"'Problem' parents doing time" Letters


Letters to the Editor

The Australian

For too long people suffering as a result of family separation have been

kept away from the public gaze. Your newspaper deserves praise for bringing

the heartache and tragedy of those who unfortunately find themselves as

clients of the Family Court and Child Support Agency to the fore. ('Problem'

parents doing time - Focus, 8-9/4/00)

It was refreshing to read member of parliament, Roger Price's honest

comments relating to the true purpose for the existence of the Child Support

Agency. He is right - it has nothing to do with "the best interests of the

children" - it is far more to do with balancing the government coffers and

recouping some of the money spent maintaining the children of divorce and


It is about time this government realised, just as it should do with the

"stolen generation" that it has to accept responsibility for current and/or

past policies and practices that have been allowed to flourish virtually

unchecked in the hands of our bureaucracy.

Policies across many areas of government have supported the concept of

separation and divorce. In doing so they have encouraged parents to leave at

the first sign of trouble with their relationship. Instead of trying to

resolve the problems, they collect a sole parent's pension, remove their

children from the safety of an intact family and accept the government as

defacto parent and defacto partner for the payment support it provides.

Many Australian families struggle to survive financially, so there is little

reason for the government to expect that one low income can be divided to

support two separate households, that of the mother and the father and the

children, of course.

Unfortunately for the taxpayer, when government policies take us in a

certain direction that proves disastrous, someone has to pick up the tab and

accept responsibly for the actions of governments' that we have voted into

power and allowed to remain in power.

Sue Price
Men's Rights Agency
Waterford Qld


The above letter has drawn a threat from an anonymous person who identifies himself as only "TC" from Sydney.

At 1.37pm 11/4/00

A well spoken man telephoned, spoke to my husband and asked for "Sue Price". When he was told I was on the other line he said he would "hold on".

He identified himself as "TC" from Sydney and then proceeded to say he "had read the letter in the Australian"

"You're a disgrace..........(not sure what else). Then he issued the threat, "We're going to destroy you....... "

After TC had delivered his threat he 'hung-up'.

TC was well spoken (possible English accent), very deliberate, cold and calculating would appear to be the best suited phrase.

As yet, we have no idea who he was. It was blocked call, but we have reported the incident to the Federal Police as an offence against the Telecommunications Act.

The letter must have seriously touched a nerve for us to receive threats of this nature.

Believing the best protection against threats is exposure, I will report any further occurrences.........

Sue Price

An insight into the suffering caused by the Family Court and Child Support Agency: Other Letters Published in the Australian on 11/4/00

Thank you for publishing the story on the problems faced by many Australians in the Family Court and the Child Support Agency ('Problem' Parents doing Time, Focus 8-9/4).

Sadly, many people cannot come to terms with the damage caused by separation: then to be faced with the narrow-minded Family Law Courts and the Child Support Agency is too much.

Having been placed in a similar situation to that reported by Mr Stapleton has made me realise that I am not alone. I lost my home, my family, contact with my children and more recently my 20 year old job. I feel that the persecution and sheer bloody-mindedness of the CSA drives many good parents to despair. The persecution is even extended to second families, where any children born from this relationship are treated with disdain and blatant discrimination by the CSA.

Australians are reluctant to talk publicly about issues which may not be "politically correct", and which may adversely portray the female sex, yet male bashing is okay. We do not want to accept that the rate of male suicide in Australia is one of the highest in the world, in fact we won't talk about the subject for fear of influencing these weak minded people. So we just sit back and allow the federal Government to introduce "mandatory sentencing" for recalcitrant males, allow the CSA to broaden its sphere of operations into the international arena and perhaps, just perhaps, we (dads) will be able to see our children at the times granted by the courts.

Name and address supplied

Thank you for drawing attention to the excesses, irrationality and peculiar mismanagement of the Child Support Agency.

For 12 months I struggled to meet my payments. I was given to understand by my legal adviser that I had to maintain mortgage repayments, private medical health cover, rates on investment land, ambulance ... all commitments in place at the time of separation.

For the sake of my children I did that. At the same time I had to find a decent and affordable unit and try to set up a new network of friends and support. I was recovering from a stress collapse caused by trying to cope with a full-time job and five part-time jobs in order to meet the constant demands for more money.

With outgoings far exceeding my income I applied for a review of my support commitment since I could obviously no longer maintain the sort of work regimen that had led to my stress collapse.

The review officer (on the ground of a $60 difference between my gross salary and my financial commitments) concluded that I could afford to maintain the payments.

The following month my health fund increased its fees which halved that difference. My only recourse was to appeal the decision through the Family Law Court. Since I had already let my solicitor go, that was out of the question. So I went broke, then into child support arrears which I still had a full-time job from which support was garnisheed monthly.

Except for the kindness and support of my siblings, who kept lending me money, I could well have been one of CSA's delinquent payers, and a jail candidate. How dare the government consider legislation allowing the jailing of non-custodial parents at the subjective behest of such an irrational autonomous mediocrity as the CSA.

The quicker the Family Law Court is dispensed with and child support matters dealt with by the normal legal system, the better for all involved.

Name and address supplied

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