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Should we berate the polititians that joined us or not is the question!

A good friend of the Foundation was making much of the thanks given to members from both sides of the house for their efforts to previous years reform agenda.

It is with much interest I read the following from Warick Marsh and the Fatherhood Foundation, a Harm Prevention Charity.

Fatherlessness and inadequate fathering has been proven to be a source of harm. The Fatherhood Foundation helps children by promoting excellence  in fathering. Excellent fathers are in word and deed: responsible, involved, protective, loving and committed to the well-being of their children and their children's mother.

It is Saturday morning. I have just finished reading an email from one of my good friends in the fatherhood movement. He was criticising me for suggesting that we should thank those parliamentarians from both sides of politics who came along to speak at the National Strategic Summit on Marriage, Family and Fatherhood that we held in Parliament House, Canberra last Tuesday 18th September. Rather, my friend felt that I should be taking these politicians to task, for their failure to implement a rebuttable presumption of shared parenting after divorce, in the family law reforms of 2006.

Just like my friend, I was also deeply disappointed in the government's betrayal of the children of Australia in their weak and ineffectual family law reform, Read two Media Releases dated 27/3/2006 & 31/3/2006 at: Fatherhood Foundation: Resources: Media Room

But last Tuesday's Strategic Summit was about a far bigger picture than just family law reform.

The theme of the National Strategic Summit on Marriage, Family and Fatherhood was strengthening marriage and changing our present divorce culture, to a renewal of marriage culture.

In a Media Release about the Strategic Summit I was quoted as saying, ""The Fatherhood Foundation is excited to host this one day bipartisan summit to affirm the importance of marriage, family and fatherhood. In many ways the goal of this strategic summit, and for those who are speaking, is to affirm the obvious. Children are better off when raised by a mother and father who enjoy a successful marriage. When marriages break down our children suffer increased risks of poverty, lowered educational performance, less likelihood of going on to university, higher rates of psychological distress, mental illness, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide, self harm and higher rates of criminal behaviour especially for boys. Research also shows that a child who is not living with his or her own married parents is at greater risk of child abuse. It is our duty to protect them. Strengthening and supporting marriages is the best way to protect our children."

My wife, Alison, co-convened the Summit with me and was also quoted in the same media release as saying, "In all the talk about adult's rights in the last few years we have forgotten that our children have rights too. That is why the theme of the National Strategic Summit is 'Protecting the Innocent Children'. Our children don't ask to be born. Their innocence does not give us the right to treat them badly. We must take responsibility for their conception and birth and protect them. They have a fundamental right to a loving mother and father. Marriage best ensures that right. That is why we must support marriage."

Statistics show us that marriage fosters effective fathering. The empirical evidence is quite clear: marriage is our best hope of fostering involved, effective, nurturing fathers. When fathers do not live with their children, research shows that the relationship between father and child typically dissipates.

What then about my friend's email to me on not berating our politicians who came along to the summit. Why didn't I remind them of their dismal attempt at reforming Australia's family law? Even Professor Patrick Parkinson, an advocate for the government reforms, has pointed out the many aberrant judgements coming out of the family law court and the clear lack of the court to advocate for positive shared parenting outcomes.

There is no doubt that this fault lies with the present government, but is it my duty to berate the Prime Minister and members of the government at every opportunity, or is it my duty to build relationships for future change?

Can you imagine the results if every time my child failed to do the right thing I berated him/her for their failure? What sort of Dad would I be, and what sort of child would I produce?

Charles Schwab became the president of United States Steel. In 1921 he was being paid more than $50 million per year in today's income. He said, "I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the best way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement . . .  If  anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise."

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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The current fault lies not in the Amended Act but in the way the Courts are interpreting it. There are extreme variations between different jurisdictions.

It is up to Bryant and Pascoe to ensure the Amended Act is followed. If not then the AG will have to bring pressure on them personally.

Unfortunately we are going to have to live with this Amended Act for another 5-10 years - but if it is not followed as the legislation intended - then it was an exercise in time and money wastage.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
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