House debates

Monday, 7 December 2020

Statements by Members

Men's Shed Movement

4:31 pm

Photo of Ted O'BrienTed O'Brien (Fairfax, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

In 2006, when civic participation in Australia dropped to 18.6 per cent, many in this country cried that we were seeing a crisis of civil society. Only two weeks ago the Weekend Australian reported on ABS data that civic participation has now dropped to 9.4 per cent. That's fewer than one in 10 Australians participating in community organisations. I raise this today firstly to acknowledge that there is an issue but secondly to pay tribute to one organisation: the men's shed movement. Today the chair and executive director of the Australian Men's Shed Association are here in parliament.

The organisation of sheds swim against the tide. At a time when community organisations are struggling, they are booming. They are growing. They are mushrooming across the country. They do this because they have a unique operating model. They deal with issues of social inclusion and men's mental health, but they don't do so by hanging a shingle outside every men's shed, saying: 'Got a mental health problem? Come on in.' They do it in a way which is simple and engaging with everyday blokes, and full credit to them. May civil society continue to rebuild and may men's sheds be a shining light for that rebuilding.