Canberra Times - Sunday, 19th November 2000, by Megan Doherty
As many as three men a day are committing suicide because the nation's child-support system is driving them over the edge, according to the Lone Father's Association Australia.
Association President Barry Williams said the claim was not based any official figures but on anecdotal evidence such as phone calls made to its 22 branches around Australia.
"People will ring to say their son or partner has deliberately driven into a truck or driven off the road because they can't take it any more," he said.
ACT Coroner Warren Nicholl acknowledged this week that a struggle to meet child-support payments had played a large part in the suicide of Canberra man William Gilbert.
Mr William said the Lone Fathers Association supported the Child Support Agency and believed non-custodial parents should pay child support, but believed it should be based on a flat rate calculated after tax had been deducted.
Earlier this month Labor and the Democrats defeated in the Senate the Government's proposed changes to child support which would have seen non custodial parents pay $48 million less a year to custodial parents.
A spokesman for Family and Community Services Minister Larry Anthony said negotiations with Labor and the Democrats were continuing.
Australian Democrats Senator John Woodley said no-one denied injustices were occurring in the child-support system, especially to non-custodial parents, but the solution was not to shift the problem on to custodial parents. He hoped a compromise could be reached.