Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (18:12): My adjournment matter tonight is for Minister Foley. Recently I spoke to a constituent of mine, Michael Ray, who brought a very relevant issue to my attention. Michael is a single father who has been raising his six-year-old daughter alone. He has faced many barriers as a single father and is seeking fairness and equality for all families.
Today, outdated gender and societal roles that are no longer applicable remain entrenched in our society, despite the negative consequences this has on families, children and the community. Gender inequity is both structural and systematic, and it affects both women and men. I believe we need to support fathers playing a bigger role in their children’s lives, and there are changes we can make now to help this transition. In particular, the maternal and child health service is a vital resource that works with families caring for babies and young children until they start school. This is a service that caters for all families, whether they be parents working full-time or whether the father is the primary caregiver. However, this fact is not reflected in its name. I believe that changing the maternal and child health service to the ‘parental and child health service’ would be a step in the right direction. It is so important that we support men in their desire to be more connected and more respected for what they contribute to our children’s lives. Making these changes not only supports men but also supports women.
Today Rod asked the government to recognise parents who play an active role in their child’s life by changing the name of the ‘Maternal and Child Health Serv…
Michael has shared with me the many struggles of being a single father. Even an activity as simple as visiting a local park presents challenges. There are often no change tables in men’s bathrooms, forcing Michael to make do setting up under the shelter of a tree. Simple changes, such as introducing change tables in men’s bathrooms where parents rooms are not available, can make a big difference. Therefore the action I am asking the minister to take is: will this government recognise parents who play an active role in their children’s lives by changing the name of the maternal and child health service to the parental and child health service?