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Investigative journalist or lobbyist? The shared care debate in Australia

Investigative journalist or lobbyist? The shared care debate in Australia

Most people on the street would be quite familiar by now with an avalanche of newspaper articles over the past year condemning Australia's shared care laws and suggesting that they put Australia's children at risk of abuse.

These articles have been so effective that most people actually believe that the current research supports this suggestion.

Articles such as "Courts continue to grant access to violent parents", "Shared-parenting is 'gobbledegook'", "'Flaws' in John Howard's parenting law" & "Replace shared care with Canada model" have been so one-sided and misleading in their depiction of these laws, that there is a clear expectation in the community that the 2006 shared parental responsibility laws will as a matter of certainty be repealed by the Rudd government.

This avalanche of articles were primarily the work of two journalists, Caroline Overington from the Australian and Adele Horin from Fairfax, who seem to have closely aligned their message with that of Barbara Biggs, a toxic extremist who promotes the idea that men on the whole are sexual predators and inherently violent, and cannot be trusted in the care of their children.

In response to these articles, I have often been asked by members of Fathers4Equality why I have not made important research available to the likes of Caroline and Adele, in order for them to provide more balanced and informative reporting on this very important issue.

And there is an overwhelming amount of credible research to debunk these stereotypes of men and shared parenting promoted by those who have questionable motives in replacing Australia's shared care laws.

For example, recent research from the WA Department of Child Protection (amongst others) has shown that up to 80% of all child abuse occurs in single mother households, research from the Australian Institute of Criminology (amongst others) has shown that family violence is instigated equally by both men and women, a report from Childline in the UK has reported the skyrocketing of allegations by children against women for sexual abuse, and an article in the Wall Street Journal has reported on a German study highlighting the neurological damage caused to children who are raised without the ongoing presence of a father.

Further articles have highlighted the recent national poll in Canada showing 80% support for the replacement of their sole-custody family law model with shared care family laws, or the unprecedented outburst by UK Lord Justice Ward who spoke out against the sole-custody UK family laws by saying that the courts were powerless to help decent fathers to see their children if vengeful mothers stood in the way.

When one was to view all the research in this area on the whole, the conclusion is unmistakable. That there is a foundation of research and broad recognition within the community that sole custody laws are bad for children, and that
shared care on the whole is in the best interests of children. In fact, the natural transparency afforded by shared care provides the best safeguards against the risk of child abuse or neglect.

Now, truth be told, I have corresponded with the likes of Caroline and Adele quite extensively in this past year.

So one would assume that given our history, that both Caroline and Adele would be open to reading and/or reporting on vital information on Child abuse and Shared parenting passed on to them by Fathers4Equality.

Given that Caroline and Adele have devoted significant time and effort in writing article after article suggesting that children's welfare is at stake if they have shared care arrangements with their fathers, then as any credible investigative journalist would do, they would cross-reference their conclusions with the latest research and information on these claims.


Well, No, not so.

Fathers4Equality have gone out of our way to inform both Caroline and Adele on very important research that critically undermines the premise that shared care is bad for children. At the very least it provides a strong counter-argument to the repeated mantra from these two.

So have they reported on it?

Well, based on the below return receipts from emails sent to both Caroline and Adele on this very important research, not only haven't they reported on it, but they have also refused to even read it. They simply deleted it without reading it from their inbox.

Let me repeat that. They have DELETED, without reading, emails purporting to contain key information on the very topics they have devoted so much time on. And then they proceeded to write further articles on this topic, they have done so in selective ignorance of the facts.

Investigative journalism? I think not! Not convinced? Just look at the emails below and ask yourself why they were deleted without being read.

Ash Patil - Fathers4Equality

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