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Inclusion must be about everyone

By Mark Parton MLA - 6 October 2017 9

inclusion

Minority groups are important, but majority groups are too.

That’s the simple summary of a speech I made last week in the Legislative Assembly that thrust me into a media storm and saw my Labor colleague Chris Steel comparing me to Donald Trump.

I am blown away by the reaction to the speech and by the way that it was so widely misrepresented in the media.

So much of the commentary on social media was based around the ‘click bait’ headline suggesting that I said that heterosexual white males are left out of everything… as a universal statement. I was talking about the government’s focus on inclusion and that in its quest to pick and choose who to include in our society, many groups including majorities fall through the gaps. I applauded the government for some of the work it’s done in this space, but suggested that inclusion must be about everyone.

My speech made mention of the alarmingly high suicide rate among middle-aged Australian men and I’m certainly not the first to shine a light on this. Nobel Laureate Sir Angus Deaton recently spoke about the topic.

He said, “Australia has a problem. Suicide is at a 13 year high and suicide among middle aged men in Australia has increased dramatically. In a decade to 2014, the suicide rate among Australian men aged 55-64 has surged by 58 percent.”

No government in Australia should ignore this.

Constituent feedback suggests to me that there is a large number of people in this city who feel marginalised but who don’t fit into one of the ‘approved’ minority groups.

Joe said “If you are the male victim of ongoing domestic violence you are laughed at. The police genuinely laughed at me. Male victims don’t count.”

Ben said “When I raised the issues that I was struggling with some stressful work situations, I was told to toughen up. The support for me just wasn’t available and if I didn’t have a strong personal network I don’t know what I would have done.”

Luke said, “When I became homeless after several years as the primary carer of my two kids, women in the same position were able to access a range of services and grants to which I had no access because I was male.”

Andrew said, “The only purpose we seem to serve these days is to provide the resources for the government’s social projects. We are the economic packhorses.”

Louise wrote to me about her 45 year old son who’s struggling to provide for his family while going through a divorce. “The system has come down hard against him. Whatever he does is never enough. He’s an interstate truck driver. I go to bed most nights hoping he will get through the day. I’m very concerned there is very little support for men 30 years and beyond.”

Ian said, “The system had no acknowledgement of fathers as primary care givers. When my marriage ended I became homeless and completely lost contact with my children.”

Ed said, “As a white person, the pressure to feel ashamed or even disgusted with my skin colour is unbelievable.”

Because of the brutality of this government’s rates and charges juggernaut, more and more people are being pushed into the margins. If you’re from a minority group then there’s a serious chance that the government will reach out to assist you and include you. If you’re not a member of a minority group then the system doesn’t cater for you.

The current same sex marriage debate provides a classic example of exactly what I’m talking about. LGBITQ people who are being bullied and vilified should be supported. What doesn’t wash with me is that this government will ignore ‘No’ voters who have been vilified because…well because they’re not real people are they? They’re voting no, so they’re not worthy of the government’s support.  The government has clearly demonstrated it’s only going to look after people who conform to its world view. I think that’s rubbish. Inclusion is about everyone.

What’s Your opinion?


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Inclusion must be about everyone
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dungfungus 6:53 pm 07 Oct 17

No_Nose said :

dungfungus said :

I am a white, hetrosexual male and I am starting to feel I am becoming marginalised because I don’t know any LGBITQ people and there appears to be lots of them amongst us. Neither do any of my associates and friends know any

I’ll bet you do know some…

The fact that they feel the need to keep it hidden just shows that there is a long way to go before LGBITQ members of our society feel fully accepted and comfortable.

Well, you would lose your money; not that I would accept a challenge like that as I don’t gamble.

I get on with and tolerate most people and their lifestyles/opinions etc. however there are some who won’t have a bar of me but I am not wringing my hands because they don’t “accept me” and “make me feel comfortable”. That’s life.

I also question the need of the acronym that appears to have been adopted by some people to hide behind. All it seems to do to self-victimise these so called LGBITQ people who, I repeat I do not know.

If there were as many out there as the media would have me believe there are then why haven’t there been hundreds writing on this thread to tell me how ignorant I am?

Lucy Baker 6:36 pm 07 Oct 17

Identity politics is a scourge. The Human Rights Commission are putting out a strange series of expensive ads on “casual racism”. Quite possibly an issue in our society, but the ad shown on ABC’s The Drum totally is utterly unbelievable. The ad shows a tall sophisticated inner-city suited professional male (white) getting into a lift. A tall sophisticated beautiful blonde well dressed white woman follows him into the lift. There is a tall beautiful black woman who looks like a supermodel approaching from a bit of a distance. The man closes the lift doors while the second woman is approaching. Somehow we are supposed to believe that a confident male professional is going to close the lift doors on a stunningly beautiful, well-dressed professional woman who has business in the same high-rise that he does, any more than on any other person who misses the lift (and can simply catch the next one). Just doesn’t happen! Now, if they had made the second woman old – of any skin colour – or fat, or badly dressed, it just might have been a believable scenario that some jerk might fail to press the “open doors” button. But the AHRC isn’t interest in “ageism” and “classism”. If they are going to teach the public about “casual racism” they need to create a more plausible scenario.

No_Nose 1:59 pm 07 Oct 17

dungfungus said :

I am a white, hetrosexual male and I am starting to feel I am becoming marginalised because I don’t know any LGBITQ people and there appears to be lots of them amongst us. Neither do any of my associates and friends know any

I’ll bet you do know some…

The fact that they feel the need to keep it hidden just shows that there is a long way to go before LGBITQ members of our society feel fully accepted and comfortable.

Belconandonandon 11:57 am 07 Oct 17

Who exactly lives in “the real world” Mark? I don’t live in “the valley” and I’m not swayed by your folksy schtick, does that mean I live in the fake world?

If you think there’s a group of people in need of help, you should propose a specific policy or program to help them. It seems like all you’re really interested in is drawing attention to yourself.

Mark Parton MLA 12:07 pm 06 Oct 17

Chris Steel MLA said :

Mr Parton – I think you knew exactly what you were doing – channelling Donald Trump in order to bolster your conservative credentials.

The ACT Government supports all people in our community – but the reason why we have programs to ensure that women, multicultural communities, people with disability, gay and other people are included – is because historically they have been excluded. I think most Canberrans recognise to the need to do more to include people from a diversity of backgrounds.

It’s ironic that you made comments at a time when we are talking about marriage equality. The group that you are is talking about can get married – but Gay couples don’t have the right to marry as everyone else. Only one group is being forced to explain their self-worth to the community during this disrespectful debate that your Party thrust upon the community.

It’s always about the war with Mr Steel isn’t it ? Seriously Chris, as you know, I don’t have any influence on the federal coalition party room. I have as much ownership of this process as Donald Trump has of my speech. I’m flattered that you think I’m party leadership material, but I reckon you might be getting a little ahead of yourself.

My ongoing community engagement in Tuggeranong shows me that this speech has resonated loudly down here in the valley. I’d encourage you to join me for a beer at the Chisholm Tavern or the Sports Bar at Lanyon Vikings so you can test your world view on the fine folk in the south. I think you may be somewhat disappointed at what people in the real world are thinking about all of this.

chewy14 10:46 am 06 Oct 17

Chris Steel MLA said :

Mr Parton – I think you knew exactly what you were doing – channelling Donald Trump in order to bolster your conservative credentials.

The ACT Government supports all people in our community – but the reason why we have programs to ensure that women, multicultural communities, people with disability, gay and other people are included – is because historically they have been excluded. I think most Canberrans recognise to the need to do more to include people from a diversity of backgrounds.

It’s ironic that you made comments at a time when we are talking about marriage equality. The group that you are is talking about can get married – but Gay couples don’t have the right to marry as everyone else. Only one group is being forced to explain their self-worth to the community during this disrespectful debate that your Party thrust upon the community.

Chris,
it’s good that at least you admit that you don’t provide assistance based on current need but rather historical rates of exclusion, that ignore individual experience. If you were trying to highlight Mr Parton’s point, you couldn’t have outlined it better.

As for marriage, everyone currently has the exact same rights regardless of sexuality. They can marry a member of the opposite sex, with the current debate being solely about redefining “marriage” to include same sex couples.

The fact that activists are trying to make the marriage debate about more than what it is, is part of the reason why the debate has reduced to the level it has and why people are suffering. On the yes side, the debate isn’t about equal rights, equality or stopping homophobia and on the no side it isn’t about children, education or the end of free speech.

No one is being asked to explain their self worth or value to the community, we are simply debating the definition of an archaic institution that should be removed as it has lost any purpose it was designed to achieve. Regardless of the result, marriage by definition will still remain as discriminatory as ever.

dungfungus 10:20 am 06 Oct 17

Chris Steel MLA said :

Mr Parton – I think you knew exactly what you were doing – channelling Donald Trump in order to bolster your conservative credentials.

The ACT Government supports all people in our community – but the reason why we have programs to ensure that women, multicultural communities, people with disability, gay and other people are included – is because historically they have been excluded. I think most Canberrans recognise to the need to do more to include people from a diversity of backgrounds.

It’s ironic that you made comments at a time when we are talking about marriage equality. The group that you are is talking about can get married – but Gay couples don’t have the right to marry as everyone else. Only one group is being forced to explain their self-worth to the community during this disrespectful debate that your Party thrust upon the community.

I don’t know what constitutes “bullying” these days (and I don’t know Mr Parton) but for someone who obviously sees Donald Trump as odious you may be bullying Mr Parton by accusing him of channelling the US President.

Also, why is it “disrespectful” to put forward an opinion that doesn’t follow the narrative that you could be a little close to judging by your over-emotive comments.

Chris Steel MLA 8:58 am 06 Oct 17

Mr Parton – I think you knew exactly what you were doing – channelling Donald Trump in order to bolster your conservative credentials.

The ACT Government supports all people in our community – but the reason why we have programs to ensure that women, multicultural communities, people with disability, gay and other people are included – is because historically they have been excluded. I think most Canberrans recognise to the need to do more to include people from a diversity of backgrounds.

It’s ironic that you made comments at a time when we are talking about marriage equality. The group that you are is talking about can get married – but Gay couples don’t have the right to marry as everyone else. Only one group is being forced to explain their self-worth to the community during this disrespectful debate that your Party thrust upon the community.

dungfungus 8:18 am 06 Oct 17

I am a white, hetrosexual male and I am starting to feel I am becoming marginalised because I don’t know any LGBITQ people and there appears to be lots of them amongst us. Neither do any of my associates and friends know any and we all agree that if we did we wouldn’t be interested in bullying or vilifying them which begs the question as to which group is and if indeed this is what is actually happening.

Personally, I think it is all confected, a bit like that old maxim “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”.

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