Schultz vows to fight for fathers everywhere

Submitted by Editor on Fri, 13/08/2004 - 00:22

Member for Hume Alby Schultz has raised his hand as an advocate for separated and divorced fathers everywhere and has vowed to pursue a major shake-up of the Child Support Agency.

Via: P.J.& J. Baker

Wednesday, 11 August 2004

Since raising the issue in Parliament last week, Mr Schultz has been inundated with emails and telephone calls from men all over Australia who have experienced the very worst of Australia's child support and family law systems.

"This is something too important for me to simply ignore," Mr Schultz said.

Mr Schultz said he told a party room meeting yesterday that he had sufficient evidence to conclude there was a culture of discrimination against men within the Child Support Agency.

"This anti-male culture is contributing to the destruction of careers, mental health problems and it would appear to national male suicide rates. The system is not fair, not just and certainly not equitable between men and women," Mr Schultz said.

He said he would be preparing a submission and offering evidence to the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Pru Goward, on the issue of sex discrimination against men by the Child Support Agency.

"It is demonstrably wrong to have a system in place under which in some instances a man must pay $2100 a month for his three children plus support himself and his new partner.

"As if the loss of all things materialistic and his children was not enough he is now being prevented from embarking on a new life because of these unrealistic expectations from the Child Support Agency," Mr Schultz said.

"To make matters worse, a father's responsibility doesn't even end once his children turn 18 - even though they are adults our system continues to burden fathers with unachievable payments."

Mr Schultz said he fully supported a father's obligation and responsibility to contribute to his child's upbringing, as did most fathers, however the system as it stood just wasn't working.

"It has come to my attention that because child support is calculated based on a person's gross income, in some cases fathers are taking home as little as 30 or 40 cents in the dollar - with that they have to fully support themselves, as well as their new families if that's what the case may be."

Mr Schultz said he had told his colleagues the Child Support Agency must be dismantled and reconstructed, because it was not operating the way it was intended.

"The system as it is being administered is not fair, it is unjust and it is inequitable. It is obvious there is discrimination and a mindset against men, to the point where it is really disturbing," Mr Schultz said.

He said he would be meeting with each of the three people responsible for the Child Support Agency - the Minister for Family and Community Services, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and the Parliamentary Secretary - to discuss matters of concern centred on the Child Support Agency.

"I have no doubt there is a long road ahead however I have made it clear I will not back away from this issue until something is done to flush out and destroy this anti-male culture within the Child Support Agency," Mr Schultz said.



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