Page 3702 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 November 2022

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ACT to differentiate between requirements for health related matters for males, females and those of diverse gender identities, and to ensure that affordable and accessible gender and culturally-sensitive health services are provided across
the ACT.

If you are a gender diverse gender the health strategies and initiatives are looked at under the capital of equality strategy. Men on the other hand have no access to a targeted health strategy in the ACT. Everyone else has been catered for except 49.5 per cent of our population, our men and boys. As all members can appreciate, given the statistics I just read out, this is an omission that needs correcting. I felt compelled to call on the government to take its own advice and add a gender lens to health by making sure there is a men’s health strategy like we have for women and diverse genders. What better time to do this than now, the time when we celebrate International Men’s Day?

As I mentioned earlier in my speech, the blokes in my world and other men I speak with are reluctant to get help when they need it. That is why this motion goes one step further than a men’s health plan. It also calls on the government to develop a men’s health campaign. Now back in the 80s—I am not sure whether everyone is old enough to remember!—we had the Life Be In It campaign. Does anyone remember Norm? I could sing you the song, “swim, swim, swim, swim, kick, kick, play, play.” It was great. It was a national campaign, and it is dreadfully out of date now. Liam up in my office thought I was crazy when I started singing the song. I showed him the video and it just did not translate—trust me. But the campaign stopped. Did our men get better at taking care of their health? Did they learn where to get the medical help when they needed it? Did they learn to identify when they needed to get that health advice? The stats say no.

Cassie Jaye is a documentary film director who is best known for the 2016 documentary The Red Pill about the men’s rights movement. During a TED talk she said, “Men’s rights activists do not have all the answers, feminists do not have all the answers, but if one group is silenced that is a problem for all of us.” This motion today is not about having a men versus women debate. Not at all! I simply want to expand on what Cassie Jaye said and add that if we have a women’s health plan and a gender diverse health plan and if the women’s health plan clearly articulates that men, women and diverse genders all have different health needs, but we do not have a men’s health plan then that is a problem. One group is left behind and I do not want that to happen to the men in my world when it comes to their health.

So let us make a change. Let us celebrate our men today and make a commitment to plan for their health.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (3.07): I rise to speak to Ms Castley’s motion, and I appreciate the opportunity that it provides to discuss the government’s evidence-based approach to delivering care for those who are most vulnerable and in need in our community and who face the largest barriers to accessing health services.

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