Victoria appoints parliamentary secretary for 'Men's Behaviour Change'

Premier Jacinta Allan talks up the ministerial appointment of a new role targeting men's behaviour that has been labelled 'insulting.'

Victoria appoints parliamentary secretary for 'Men's Behaviour Change'
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In a contentious reshuffle, Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan has unveiled new changes to her outer ministry, including a role focused on men's behaviour.

Tim Richardson, MP for Mordialloc, has been appointed as the parliamentary secretary for 'men's behaviour change,a position lauded by Allan as the 'first of its kind in Australia.'

Richardson’s role will “focus largely on the influence the internet and social media have on boys’ and men’s attitudes towards women and building respectful relationships”.

Critics question the necessity and potential efficacy of such a role, arguing it may be more symbolic than substantive.

Additionally, Allan has replaced Darren Cheeseman, who was expelled from the parliamentary Labor party last month due to 'allegations of persistent inappropriate behaviour.'

Albert Park MP Nina Taylor will now serve as the secretary for education. The decision to replace Cheeseman has been met with mixed reactions, with some viewing it as a timely change, while others believe it raises concerns about internal party discipline.

Further changes include Sunbury MP Josh Bull’s appointment as parliamentary secretary for infrastructure delivery, a role that supports both transport and health infrastructure ministers. Upper house MP Sheena Watt will take on the position of parliamentary secretary for emergency services.

In her statement, Premier Allan attempted to justify the appointments, stating:

“Tim Richardson will become Parliamentary Secretary for Men's Behaviour Change, continuing the Allan Labor Government's priority to make Victoria a safer place for women and children. This is the first position of its kind in Australia — focusing on the influence of the internet and social media on boys' and men's attitudes towards women.”

Allan's statement also noted, “Josh Bull will support Minister for Transport Infrastructure Danny Pearson and Minister for Health Infrastructure Mary-Anne Thomas. Nina Taylor will assist Minister for Education Ben Carroll in delivering substantial cost-of-living support to families and ensuring quality education. Sheena Watt will aid Minister for Emergency Services Jaclyn Symes in preparing for and responding to natural disasters.”

While the government asserts these changes will address critical social issues and enhance infrastructure and emergency preparedness, the effectiveness and impact of creating a role specifically targeting men's behaviour remain hotly debated.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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