Mark Coulton MP, Federal Member for Parkes

Men's Shed Barbecue

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

 I would like to speak about something a little bit more pleasant! And that is about Men's Sheds and the important role that Men's Sheds play not only in my electorate but right across Australia.

Next week I am pleased to be hosting a barbecue, along with my colleague the member for Fowler, Mr Chris Hayes. This follows on from a barbecue that we had on the front lawns here a couple of years ago that was very successful; we had 300 people turn up. This one will be slightly different; it will be in the members' courtyard on the House of Representatives side. This is an opportunity for members to show support for Men's Sheds within their electorates and the organisation as a whole.

The beauty of Men's Sheds is that they cater to the particular interests of the men in that particular area. I have Men's Sheds groups in my electorate that play musical instruments. I have to say that when I was singing along with them there are a couple of weeks ago in the South Dubbo Men's Shed I do not know that I enhanced what they were doing! But, certainly, it is great to see these guys who probably played in their younger years and who now in retirement have got the guitars out and dusted them off. Apart from playing a couple of times a week at the Men's Shed, they are now going to the aged facilities in Dubbo and playing to the residents there. So it is a really great thing.

They are restoring vintage cars in other ones and building toys and selling them for charity. There is a whole range of things at the Men's Shed. Sometimes, you just need to go down there and have a cup of tea and a yarn—that is probably my sort of Men's Shed. But right across my electorate in almost every town there is a Men's Shed.

The support that men are able to offer each other as a member of their local Men's Shed is substantial. This is an outlet where men can gather, have a yarn and a cup of tea and share with each other. Men's Sheds also play an integral role in the dissemination of health advice for men. I should mention the Gulgong Men's Shed, where they have a very successful men's health forum and talks about all sorts of issues that are relevant to the health of men, particularly older men.

The second parliamentary Men's Shed barbecue will be held in Parliament House next Tuesday, 24 June, from midday till 2.00 pm. There will be a representative from different sheds in the House at the time. I congratulate them for their willingness to travel down and share with us in this place their experiences. I would encourage all members and senators to come along and meet the men from the Men's Shed movement and find out more about this wonderful organisation. It is the fastest-growing organisation, I believe, in Australia.

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