On Australia’s federal election night (7 September 2013), I received an excited phone call from James Adams, one of the fathers behind Fathers4Equality. As I missed his call, he later expressed his thoughts in text: “Did you hear Abbott’s acceptance speech?

 Of three aims he promised to support ‘our forgotten families’. F***king really great news! We have worked long and hard to protect children and return honesty and balance between the sexes. You Warwick, including Ash Patil (Fathers4Equality), Greg Andresen (Men’s Health Australia), Barry Williams (Lone Fathers), Tony Miller (founder of Dads in Distress) and John Flanagan (Equal Parenting Party) have worked long and hard for the ‘family and fatherhood movement’. Tonight’s success is a result because of your effort and your dream of a society that protects children and families and is fair. Good on you all! All the best, James Adams.”

I think James was being overly kind to Dads4Kids. His language was rough but his point profound. I had watched the election proceedings with great interest, but I had not picked up on the phrase ‘forgotten families’. James Adams pointed out to me that the acceptance speech would have been written a few weeks before in readiness for the eventuality of a victory, so it would have been well thought out.

I did a bit of research of political phrases and found that Kevin Rudd, the former PM had used the phrase ‘working families’ hundreds of times to win the 2007 election, but reference to ‘working families’ and families in general had dropped from his vocabulary in the 2013 election. Instead Mr Rudd’s call for the redefinition of marriage became in effect a war against the natural family and the most vulnerable in our society: our children, not to mention Gillard’s war against children and single fathers.

Children need a mother and a father. Marriage, as an institution, protects our children’s right to a mother and a father. Marriage redefined is marriage destroyed. If we destroy marriage we destroy a child’s right to a mother and a father. Thus the redefinition of marriage would drive the final nail in the coffin of our already fatherless society.

We already have an epidemic of fatherlessness in Australia. Over one million Australian children are growing up without their biological father in the home. We know that fatherlessness is associated with a long list of damaging outcomes.

Children without involved and loving fathers are more likely to develop behavioural problems, psychological problems, commit suicide, more likely to become criminals, use violence, become alcoholics, sex addicts and drug addicts and engage in sexual abuse, be perpetrators of domestic violence and are more likely to end up in jail. Fatherlessness is costing Australia over 13 billion dollars per year. Fatherlessness in Britain is costing 86 billion dollars AUD per year.

Tony Abbott was right to say that the government is going to do something for Australia’s forgotten families, it is not before time. Political correctness over the last few years and the predominance of father and family hating legislation has resulted in a legislative no-man’s land. The war against men is actually a war against our children. Dads4Kids applauds the fact that our new Prime Minister believes that marriage is between a man and a woman for the long term benefit of our children.

Dads4Kids is thankful for the many men and women in the fatherhood and family movement, too numerous to name, and their work for the forgotten children and families of Australia . Dads4Kids particularly applauds Simon Ray and those who held Australia’s first ‘March for the Voice of the Children’ in Hyde Park, Sydney on Father’s Day (1 September 2013). The march for our children is not yet finished. We have more to do at a personal level with our own children and at a national level with our legislative bodies. We can only live in hope that the rhetoric will become a reality for our children’s sake.


The price of safety is eternal vigilance. Whilst we are more hopeful that the new government, led by Mr Abbott, will be more inclined to put our children first, it is up to us as fathers to be a voice for our children. We have to remind them of their words and hold them to account. We have to be prepared to make a stand for the truth because our children are our future.

Yours for fathers finding a voice

Warwick Marsh

Published On: September 14th, 20132 Comments

About the Author: Warwick Marsh

Warwick Marsh has been married to Alison Marsh since 1975; they have five children and nine grandchildren, and he and his wife live in Wollongong in NSW, Australia. He is a family and faith advocate, social reformer, musician, TV producer, writer and public speaker. Warwick is a leader in the Men’s and Family Movement, and he is well-known in Australia for his advocacy for children, marriage, manhood, family, fatherhood and faith. Warwick is passionate to encourage men to be great fathers and to know the greatest Father of all. The Father in Whom “there is no shadow of turning.”


  1. John Castles September 17, 2013 at 12:06 am - Reply

    Sorry Warrick but you miss the mark well and truley. As it is now same sex couple can be parents to children within their relationship. Why would any ammendment to the definition of marriage change this? If you truely believe in what you say you should outwardly and openly lobby against same sex couples raising children and try to highlight the dangers through that avenue. Attacking the idea that the adjustments to the the definition of marriage would be like locking the gate after the horse has bolted.
    Strangely enough I challenge you to defend the fatherless statistics by outlining just how what we are doing now is making these children grow up without a devoted father now? It is the attitudes of men that have to change in regards to responsibility as well as the acceptence of women that these fathers should play a vital role in the raising of their children that sorely needs addressing. There are faults on both sides but claiming marraige equality would make it worse is a littel off the mark. I like to think that a child has access to both parents who love and cherish their existance, putting the childs needs before their own. Unfortunately we live in a society that is selfish and vindictive and both sides play a role (convieniently forgetting the children that are caught in the middle). How is fighting against marriage equality going to change this?
    The quote you include claiming that fatherless children are more likely to develop….is a little missleading. Sure these children in this research may be fatherless but what effort is put in to look at the support network that is in place for these children? Are these children or families from vulnerable and disadvantaged sectors of the community where even if there was a fatehr involved well adapted practices and positive outcomes are low?
    I agree it is up to us a fathers to be the voice for our children, but it is also our responsibility to be adults and learn to put our petty differences aside at times of conflict for the better of our children. I understand that there are probably many cases of men being poorly treated in regards to the break down of family, and this is truely sad. But should we not be striving for equality for all and not just clamering to take our own piece of the pie.

  2. Heather November 9, 2013 at 2:36 am - Reply

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