Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Of course Wayne Butler (who himself has been accused of sexual abuse of his own son) would applaud this.
Hang on a minute though, isn't Wayne Butler Secretary of the SHARED Parenting Council of Australia? And yet here he is applauding SOLE custody being awarded to FATHER? Something just doesn't smell right here...oh that's it, it's because it's a FATHER that got SHARED PARENTING! Not a mother but a father! How embarassing Wayne to have your true agenda revealed in THE AUSTRALIAN newspaper for all to see. In your eagerness to crow about a meagre victory you forgot to conceal your secret agenda. It's going to be hard to recover from that one especially in regard to sucking up to the AG and brown nosing the government like you do (snivelling LITTLE man that you are).
And Barry Williams constantly bandies around vague terms of "dealing with suicidal people every week" but never actually puts out firm figures...hmmm. And if there are so many potentially suicidal fathers out there and direct research indicates that suicidal thoughts are the result of varying degrees of mental incapacity surely the only conclusion is that he is dealing with a lot of mentally ill fathers and a history suggests that a proportion of those are potential child and family murderers?
Barry Williams surely you must have concerns that so many mentally ill fathers are coming to you and you must admit that if a father is suicidal then he really has no place looking after children and poses more than a significant threat to any child whether it be by direct violence or less direct means.
Wow you're really getting on now and still so bitter and twisted.
Isn't it time you gave in and realised that you cannot ever win the battle and that women have a rightful place in society and that you cannot bully them forever.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
20 March 2007
Cover story, pp18-24
Sex, Lies & DNA
By Julie-Anne Davies
Liam Magill made history when he sued his ex-wife all the way to the High Court for deceit over the paternity of two of their three kids. Now, for the first time, the wife and children give their side of the story.
There are probably not too many Australians who won't have an opinion about Meredith Magill. Most, of course, have never met the woman, but many have heard about her. She is the Melbourne wife who cheated on her husband and bore him three children, two of whom, it turned out, were not his own. Unaware of this, the cuckolded Liam Magill paid child support for all three for several years after the marriage collapsed. More importantly, for most of those years, he also played dad.
Then in 2000, a DNA test revealed the sad truth. Another man had fathered his younger son Heath and daughter Bonnie. An Australian legal landmark of sorts was established when Magill decided to make his ex-wife pay for her betrayal and his pain by suing her for deceit. Although he was ultimately unsuccessful - the High Court last November ruled against the $70,000 compensation originally awarded to him by the Victorian County Court - Liam Magill has become the poster boy for the fathers' rights movement.
And the singularly female crime of paternity fraud now has a face and a name - Meredith Magill. She was, and is, every man's worst nightmare. If you believe the fathers' activist lobby, the Magill case is just the first public outing of afar greater social problem. The Bulletin has been told that three new paternity fraud test cases are in the wings, with the first to be lodged in the Queensland courts within weeks. Until now, we've not heard from Meredith Magill, the she-devil.
In the six years since the first legal action commenced, she has been offered plenty of inducements by media organisations, keen for a few words from one of Australia's most notorious adulteresses. She has always resisted. "No one wanted to hear my side of the story. They just wanted to punish me and what good would that have done my children?" says Meredith Magill. Her decision to speak now is a considered one and involves no money. Some would say it is also plain stupid, but she sees it as an attempt to claw back some dignity.
And right the ledger. At no point in our many conversations does she attempt to excuse her behaviour. "I messed up big time," Meredith readily admits. "I can't pretty this up. I had an affair and had two kids whose father was another man, not my husband." Ouch. This is a harder-than-usual corner to box your way out of, but as she says, if she'd shaved her head and daubed a red "A" on her back, would the court of public opinion be any more inclined to forgive her?
"I know that what I did was inexcusable in a lot of people's eyes, but I was young - 23 when the affair began - depressed and in a pretty horrible relationship. It started during my marriage and went on for some time after it ended. I did it for the same reasons most people do. It made me happy for a while but my kids have suffered the consequences. So have I."
She knows this is a high-risk interview, that the anonymous hate mail campaign, which began when the case became public, will gather pace after publication of this article.
But she also figures it is about time the forgotten victims in this tawdry but oh-so-human saga - Arlen, 17, Heath, 16, and Bonnie, 15 - were heard. To be clear, it was the children's idea to speak, not their mother's. "But we all realise that dad will blame mum for putting us up to it," says the youngest, Bonnie. The family all hope that if people get an inkling of the consequences that have flowed from Liam Magill's decision to unleash the legal dogs (not to mention the notorious Black Shirts, the radical fathers' rights group), they might pause to wonder whether the end always justifies the means. Revenge, as the saying goes, is a dish best served cold.
In this case, the dish has been refrozen a few times.
Liam Magill's story is well-known. He has appeared on television and featured in a magazine interview explaining how his life had been destroyed by his wife's lies. He will never, he says, recover from the shock of learning he was not the biological father of his two youngest children.
He loves the children equally, but says he is reluctant to see them without the support of professional counsellors (something Meredith insists is news to her). He seems to gloss over a couple of salient details.
One is that he had become an absent father before the DNA results were ever known and has since severed all contact with his three children, including his biological son.
The striking thing about Liam Magill's version of events is that the primary victim in his story is himself. As for the children, he has this to say. "I hope that one day they realise I did this for them, so they would know who their real father is because that is their right." In a long radio interview broadcast in New Zealand three months ago, Magill spoke at length about the inequities inherent in Australia's child support laws, but had few words to describe the emotional toll on his kids.
He does offer this: "My question still prevails: why did I have to pay all the dividends when only a third of the liability was mine? " That third liability has a name. Arlen Magill. He is Liam Magill's biological child, and will turn 18 in a few weeks. Their birthdays are only a few days apart, but Arlen is not expecting his dad to call. He has not seen or spoken to his father since he was 11 years old, just after the DNA test results became known. That is his father's choice.
"I want my dad to read this story so he realises just what he's missed out on," Arlen says more than once. It sounds like revenge, and it is, but measure that against the hurt and anger and it's a no-contest. "He's missed my footy grand final last year, all my cricket games, my school formal, my 16th birthday - all those important moments in a kid's life as well as all the small things, too.
"You can't buy those memories back, but you know what? It's his loss, not mine," Arlen says.
While you silently applaud him for being able to draw this very mature conclusion about his own worth, it is also a crying shame that he has to. And although he keeps insisting otherwise, there is no doubting it is his loss, too. It was his dad who first handballed a footy to him, who took him to his first AFL game and who, Arlen says in an unguarded moment, "was a natural with the ball".
We look at the trophy cabinet, a scrapbook of sorts of this boy's life and the things that matter to him. "Dad didn't see any of this." He is a son any parent would be proud of. As he remarks only half bitterly, "I am a chip off the old man's block The only difference between him and me is that my eyes are blue and his are brown. Oh, and he's a shit and I'm not."
Arlen is completing his final high school year and is a gun sportsman. He plays in his local under-18 footy team and last year won the coaches' award. He is a natural charmer who, in the hours we spend together, articulates his feelings with painful precision. In Arlen's world, his mother's betrayal doesn't rate compared with a father who turned away from his children.
"What kind of father sues his children's mother knowing that if he wins, his children lose? They end up homeless because the bloke wants to punish the mother. That's what dad has done and he nearly succeeded."
When he rereads comments from his father published in a magazine, he has nothing but contempt for the man. "He fails to mention how he's neglected his kids. A loving father does not ignore his kids for seven years," Arlen says.
His brother and sister are clearly less interested in Liam Magill's absence. After all, they have another father, Derek Rowe, the family friend their mother had an affair with over a number of years and who DNA tests later confirmed was their biological dad. They now have a relationship with him and only recently returned from a holiday in Queensland where he lives with his family. Bonnie shows me a photo album full of happy family pictures and says there's not a thing she misses about her other dad. But she is one angry teenager. Just trying to find the right names for the two men who she has, at different times, called dad is a struggle. "Let's just settle on dickhead," she says when we talk about Liam Magill.
Bonnie likes her new dad, but clearly doesn't feel any deep connection. And it can't be any fun having to defend your mother after one of her school friends branded her the town bike in front of a locker room full of kids.
"I full on body-slammed her, that's what I did," she says with a defiant stare. She copped a five-day suspension for that one, and it's pretty clear it's not the only time Bonnie has got herself into trouble at school. She is full of false bravado and says there is nothing worth remembering about the old days. The only story she wants to tell about Liam Magill as father concerns a sad little episode about her ninth birthday.
"It was one of the last times I saw him, and do you know what he did? Somehow his new leather jacket got a cut in it and he sent us all to our rooms and threatened to take back my presents and the cake unless someone owned up. That's what I remember about my dad."
It's a rotten memory, and who knows if it is true, but her two brothers nod in agreement when she repeats it. It is only later that she thinks of something else. "I remember he could kick a ball so high in the air, it disappeared. I always thought he was amazing the way he could do that."
Just looking at the kids, it is Heath - blond, blue-eyed and finer-boned than Arlen and Bonnie - who could be the odd one out. At 16, he is less intense than his brother and sister and is able to recall the good times with Liam Magill without automatically prefacing his comments with an assurance that the guy's a dickhead. In his world, the before and after is not the DNA test, but the arrival of his father's current partner Cheryl King into their lives. The Magill marriage ended in 1992 after four years. A few years on, he became involved with King, who has defended her partner in court and out. "That's when it all changed with dad; that's when we stopped doing all the grouse things that we once did," says Heath.
"I remember going to St Kilda beach and having fish and chips and dad would give us $2 to spend at the $2 shop, but all that changed when dad found her."
Although he was 10 when he learnt Liam Magill wasn't his genetic father - a day he remembers well but insists he wasn't affected by - "I always looked different to the others, so it was no surprise". Interestingly, he says he can't remember what Liam looks like. "I only know what I see on television and then he's usually saying terrible things about mum so I just switch off."
He accepts Rowe as his "real" father. "I've got a dad, so I'm lucky. It's Arlen who is missing out." Yes, Arlen. When the conversation turns to Rowe, Arlen discreetly slips away. As Meredith explains, when the airline tickets get sent down from Queensland for the kids' next visit with their dad, there are only two. It is understandable, but it must rub Arlen's nose in a very grown-up situation not of his making.
The people who live in the small Mallee town of Sea Lake, in north-west Victoria, know a lot more than they ought about Meredith Magill's business. Her family have been farming in the district for decades and are well known. In the months leading up to the start of the first court hearing in the Victorian County Court, the confidential medical results of the DNA tests of the three children and Liam Magill were anonymously sent to Meredith's relatives scattered through¬out the area. People at the pub, the newsagent and the local hospital also received copies. Her parents received a Christmas card with a baby Jesus on the front and a note saying, "Has this one been tested?"
The smear campaign hasn't ended. Meredith and her friends - even friends of her children - have had newspaper clippings featuring stories about paternity fraud, child support issues, unfaithful wives shoved in their letterboxes. It used to bother her, especially when Arlen was younger and thought someone was following him, but now they all just accept that whoever is doing it is a crank.
"We know who it is and we have nothing but contempt for them," says Arlen. He is fiercely protective of his mother and when she protests that she started the mess that ultimately led her family to this point, he finishes her sentence with "yes, but he carried it on".
Liam Magill has garnered much sympathy and support. The case was widely misunderstood by many who wrongly assumed Magill was suing his wife for fraudulently claimed child support. In fact, he did pay child support for all three children for a number of years, but this was adjusted after the true paternity of Heath and Bonnie became known.
In the end, he wasn't owed a cent because he had been so far in arrears. It sounds like quibbling, but it is important because there is a world of difference between suing your wife for wrongly claimed child maintenance and suing for deceit. One seems inherently reasonable; the other is more murky terrain. In its judgment last year, the High Court found that there is no legal obligation on a spouse to disclose an extramarital sexual relationship to the other spouse during the course of a marriage. The matter will not end there. As already mentioned, the men's rights movement is mobilising, intent on forcing our legal system to come up with a legal remedy for men who have been deceived by unfaithful wives.
"Liam Magill has not wasted his time," says Sue Price, spokeswoman for the Men's Rights Agency. "He was the trailblazer and those who follow in his footsteps will reap the benefits of what we have learnt from his case." She says all babies should be DNA tested at birth, or at the very least after their parents' marriage ends. "Fraud is fraud and there is no justifiable reason why the Meredith Magills of this world should get off scot-free. We are not going away, paternity fraud is a huge issue and, in the end, lying to children is the most damaging thing a mother can do."
It is understood the Magill case resonated deeply within the Howard government, and helped give shape to changes last year to the Family Law Act which make it easier for fathers to recover wrongly claimed child maintenance. That the High Court decision provided no legal remedy for Liam Magill is a matter of some consternation in legal and political circles.
A spokesman for Attorney-General Philip Ruddock told The Bulletin the minister would continue to "closely monitor" this area of family law. Asked whether any work was being done within his department to find a legislative solution for paternity fraud, the same answer came back. "It is being closely monitored."
Melbourne ethicist Leslie Cannold believes the Magill case has been extremely significant. "My understanding is that very powerful men in the federal government have been hearing and responding to it by making and mooting legal changes in the family law area that advantage men in relation to women and the children of the first marriage." There is no doubt, she says, that Meredith Magill has been demonised by the fathers' rights movement and her silence has served their cause. "This has not only been damaging to her but to the moral reputation of all women." If Liam Magill is the cause celebre for the cuckolded man, federal Health Minister Tony Abbot's old girlfriend, Kathy Donnelly, who endured private anguish and public humiliation for her paternity mix-up, is our most famous example of a woman who simply and mistakenly got it wrong.
This is a story I know a little about, having written the first story celebrating the reunion between Donnelly, Abbott and the child Daniel O'Connor, who was relinquished by Donnelly when she was just 18. As we know, Donnelly got it horribly wrong.
I was also there a month later to write the sad obituary to that episode, and saw the dreadful emotional toll it exacted. Donnelly was not a liar. She simply didn't consider for a moment that Abbott - her first love - was not the father of her son. A one-night stand in the middle of a short-lived break between the couple just didn't register in the 27 years that followed.
"I would never for a moment have named Tony as Daniel's father if I hadn't believed it to be so," she said at the time. Very obviously, too, Donnelly had desperately wanted Abbott to be Daniel's father. It was the one-night stand that she had pushed way back into the recesses of her subconscious that sealed her so-called "paternity fraud".
The difference, though, between Donnelly and many other women caught in this dreadful position was that Abbott resolutely stood by her, even after the mistake which clearly left him devastated and, some would say, publicly humiliated. Say what you like about Abbott, in this situation he acted with total honour, as did his wife Margaret. There were no ugly recriminations, just sorrow at a lost opportunity for a son. And deep concern for his friend Donnelly. No such understanding for the Magills. The children and their mother are moving on and they say this story is part of that process.
Heath is about to leave school to start an apprenticeship, Arlen is hoping to go to university next year to study sports administration and Bonnie, well she's probably still feeling her way through adolescence. You can't help feeling that she could use a male role model. But in the absence of a full-time father, her brother Arlen seems to be doing a pretty good job.
Meredith Magill just wants her daughter to do as she says, not as she's done, because she understands all too well the costs of looking the other way. She does not have a partner because, as she says, "my kids need as much of me as they can get". She is managing her bipolar condition, diagnosed in 1995 but not properly dealt with until some time later with medication and straight talking - two things she wishes she'd worked out years ago. "But, you know, any guilt I used to feel has been wiped out by the way Liam's acted towards the kids. I accept the consequences of my behaviour were horrific but to think he wanted to bring them down along with me, well, I can't cop that. The kids are all that matters and that's something I have never lost sight of."
Liam Magill undoubtedly deserves our pity. He was badly let down. But he has not been fleeced for child support; the slate was wiped clean by the Child Support Agency once true paternity was established. On a disability pension, he is only required to pay the minimum: just over $300 a year for his son Arlen. The other two children - not his genetic offspring but the kids who, despite their protestations, do remember the time he was dad - receive the same amount from their dad on the Gold Coast. Meredith makes up the rest.
Liam Magill feels certain that at some unspecified time in the future - maybe when he gets around to calling them - they will begin to understand why he had to walk away. "I'm sure that one day they will understand what their mother did. If she had been faithful and honest, it would have saved a lot of people from a lot of pain," he told an interviewer. He could be waiting an awfully long time. Asked what he would like for his 18th birthday, Arlen answers in a trice. "A phone call. Oh yeah, and maybe my first car, you know, the kind of present a dad buys his son when he comes of age. I'm not holding my breath though."
Monday, March 23, 2009
Wayne Butler is a site Moderator and the Executive Secretary of the Shared Parenting Council of Australia.
email Wayne Butler
Ed Dabrowski is a site Editor and Commentator and the Federal Director of the Shared Parenting Council of Australia.
email Ed Dabrowski
John Geremin is a site Moderator and the Treasurer of the Family Law Reform Association.
email John Geremin
Gee Wayne that's a really really old picture (a bit vain are we?).
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Appointment of Mr Barry Williams
This letter from Gay and Lesbian Equality WA to Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, was sent on 27.11.08.
PO Box 420
NORTHBRIDGE WA 6865
Telephone: 0417 890 111
The Hon. Nicola RoxonMinister for Health
CANBERRA ACT 2600
27 November 2008
Dear Honourable Minister:
Re: Appointment of Mr Barry Williams as men's health ambassador
I write to you to express our concerns about the controversy surrounding Mr Barry Williams, who has recently been appointed to the position of men's health ambassador as part of the Federal Government's dialogue on men's health issues. We have noted that you have sought assurances from Mr Williams about a document published by the Fatherhood Foundation, in which he is mentioned as a co-author -- 21 Reasons Why Gender Matters -- and we understand you are satisfied with his response that he does not support the contents of that document and repudiates it.
However, we wish to bring to your attention other activities of Mr Williams which may be even more problematic than the aforementioned document.
This document purports to be a forum organised in June 2008 to oppose the Same Sex Relationships Bill 2008, which at the time was before the NSW Parliament. It is clear that this document indicates it is an anti-gay rally designed specifically to stop the passage of equality legislation in NSW and therefore perpetuate the stigmatisation and hurt of same-sex couples in that jurisdiction.
Among the speakers listed for this anti-gay forum is Mr Barry Williams.
In the second instance, we wish to refer you to a document published by National Marriage Coalition (incidentally, set up by the Fatherhood Foundation and others), in which Mr Williams is mentioned as a signatory to the documents -- The National Marriage Manifesto and the document in the appendix, titled 21 Reasons Why Marriage Matters. This document echoes much of the 21 Reasons Why Gender Matters document and is misleading, offensive and anti-gay.
This document is available on the internet at:
An example of the misleading propaganda and 'statistics' used in this document is demonstrated at page 17. There is reference to an Australian study of primary school students claiming the reason for poorer educational and health outcomes of children of gay parents is because their parents are gay. However, the study's author attributes the result not to the sexuality of the parents, but the inherent anti-gay attitudes of society towards the children by homophobic individuals and institutions (quoting the study's author, Sotirikos Sarantakos, describes in his book Same-Sex Couples:
"It is difficult to accept that living in a family environment that is condemned by the community, in which homosexuals and their children are subjected to discrimination, disadvantage, negative criticism, humiliation, harassment, embarrassment, exclusion, hostility, injustice and media bashing, offers as good a place to grow as that of heterosexual relationships."
This is just one example of the misleading, deceptive, anti-gay comments in this document.
We also note that the document 21 Reasons Why Marriage Matters has now been formulated into a glossy brochure. It is online at:
Mr Williams is a signatory to the National Marriage Manifesto and 21 Reasons Why Marriage Matters document.
In the third instance, we wish to refer you to the Lone Fathers Association's journal, in which Mr Williams gives ample publicity to Mr Marsh's Fatherhood Foundation's anti-gay activities. An example is contained in this edition, available online:
This publication gives a report (see pages 28-30) of the aforementioned anti-gay rally against the NSW Same-Sex Partnerships Bill, at which Mr Williams was purported to be an advertised speaker.
Indeed, the newsletter report in the Lone Fathers Association newsletter contains the following claim about the NSW Bill:
The Bill promotes homosexual marriage and homosexual adoption and as such promotes ill health and gender disorientation pathology. It would be similar in effect to the state government subsidizing and encouraging smoking, a proven unhealthy lifestyle choice. No government should ever actively promote ill health.
This is anti-gay and offensive. Further, the newsletter report goes on to thank a number of organisations, including the Lone Fathers Association for their actions in opposing the Bill:
In particular the Fatherhood Foundation would like to thank: Shared Parenting Council, Dads in Distress, Lone Fathers Association, Reforming Alliance, Festival of Light, Australian Christian Lobby, Australian Family Association, Marriage and Family Office, Equal Parenting Party, GRANS and many others too numerous to name including many wonderful pro-family state parliamentarians
Minister, our organisation believe these actions warrant further investigation by your Department as to Mr Barry Williams' activities and his linkages to the Fatherhood Foundation's anti-gay activities.
We believe that Mr Williams' behaviour has been offensive to the GLBTI community, and his continued service as men's health ambassador is unacceptable given his activities.
We urge you to again contact Mr Williams and ask for an urgent explanation as to his activities, namely:
1) His activities at the anti-gay Dads4Kids forum, opposing the NSW Bill to provide equality for same-sex couples, in June 2008.
2) His activities with the anti-gay National Marriage Coalition, signing their Marriage Manifesto document and the attached appendix 21 Reasons Why Marriage Matters
3) His activities within his own organisation's newsletter, providing space for virulently anti-gay statements relating to the anti-gay Dads4Kids forum, as published in the August-September 2008 of the Lone Fathers Association's newsletter.
Similarly, we urge you -- after receiving Mr Williams' response -- to make another determination as to his suitability for the position as ambassador for men's health, and advise our organisation accordingly of the findings of your investigation and the outcome of your decision.
We thank you for taking the time to consider this request.
Gay And Lesbian Equality (WA) Inc.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
PS Editing all contributor posts raises the question of exactly what is it that you are editing Wayne?
Isn't that censorship?
It's really hard to drop the Mens Rights agenda sometimes and keep up the facade that it is a "FAMILY" oriented site isn't it?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Warren Farrell said:
""We have forgotten that before we began calling this date rape and date fraud, we called it exciting."
""When I get my most glowing positive cases, 6 out of 200," says Farrell, "the incest is part of the family's open, sensual style of life, wherein sex is an outgrowth of warmth and affection. It is more likely that the father has good sex with his wife, and his wife is likely to know and approve -- and in one or two cases to join in."
"“the incest is part of the family’s open, sensual style of life, wherein sex is an outgrowth of warmth and affection.”
"... the writer happened to be at his beach house alone with his attractive fifteen-year-old daughter.... His wife's appendix operation had curtailed his sex for the previous five months... the women on the beach and a few beers had led him into special temptation. When the daughter emerged from the bathroom in a towel, he greeted her in the nude and erect. Although he had never consciously desired incest before he told his daughter he missed sex. Without further prompting, she fellated him...Two weeks later the daughter walked around the house naked until the father approached her. That day he deflowered her to their mutual satisfaction. But the father was careful not to push things. He did not want to hurt his daughter, who seemed to have an active sex life with boys her own age. Several weeks later, the daughter took the initiative again... "
"First, because millions of people who are now refraining from touching, holding, and genitally caressing their children, when that is really a part of a caring, loving expression, are repressing the sexuality of a lot of children and themselves. Maybe this needs repressing, and maybe it doesn't. My book should at least begin the exploration."
""The average incest participant can't evaluate his or her experience for what it was. As soon as society gets into the picture, they have to tell themselves it was bad. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy."
Dad4life, matrix, manumit, nuance, J.L. are just some of Lindsay's aliases.
Lindsay Jackel is a close ally and friend of Barry Williams of Lone Fathers Association who is also a key member of Shared parenting Council and he published in his NOOS newsletter the article that contained the following comments:
"Fathers need to touch and hold in affirming, non sexual ways. For daughters, sex and affection may become confused if not. This gives a gior greater physical self love, and a sense that she can be unconditionally loved by, men."
It seems there is a common thread amongst these men in not only actively supporting this pedophilic material (Jackel actively defends Farrell wherever he can and seemingly sponsored a visit to Australia by Farrell) but also distributing this material by way of newsletters and emails. Isn't that against the law?
See earlier posts and links about Jackel hanging out on Gay Classified websites and on other forums and his probing questions about males getting raped in jail.
Why fathers are important for daughtersFrom New Zealand's Caring Fathers newsletter, via The Noos, newsletter of the Lone Fathers Association of Australia by Warwick Pudney
Printed in June/July 2003 NOOS
"Children put importance on "real", genetic fathers, It's part of establishing identity.Fathers are responsible for building that part of positive self?esteem that originates from a man. This will help her feel good with men.Affirmation by father helps when dealing with negativity and criticism, or abuse from males.Fathers need to touch and hold in affirming, non?sexual ways. For daughters, sex and affection may become confused if not. This gives a gior greater physical self love, and a sense that she can be unconditionally loved by, men.The father may impart a sense of adventure and confidence in the non?domestic world.The father has an important connection with the outdoors, nature and wild places.A father can give a sense of' secuirty and protection by setting boundaries for the for the girl and preventing hurt and danger to his daughter.For daughters in teen years, it is important to learn how to relate to a man in a safe, confident. affirming and boundary?setting manner. Loving approval from a father may prevent dependence and vulnerability in relationships with males.Fathers have a sense of risk?taking an excitement. They play and explore physical space in a robust manner.Fathers teach things about the world especially in the realm of the rational, ill spartial relationships, and physical action.Fathers support mothers.Fathers give confidence that things can he fixed.Fathers affirm risk?taking and achievement.Some tasks are done equally well, or better by women, but it is good to have two parents doing them.As fathers, we may all fall short from time to time, but the Challenge is to do thing's well."
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
You have been warned!
SPCA Screen Saver
The SPCA has an MS Windows screen saver for you to install on your PC.
SPCA Screen Saver 1
If you complete the form below we will provide with a link to the SPCA Screen Saver for you to download. Should you experience any difficulty in completing or submitting this form you can request the screen saver from the SPCA secretariat by email.
Please provide the following details and then click on the Send Screen Saver button at the bottom of the form.
Clicking on the Screen Saver button indicates your agreement to the SPCA adding your email address to its records. We will send you emails regarding our activities on a regular basis.
Required fields are marked with an [*] and must be completed before your request for the Screen Saver can be processed.
[*] First Name:
[*] Family Name:
[*] Email address:
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Authorised by E. Dabrowski© Shared Parenting Council of Australia 2006The Shared Parenting Council of AustraliaPO Box 2027, Bunbury WA 6231mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, March 16, 2009
June 21 2003
Rebuttable joint custody is the catchcry for a group of influential lobbyists. Murray Mottram reports.
John Abbott's main claim to fame is that he is the cousin of the "Postcard Bandit", bank robber Brenden Abbott, whose infamous deeds were depicted in a telemovie.
But if John Howard goes ahead with changes to Family Court custody battles, John Abbott and two other Adelaide advocates of father's rights will take credit for laying the groundwork.
Yesterday Mr Howard announced on Alan Jones' Sydney radio program that the Government would hold a parliamentary inquiry on an idea that he said would turn the present Family Court rules on their head.
The Prime Minister said that historically, when a marriage broke up, the courts had to decide between the mother or the father for custody. "It's only in very rare circumstances that other arrangements are ordered," he said. "The situation at the moment is that the presumption is that custody will be given to one or the other.
"What we're looking at is to alter that so the presumption is that it will be a shared arrangement unless circumstances suggest otherwise."
For years Mr Abbott, the political officer of the Richard Hillman Foundation, joined two other men scarred by Family Court battles. They were a former South Australian Liberal Party official, Geoff Greene, and the Joint Parenting Association president, Yuri Joakimidis.
The policy - known as rebuttable joint custody - is used by several states in the US. According to Mr Abbott, the son of divorced parents whose own marriage ended in an acrimonious custody case in 1998, the issue landed on Mr Howard's desk as a result of a strategy he formulated two years ago.
He put a draft bill drawn up by Mr Joakimidis, who had researched the American laws, to One Nation's Senator Len Harris.
Mr Abbott said he knew Senator Harris could not get the bill enacted, but he believed the Government would adopt the idea for fear of "father's rights" becoming an issue that would revive voter support for One Nation.
Senator Harris introduced his private member's bill a year ago yesterday with a speech written by Mr Joakimidis.
Senator Harris said yesterday the bill had generated "enormous" interest on radio.
He said he did not care who got the credit, as long as the policy got on the statute books.
However, Mr Greene, deputy director of the Liberal Party in South Australia for two years until 2001, says it was his lobbying for the Joakimidis proposal that put it on the Prime Minister's agenda.
Mr Greene, who said he went through an expensive Family Court hearing before getting a shared parenting agreement several years ago, took the proposal to Christopher Pyne, the member for the South Australian seat of Sturt.
Mr Pyne is chairman of the Liberal backbench committee covering the Attorney-General's office, which is responsible for the Family Court.
"The Attorney-General's office had always been the roadblock, opposed to any reform," Mr Greene said.
Late last year Mr Greene cut his ties with Mr Joakimidis's association because he did not think Senator Harris could get the bill through.
Mr Greene became full-time federal director of the Shared Parenting Association, a national coalition of mainly fathers' rights groups, and went to work in Canberra.
After presenting research backing the rebuttable joint custody proposal to Mr Pyne and other MPs, Mr Greene joined forces with another group of Coalition MPs formed by a South Australian Liberal senator, Jeannie Ferris, and NSW backbencher Ken Ticehurst.
Mr Ticehurst said this week he had become concerned at the level of suicide among fathers who lost custody of their children.
The American states that used the joint custody model had succeeded in lowering the divorce rate, he said.
Senator Ferris said the group had been working with advisers from the Prime Minister's office since the middle of last year on a review of child support payments and custody issues.
She said she had been unaware of Senator Harris's bill, but had seen material about rebuttable joint custody on the internet.
Mr Joakimidis said he had raised the issue with Senator Ferris last year. Senator Ferris said MPs were continually raising Family Court issues with Mr Howard because of the large amount of time they spent dealing with constituents' complaints about their cases, and the emotional distress in dealing with them.
One MP said those backing the shared custody idea "cut through" to Mr Howard because they were offering a potential solution, not just complaining about the problem.
In December, Mr Pyne formally raised the rebuttable joint custody proposal at a joint party meeting of the coalition.
According to MPs, the Prime Minister expressed an interest, recognising it as a "hot button" issue in the electorate.
In February, Attorney-General Daryl Williams prepared a paper for Mr Pyne's backbench committee talking about changing the operation of the Family Court, which leaves the decision on child residence, or custody, to judges when parents cannot agree.
(The latest court figures, for 2001, show that although the number of men winning custody fights has increased to 20 per cent, mothers are still awarded primary care in 70 per cent of cases, and only 2.5 per cent of decisions are for joint residence.)
Three months ago, says Senator Ferris, her group began working on terms of reference for a parliamentary inquiry.
After the Family Court was raised again in the Coalition party room on Tuesday, Mr Howard's office confirmed publicly that he would consider rebuttable joint custody in a review of child custody.
But despite the willingness of the Prime Minister to air the proposal, its backers concede it will be hard.
Already the chief justice of the Family Court, Alastair Nicholson, Labor's Family Court spokesman, Robert McClelland, and his Democrats' opposite number, Brian Greig, have declared their opposition to a law enforcing rebuttable shared custody.
They say the courts should still have discretion case by case.
But for Mr Abbott and Mr Greene, the hard backroom work has already paid off. "We're quietly happy with what's happened so far," said Mr Abbott. "We've got the issue up for public debate."
Says Mr Greene: "Once the Prime Minister is on your side it's easier to get your story heard.
"Cabinet sets policy and Attorney-General's will do what it's told. I think it's possible we'll have legislation before Christmas. I think we have very good odds of success.
Some background on John Abbott:
The man in black who sees red
December 20 2002
They see themselves as white knights, but others say the Blackshirts are just thugs, writes Peter Ellingsen.
You don't notice the bitterness at first. Gliding out of his office, John Abbott exhibits a brittle charm. He offers a wan smile, a firm handshake and enough anecdotes to fill the Dane Centre, the rambling recording and rehearsal complex that he owns in Brunswick.
Men At Work honed their hits here, John Farnham mixed with the Little River Band and US acts Dr Hook and Hall and Oates dropped by. "It's been like a giant party," he says of his years in the music business. "We've had a lot of fun."
With his gold chain, gold rings and grey hair lapping his ears, Abbott looks more like Penthouse founder Bob Guccione than any of the rock icons hanging on the wall. In fact, he is the new and unnerving face of the men's movement.
A sometime keyboard player who found success renting equipment to the likes of Billy Thorpe, Abbott, 56, heads the Blackshirts, a group that dons masks and protests outside the homes of women they deem to be immoral. The mainly male, middle-aged group also heckles women at the Family Court and demands that divorce laws be repealed.
They are the most radical and outrageous expression of the frustration some men's groups feel with the Family Court, and what they see as its pro-women bias.
But theirs is not just a crusade to turn back the clock. By demanding adultery be treated like murder by the courts, the Blackshirts are seeking the creation of a law that does not currently exist in Western society.
"Adultery must be met with the greatest severity," Abbott says. "I'm very angry, but I don't yell. I just make a list of men and women to die."
The words are shocking, but Abbott does not seem to notice. He is consumed by what he sees as betrayal.
For Abbott, those who leave a marriage - and they are now mainly women - are evil. It is a sentiment that seeks to bypass the 1970s, when feminism first rocked the pillars of patriarchy. Then, women stayed home, and stayed in bad marriages. Now, they work and opt out of poor partnerships more frequently than do men. Some men, particularly those who are middle-aged and unskilled, have found this hard to accept. But, whereas many men's groups complain about it, the Blackshirts harass and intimidate.
Abbott is the force and money behind the group, and what he wants is a return to the days when divorce was a kind of crime, when private detectives gathered evidence of infidelity. He wants guilt and blame back in the bedroom. "Society has got it all wrong," he says. "Marriage is supposed to be forever. I was bought up with Christian values that taught marriage was not discardable."
His vigilante style is extreme, but his longing for what he sees as a more stable and - for men - less confronting, past, is shared with other, often more moderate, groups.
As Dr Jo Lindsay, a sociologist at Monash University, points out, there is a contemporary anxiety about families not needing men any more. The loss of men's traditional authority, the decline of the nuclear family and the fact that service jobs (women's work) are the fastest-growing sector of the economy, has left some men feeling uneasy.
On top of that, women demand more emotional involvement. "Women expect more than just a breadwinner role from men," Dr Lindsay says. "They want men to do the emotional, as well as other work, needed to sustain a relationship."
In a benchmark paper, British sociologists Jean Duncombe and Dennis Marsden cite studies that show some men are not capable of this. They say that on the whole, husbands and wives meet as intimate strangers.
"When the false romantic images which are part of 'falling in love' have been broken down, it turns out that couples seek incompatible emotional goals in marriage."
Their survey found most men seek a life in common with their wives, a physical base; while wives want a common life, an intimacy that makes them feel valued as a person, not just a wife.
They also point to the finding that some men, even though they share domestic jobs, are psychic celibates who fail to take emotional responsibility for marriage and fatherhood.
It is not something Abbott wants to contemplate. With resentment clouding his face, he explains how his wife left him 12 years ago and took up with another man. Because he refused to "change his attitude to his wife's new partner", he says the Family Court would not agree to him having contact with his two sons, both of whom are now adults.
He did not contest custody, nor, he says, did he demand that his wife return to him. He wanted the other man to leave, and when he did not, his mind turned to violence.
Swinburne University sociologist, Associate Professor Michael Gilding, says it is common for men who have been through the Family Court to be distressed. "If they haven't come to grips with the changes, they can have a lot of rage," he says.
"Women are more likely to see problems in marriage, leave and be happier. Men are more likely to be bitter and struggle to accept any responsibility."
Sitting beneath a yellowing photograph of the Beatles, Abbott seems to think he can force a change back to the '50s, when men made the money and marriage was forever. Just how serious he is about physical violence is not clear. He says his group is non-violent, but there are women who say he has terrified them by turning up outside their homes, or at court cases, with a mob of hooded men.
Paula Pope, who lives close to his factory in Brunswick, was so threatened she formed a counter-group, Diversity in Safe Communities (DISC), after a run-in with Abbott this year.
"It's very intimidating to have a gang outside your place or in court during an intervention order," she says. Pope, who has been off work because of stress since the encounter, says that while the Blackshirts are at the periphery of the men's movement, they have sympathy among some more mainstream groups.
She describes their tactics and goals as fascist. "It all comes from the one mindset. They want to control and own women and their children and they're ready to do it by force. It is a 1950s' mentality - the brutalisation of the other."
Abbott admits the dress and demeanour of the Blackshirts - a name that traces back to militant fascism in Depression-era England - is designed to create fear. "I wanted the attention and the fear," he explains, insisting his group has never committed any actual violence.
"The people who are perturbed about our actions have a guilty mind," he says. "We always tell the police about our protests. Our aim is to shame women, not intimidate them."
He claims to have 300 supporters in Australia, including Meret-field Sally-Brown, 56, a retired teacher of Highett, who says women have nothing to fear from the Blackshirts. Like most of the group, she has a gripe with the Family Court.
Linda Nicholls, 38, of Rowville, agrees, and says Abbott helped after her husband left her and their three children for another woman two years ago. "He offered moral support. I think he's doing the right thing. The Blackshirts are making people aware. Those leaving marriages say they've done nothing wrong, but they have. My kids are growing up without a father."
Attorney-General Rob Hulls brands the Blackshirts as gutless. "If they think they can pump around the place with their hideous cowboy masks and black shirts and take the law into their own hands, they've got another thing coming," he says.
He says the government will ensure women are protected from the violence and hate campaigns of vigilantes.
Police have set up a unit to monitor the Blackshirts after an Ashburton mother who had left her marriage was targeted by the group. Letters were sent to her neighbours claiming she had corrupted her children. The letters asked her neighbours to give her a message that enough is enough. There have been other similar incidents.
None of this seems to faze Abbott, who is about to put his business in the hands of his employees to work full time and without pay setting up Blackshirts' cells in every Australian city.
The aim is to generate enough pressure to repeal the 1975 law which introduced no-fault divorce and made marriage easier to end.
While some men's groups condemn the Blackshirts, others argue that the Family Court-child support system encourages vigilantes. On the website, Shattered Men, Malcolm Mathias, the president of Fathers for Family Equity Inc, says that while he does not condone the group's actions, he understands their frustration.
"Most men's groups certainly feel they have been done over by the system and some of them feel so done over and so separated from everything they grew up believing, that they end up committing suicide," he says. "Men face the double jeopardy of a system that doesn't seem to recognise fatherhood."
Kathleen Swinbourne, president of the Sole Parents' Union, disagrees, arguing that the Blackshirts have a warped sense of family. "Most divorced fathers care about their children and try to maintain a good relationship with them," she says. "Even those who have problems don't resort to this behaviour. Blackshirt members, and men who identify with them, are nasty, personal and vindictive."
While some church groups have long attacked the overhaul of the divorce laws by former Labor attorney-general, Lionel Murphy, groups such as the Blackshirts go much further.
Conservative cliques such as the US-based religious organisation, the Promise Keepers, talk up the family, (as long as men are at its head), and talk down gays. But Abbott, who insists that he is not aggressive, talks of revenge.
"I've tried to hold my emotions down, but I can't," he says. "Blood's thicker than water. All I want is for him (his former wife's partner) to leave. I'm not vindictive, but I am not going to let this go."
It is a significant move beyond the clubbiness of the born-again-blokeism that found a voice 12 years ago with US poet, Robert Bly and his book, Iron John. Bly believed that, because of unresponsive fathers, men had lost touch with their emotions. For some this turned into a search for male bonding through rituals like going bush, sweat lodges and hunting.
In Australia, psychologist Steve Biddulph urged men to heal by learning from women, and giving more attention to their own inner spirit.
The Blackshirts have upped the ante and, in theory at least, have a sizeable pool of disaffected men to draw on. It is not just that divorce (now initiated mostly by women) is at a 20-year high; about 15 per cent, or 770,000, of Australia's five million families, are sole parent. This is more than twice that of 1971, and of these, more than 640,000 are headed by women.
The share of residence (or custody) orders made in favour of men has risen from 15 per cent to almost 20 per cent in the past five years, but men's groups argue that this still amounts to gender bias.
The problem is that, while Abbott and his supporters say the system is unfair, and does not protect children, their response turns on threats.
Paula Pope says the estimated 100,000 victims of domestic violence in Victoria each year are mainly women and children, and suffer because of angry men.
Abbott says his campaign is all about the children, but does not explain how threats will help. He admits he is angry, but prefers it to what he calls weakness. He has attended other men's groups, but found them passive. Like the counselling he tried, they wanted him to admit his marriage was over.
"I was expected to cry on someone's shoulder, but a man's not supposed to do that," he says. "It achieves nothing."
There is an unsettling sense of unreality and inflexibility about Abbott's claims. Though he has long been divorced from his wife, he says it is only she who is divorced; he is still married.
"I'm not a divorcee," he says. Since the break-up in 1990, he says he has not had another relationship. "Women have continuously tried to hit on me - I'm fairly attractive - but I've not made myself available," he says. "Sex is not to be taken lightly. And the needs of my children are far more important."
He now lives with his parents, attends church and plans Blackshirts' campaigns. He quotes the Bible, laments the loss of his children, but defends his decision not to see them. They will be reunited in heaven, he says. "The whole family will be reinstated. That's what heaven's about; there there's no pain."
Wow, this article sums up the Mens Rights Movement in Australia to a tee, Angry, Violent, Controlling, Bullying, Threatening Men.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
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