By Corrine Barraclough
Barry Williams, National President of Lone Fathers Association of Australia, is audibly shaken when I speak to him for the first time after Christmas.
Having spoken to him numerous times, and heard him publicly speaking powerfully, there is a worrying tone to his voice this time.
“I’m just gutted after Christmas, Corrine,” he says. His voice is shaking. “The amount of stuff we hear over the Christmas period is heartbreaking. People know I stick around on the phone. Calls are even harder at this time of year. I’ve been crying with blokes over the phone – and some women too. I’ve even had children calling asking for help. People are desperate out there.
“What I want to say to people is, I think we’ll be fighting this in ten year’s time. They don’t want justice. The government, politicians, they’re making too much money from the Family Court as a business. People are struggling – and those in power are not interested.”
Williams continues to discuss a conference he went to at the end of last year.
“I was pretty angry to be honest,” he says. “Brandis promised the world and he did nothing. So I got a bit wild at this conference and took to my feet. ‘It’s time to start thinking about the paramount rights of the child,’ I told them. ‘This is such a huge issue; we should be having a world conference. Australia should be taking the lead – why is no one listening? When they order a child to stay with one parent, unless the other parent is a threat to that child, it’s in breach of the rights of the child.’”
Those are fighting words. But that’s not how Williams’ sounds today.
“I’ve come into the New Year not knowing what to do,” he says. “I think I have a right to say my opinion after 44 years of seeing nothing positive happen. So I’m saying it again; this issue has to be addressed. We are here, Australian fathers are suffering, people are suffering - and we will not go away.”
Lone Fathers Association of Australia run programs and family courses. The organisation believes children need their fathers as much as they need their mothers. Lone Father’s believes we must instate perjury in the Family Court.