Statements by Senators – Fatherhood, Wednesday November 15, 2023

Senator BABET (Victoria—United Australia Party Whip) (13:47): Last month the Department of Social Services announced something. It had allocated $3.5 million to help combat what it calls harmful gender stereotypes. We know what that means. It’s code for: ‘The government wants to create a generation of soy boys.’ That’s what it’s about. Let me save the Albanese government a few million dollars and a great deal of time with just one word: fathers. If the question is how to raise well-adjusted young men, the answer is ‘fathers’. If the government is eager, as it should be, to create an environment in which boys grow up to be upstanding members of the community then the government should do all it can to support men in caring for their families. Our culture consistently, all the time, devalues fathers, but our own instincts, not to mention numerous studies, attest to the importance of men in raising healthy children.

Fathers are more than just second adults in the home. As well as bringing protection and economic benefits, fathers bring a different parenting style. Men and women are different—different!—including in the way in which they parent. It might not be politically correct to say so, but fathers are essential in raising healthy young men. I’m so thankful for what my dad did for me—the sacrifices that he made; the long hours at work, giving up part of his life—so that I could stand in this place today as a senator. Rather than demonising men, rather than, as a culture, making life difficult for fathers, we should support, honour and champion fathers for all the work that they do. Make men masculine and great again!