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What loss of men's rights, exactly, are we talking about?

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Debate continues to swirl around union official John Setka, fuelled by purported comments he made about domestic violence activist Rosie Batty. But possible denigration of a tireless campaigner against violence is not the main point. It is a distraction. As I understand it, there has been no denial that Setka referred to men having "reduced rights".

Refusing to step down: CFMMEU boss John Setka addresses a rally in Melbourne.Credit:Justin McManus

This suggestion of alleged reduced rights of men is the central issue.

Across our community, in workplaces, sports clubs, in corporate and government worlds, people are being urged to call out sexist abuse and condemn violent attitudes and behaviours. This is a significant, positive and welcome development.

But it is not without an aggressive and illuminating backlash. The less visible online forums are full of it. Men’s rights groups are alive and well, venting misogynistic spleen. Occasionally this anger and resentment bubbles to the public surface, finding expression in coded form, such as men having "fewer rights".

It is worth diving deeper into what this characterisation is really saying. If it wasn’t so serious, it would be quaintly amusing.


© Brisbane Times