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Men and boys miss out in Rudd's gender agenda

Is Kevin Rudd interested in men? The answer, sadly, seems to be no. Rudd, unlike John Howard, rarely talks about issues affecting many of his own gender, such as family law, child support, fatherless families, boys' education.

Men and boys miss out in Rudd's gender agenda
Bettina Arndt

26 October 2007
The Canberra Times

Is Kevin Rudd interested in men? The answer, sadly, seems to be no. Rudd, unlike John Howard, rarely talks about issues affecting many of his own gender, such as family law, child support, fatherless families, boys' education.

Indeed, this potential prime minister seems content to hand over the running on most social issues to female colleagues renowned for their anti-male bias. For anyone keen to ensure men and boys receive a fair go, the prospect of a Labor government is all bad news.

As a prime minister, Howard has been most unusual in his passion for social issues, his famous "barbecue stoppers", and his willingness to stick his neck out and speak about the role of men. Remember the debate about single women's access to IVF?

While most politicians were cowered by the wave of women's rights rhetoric, Howard voiced the concern of many suggesting it isn't in our society's interest to encourage more fatherless families. Picking up on community discontent about children losing contact with fathers after divorce, he set up a bipartisan committee to look into the "rebuttable presumption of joint custody", where parents shared care unless good reasons preclude it.

But Labor's Jennie George and Jennie Macklin dug in and the committee was forced to water down its recommendations. A 2005 survey of parliamentarians by Fathers4Equality showed 62 Coalition members likely to support a shared parenting amendment compared with six from Labor.

Yet resulting changes to the Family Law Act have done much to ensure children's rights to contact with both parents. Labor reluctantly supported the legislation, with Rudd expressing great concern about the changes. He deferred to his then shadow attorney-general, Nicola Roxon, to spell out these concerns, who played up the fear that children would be forced to spend time with dangerous dads. She had previously dismissed the custody inquiry as "dog-whistle politics to men's groups aggrieved by the Family Court".

Labor's disdain for such groups is consistently demonstrated as Labor shadow ministers refuse to meet even the most respected of these organisations, despite strenuous efforts by a sprinkling of Labor backbenchers to encourage their party to take interest.

Labor MP Roger Price spent years tearing his hair out over his party's failure to implement the recommendations of the inquiry into child support that he chaired in the early 1990s. It was the Howard Government that finally tackled this controversial issue, implementing far-reaching changes recommended by an expert committee to make the scheme more equitable.

Yet Labor's determination to cater to lone-mother lobby groups shows in its recent announcement that it is monitoring the scheme to ensure the primary carer is not disadvantaged. It has also expressed concern about government efforts to help lone mothers make the transition from welfare to work. Both policies could well suffer roll-backs if Labor ends up in power.

Labor doesn't just have it in for men. The party has consistently favoured women in the workforce over mothers at home with young children.

The last time Labor was in power, families relying on one income lost ground compared with other families, suffering an average 4per cent drop between 1982 and 1995, according to the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling in Canberra.

At the time the national chairman of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Union, Joe De Bruyn, blamed Labor's "femocrat advisers" for consistently refusing to support women who stayed home, choosing instead to promote child care to encourage workforce participation.

With more than 75 per cent of all families relying on one income when they have children, Howard moved to increase their support between 1996 and 2001 a single-income two-children family on average weekly earnings gained 16 per cent in disposable income. Labor's more recent support for the baby-care payment is a sign the feminist ideologues may be losing some of their grip on the party but there are clear signs that biases remain.

One main reason Paul Keating lost power was the perception that Labor governed for some rather than for all. The 750,000 non-resident parents in Australia should be wary that their interests have no place on a Labor agenda.

Bettina Arndt is a Sydney writer.

How Activist Males are Seen

I have tried to come to grips with how males are seen who agitate for change or improvements in the law etc.

It obviously makes no rational sense to ignore one lobby group over the other  - there must be something deeper going on - some dark, hidden blind sport that enables women and men to ignore the rational discussion affecting the future and happiness of people (men women and children). Certainly Bettina Arndt is having trouble understanding why those people ignore the discussion and I do to.

I think some it has to do with the lack of appreciation of what men go through at separation and divorce and the collateral damage to families and the others. Maybe its because they have not heard enough stories of what men have been through (or they don't believe them) - how they have been affected and how damaging it is to men, children and society. So it could be just plain ignorance - to believe anything else would mean that these people are fundamentally stupid or evil. I doubt that they are stupid.

Maybe they really believe that women are more important than men and children - men need to be punished have children and assets removed - give community support to women as much as possible because they are helpless?, needy?, incompetent?, justly deserving?

I just can't work out what they think on this and they refuse to say or discuss in a balanced debate.

I cant find any men who have not gone through the process of "family" court and CSA who care or understand about the situation either. Many of these "happy" males are quite happy to let the process be as bad as it needs to be as longs as it does not affect them. Once it gets them - they go 'Oh my God - I had no idea its was like this'

I think too some women are quite happy to receive the benefits of the natural biases and presumptions of all the people working in the "Process" so they receive extra power and benefit - to do this knowingly means they must hate at least one man specifically and then allow the process to be used by others so other women who hate men can use it too.

The less radical feminists are loathe to upset a system which gives so much advantage to women on the basis of "Historical' realignment - fixing the errors of the past.

Few women - and Bettina is one of them - realize that by being blind or actively supporting evil, corrupt, incompetent, bias, ineffective, costly or absurd systems actually affects them and how they are seen in providing "Commentary" or "Opinion". Someone who can turn a blind eye to death and destruction around them - only to speak loudly about saving wales or giving free childcare to women in my view shows a lack of soul that will haunt them till their dying day (if they have enough insight to see it).

It takes character to have a conscience and even more to formally state your position. I agree with Bettina Arndt on that issue at least - few politicians who I have dealt with have sufficient insight or character to deal with these fundamental issues in life. Should any of them be in power?

The social engineering that governments have been doing has resulted in
  1. High suicide rates for men (four times the rate of females)
  2. Children failing
  3. Richer women
  4. less marriages (but then they change domestic relationship laws to get 'de factos')
  5. Less children
  6. Women still work mainly part time, retire earlier and receive the bulk of government payments and benefits
  7. Women living longer than men
  8. Destruction of the idea that men and women could form happy partnerships without enormous government intervention
  9. Healthy rich family law industry
  10. Growth in the mental health industry

They must all be very proud of their work to date.


 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
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