Women participate in the Women's Wave March to protest domestic violence in Australia
(Jennifer Polixenni Brankin / Getty)

Australia Just Created a Government Position To Check in on the Men

The first-ever Parliamentary Secretary for Men’s Behaviour Change has been appointed in Australia as the country takes steps to address the rising domestic violence rate and create a safer environment for women and children.

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Victoria Premier Jacinta Allan established the new position to make gender-based violence a “government responsibility” and push for change amid a national crisis. Australia is one of many nations grappling with rapidly rising rates of violence against women. From 2021–22 to 2022–23, the country experienced a nearly 30% rise in the rate of women killed by their partners. According to the Counting Dead Women project, the country recorded 31 gender-based murders of women in just the first five months of 2024. There have also been several cases of gender-based violence in the country that garnered international coverage, including the mass stabbing at Bondi Junction Westfield, in which a man appeared to be specifically targeting women. Of the attacker’s six victims, five were women.

Violence against women has been rising so severely that Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese spoke out about it, highlighting the sobering statistics that a woman was killed every four days in the country since the beginning of the year. In his statement, he condemned society’s tendency to force women to solve the problem of violence against them and urged the government to “do better.”

One state in Australia is heeding the dire calls for change and officially making decreasing violence against women a government responsibility.

What is Australia’s new Men’s Behaviour Change Secretary?

Recently, Allan released a statement revealing she had appointed Tim Richardson to become Australia’s first Parliamentary Secretary for Men’s Behaviour Change. Richardson’s political career began in 2014 when he was elected to Parliament. In addition to his new position, he will continue to serve as Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, a position he has held since 2022.

According to Allan and Richardson, the position’s main focus will be examining how social media influences men’s and boys’ attitudes towards women and how it can be used to help build respectful relationships between men and women. On X, Richardson noted that his position was “not easy work” but emphasized that the country can not waste another moment in taking action against the epidemic of violence. He also reiterated that change “starts with us men and boys.” The ultimate goal of the new position is to make Victoria, Australia, a safe place for women and children.

Given the newness of the role, it remains to be seen what its duties will look like and how effective they will be. There are some concerns with the role as many influences outside of social media impact men’s behavior, and it’s unclear if just one individual can manage the enormous goals of this position. However, its mere existence is a symbol of hope that change is possible and that there are at least some individuals in positions of power willing to acknowledge the government’s responsibility in fighting for women and the need for change to start with men.

Unfortunately, the announcement of the position has sparked countless disgusting responses on social media. Internet trolls have been relentlessly harassing Richardson since his announcement, sending him death threats and mocking and attacking his wife and daughters. He has shown incredible poise in patiently explaining to those women-hating trolls that it shouldn’t be hard to understand why a country would want to take action when women are being murdered at alarming rates and encouraging them to use their words and actually talk to him about why they’re feeling so triggered by this position instead of resorting to death threats and juvenile attacks.

Unfortunately, countless responses have suggested that because other people are also dying in the country, it shouldn’t respond to the epidemic of violence against women. Some have reiterated the tired argument that we’re not allowed to talk about or take action against violent men because it will make men look bad. Right-wing extremist Jordan Peterson suggested there should be a position for changing women’s behavior because, according to him, the 31 women murdered in gender-based attacks this year in Australia are “whiny, victim-status-claiming, manipulative” women.

Of course, these responses only demonstrate why Richardson’s position is so important. Not only has gender-based violence become an epidemic in many nations like Australia, but there is a devastating lack of desire for this violence to stop. Thousands of men around the world commenting on Richardson’s post and sending him death threats are comfortable openly admitting that they want women to continue experiencing violence and losing their lives. You know that change has taken far too long to occur when even the tiniest steps towards protecting women generate far more outrage than the deaths of 31 innocent Australian women and counting murdered at the hands of men in 2024.


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.