This week’s Four Corners discussed the various failings of the child support system from the perspective of mothers whose former husbands or boyfriends don’t pay their fair share of child support through to fathers who are financially crippled by the payments enforced by the Child Support Agency.
Evidently the system is in serious trouble whichever way you look at it, which prompted the Government to say it would “carefully consider” the recently published recommendations of a taskforce investigating the system. (“Carefully consider” is most often government-speak for “support publicly before putting in the bin”.)
As much as the Government has taken a lot of Men’s Movement bollocks far too seriously, there are pressing issues in the way the Family Court and Child Support Agency deal with the rights of divorced fathers. It has been identified as one of the major factors in the distressingly high rate of suicide among working-age men. However, this doesn’t impress Kathleen Swinbourne, president of the deceptively-titled Sole Parents’ Union . . .
Tony Miller (founder of Dads in Distress): We normally have an empty chair, and that’s basically to remind us of the fact that we lose five males every day to suicide in this country.
Jonathan Holmes (reporter): Fathers’ groups claim that the emotional shock of separation exacerbated by what they see as anti-male bias in the Family Court and the Child Support Agency is driving more than 1,000 men a year to suicide.
Tony Miller: So if we just have a moment’s silence. Think about the families that have been left behind, the children.
Jonathan Holmes: It’s a claim that exasperates some of the organisations that represent single mothers.
Kathleen Swinbourne (president of Sole Parents’ Union): It is such an irresponsible claim, because people who kill themselves do so for a wide variety of reasons. Usually they have some sort of mental illness, whether it’s diagnosed or undiagnosed. We need to do something to address the issue of men and mental health, but blaming the Child Support Agency and the Family Court is exacerbating the problem rather than making it better. (My emphasis.)
OK, Kathleen, let’s get this straight. Men commit suicide but that’s got nothing to do with the trauma of being separated from their children, it’s just that they’re suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness. How fucking sensitive.
Just to keep things clear, the Sole Parents’ Union does not represent sole parents. It represents single mothers, exclusively, from “a feminist perspective”, according to Swinbourne in a post to the 4 Corners online forum. (Kathleen reckons she might be prepared to make an exception for transsexuals. I can’t be bothered trawling through the forum again to find it, but it’s there somewhere, no joke.)
Comments like this give embittered separatist feminazi single mothers a bad name, Kathleen. It was in remarkably poor taste and a serious error of judgement for the ABC letting it go to air.