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Family Breakdown in Australia - Report by Malcolm Mathias (2000)

Non-custodial parents are increasingly looking at the parts played by the Family Court and the Child Support Scheme as factors in creating a climate conducive to the formation of fatherless families.

Malcolm Mathias wrote a report, about the state of family breakdown in Australia, in the late 90s when he was President of the Victorian Branch of the Lone Fathers Association.

He released this revised version in 2000, when he was President of Fathers for Family Equity.

The report covers a range of topics and provides support data and statistics. Topics covered include marriage and divorce, second marriages, impact of the CSA formula, CSA caseload, sex of CSA payers and payees, CSA eligible children and their ages, census data, unmarried lone parents, step families, broken families, family breakdown, impacts on the workforce and the consequences, violence, suicide, government 'cover up, Section 121, etc.

A copy of his report is attached here for those interested to read, study and ponder how much has and hasn't changed.

Attachment
Family Breakdown in Australia (Malcolm Mathias) 2000

Introduction said
Family Breakdown in Australia
An attempt to get at the truth about the magnitude of the problem.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated the total Australian population to be 18,631,126 at December 31, 1997 (ABS Pub 3101.0, Australian Demographic Statistics).  How many of these are in broken family situations?  How many children live with only one of their natural parents?  How many people have been through the process of divorce, Family Court and the Child Support Scheme?

Family breakdown in Australia is creating an increasing number of one parent families and an increasing number of children living with only one of their natural parents.  Non-custodial parents are increasingly looking at the parts played by the Family Court and the Child Support Scheme as factors in creating a climate conducive to the formation of one parent families.

The feeling of isolation which the non-custodial parent feels after the forced separation from the children is intensified by the apparent lack of statistical data, and the lack of community concern.  The non-custodial parent often feels forced to fight a lone battle against the Family Court, the Child Support Agency, the Child Support Review Office, Federal politicians and an ignorant community.

However, far from being alone, the number of non-custodial parents caught in this trap is increasing rapidly, but the Family Court, the Child Support Agency, and the Federal Government attempt to keep the magnitude of the problem a secret.    The "non-disclosure" provision in the Family Law Act (Section 121) denies the "media democracy" which is available to other community issues, thereby maintaining community ignorance of details about the magnitude of, and factors contributing to, family breakdown.

This article attempts to remove some of the secrecy surrounding the magnitude of, and factors contributing to, family breakdown, by presenting data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Child Support Agency.  Two key documents have been obtained from the Child Support Agency:

- Child Support Agency Facts and Figures - Data to June 1996.  Prepared by Strategies and Research Unit, Child Support Agency, Canberra, ACT

- CSA Client Profile Series No 1, January 1998.  Data to June 30, 1997.  Prepared by Research & Policy Unit, Policy Branch, Child Support Agency, Canberra, ACT (Note: Other reference material is presented in the bibliography.)

The Family Court and the Child Support Scheme have created a welfare system which continues to grow at an alarming rate.  Non-custodial parents appear to be the victims of the escalation.
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