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Media Release: 2020 Summit  "Children Lose - Fathers Left Out "

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Shared Parenting Council of Australia
Media Release
2020 Summit  "Children Lose - Fathers Left Out "
   The family friendly men's movement is deeply concerned with the apparent discrimination in the 2020 Summit process against the men and fathers of Australia. This discrimination is damaging to the families of Australia. We applaud our fellow Australians who are sacrificing to take part in the summit. They are not to blame. Our disappointment is with the Prime Minister and the government who are responsible for the process of the summit selection and briefing papers.

 Our new Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd, has convened the 2020 Summit for Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th Aril 2008. The goal of the 2020 Summit, in the Prime Minister's own words is to:

 'Harness the best ideas . . . and shape a long term strategy for the nation's future . . . and ensure nobody is left out of Australia's future.'

 These goals are commendable but for the Summit to succeed it is critical that the 2020 Summit is representational of Australian families. Men and woman are equal and both are important contributors to the Australian family. Children do best in the natural biological family and are safest in the care and protection of both their parents. Men matter; why then Mr Rudd does your 2020 Summit ignore men and their vital role in the Family?

 It would seem that this fact has escaped the Summit organisers as the information below shows.

 The overall summit has equal female and male representation but the critical Family and community section is very biased in its exclusion of men.

 So far the Communities and Families section has 62% females and 38% males.

 This inequality of balanced representation is also reflected in the fact that it would seem that the Men and Father's movement is not represented at all in this important family and community section of the 2020 Summit.

 one thousand delegates were chosen out of 8,000 applications. We have record of 17 applications from within the Men and Father's movement as listed below and suspect that there are many more that applied but were rejected. This means that there should be at least a minimum of between 1 and 2 representatives from within the Men and Father's movement for the Communities & Families section of the 2020 Summit.

 It is interesting to note that Get Up, a Labor Party friendly activist group with online cyberspace presence, and arguably influential in organising and gathering votes for Labor during the Federal Election, have 118 members, by their own admission, included in the 2020 Summit. Get Up, as a Labor campaign machine, was modelled on similar online political sites influential in American politics from the earliest Presidential Nomination campaigns of Democrat Howard Dean and subsequent internet campaigns. Get Up organised groups across Australia at a local level, imitating the success of Howard Dean with the American web site "" in activating grassroots pro-Labor volunteers. The unequal representation of Get Up delegates is cause for concern for all Australians whose faith in the Prime Minister for a representative voice, fairness and transparency in the 2020 Summit, now appears to have been misplaced.

 The tragedy is that men and fathers, the largest minority group in Australia, at 49.2%, have been left out again.

 Here are the people from the movement who were nominated for the 2020 Summit but were unsuccessful.

 1. Professor John MacDonald, Foundation Chair in Primary Health Care, Co-Director Men's Health Information and Resource Centre, University of Western Sydney. President, Australasian Men's Health Forum.

 2. Associate Professor Barry Golding, University of Ballarat, Researching Adult & Vocational Education (RAVE) Group; Adult Learning Australia visiting Research Fellow. Australia's leading expert on Men's 'Sheds' and Adult Learning for Older Men.

 3. Dr Arne Rubenstein (MBBS, FRACGP), CEO, Pathways Foundation

 4. Barry Williams, President, Lone Father's Association Australia

 5. Sue Price, Men's Rights Agency

 6. Wayne Butler, Executive Secretary, Shared Parenting Council of Australia (SPCA)

 7. Russell Workman, CEO, Mensheds Australia

 8. Greg Millan, Men's Health Worker - Men's Health Education & Community Events

 9. Greg Andresen, Media Liaison, Men's Health Australia, Researcher/ Producer, Dads on the Air

 10. Peter Berger, Prison Fellowship & Fatherhood Foundation

 11. Simon Hunt, Family Law Action Group

 12. John Stapleton, Program Director of Dads on the Air

 13. Wanda Taylor, Rural Families, Fatherhood Foundation

 14. Ian Purdie, Presenter, Dads on the Air

 15. John Flanagan, Fairness in Child Support

 16. WarwickMarsh, Director, Fatherhood Foundation

 17.  Edward Dabrowski, Federal Director, Shared Parenting Council of Australia (SPCA)

On 8th April 2008 some of the leaders within the men and father's movement convened a 2020 Summit teleconference to discuss the discrimination against men and fathers in the Summit. Opinions varied between disappointment to a sense of disbelief and betrayal that the Labor Party who had won so many members of the men's movement vote at the last election through their announcement of a Mens Health policy, would now sacrifice the needs and concerns of Australian families on the altar of political correctness. Many men also expressed their concern about the Labor Party's apparent disinterest in expediting the desperately needed Men's Health Policy.

 According to our projection 115 men have died by suicide since the Men's Health Forum held on 19th March 2008. This number includes many indigenous men and yet nothing seems to be forthcoming in the way of real progress from the Labor Party on a National Men's Health Policy. The continuing epidemic of men's suicide was one of the more urgent issues at the Men's Health Forum.

 The topics for consideration in the Communities and Families section of the 2020 Summit would also indicate that men and fathers are a low priority item in the discussion. We need a holistic debate that includes both men and women.

 It is ironic that many of the problems listed on the background paper of the 2020 Summit such as: increased levels of domestic violence, drug addiction, gambling addictions, alcoholism, psychological problems, homelessness, sexual abuse, rape, violence, crime, poverty and the declining birth rate are directly related to the epidemic of fatherlessness that is afflicting our nation.

 In other words the very groups that could make a significant contribution to the issues being discussed have been excluded from participation.

 Mr. Rudd promised that the summit would not have the usual suspects.

 The reverse would seem to be the case. The summit delegate list reveals that political correctness has overtaken the selection process. Even noted demographer Bernard Salt in talking about the delegate list said, "The first thing it says is that we are a people occupied with political correctness". We believe the 2020 Summit could well be toxic to families because children lose when fathers are left out.

 How much longer must our children wait?

For more information:

Edward Dabrowski
Federal Director
Shared Parenting Council of Australia
Mobile Phone 0409917345


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