch of time trying to come up with a clever answer as to why, but it would not fix or change anything.

What is clear is that we need to come up with a targeted strategy to improve men’s and boys’ health, their access to health and their outcomes. That is the reason for this motion today. Just on the weekend, 19 November, was International Men’s Day. A day to celebrate the men in our world. Every place I have worked has celebrated International Women’s Day, International Secretaries Day, breast cancer events and many more female-centred days but not once have we given men a guernsey. I think that is a shame. Again, I could spend a bunch of time trying to come up with reasons why and work it out, but it would not actually fix anything. So let us just touch on International Men’s Day. When you go to the website it says:

On November 19, International Men’s Day celebrates worldwide the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. We highlight positive role models and raise awareness of men’s well-being. Our theme for 2022 is “Helping Men and Boys”.

What a great idea, I encourage everybody to do what I did in the beginning of this speech and take a moment to remember the great things the men in our world have done for us.

So let us take a closer look at the males here in Canberra. We have approximately 224,361 of them, that is 49.5 per cent of the population. These men and boys range, obviously from the age of 0 to over 85. In 2019 an AIHW report tells us that men and boys account for three in five avoidable deaths, that men and boys experience a greater burden of disease and that the rate of death by lung cancer is nearly twice as high in men. The Australian Men’s Health Forum has also told us that in Canberra males die 6.8 years younger than females, that four out of five deaths from heart disease under the age of 65 are men and that 57 per cent of all deaths due to cancer are males. Suicide is the leading killer of men under the age of 55 with 76 per cent of deaths by suicide in the ACT being men.

I want the men in my life to be around for as long as possible. I want the men in my life to have the same health opportunities as women and I want to know the government has a plan for men’s health. Sadly, I was informed by the Australian Men’s Health Forum that here in the ACT we do not have a men’s and boys health plan. In fact, they told me we are the only jurisdiction in the country that does not. A quick Google search on the subject for the ACT showed me there was a committee inquiry into men’s and boys’ health in 1999. That is 23 years ago. As a woman living in the ACT, I am covered—there is an ACT women’s plan which outlines specific health initiatives for women.

Interestingly, in this plan there is a statement that says:

In turn, health issues, and manifestations of health issues, are impacted by gender. A gender lens must therefore be applied to health care services in the

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