On Australia’s federal election night (7 September 2013), I received an excited phone call from James Adams, one of the fathers behind Fathers4Equality. As I missed his call, he later expressed his thoughts in text: “Did you hear Abbott’s acceptance speech?
Of three aims he promised to support ‘our forgotten families’. F***king really great news! We have worked long and hard to protect children and return honesty and balance between the sexes. You Warwick, including Ash Patil (Fathers4Equality), Greg Andresen (Men’s Health Australia), Barry Williams (Lone Fathers), Tony Miller (founder of Dads in Distress) and John Flanagan (Equal Parenting Party) have worked long and hard for the ‘family and fatherhood movement’. Tonight’s success is a result because of your effort and your dream of a society that protects children and families and is fair. Good on you all! All the best, James Adams.”
I think James was being overly kind to Dads4Kids. His language was rough but his point profound. I had watched the election proceedings with great interest, but I had not picked up on the phrase ‘forgotten families’. James Adams pointed out to me that the acceptance speech would have been written a few weeks before in readiness for the eventuality of a victory, so it would have been well thought out.
I did a bit of research of political phrases and found that Kevin Rudd, the former PM had used the phrase ‘working families’ hundreds of times to win the 2007 election, but reference to ‘working families’ and families in general had dropped from his vocabulary in the 2013 election. Instead Mr Rudd’s call for the redefinition of marriage became in effect a war against the natural family and the most vulnerable in our society: our children, not to mention Gillard’s war against children and single fathers.
Children need a mother and a father. Marriage, as an institution, protects our children’s right to a mother and a father. Marriage redefined is marriage destroyed. If we destroy marriage we destroy a child’s right to a mother and a father. Thus the redefinition of marriage would drive the final nail in the coffin of our already fatherless society.
We already have an epidemic of fatherlessness in Australia. Over one million Australian children are growing up without their biological father in the home. We know that fatherlessness is associated with a long list of damaging outcomes.
Children without involved and loving fathers are more likely to develop behavioural problems, psychological problems, commit suicide, more likely to become criminals, use violence, become alcoholics, sex addicts and drug addicts and engage in sexual abuse, be perpetrators of domestic violence and are more likely to end up in jail. Fatherlessness is costing Australia over 13 billion dollars per year. Fatherlessness in Britain is costing 86 billion dollars AUD per year.
Tony Abbott was right to say that the government is going to do something for Australia’s forgotten families, it is not before time. Political correctness over the last few years and the predominance of father and family hating legislation has resulted in a legislative no-man’s land. The war against men is actually a war against our children. Dads4Kids applauds the fact that our new Prime Minister believes that marriage is between a man and a woman for the long term benefit of our children.
Dads4Kids is thankful for the many men and women in the fatherhood and family movement, too numerous to name, and their work for the forgotten children and families of Australia . Dads4Kids particularly applauds Simon Ray and those who held Australia’s first ‘March for the Voice of the Children’ in Hyde Park, Sydney on Father’s Day (1 September 2013). The march for our children is not yet finished. We have more to do at a personal level with our own children and at a national level with our legislative bodies. We can only live in hope that the rhetoric will become a reality for our children’s sake.
The price of safety is eternal vigilance. Whilst we are more hopeful that the new government, led by Mr Abbott, will be more inclined to put our children first, it is up to us as fathers to be a voice for our children. We have to remind them of their words and hold them to account. We have to be prepared to make a stand for the truth because our children are our future.
Yours for fathers finding a voice