July 6th 2013

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: The legacy of Nelson Mandela

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Last-minute law change a threat to religious freedom

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Bid to suppress free speech at WA parliament

OPINION: How 'tolerance' is used to curb our freedoms

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Labor in worse shape today than in 1975

EDITORIAL: Behind the Rudd, Gillard stand-off

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Small business -- too big to ignore

OPINION: Moderate Islam the antidote to Islamism

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Taiwan, Philippines fishing spat muddies SE Asian waters

SCHOOLS: Christianity airbrushed from Labor's civics curriculum

UNITED STATES: Persecution of Christians in the US military

LIFE ISSUES: Legal loophole threat to Irish pro-life consensus

HISTORY: How evil triumphs with our apathy and complacency

OPINION: The pros and cons of types of punishment

OPINION: Ministry for Men's Interests needed

CINEMA: Zombie tales reveal our innermost fears

BOOK REVIEW Rediscovering the idea of civilised liberty

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Ministry for Men's Interests needed

by Nick Goiran

News Weekly, July 6, 2013

In May, I rose in the Western Australian parliament, boldly proposing that we do what no parliament has done before — and that is to introduce a Minister for Men’s Interests to the governance model of Western Australia.

The Hon. Nick Goiran MLC.

Now I know there will be a strong voice of protest by many, who will state that men currently hold the preponderance of power in society, that men do not need any advocacy, and that men are the cause of many women’s problems in the first place.

Many pieces of legislation and amendments to legislation that I am required to read, analyse and scrutinise are what I would term “band-aid” legislation. This type of legislation is prompted by the need to tackle problems that emerge in our society, and its purpose is to instil a sense of respect for authority, for others, for property and for self.

An example of this would be the Cannabis Law Reform Bill 2009, which sought to protect adult and young cannabis-users from harm in the form of serious health problems and from the well-attested trajectory of drug dependence which leads to more dangerous drug use.

I regard the type of band-aid legislation I envisage as being like trying to fix a leaking above-ground swimming pool with a patch on the outside of the pool liner.

Public pressure emanating from the media and from those who have been victims of social problems, oblige us, as legislators, to do something to patch up the problem. It is our responsibility to try to ensure that our society is one in which people feel safe and are able to flourish.

This got me thinking: how do we start patching these sorts of problems from the inside of the swimming pool? Everybody knows that a patch on the inside is stronger than one on the outside, because the water pressure actually helps to hold the patch in place. Such a solution is more effective and lasting.

A Ministry for Men’s Interests, in my opinion, is an “inside-the-liner” solution to many of our social problems.

If men are encouraged to be educated and empowered to be men of integrity, responsibility and good character — how can this not be a good thing?

If men are coached on how to love, and, just as important, on how to show that love to their wives, how many women would object to that?

If men are shown ways to be great dads, on how to set boundaries for their sons and daughters, on how to lovingly discipline and yet also affirm their children and have fun with them — how many young adults will not look back with affection and gratitude on their childhoods?

If men are mentored to be employers and employees who act fairly and honestly — how many workplaces would not benefit? If men were properly instructed on ways to look after their own health, which taxpayer-funded health agency wouldn’t benefit and be able to use its scarce resources and dollars in other areas of need?

My hope is that this initiative of mine will be able to gather some momentum in our current political climate, which is unduly obsessed by political correctness and intolerant of everything else.

We live in an interdependent society, our lives are enmeshed — so it makes sense that, in order to truly tackle issues having an adverse impact on the physical, emotional and mental health of women and children, we need to start getting alongside our men.

The Hon. Nick Goiran MLC, a husband and father of five, has served as a Liberal upper-house MP in Western Australia’s state parliament since May 2009. He has degrees in commerce and law, and was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Western Australia in December 2000.

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