Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan is facing sharp criticism for her latest move: appointing Australia’s first Parliamentary Secretary for Men’s Behaviour Change. The role, assigned to Mordialloc MP Tim Richardson, is part of the Allan government’s broader strategy to “make Victoria a safer place for women and children” by addressing male-perpetrated violence.

The government aims to combat the influence of the internet and social media on boys’ and men’s attitudes towards women and promote respectful relationships. However, this announcement has sparked outrage, with many accusing Allan of demonizing men. Many initially thought the post from the Premier’s Twitter account to be a joke:

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Critics took to social media to voice their displeasure. One Twitter user labeled the initiative “an absolute joke,” accusing the Premier of targeting all men for the actions of a few. The sentiment was echoed by 2GB host Ben Fordham, who argued that this “warped way of thinking” unfairly punishes men collectively. Fordham highlighted that domestic violence rates are higher in certain groups, such as lesbian relationships and among Indigenous people, suggesting that similar measures are not being applied to these demographics.

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NSW One Nation leader Tania Mihaluk also criticized a Queensland high school’s decision to convert a female-only toilet block to unisex, calling it “virtue signaling.” Victorian Senator Jane Hume further criticized the appointment, describing it as “window dressing” and questioning the effectiveness of a parliamentary secretary in achieving meaningful change.

Fordham pointed out the lack of equivalent support for men, who face higher rates of suicide, workplace deaths, and fatalities in war. Despite these serious issues, there is no Minister for Men, he noted, while Premier Allan focuses on policing male behavior.

However, the backlash suggests that many Australians see this move as misguided and unfairly targeting men rather than addressing the root causes of violence and societal issues comprehensively.