Happy Father’s Day! I hope and pray it is a good one.
We try hard to keep the story positive on Father’s Day because it really is important to have a day each year to celebrate fathers and a day to celebrate mothers. Fatherhood, in particular, has been under attack for the last five decades. That’s why it is so important to pull out all the stops for the celebration.
This Father’s Day, the team at Dads4Kids don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The situation is utterly surreal. Last Tuesday I was informed by Free to Air TV Australia (CAD) that our two TV community service advert’s CAD numbers had been withdrawn because our advertisement of a father singing a lullaby to his baby was now a political activity. They were therefore outside the guidelines of community service announcements. Ironically, the organisation called Free to Air TV had effectively banned the Dads4Kids TV adverts.
It would seem that we, as fathers, will have to form a secret society and learn to communicate in code. Yes, we live in a crazy world and it seems to be getting crazier by the day.
Here is the ‘Dads4Kids official statement’, in large drafted by Ben Pratt, who has written and spoken on behalf of Dads4Kids for many years now.
Every year for the last 15 years, Dads4Kids has celebrated Father’s Day with a total of 13 different television campaigns focused on the special role of a father with his kids.
The majority of free to air TV networks across Australia have graciously run these ads for free as a Community Service Announcement (CSAs) up until now. These television commercials are simply a gentle encouragement to Australian dads, and an affirmation that they are an important figure in the lives of their children.
The adverts have been enthusiastically accepted and many TV stations play them all year long as a community service. They are always released in the lead up to Father’s Day.
Unfortunately, what is a simple Father’s Day message has now become a “political” statement.
It is extraordinary that this is where we have come to as a country; we can no longer celebrate Father’s Day without being forced to look at it through the lens of the same-sex marriage debate. It’s a tragedy that a political motive is now implied in any mention of fatherhood.
Not everything is about same-sex marriage.
There are lots of dads out there who, while they may be doing it tough, are doing their best for their kids, and the team at Dads4Kids wants to honour and encourage dads to put their families and children first.
We expect that in speaking up about this that we and those connected to us will be attacked and intimidated, and subject to the same vilification in both mainstream and social media that has been meted out to those who have stuck their head above the parapet on same-sex marriage, despite this not being the purpose of our adverts.
To be clear, it was and is not our intention to enter this debate at this time through these advertisements.
And what, you might ask, is in these “political” adverts? They feature a father singing a lullaby to his baby. It is that simple.
Our advert has been inspired by other adverts that support and encourage mothers and families. Please view the 30 second advert here and decide for yourself.
Regardless, we have taken the preventative step of restricting access to our website and social media channels in order to protect ourselves and our families from expected response to our situation.
We apologise to those who regularly visit our website and engage with us via social media for the inconvenience, but we trust you will understand and thank you for your support.
Ben Pratt for Dads4Kids
This bizarre decision to call a father singing a lullaby to his baby a ‘political matter’ which in effect bans it on free to Air TV reminds me of the novel by George Orwell called 1984 about thoughtcrime. The dystopian novel, published in 1949, is about Winston Smith, a low-ranking member of the ruling Party in London, in the nation of Oceania.
Everywhere Winston goes, even his own home, the Party watches him through telescreens; everywhere he looks he sees the face of the Party’s seemingly omniscient leader, a figure known only as Big Brother.
The Party controls everything in Oceania, even the people’s history and language. Currently, the Party is forcing the implementation of an invented language called Newspeak, which attempts to prevent political rebellion by eliminating all words related to it.
Even thinking rebellious thoughts is illegal. Such thoughtcrime is, in fact, the worst of all crimes. Winston works in the Ministry of Truth, where he alters historical records to fit the needs of the Party.
As the novel opens, Winston feels frustrated by the oppression and rigid control of the Party, which prohibits free thought, sex, and any expression of individuality. Winston dislikes the party and has illegally purchased a diary in which to write his criminal thoughts.
It feels as if this futuristic novel should be renamed ‘2017’. The new thoughtcrime that must be eradicated, or at least removed from public view, is the expression of a father’s love for his children through song, or any other means.
Did I also tell you that Free TV Australia (CAD) retrospectively banned last year’s Dads4Kids Father’s Day ads too? It sounds like the ‘new ministry of truth’ is actively cracking down on the thoughtcrime of a father loving his children on Father’s Day 2017 and changing history to do it.
Yes, it all sounds what Senator Zed Seselja called, “insane”. “I think it’s a pretty concerning glimpse into the future where apparently promoting fatherhood is now a political act,” he said. “I am a father of five myself. I often post pictures of my kids on their birthday … is that now a political thing? Come off it.”
Make sure you have a Happy Father’s Day with your children because your children need you.
Keep doing that thoughtcrime of loving our children, and when you have time, spare a thought or a prayer for Dads4Kids. We need all the help we can get.
Yours for our children