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Onward – Jim
Dads on the Air | http://www.dadsontheair.net
Local Sydney Time: 10.30am to 12 midday Tuesday 3rd November 2009
USA Eastern time: 8.30pm to 10pm Monday 2nd November 2009
USA Pacific time: 5.30pm to 7pm Monday 2nd November 2009
UK GMT time: 1.30am to 3am Monday night (Tuesday morning) 3rd November 2009
INDIGENOUS MEN’S HEALTH
With special guests:
- Ashley Gordon and
- Craig Hammond.
This week we’re broadcasting to you from the opening of the week long National Men’s Health Gathering in Newcastle, which is about 2 hours north of Sydney. This national event occurs every alternate year and the whole week is dedicated to the health issues facing men today and how we can best deal with those issues.
The state of health of Australian men has been ignored and neglected for many decades by successive governments, while at the same time, the cultural landscape for men, has in recent times come under severe attack from many sources, causing a further deterioration in the well being of the nations’ men and boys.
We are dedicating the whole of this weeks’ program to the opening day at this year’s National Men’s Health Gathering, which starts the week with the 5th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Health Convention.
We also speak with former rugby league star Ashley Gordon, “Aboriginal people and gambling” a dedicated Aboriginal leader and one of the organisers of the convention. Ashley is joined by fellow convention organiser and Aboriginal leader Craig Hammond, “The Brothers Inside Project” who is also committed to improving the physical and mental health of the nations’ Indigenous men.
If we want to see what is in store for our men and our culture, we need look no further then the enormous task faced by our Indigenous community to restore the health, dignity and well being of their men and boys. To their great credit and our national shame these communities are working hard to re-engage their once proud Men and have their cultural landscape restored.
The deplorable state of mens’ health in Australia, is in no small part due to the fact that it has by and large been ignored by Australian governments and the media. Despite the fact that we are proud to be able to claim that Dads On The Air were the only media organisation to cover this important national week long event, it is an absolute disgrace that the nations’ media completely ignored reporting on this event and the dire state of our mens’ health.
Around five hundred concerned men and women came to Newcastle from every corner of our nation to discuss the state of men’s health in Australia yet our media didn’t rate it a mention. Have we reached the stage where our society now only views its men as a dispensable commodity?
While our national media is quick to demonize and portray all men as abusive thugs at every opportunity because of the actions of a few misfits, it completely ignores the plight of the majority of good men, who are responsible, decent human beings, ready to sacrifice their own lives in order to protect the lives of the women and children of this great nation.
This unrelenting assault on the status and dignity of the men in our society has seen a steady deterioration in their general health, both mental and physical. For example, currently all responsible men face the prospect of forcibly having their children and property removed from them, at the whim of a vindictive ex partner aided and abetted by a deplorable family justice system, and find themselves powerless to prevent this happening. This occurs because of community apathy and ignorance and most men’s mistaken belief that it will never happen to them.
As a result we see a fractured society with hundreds of thousands of children living in fatherless homes. Many of these children have no responsible male role models in their lives at all, and while astonishingly this is seen as being in the Best Interest of the Children, the ramifications of these policies are going to have some dreadful outcomes for future generations.
Ashley Gordon is an Indigenous Research Consultant and a trained gambling counsellor who has extensive experience in community education and in program design, development and delivery for Indigenous peoples and communities. He has held Board positions on the Hunter Area Health Aboriginal Health Forum, Hunter Area Consultative Committee, Hunter Council on Problem Gambling, NSW Council on Problem Gambling, Myan Indigenous Employment Network, Hunter Disability Network, Awabakal Aboriginal Lands Council, and the Northern NSW Police Aboriginal Committee.
Formerly a high school teacher, Ashley’s more recent career activities have involved working with fellow Indigenous Australians in the areas of life skills training, drug and alcohol counselling, enterprise development, sport and physical education, health and public health, employment, and gambling counselling, community education and needs assessments. Formerly a First Grade Player for the Newcastle Knights football club, he has considerable respect amongst Indigenous peoples and a wide network of contacts. He is currently employed as Manager Counselling and Marketing Programs with LeapFrog Ability in Newcastle NSW. Ashley is currently working on two Indigenous gambling projects with the CGER.
Craig Hammond heads the “Brothers Inside Project” which was first piloted in the Cessnock Corrective Centre with the support of Rio Tinto Aboriginal Foundation and Mercy Foundation. The project works with Indigenous men in gaol to focus on their role as fathers whilst in gaol and upon their release. The Brothers Inside Project has been piloted in Cessnock Corrective Centre with the support of Rio Tinto Aboriginal Foundation and Mercy Foundation. The project works with Indigenous men in gaol to focus on their role as fathers whilst in gaol and upon their release.
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