IMD

International Men's Day in

Australia

Australians have celebrated IMD on November 19 since 2003, when Phil Gouldson of Men's Health and Wellbeing Association ACT (MHWA) launched the inaugural event after receiving an invitation by Trinidad and Tobago's Harrack Balramsingh to join in the event. 

In Canberra, 2004, Mr. Gouldson asked men in Australia to wear a red rose for IMD and for women and families to buy the men in their life flowers. He said a red rose is worn by men on IMD as a symbol of strength of character and courage, and as it is unusual to see men being given flowers so it is a good way to highlight the occasion. 

In 2004, Michael Flood, a pro-feminist academic criticized the basis of the 'Mens Health and Wellbeing Association' (MHWA)'s IMD celebration which focused on men's health, arguing that there were already enough opportunities to work on men's health and fatherhood (citing Father's Day and Men's Health Week). Mr. Gouldson responded, reminding that "Not all men and boys are fathers, while Men’s Health Week focuses on claimed inadequacies of men in not better managing their health."  Dr. Teelucksingh independently highlighted the need to address the needs of young boys, teenagers and men who are not fathers, which was one of his primary purposes for establishing International Men's Day.

In 2008 Dads4Kids Organization highlighted the theme 'honour and sacrifice', pointing to the sinking of the cruiser HMAS Sydney on November 19 during the Second World War and resulting in the largest loss of life in battle on any one day with the death of 645 men off the coast of Geraldton in Western Australia.Organisers suggested the ability to sacrifice one's needs on behalf of others is fundamental to manhood and therefore to International Men's Day: "men make sacrifices everyday in their place of work, in their role as husbands and fathers, for their families, for their friends, for their communities and for their nation."

In 2009, a number of events were held throughout Australia including IMD initiatives organized by four local governments: Maitland City Council in N.S.W., Greater Hume Shire Council in Victoria, Ipswich City Council in Queensland, and Forbes Shire Council in N.S.W. each of whom funded local observations. These were the first government bodies in Australia to fund and host community IMD events.

In the State Parliament of Western Australia Minister Nick Goiran gave a speech introducing International Men's Day and its objectives to the parliament, focussing on the promotion of gender equality and the importance of highlighting positive male role models. There was also an event held in the Federal Australian Parliament House with several notable speakers.

Numerous other organisations hosted observations including the Men's Shed Steering Committee in Rockhampton, the Community Resource center in Ulladulla, the Regional Health Service in KooWeeRup, and Dads On The Air radio programme in Sydney which hosted an hour-long programme discussing IMD with a panel of international coordinators of the event.

 

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