Legislative Council: Tuesday, June 13, 2023


Men's Health

The Hon. S.L. GAME (15:19): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Attorney-General, representing the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, on men's health outcomes.

Leave granted.

The Hon. S.L. GAME: On 2 May, I asked the Attorney-General about issues facing men and if the government would create an office for men's issues, and the response I received was, 'I don't need to refer that. I can inform the honourable member: no, we have not.' On 8 June, The Advertiser reported that almost half of Australian men are lonely and that men with high levels of loneliness are 8½ times more likely to have poor mental health.

Men account for six out of eight suicides, almost twice the number of deaths of our national road toll, and men face worse mental and physical health than women during a family breakdown. The 2022-23 federal budget allocated $1.7 billion to gender-based violence but did not recognise that at least one-quarter of domestic violence victims are male.

Male life expectancy is approximately four years shorter than that of Australian women but despite this the National Health and Medical Research Council has invested in women's health five times more than men's health. My question to the Attorney-General, representing the minister, is: given the data we have, could the Attorney-General explain why the government will not consider making an office designed to tackle these issues, especially when there is a major disparity between men's and women's health funding and life expectancy?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:21): I thank the honourable member for her question for in-depth answers in relation to the internal workings and funding and structures within the health department. I need to refer the specifics to the health minister, but I do know that there are many areas that the honourable member has mentioned that do affect men, but also affect women, and that there are strategies and programs in place that are being developed, modified and introduced to tackle those areas. I am happy to refer that and get some specifics for the honourable member.