Mark Parton doubles down on inclusion spray, bats away Donald Trump comparison

Mark Parton doubles down on inclusion spray, bats away Donald Trump comparison

Canberra mens' groups have rejected claims there is a void in help available for "heterosexual white males over the age of 30".

Liberal politician Mark Parton on Thursday doubled-down on his comments that men of that demographic were being excluded from services because they had "made all the decisions for the last 100 years".

Liberal MLA Mark Parton.

Liberal MLA Mark Parton.Credit:Jamila Toderas

"I think there's a perception by some that I'm saying all white heterosexual men over 30 are downtrodden, that's not what I'm saying at all, but there is a large number of that cohort who have been marginalised but because they're not a part of a minority group don't feel they can access assistance," Mr Parton said.

"I'm just saying inclusion should be about everyone and there are large group of men who feel they've been left behind and that's reflected sadly in the suicide figures in this country."


However Menslink chief executive Martin Fisk said Canberra was "probably unique" in the level of services available to men.

His organisation directly helps about 500 young men each year through mentoring and counselling and last financial year reached more than 10,000 through its Silence is Deadly presentations.

He acknowledged there were significant challenges facing young men in Canberra, but emphasised it was not just white men who had problems to overcome.

"At Menslink we don't discriminate on the basis of country or place of origin, religion, secularity or anything else," Mr Fisk said.

"Young men are more than twice as likely young women drop out of school, college or university, they're three times more likely to kill themselves and in fact and I understand just last week two young men in our region killed themselves last week."

EveryMan Australia Greg Aldridge said the ACT government, "like every other government" did not have a specific men's policy.

He said there was also limited data about services specifically provided to men, therefore it was hard to gauge the demand or shortfall.

However Mr Aldridge said he was often told there was "nothing" out there for men, despite EveryMan Australia helping between 1500 and 2000 men a year.

"Sometimes they haven't actually looked," Mr Aldridge said.

Mr Aldridge said those concerned about the level of service provision for men should consider starting their own initiatives where they see gaps.

"I've really been inspired in the course of my life by the successes women have had in creating support services for themselves," Mr Aldridge said

"A lot of that came from hard work, volunteer activity and no government funding. A lot of people complain that there should be something for men but aren't interested in doing their own hard yards to build what's missing, they want the government to do everything."

Australian National University demographer Dr Liz Allen said while middle-aged white men may feel like they were being overlooked, they were in fact "the norm" in Canberra.

"If we were to compare this to a race, white middle-aged men are already halfway through the race," Dr Allen said.

"People who are from a non-English speaking background, of low socioeconomic status or women are only arriving at the track.

"In order to make that race accessible to all the population, it's important to have measures that help support people to have a fair go."

Mr Parton also batted away comparisons to Donald Trump, calling the Labor backbencher who made them, Chris Steel, "the human form of a dull headache".

"I'm not taking any calls with Russia, I'm not intending to do anything with my hair or go to a solarium," Mr Parton said.

  • Menslink Canberra - 6287 2226
  • EveryMan Australia - 6230 6999
  • MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
  • Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
  • In an emergency, call 000

Katie Burgess is a reporter for the Canberra Times, covering ACT politics.