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Parliament votes for more fatherless children

By Bettina Arndt - posted Thursday, 26 October 2023

What a moment of triumph. Powerful Liberal Senator Michaela Cash was glorious to watch, fervently questioning the treacherous betrayal of fathers by Labor. She reduced the unfortunate government minister defending the Family Law bill to stuttering gibberish. He was unable to put forward one coherent argument as to why this government is removing the key protections for children's rights to be cared for by both parents after divorce. It's worth taking a good look at her dissection of the poor man – watch here.

We rushed to produce this quick video to accompany my article in The Daily Telegraph - which was based on my blog from last week. This even made it onto Apple News which was quite a coup.

But then they sold us out. When it came a vote, the bill went through, with the Greens, Pocock and Jacqui Lambie's group, all happily supporting Labor. And get this…. almost all the Opposition Senators abstained! Sat on the sidelines and ducked their heads. AND MICHAELA CASH ACTUALLY VOTED FOR THE BILL!


Asked why she would do that, Cash's office came up with mumbo jumbo about the Opposition's amendments having been rejected by the Senate. (A total furphy, considering their amendments failed to address many of the key joint-parenting sections being removed by Labor). The word is that they don't see this as a hill to die on. They aren't prepared to take flak for being labelled as soft on domestic violence by voting against the bill.

No question that is what would happen. Look at this press release from the Women's Legal Services Australia, congratulating Attorney General Dreyfus on the bill, which was circulated within minutes of the vote going through.

"We strongly support reform of the Family Law Act to make the law clearer and fairer, including the removal of the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility to improve safety."

"When violence and abuse are factors, courts will be able to deal with them more easily and reduce the number of children and mothers forced into dangerous situations."

"Removing this dangerous provision will give the courts the freedom to focus on safety and the genuine best interests of children and families."

That's how the bill was packaged and sold to the public, with the media narrative superbly controlled. There's been barely a breach in the "keeping-children-safe" mantra and absolutely no media coverage of the exposure of Labor's lies about the bill in the Senate this week.


Chances are most people reading this wouldn't even know the Family Law bill had passed. Men across Australia wouldn't have a clue that their rights as parents are now far more precarious, their chances of being a proper father after divorce severely reduced. The likelihood that fathers will end up as victims of false allegations is also much increased.

Where was the press gallery this week, as the flaws in this critical bill were being so thoroughly exposed? Well, clearly none of the young ladies now crowding into Canberra's elite press circles had any interest in the story. They were busy writing on clashes over Israel and the wash-up of The Voice referendum.

Remember these were the women who gave a standing ovation to Brittany Higgins when she appeared at the National Press Club last year. As if these ideologues would have any interest in protecting the rights of fathers, let alone considering the true best interests of children.

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About the Author

Bettina Arndt is a social commentator.

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