On Friday, the team at Dads4Kids spoke at a Senate Committee Inquiry for the Labor Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 at Parliament House, Canberra. Our delegation leader was a female Family Law lawyer, Sheneli Meneripitiyage Dona, and deputy leader indigenous elder Ps James Dargin, with Nathaniel and myself as their assistants.
In the current anti-male woke culture, one young female lawyer is worth 50 men, and likewise for our indigenous brother. They both spoke beautifully on behalf of the ‘quiet Australians’, both men and women, but particularly our children.
The children’s voice is hardly ever heard in the halls of power, but on Friday, 11 August, it was, but still, few are listening. Hear James Dargin’s riveting story in the video below and read his speech at the hearing below that.
Dads4Kids was founded by my friends Warwick and Alison Marsh in 2002. The founding of Dads4Kids was inspired by a short speech in 1998 in a Senate Committee Room given by Indigenous Elder Ps Ron Williams, a Noongar man from Kalgoorlie Western Australia.
Ps Ron Williams was a chaplain at Kalgoorlie Jail and had organised for the Marsh Family to play their music in the Kalgoorlie jail in 1990. Over the years, Uncle Ronnie Williams became a close friend and mentor of Warwick & Alison and their musical family.
At that short speech after the Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast in 1998, Ron Williams said that Australia’s greatest need was for fathers: “Fathers who would love their children, fathers who would love their children’s mother, fathers in the community, fathers in the church, fathers in the business world who would put people before profits, fathers in the parliament who would be statesmen and not just politicians.”
He repeated at the end of his speech these words: “The greatest need in Australia today is the restoration of fatherhood.”. Uncle Ronnie lived and breathed these words. His legacy lives on. His daughter Lydia Williams has been playing for the Matildas for the last 14 years.
Warwick and Alison Marsh answered Uncle Ron’s call in May 2002 and established the Fatherhood Foundation, which later became known as Dads4Kids.
The team at Dads4Kids has always been inspired by Ps Ronnie Williams’ faith in Christ; in turn, Ps Williams took great inspiration from the words found in Australia’s constitution, “Humbly relying on the blessings of Almighty God.”
These words are my inspiration too, and the reason I am here today to speak up for Australian fathers, their children and their families.
As I am blind to colour, so I speak today for all the men and women and children of Australia.
I believe that the current Family Law system is biased against fathers and routinely deprives children of their biological birthright to equal access of their mother and fathers.
This is creating a new stolen generation of children who, in most cases, are stolen away from their fathers.
The proposed Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 by the Albanese Labor Government would make the already horrific family law system ten times worse.
Both the team at Dads4Kids and I believe this bill to be unjust and immoral; we utterly reject this bill.
Let me tell you my story.
I was put in an institution at my birth where I was physically, mentally and sexually abused. I was fatherless until I was six years old when my dad reclaimed me, but his new wife physically abused me.
She put my little brother on a hot stove to punish him. He carried that scar on his arse all his life.
I couldn’t take it anymore, so I left home when I was 14 years old. I became a father at 15 years old, but being fatherless myself for half my life meant I wasn’t a very good dad. The fact that I had started a 36-year journey of being addicted to drugs and alcohol didn’t help either.
Sadly, we separated. When I was 25 years of age, my son’s mother was murdered, cut up and put in a suitcase by her new partner. My son was now both fatherless and motherless, and he went to jail many times and is still in jail today.
My own experience of fatherlessness crippled me as a dad and as a person. The statistics show that fatherless children are more likely to be sexually abused, suffer violence, grow up in poverty, have a poor education, are more likely to become addicted to drugs and get involved in crime.
All this came true for me. The good news is, in spite of all this, I don’t have a criminal record.
Every time I meet my children, I tell them I love them, and they say the same back, “Dad, I love you.”
The only way forward for Australia and Australian families is love and forgiveness. The current Family Law encourages mothers and fathers to take joint responsibility for the raising of the children, providing there are no mitigating circumstances.
To take this out of the Family Law Act is unthinkable. This will effectively rob children of their biological birthright to equal access to their mother and father.
That is why this proposed Family Law Amendment Act 2023 is unnecessary and so evil. This Bill will wreak havoc on the children and the families of this nation. That is why we reject it!
Thank you for hearing my voice today.
Ps James Dargin said in his speech, “The only way forward for Australia and Australian families is love and forgiveness.” Take these wise words to heart and put them into practice this week in your family.
Originally published at Dads4Kids.