That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done,
So, there is nothing new under the sun.

This observation was written in about 935 BC. It is as true today as it was then. Its modern equivalent is the saying, “History always repeats itself.”

Last week’s article revealed the similarities in the responses to the introduction of two parliamentary bills: Senator Len Harris’s shared-parenting bill in the Australian Senate in June 2002, and William Wilberforce’s anti-slave trade bill in the British House of Commons in 1788. Both bills were ignored.

In the first case, the parliament was dominated by lawyers. In the second case, the parliament was dominated by slave-owners. Both parliaments refused to recognise and acknowledged injustices if the solutions threatened their self-interests. Both bills had little chance of success. But Wilberforce did succeed. He also provided us with an example to follow in the fight for justice for non-custodial parents.

Wilberforce fought for a cause which appeared hopeless, but he didn’t consider lowering his goal to that which was politically achievable. He had no interest in compromise or balance. He didn’t get distracted by discussions about reform. He entertained no thought of benefits, determined by complex formulas, for the families of those taken as slaves.

Wilberforce dreamt of only one solution to the evil he recognised: abolition. He didn’t want the slave trade reformed. What would a reformed slave trade look like today? He didn’t want a better slave trade.  He wanted no slave trade.  He was an abolitionist, not a reformer.

In 1807, after nineteen years, Wilberforce’s anti-slavery bill was finally passed.

Wilberforce succeeded because he knew the difference between right and wrong, and he fought for what was right with commitment and perseverance.

Len Harris’s bill, when successful, will have the effect of diminishing the Family Court of Australia, and of dissolving the Child Support Agency (CSA) by rendering it obsolete. The CSA’s financial inducements to one parent to remove the children from the other parent, will no longer have the backing and support of the Family Court.

An accompanying bill to repeal the Child Support Act would also be useful.  The CSA should be completely abolished. Non-custodial parents should not get distracted by discussions about its improvement or reform. We do not want a better CSA. We want no CSA. It does not need to be replaced with anything. The decision-making process should revert to parents. The restoration of their authority should not be undermined by any new bureaucratic interference.

A presumption of shared parenting (Len Harris’s Bill) will enable parents to come to an equitable arrangement for the care and financial support of their children based on their own particular circumstances.

The repeal of the Child Support Act will return to parents the authority to determine how their children will be supported, nurtured and cared for.

There is no other solution.  The social experiment of displacing parental authority with officialdom has failed.

[Photo by Monstera 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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