Paper by Miranda Kaye and Julia Tolmie, 1998, feminist lecturers at the Faculty of
Law, Sydney University
There is a constant and persistent view pursued by people who are
often discontented litigants sometimes obviously dysfunctional, that the
court is in some sense designed by anti-family groups to destroy the
institution of the family in society... An unfortunate concomitant of
this approach is that some people and some politicians with limited
knowledge of the issues involved, tend to latch on to such dysfunctional
persons for apparent political gain. This has the further unfortunate
effect of empowering such persons to feel that their behaviour is not
only acceptable but is the subject of sympathy and approval by
politicians and government. It is all too often the experience of this
court that its most persistent critics have behaved in a way which
cannot stand up to public scrutiny, particularly in relation to issues
of violence against women and children.
Such persons, who often espouse
the rights of fathers, do very little for their cause. There are
legitimate matters that can be advanced on their behalf and it is
equally as important that the court and those within it do not adopt
stereotyped attitudes towards men as well as women.
However, the behaviour and attitude of those who espouse so-called fathers' rights
leaves little opportunity for rational discourse. More..