One of the things I enjoy about spending time with my children is the opportunity to drop everything else I do. This is through necessity as well as through choice, since my children offer me no other option.

I’m involved with a number of community groups which require a considerable amount of time, research and thought. As well as this, like most people, I find that I need to work for a living. When I’m with my children, I offload all my other responsibilities, pressure and concerns. Sometimes this is at a cost, and it might take me a while to pick up the momentum of what I was previously doing.

However, I believe that the quality of our lives can best be measured through the quality of our personal relationships, particularly within our families. This is stating the obvious, and will come as no revelation to anyone. It is also an observation that I realise will cause pain to may separated fathers who never see their children.

A recent communication from Senator Amanda Vanstone highlighted the results of research that revealed that 39% of the youngest children in a separated family have had no contact in the last 12 months with their other parent. This confirms what has been known for some time.

It is the plight of the fatherless children, and childless fathers, which motivates me and many others in our efforts to bring about social reform through legislative change.

One of the best ways to achieve just and equitable reform is through the introduction of the principle of the child’s right to both parents. The idea of equal parenting has gained widespread support throughout the many grass roots community groups lobbying for family law reform. The last conference organised by the Lone Fathers Association had as its theme, ‘Shared Parenting’. Just yesterday I became aware of the National Association for Shared Parenting, which has been set up as an umbrella organisation for many other groups.

Senator Harris has recently presented to the Senate a proposal to amend the Family Law Act by introducing joint residence (shared and equal parenting) as the overriding principle in determining the care of children.

The best thing anyone can do at the moment is to drop their toothbrush or abandon their half-eaten meal and immediately write to each senator, expressing your strong support for this Bill. Get your friends to do the same. Without our help, the proposal will fail. Go for it!

To obtain a full list of senators, with email and address lists, go to This website even allows you to do mail merges to personalise your letters.

[Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels]

About the Author: Roland Foster

Roland Foster is an non-custodial father, separated since 1997, with 5 young children aged between 6 and 14 years. Roland is a passionate father and an active social reformer who believes Australia's current laws are contributing to the creation of our fatherless society.

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