(Founder of Lone Fathers)
Barry Williams has been the ardent driver of men’s rights for over 40 years. He was one of the first in Australia to be awarded of full custody of four children. He founded the Lone Fathers Association of Australia in 1973 which was the Peak body by John Howard and he has been instrumental in establishing numerous Australian family laws .
Barry has and still does work at the highest levels of government and continues to drive men, children’s and family’s right across Australia. Barry was awarded the Queen’s Medal in 1980 for his work in the space and was honored with an OAM in the recent Queen’s Birthday awards. It was a true honor to have the opportunity to talk to such an amazing and dedicated pillar of Australian society. Enjoy
ADAM BALDOCK: Dad’s of the world, great to have you with me for today’s special guest Barry Williams. Barry has been the ardent driver of men’s rights for over 40 years. He was one of the first in Australia to be awarded of full custody of three children. He founded the Lone Fathers Association of Australia in 1973 which was the Peak body by John Howard and he has been instrumental in establishing numerous family laws in Australia. Barry ahs and still does work at the highest levels of government and continues to drive men, children’s and family’s right across Australia. Barry was awarded the Queen’s Medal in 1980 for his work in the Space and was honored with an OAM in the recent Queen’s Birthday awards. I myself feel truly honored to have the opportunity to talk to such an amazing and dedicated pillar of Australian society. Welcome to the show, Barry Williams.
BARRY WILLIAMS: Thank you Adam. It’s very nice of you for those kind words. And it four children I raised.
ADAM BALDOCK: Four?
BARRY WILLIAMS: Yeah.
ADAM BALDOCK: Oh, mate.
BARRY WILLIAMS: One, youngest was 13 months old.
ADAM BALDOCK: Yeah, and you were – you were awarded your children after a divorce is that right?
BARRY WILLIAMS: Well I got a shock. It was back when the – actually when my partner well my ex-wife applied for divorce in 1975 and there was just this family law that came in and the judge said that I am the first person in Australia that they know will get custody of four small children especially with a young baby like that and I better look after them or else. That’s all he said so, I was awarded and told to let her have access when I thought it was okay for her because she was alcoholic.
ADAM BALDOCK: All right.
BARRY WILLIAMS: But I tried to persuade her. I wanted her to spend time with the children but it took over two years before she could decide to give up alcohol and wanted to be with her children. But alcohol aside she’s a great woman and we get along like a house on fire brothers and sisters now even those were the bad days and it rocked me because i loved the woman. And the real thing is I only knew her three weeks before I married her. I was a soldier at the time and it looks liked posted overseas and so I think we rushed into it to quick.
ADAM BALDOCK: Yeah well you know sometimes love does that. Fantastic but i mean that’s great that you were awarded your children and that you’ve obviously done a fantastic job because you and I were talking pre-recording about that they’re still around but you’ve annoyed them enough that they don’t hassle you too much which is great.
BARRY WILLIAMS: Well, that’s right they’re grown up now. Look I had my hassles also. If you don’t mind I just would like to tell you even though I was awarded full custody of them within a month I had the child welfare on my doorsteps questioning me how – what I was doing with four children, how the hell I could have four children, what’s the law come into to give a man four children and I actually told me they were coming to take the children and put them in a home. And I said, “Well you out to give rights about it I did nothing wrong. They’re at school, the house is clean, come and have a look“ Anyway they started to get real smart so I just told them to – I did, I said, “If you don’t get off my front stairs I’ll push you off” you know? So in other words and they went around and rang from a red phone around at the shops and called the police and the police come and they asked me what I said and I told them, I didn’t lie I told them I said, “Well look, you know I look after my kids and I know it’s a bit of a freak thing but they’re doing well they’re at school now.” And they turned around and said to them, “What’s your … be?” And they said, “Well he’s a male and no males in Australia has children like that especially young baby like that.” And they said, “But he’s got court orders, did you show you them?” And I showed the police and they said yeah but that don’t matter we’re the welfare and we over rule that. And they said if you don’t get of his property we’ll run you” so the police took my side so that was great. So I got a whirl then with them and I respected the police for that and I actually had the commander of police living in my street and he found out about me went off the brain you know about how what right the welfare have to come and interfere with someone who can have their children you know? And we went from there anyways so yeah.
ADAM BALDOCK: Well look you know this is good topic actually Barry and it’s one that I know that dad’s of the world out there are going to want to hear a bit more of about. So, let’ s stay on this track. I mean I’ve got a lot of questions for you today because you run such an amazing organisation and one that supports us males out there and there’s a lot to it, so we’re keen to really dig deep into it and find out more about it. But let’s stay on this topic. So you’ve been doing this for 40 years how have things changed in this mindset? I mean you just described a pretty archaic mindset about men being awarded or having the custody of their children back when you were first awarded. Have things changed over 40 years or does social welfare still have the same mindset?
BARRY WILLIAMS: Well things did change. I mean I became a registered lobbyist and I decided that when that happened and then I joined an organisation, a wonderful organisation called Parents Without Partners. Now when you look at that name people who have never been they probably think, “Oh, you’re just go there to get a partner” but it’s not like that at all. It was people with children and without children who has somewhere to go where if you have your children you could take your children and it didn’t cost the earth because you’re a single parent and you probably never have enough – a lot of money like me. And they were such a wonderful group like it was mainly a 50/50 membership men and women. And we would go and make [unclear – 06:21] for the women. In that we’d spend the weekend apart where maybe two or three of us will go and cleanup one the mum’s yards and or take rubbish and tip the lawns then we’d turn that and cook us some scones or something like that. And down the line in the organisation I was still the only male that had children but then within a couple of years there was a bloke that come along and this is a very sad story he was deaf and dumb and his wife has left him to and she’d gone off with a transport driver up in Northern Territory and she’d gone for two and years. And I learned a little bit of language talking to him because I was the president of Parents Without Partners in Canberra and we used to help him with his children, he had three children. And he sent them to school and that and he did this for two years and then she decided she wanted her children back because child support came into assistance and what it’s name then and and she wanted to be able to go on in the supporting parents pension and become – get child support and stuff like that. So when I went to court through our amazement the judge said, “Well, look you’ve done a great job, you looked after the children for two years but you’re deaf and dumb so the children will have a better chance of learning more with the mother” and he took the children off the father and gave them to the mother.
ADAM BALDOCK: Unbelievable.
BARRY WILLIAMS: And I said, “That’s it” so I went and seen the ACT government and this was all parliament house, it was the parliament then. So, I decided I said, “We’re going on a hunger strike” so my oldest children that’s a girl said, “What happened I got my youngest bloke” and I put up a tent way outside Palo parliament house right where the aboriginal embassy is. An actual fact where the aboriginal embassy the little hearty’s it was never there, that’s where I was there so I could claim but I wouldn’t do that to the aboriginal because I respect them so much. I could claim that as my embassy you know? And I was there for five – sorry, six days and seven night or whatever it was or vice versa with what I have done and it was in the time when Malcolm Frasier and Withlam had the argument and anyway Malcolm Frasier won the prime ministership and he set out the very next day and said, “We have to – I could get a meeting with him and I’d be the first person to get a meeting with him therefore I packed up and went home. So I packed up and went and home and that time the late John Knight, Senator John Knight he died very young he came with me and started Bruce Goodluck the member for Franklin and Tasmania and Michael Hodgman was the Minister of the Capital Territory they come in to Prime Minister Fraser’s office and he said, “What is it you want son?” And I said, “Well look, you have a benefit for single mums but dads are not entitled to it.” And I had an accident at that time, a truck accident because I said I was a transport, my collar got smashed in the skull with a bit of steel fell off the truck. And I had to work and I couldn’t take working you know? And I was having blackouts but there was no help for me and I had no money so I was shotting kangaroos and wild ducks and trapping rabbits too to have meet for my kids and get a little bit to settle. But anyway, when I’ve seen Malcolm Fraser he said, “You’re quite right this is discrimination, what are we going to call it?” And I said, “Well I was happy when you called a supporting parent pension so dads would get it too.” And he said, “You go home and you‘ll be the first to know. “Well that night they send a car about about 20 to 10:00 when the raised and it became the Supporting Parent’s Bill.
ADAM BALDOCK: Fantastic.
BARRY WILLIAMS: And I got acclamation all around Australia for the premier and that and the Queen sent me a telex which I still got and I got – then she gave me the Queen’s medal for this the British Empire medal and it was introduced and we’re still weren’t entitled to the little fringe benefits like children’s teeth and stuff like that so I said to the prime ministers I said but I will be coming back and they said no don’t do that will grant that too so I got that. But I chose never to go on – I never took it my life the National Bank knew that I had a claim coming up about – the company that I worked because it was their fault that I got hurt. And I was going to get compensation so they got me $8,000 and in days that was a lot of money that last me near quite a few years. But it took nine years for my case to go to court and I eventually won but because I started working for Lone Dads and that and stuff like that they said, “Well, you still got two good arms and two good legs so you know where you actually were good as much as your size. I supposed to get 150 grand we ended up getting 30 grand but by the time I paid all my medical and that was nothing less so but least I didn’t go on on the supporting parent bill and I’ve never been on it my life. But that’s the sort of things we did. And then we grew and grew and things started to get better. Malcolm Fraser I got to see him on many occasions and he – every time I’ve seen him I got success. A long time in Labour, and Labour actually would I be a consultant and help design a child support scheme and I accepted that because I was getting no child support from my ex-partner but I didn’t want none from her anyway. But I went on in there and we designed this scheme myself and the chief justice of the family court Diana Bryant who is now the chief justice. She was a barrister and I was just a dad looking – the only one they knew looking after four kids so we did our best but the child support scheme has changed, that was way back in 1987 and has changed since then very much. I was then asked by the Labour Government when I travelled to Australia and change and explain the new child support scheme to the rest of Australia and I did that over 18 months period travelling to everywhere in Australia in the main capital cities and main town leading meetings and explaining how it would work. And I got a bit of recognition for that. They paid my expenses for travelling that but I never got no wages or anything. And then back in 2004 John Howard asked me would I go on a committee for him as a consultant to help cluddy up the child support scheme. Well I went in there and I was a consultant under Professor Patrick Parkinson, a law council chairman and he was the chairman of this and I did put forth amendments up which were good amendments and they got changed in that. So John Howard then called me in and asked what I – well first of all John Howard called me in personally and asked me would I go and be a consultant for him and I was honoured and I went on there and as I said I got four amendments changed. So Mal Brough called me and he said, “Look, the Prime Minister was so happy with the work you’ve done and Patrick Parkinson reported that you did a great job we want to ask you a favour” and I said, “What is it?” he said” What you did in 1988 or 89 would you do it again for us and repeat it and go around and tell people about the new changes?” So I said, “Well I am a marriage servant now I got to have a little. I didn’t get paid for doing this, this has all been voluntary.” And they said, well we haven’t got an offer you see because I used to work from home so they give me this offer I’ve got now and that was thanks John Howard giving me thanks for the work I did. So I was getting enough to pay for the office and to pay a part – time consultant, sorry a researcher and consultant and he started getting full time and things were going great for us. We were helping a lot of people out, we opened up 22 branches around Australia and 213 volunteers helping people day and night with their problems in Family Law and that. We went around and trained them all in the committees and we became known all around Australia and around the world. Then labour came in and labours thought that we weren’t entitled to extra money to run our branches so they took $60,000 off our funding away.
ADAM BALDOCK: Thank you Labour.
BARRY WILLIAMS: And my branches have been struggling ever since. I have lost at least 10 of them and I’ve only got 12 operating at the moment. And they are operating on a smell of an oily rag because we can’t get enough funding to help out. To be able to give them money so they know how to pocket that. And these are great people and one thing I wanted to say is the organisation has grown. We have a 37% women membership around Australia and many of the women hold senior positions next to me. For instance the treasurer has been with us and that’s a lady for 38 years, the national treasurer, my secretary lives in Brisbane she’s been with us 15 years. And my national vice president lives in Dubbo, well outside of Dubbo and she’s been with us 22 years. I’m getting them mixed up. And then I got Yvonne Maxwell who runs the Launceston branch she’s the president and Faye Stacey runs a Logan Branch in Brisbane. And yeah, we got a lot of women and these women who believed look, we’re getting divorced and that the children have the right to have contact with both parents and their grandparents especially, the godparents. And John Howard then, I went in to see John Howard and I said, “John, there’s a million children still in Australia who can’t see their dads or their other parent, their grandparents and extended family.” And he said, “Well show us” so I got some proof together and showed him and they did their checks and they – I got a call back from his office saying, “You’re quite right” so, he decided that he said you’ve been putting up a submission for many years which I did since 1980 for a rebuttal of assumption of shared care. And the reason I did that because in 1979 California introduced shared equal time for the children over there in divorced situations. And with no time at all its so successful it spread to 37 different states. And so well I thought, “Well Australia needs this too” so I put the first submission up in 1980 and keep putting submission up for a rebuttal of assumption is shared care right up to 2006. And John Howard found out about this and he said, “We’re going to have a parliamentary enquiry” so he called a parliamentary enquiry and do it and it was chaired Kay Hull from Waga, a Liberal NP or a country party I am not quite sure what she was and now I can’t remember. But anyway she couldn’t get by partisan support from the other side and even a couple of liberals crossed the floor I believe were made it against it so what we got was a rebuttal of assumption of equal responsibility which means a natural fact that both parents have the right to say what religion, what school and how the children were brought up. But even that don’t happen. But there was another part on it where the courts where they though it could work could award, shared, equal time. And from Thursday on the 6th for the first 12 to 15 months there was more dads in Australia who got shared, cared, delivered in Australia’s history.
ADAM BALDOCK: Wow.
BARRY WILLIAMS: And people like Labour and the agree we’re very one sided and don‘t get me wrong I don’t belong to any party I am a lobbyist but they showed that they were – didn’t think it was working in that and I think they got bad advice I don’t want to knock them. But they – made it quite clear they were actually a day shared care for children. And anyway to say they had a – they couldn’t – when they became into offers to save face they couldn’t just over turn the John Howard amendments so they introduced an amendment to the Family Violence Bill which is the most ludicrous and most discriminative act ever in Australia’s family law. Because what it tells people is one side they can lie and perjury and there will be no punishment for it. And even as one of the retiring judges just said in his statement I am glad to be retiring because it’s become a a fast. This amendment is giving many people are using as a deterrent to send the children to access knowing that if they held the children they will be awarded more child support. This – we put up a hell of a big submission against it telling the government it was discrimination against one of the sexes which they can’t legally do under the law. And then it went to the senate when labour and the Green pas it and then it went to the senate. And I went in there talking as I am my only spokesman with the two biggest single parents in Australia and that’s Lone Fathers and its sister organisation Parents Without Partners. And I warned the senate that if they passed this that they’re going to send a lot of men to their grave because they can’t see the end of the tunnel but they didn’t heed it. You know the only who shook his head and it was Gary Humphries, Senator Gary Humphries in agreeing with me. Well I said, “I know you going to pass it but my organisation told me at our three conferences which we had before about this to tell you people senators that if one man takes his life over this we’re going to hold you as responsible for it. And look honestly, the amount of people that have cooked their lives since that came in are just ludicrous but it’s being hidden as a hidden agenda. People don’t know the real issue of the suicides of men who can’t see their children. And I just want to finish off just backed by children. The other Christmas I closed the office on 18th of December and sent the worker on his holiday for four weeks and I thought, “Well I’m going to have two weeks” and I plan to go away but on the 19th of December at two pm I was back in this office and I just could not take the amount of calls. I’d be on the phone and ring, the office phone. I’ll be on the office phone and the mobile will ring, it was all about children weren’t send on the holidays, Many men had paid and there was a couple of women too I’ll be honest. They paid the amount for the children‘s airfare so that they could come from Cannes and places like that and the other parent did not send the children. I was so frustrated with the calls coming in and this was going on flat out all day long. I tried to contact other service that are highly funded I don’t want to mention the service because I don’t want them see embarrassing but I think people can guess who they were. They’re all closed down even the Family Court. The law council the whole lot, I was asking help but all I can get was answering services saying “The office is closed, the office is closed.” Men’s line is a great organisation and so is Life Line but they mainly deal with in suicide and stuff like that. Or they say you need counselling or something like that and a lot of men get upset about that because they don’t just want counselling they want to be able to see their children. And out of that I took 269 from 19th to December to the 25th of February.
ADAM BALDOCK: Wow.
BARRY WILLIAMS: That’s what I was doing, there was hundreds of emails or thousands of emails and I was so stressed out I had to go and seek counselling myself. And the rotten system closes down and they don’t worry about this. I have spoke to the Attorney General’s department about them. Not only this Attorney General the previous Attorney General. I spoke to them and said, Look, you got to have somewhere where these people can get in contact with the courts or something to enforce their orders and that.” The lawyer firms want a fortune to do it and it doesn’t happen in time, the courts are so badly funded now that they got to defer it and defer it and defer and it can be 12 months, 2 years before they even see their kids again. It’s an absolutely disgrace the way the system works it’s just about money. So I did a lot of study and I come up it works out the industry is costing Australia 14 billion dollars per annum, some say I’m wrong, some say it’s as high as 21 billion. Now this is done on sufferings you know? Out of those 269 cases there was very serious about threatening suicide I can’t give you statistics because everything is confidential comes in here. There were four 14, very, very, very serious and yet I can say that some harmed themselves. Some didn’t have time or so if you know what I mean?
ADAM BALDOCK: Yeah.
BARRY WILLIAMS: But anyway the statistics of men suicide over this in Australia is completely covered up and it’s time the government – I don’t care which government, it’s time they work on and have a serious look at this. But that’s what we do in a nutshell. But look without the womenfolk out there and I am going to say it, a lot of group seek where stupid having women but mate, women make us. The women and guys working together and these all these women have joined this association are women who believed that a child has that right. And until Australia people realises that a child has the right not them then were going to be in this sort of fix all the time. And you asked me at the start, “Is it getting worse?” well I thought it was getting better. And I thought when we got the coalition back I was told by the now Attorney General that we’re going to get enforcement of access orders. Well they haven’t come yet and the reason they haven’t come is because the government told the ministers – that’s just what they told me, that they dropped every nickel, concentrated on terrorist problems in Australia. But I am saying, well terrorist is one thing, children being denied their rights, the rights of the child which we break everyday in the Family Court in that their rights are being ignored. And look I get calls from – America her is what we’re saying, Trinidad & Tobago is what were saying and Puerto Ricans and all that they’re in contact with us all the time. President Obama gave me and my organisation a voluntary achievement award from the USA so they really appreciate the work we do. But Australia has got a start waking up and start listening and believe that they can’t be all as gender specific in their dealing.
ADAM BALDOCK: Wow Barry, wow. I mean what a story and you covered so much ground there.
BARRY WILLIAMS: Well we’re struggling because I have to prove that we are a service which we are a service because we have men and women in here all day long. And I had – Scott Morrison was very good he listened to me when I went in and see him on and I got six minutes with him. But the new thing is now they can’t fund advocacy services in Australia they are stating because they were challenged. I am afraid with advocacy services they are the backbone of this country and I do know they’re trying to get rid of lobbyist because – and the other reason I wanted to get rid of lobbyist is because they want to turn a deaf ear to what the hell is going on. Well I’m proud that I am the only federal registered lobbyist in Australia on Family law in the parliament. I am not proud in the sense that I don’t want anyone else to be there but I’ve been a lobbyist there now for 39 years in the old parliament and I hope I can get another 39 years in there to fight for this cause because it did to my heart.
ADAM BALDOCK: Absolutely Barry and I can hear that in your voice and everything you say and everything you’ve done. And it’s a full credit and an absolute honour to have someone standing up for our male rights which is brilliant mate and I can’t thank you enough.
BARRY WILLIAMS: Well you mentioned the OAM. Well the OAM is not for me the OAM is for all the organisation. And look, there’s another great organisation it’s Parents Without Partners. It – I get all their welfare reports each state send for their welfare report and I put them together and I am warning the government now, I’ve just put the thing together that single parents who are in a situation this low income earners and even a lot of families earning a low income cannot afford to live properly in today’s society. The cost of rent, the cost of mortgages, the cost of private health, the cost of sending their kids to school and the cost of trying to give their kids some sort of a gather circles or something or a football matches all out of their reach. The cost of health has risen so much that I am getting in drove throne on them, “Do something Barry. Gather the minister. We can’t afford and we want to have private health for our kids because we can’t get them into the hospitals when they cook you know?” but no one’s listening. That private health care rises and rises and rises that’s just getting out of all proportion and we’re going to have a lot of sick children, a lot of sick people because of this. So I am pleading to the government. You know Australia has so many minerals and we’re so rich but we giving our taxpayers money away to other countries before we fix up Australia. Like why are paying Indonesia all these billions of dollars of stuff for that when you know they’re threatening us every time we look sideways about it. And other countries who half the money they send over there is is lost in administration and people working there. The real victims don’t get it it yet we’ve got victims suffering in Australia too.
ADAM BALDOCK: Absolutely and I am right there with you Barry. Look after your own backyard first. It seems to me that anytime anything happens around the world Australia is first to dip into the pocket. I mean it’s no wonder we’re complaining about deficits and you know not being able to make budgets meet. So but we’re moving into a whole different subject when it comes to the fiscal policies of Australia. And probably not one we would need to dive into today.
BARRY WILLIAMS: No not need too but all these things come under the work and especially men’s prostate cancer, you know? 55 men every day in Australia are being diagnosed with prostate cancer and this is the truth, this is the – not my statistic. The Australian Cancer Statistic $3,300 every year that’s one and a half times more than breast cancer and don’t get me wrong anyone, I support breast cancer, I support all of mum’s get for breast cancer and it should be double that and I would even go and lobby to help raise funds for them. But also there’s one gender being left behind again, men with prostrate, they don’t get anywhere near that amount of money and the machine we are in especially in the city I lived in, Canberra they machine reader they’ve got at the hospital here, the laser machine is so outdated and so bad that people have to line up to go to Melbourne and Sydney to get treatment. And then one of my own treasurer explains presence that was told go to Brisbane you can get on the machine but you need $19,000 up front. It’s just ludicrous what I am saying. It’s just out of order And one of the civilians here in Canberra said that the attachment to the machine are so bloodied and so rusted they can’t be cleaned in that. And I spoke to the hospital about it and they said they were no worse than any other states you and stuff like that. But that’s another big thing I am taking up the issue of men’s prostate and I am really going to. I am going to seriously thinking about in the account of next door at the Commonwealth Bank I got to donate $1,000 into it and a specialist said he will too and we’re going to go public around to raise money to get a proper machine here in Canberra you know? So it’s not just family law and a lot of men especially – I said to the specialist I’ve always believed that these men can get prostate cancer from the stress from not being able to see their kids and he said, “You better believe it mate, it’s true.” So there it is out there a system that you go to court, you go in and try to see your kids. You get pushed off to come back to Next August or something like that it’s just a shocking system. Anyway, I’ve said quite enough I’m sorry.
ADAM BALDOCK: No.
BARRY WILLIAMS: I do.
ADAM BALDOCK: Not at all Barry, this is all good stuff and good hard stuff that –
BARRY WILLIAMS: I go off the brain, I don’t tell a lie, it’s one thing I won’t do. And I don’t care who’s listening to me out there the system could be a lot better. John Howard started the system going forward we started going backward and I am hoping this government will forget soon and they’ve been in 16 months or something but I hope they’ll come forward and start doing something to generate an even service for both men and women.
ADAM BALDOCK: Absolutely, absolutely. But you know as far as – just before we moved in into on with the discussion with regards to the prostate cancer issue. I’ve got a show coming up of a gentleman who’s had prostate cancer and he’s going to talk about the whole process the journey and the effect that has mentally and emotionally on and physically for that matter on there. So that will tie in quite nicely with this discussion and anything we can do here at Fired Up Dads to assist in that whole process Barry, feel free to give u a yell. We’ll be more than happy to give you a hand sir.
BARRY WILLIAMS: Well, if we don’t get any satisfactory I want to go public. I’ve been told and asked to take class action against the Family Court and against some of the legislation that the Australian government has especially the amendment to the Family Violence Act because in its discriminatory form we can prove that it rules against one person all the time. Now even Judge Collier in his statement and I got the thing here that people are using it as a tool to stop the children coming. They know what\s going on but no one wants to do when think about you know? But a class action might set off something about it you know and we need to really get and not keep talking about it and get going. I mean we’re a good organisation; we’re struggling for funds to try and keep the pressure up. I’d appreciate if I can say this, anyone who wants to join Lone Fathers Association it’s only 30 bucks a year. And we send out professional newsletters which go all through the parliament all over and different companies in the world but it cost us a lot more than 30 bucks to produce it you know? So men or women if they think we’re the right organisation to join we’d appreciate it if they join us.
ADAM BALDOCK: Absolutely.
BARRY WILLIAMS: And if they can’t afford the 30 bucks get in touch and we can join them in welfare something like that. We need the voices, we need them. Look, we got a good membership around but I lead the membership with the branches because they’re getting no funding whatsoever so they’re out of pocket. It cost a lot to run an organisation a year like this especially the branches to where they got to pay the higher horse, they got to run their functions, they got to use their phones, the electricity they’re up half the night talking to people and that stuff all that. If you’re in any area where we got a branch you should – I beg you to join it and become part of the system just like men and women. We don’t just want men we want men and women, yeah.
ADAM BALDOCK: Fantastic Barry and money well spent even if it is just 30 bucks. I’ll have links on the website on the Fired Up Dad’s website to get to Lone Fathers and to get in touch with Barry so feel free to head on over to firedupdads.com to get some of that information. But let’s head back for a bit. So you were going to say something Barry?
BARRY WILLIAMS: Just one minute Adam.
ADAM BALDOCK: Yup.
BARRY WILLIAMS: There’s just been a something done by a person. I don’t know what sort of person is. I am not knocking him or anything it was it’s called Lee Erickson and I think it was – I am not sure what his organisation is called it’s Fathers of something but he stated on there on Triple M that I have told him that 27 men a week or something are taking their life. Now, he’s got that wrong I never said that. And he said I’m talking to three people a day suicide and that’s wrong too. What I said I am talking about up to three men a day who are threatening suicide, there’s a difference. What we got to do with all of these organisations. There’s so many organisations working in this around the country and they’re putting out false statistics. No one really knows how many men are suicidal as I said earlier. It’s a hidden agenda covered up. Only the corners can tell you this and one coroner told me once he said there is a lot – I am not allowed to tell you and I acknowledged that. But I think there is 27 men a week committing suicide in Australia but a lot of these are over drugs and all stuff that is not only over family law. So I guess I am not having a go at Lee for anything. I tried to get triple M and Sidney to correct this but they won’t get back to me because it makes me look stupid. I mean I don’t deal with three men a day who are suicidal and how could you if they’re suicidal you know? But I am dealing up to at point up to three men a day who are very seriously contemplating suicide and that’s the difference.
ADAM BALDOCK: Absolutely. And I have a a number of discussions with the guys over there at Beyond Blue and talking about male suicide and things like that and you know a lot of the road toll and things is actually thought to be suicidal rather than accidental. So –
BARRY WILLIAMS: That I can believe, that I can believe because of a mother rather said to me once, “Look my son has been driving down that road for 10 years and that big tree has been there all the time. He’s out of blue and he’s broke u with his partner and the kids haven’t been coming and he’s been so stressed and what happens, today he splattered over the tree.” you know?
ADAM BALDOCK: Not good.
BARRY WILLIAMS: But then have you talked to politicians alike that, they don’t want to hear it. The greatest politician of all time I believe – I’ll rephrase it, one of the greatest politicians passed way the night before or after a gentleman, a thorough gentleman, Alby Schultz.
ADAM BALDOCK: Yeah, you were talking about Alby beforehand. And it sounds like he did a lot for you. He got your couple of meetings with John Howard and –
BARRY WILLIAMS: Not only that he did a lot for fathers and mothers around Australia. He was an excellent politician. He’ll be a long time missed.
ADAM BALDOCK: Indeed, indeed. So Barry let’s just head back into Lone Fathers for a minute. So we talked – I mean you’ve talked a fair a bit about the whole journey that you’ve been on since the 70’s, late 60’s early 70’s and you’ve talked about Lone Fathers. So I pay my $30 membership what sort of services can I expect to get? Or what sort of help can I expect to get from Lone Fathers if I am a lone father?
BARRY WILLIAMS: Well we will – if you got problems we can talk to you over the phone about your problems and try to help you decide the best way to go about it. If you’re in one of our areas where we got a branch when they hold their monthly meetings they usually have a guest speaker it could be a lawyer they get along to give free advice, it could be a counsellor. I have had the second highest job in Australia come to my meetings here in Canberra and I have had politicians such as Peter Dutton and people like that. If you’re in Canberra you can come in tomorrow and we’ll have a lawyer here two days a week whose going to give free advice and you won’t be charged for anything. We can show you how to do – how natural agreements if you’re both going to agree which is not going to and all the cost to you is go to be lodging it in the court which is about $300. But in that sort of stuff you both got to be able to talk to each other and agree what you want. And if you agree on the children’s issues first and how much time the children are going to spend with each other then the rest of all child support and the property and that will all fall into gear on that. That’s the service we offer. Now we send you a newsletter, keep you up to date on what’s going on. As I said that newsletter goes into to heaps of politicians in the parliament house and around the states and that. We talk on behalf of you as your problems with your children and that. Yeah, things like that. I mean we’re not – we can’t state to you we’re going to solve your case because no one can do that. I mean we asked you if you’re obliged to pay child support to pay it because we certainly won’t help anybody who deliberately won’t pay child support, there’s no way in the world. And we’ll make that quite known to them and if they got a reason for not paying it we’ll try to help them with that reason. I have a line I can get on to the head of complaints and see us is child support area and try to solve their problem. But what we won’t do is accept men or women who won’t deliberately [ay for their children. We won’t help them we’ll them we can’t help you. If they’re genuine as I said and there’s a reason why they don’t want to pay and it’s a good enough reason then well help them try to solve that’s what we do.
ADAM BALDOCK: Great stuff, great stuff Barry. And –
BARRY WILLIAMS: And we give one on one where we got a solicitor at that and we will help people. And solicitors around the country won’t like it but we’re doing nothing to gain sense. To stop we get them, we say it’s – we’re not solicitors although we will have a solicitor here and if they want him to sign off they will, he will. What we give people is what we have learned over the years in 40-odd years. I did family law units myself. And we will say to them and again it’s up to you whether you make sure you like it first and then you go and look at it. Agree with it if you want it and then get a solicitor to sign it or our solicitor will sign it for you and then you can go and lodge it at the court. And the court will look at it and if the court think it’s fair and equitable they will pass it and that’s it. And you’re going to say thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars and I don’t give a damn what any law firm takes out there. You know if we can save people that money its better spent on their children than what it is paying a system that just rots. And I am not saying all lawyers rot people but a lot do.
ADAM BALDOCK: Absolutely, absolutely. Well you know a lot of what you’ve discussed today it’s just a indictment on society the way it is with indications there that some of them are using the system just to launch money or from the other from their partner and some are just the whole divorce thing it’s just nasty when the main thing but everyone should be considering and these is the kids and making sure that they’ve got good representation, good role modelling from both sides you know?
BARRY WILLIAMS: That’s it mate and unfortunately two people fool in love they end up getting married and it’s not always their fault. I believe it’s the pressure of society that makes the marriage breaks up. Of course I do a fair bit of studying on when I got spare time on it and I’ve witnessed it. This thing we live on that can cause a lot of cramp especially especially when young people get married and they go in and they buy a new house and then they get a car and they got all these mortgage over their heard and that and they can’t communicate, they can’t stop arguing and fighting and carrying on. You know just look at everything we touched, even talking to you now there’s a tax on it. Everything we touch were taxed to the hilt and it’s just families can’t keep surviving like that unless you got a real big income.
ADAM BALDOCK: Absolutely, absolutely.
BARRY WILLIAMS: And we got to get it better right than worst and they’re talking about every time you read the paper; you turn on the television there’s disaster. Kids setup at night time there’s a shock in violent movies on all the time and police shows and everything like people getting shot in the head and everything go that. Well we’re just going away from what Australia was supposed to be.
ADAM BALDOCK: I couldn’t agree more Barry, Ii couldn’t agree more and this is a discussion that you and I could go on forever.
BARRY WILLIAMS: Oh, maybe we can go on forever. I’m bad when I start talking I keep getting wound up and wound up and I am seeing so much made over my years and I don’t want to sound like – I am not a hero or anything like that I am just an ordinary person, I like being an ordinary person but It might over have two people I my own family. My oldest nephew was murdered by his de facto and buried and that person got four and a half years for proven first degree murder, when you look at the system now that wasn’t in him vice versa. There’s n doubt he would be still in jail. And then my step – brother they tried to say he shot himself but he didn’t shot himself we know that, the Mafia was in town and there was something going on there because he was having an affair with another lady. And all of a sudden when [unclear – 00:47:23] he was found with his head shot out and they tried to say he did it himself but. With my family been through the mills too and when I talk to all the other people around I have had at 43 years I have been doing this and mums crying and dad’s crying about they lost their son through family law it just makes me want to fight more and stronger.
ADAM BALDOCK: And hats off to you Barry for that as well, brilliant. But it’s interesting you bring up the murder there because I did have that down on my list of something to bring up and ask you whether that was a driver in establishing Lone Fathers and keeping you going in that space so …
BARRY WILLIAMS: Well I did know –
ADAM BALDOCK: …but you beat me to very questions I had today Barry, so yeah.
BARRY WILLIAMS: It did not only – it we only lost him – he’s mother becomes so ill she died a couple of years later. And then because both my brother and his wife who I just said died a couple of years later they’ve been married for 59 years and my brother was a very healthy man. And something cancer weeded out of him in our family and then our family really when he died a gut cancer within they only gave him six months he was dead within that six months. It was all the worry that I ever stuff like this. But most of all I don’t believe, honestly I don’t believe our lawmakers in that are taking notice, They’d always blame the family court, the family court was going well. The previous government – I think I will say that I want to be careful when I say that there’s somewhere between 20 and 40 million off the family court and they give it to what they call ICL it’s Independent Children’s Lawyers. Now and other judges said and I’ve got it in writing here too in the Sydney Telegraph that that’s not working because the ICL very seldom talk to the children and that was what they were established for. And the court writers well the magistrate and judges virtually they don’t notice what the court writers write and a lot of them are very, very biased people. So, we seem to be going from something that’s good to turning into something that’s not working.
ADAM BALDOCK: Absolutely, absolutely. And you know we’ve talked about the fact that this discussion could go on forever Barry. There’s a lot of angles and a lot of sides and different stories that come out of crosshair but the main thing I wanted to do today was get the name of the Lone Fathers and yours out there to the Fired Up Dads of the worlds and Fired Up Dads listeners and make sure they’re aware of your service and the struggles that you’ve got. Now is there anything that the dads of the world can do to assist your organisation at this time and help improve that funding and things like that?
BARRY WILLIAMS: Well they could write to the Minister and say look, we really need about another 50 grand to be able to do all our services and stuff. I need staff you know what I mean? I am struggling I’m here seven days a week. And I’m struggling because I’m getting on in age well we all do. And I want to try and accompany young people up because I don’t want this organisation to fall apart after 43 years. We need corporate funding or some sort of funding that we can do projects and do more for people out there and be able to get on with what we want to do and to be able to get more pressure on governments to be able to to come up a gear if you like and starting and stop this discrimination against one of the sexes. Every time the Australian government and I’ve warned them myself what they are doing is illegal. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Labour or Liberal when then put an ad on that spend millions and billions of dollars on ads on no violence against women and children that’s great. But at the same time what are they putting over on against anyone because you’re leaving out one gender again and under their own laws you cannot discriminate against gender but they do it all the time and they’re using tax payers money for it you know? And people say to me all the time, “Why don’t you bring this up?” well I brought it up in the primer until the cows come home but they believe because they’re elected politicians that they can change the laws at their will.
ADAM BALDOCK: Barry you know, it’s just such a frustrating topic.
BARRY WILLIAMS: Well I feel lonely walking around in the parliament as of times and I am trying to fight the battle for everyone but they just don’t let people in there to become lobbyist you know? And some of them they told me were wreck bags they come in and they smash on their table and that and I had my niece and I demand that they use to have them but I’ve never done that that I treat politicians as politicians and I said it doesn’t matter where it’s Labour or Liberal I go in there I do my best to try and get their attention to what the problem is.
ADAM BALDOCK: And thanks for doing that Barry, it’s fantastic. So, we’re going to head into the power round in a moment but first of all I want to say thanks for spending some time with me today, Barry.
BARRY WILLIAMS: No problem.
ADAM BALDOCK: Now I have a series of short questions that I usually ask all my interviews. So I hope you don’t mind I call it the power dad round.
BARRY WILLIAMS: Go ahead.
ADAM BALDOCK: And so four short questions. So d you have a book that you would recommend to my listeners.
BARRY WILLIAMS: Look, there’s a number of them. Off hand, I can’t even think of the names because I got so many.
ADAM BALDOCK: Question without noticer mate.
BARRY WILLIAMS: Yeah. Jeez, I could have found that out for you. I am keeping my dairy of all the books in my cupboard at home because I have people in and out here and some of them get board. But look there’s – there’s a lot of them out there.
ADAM BALDOCK: That’s not a problem, maybe you want to send me a –
BARRY WILLIAMS: I’ll send you –
ADAM BALDOCK: Send me a link?
BARRY WILLIAMS: I’ll send you a link with them mate, yeah.
ADAM BALDOCK: Just send me one on my email and I’ll put it on the show notes.
BARRY WILLIAMS: You caught me unaware there. I apologise.
ADAM BALDOCK: No problems mate. No, no no need to apologise it’s why we asked this questions.
BARRY WILLIAMS: Fire, the next one.
ADAM BALDOCK: What about the next one mate the y are similar. What about a recommended website? Os other than Lone Fathers because we’ll definitely have links to Lone Fathers on the show notes.
BARRY WILLIAMS: Go to shared parenting council and look at their web- what’s her name web? What do they call it ? it is our on a website anyway, they got a great website.
ADAM BALDOCK: Shared parenting council, no problems and I’ll put links on that one as well.
BARRY WILLIAMS: And they are a great organisation too unfortunately they lost their funding through this advisory stuff but I am trying to get the ministers to refund and – look as I said before, and I remember saying it, we need these advisory services because they get listened to.
ADAM BALDOCK: Yeah. Well particularly when they’re representing the very demographics that are related to all of these topics. So what about other resources Barry? We are asking the dads of the world go when they’re in this situation or Lone Fathers. Other than Lone Fathers and the Shared Parenting, is there anywhere else?
BARRY WILLIAMS: Well I would recommend if you got in an area where there’s a Parents Without Partners organisation even if you haven’t got your children go along there and meet some of the people and they will help you out too. I mean it was an outlet for me where I could take my children when I had my children where people could take them – dads can take them when they have their children on access and that. And you join them with other children that you don’t feel so alone because you got other people there. Also there’s other groups around Dads in Distress they’re more about prevention of suicide and stuff like that but they are not a great organisation. That’s about it as far as I know.
ADAM BALDOCK: Yeah, good as gold and there some good resources there and a good stretch across which is fantastic.
BARRY WILLIAMS: There’s a lot of good mums organisations to help them to don’t get me wrong. I mean Theresa Edwards runs this counsellor single mothers and their child in South Australia and she is a marvellous woman and they do a tremendous job for mums and Theresa and I worked very close together in different issues especially when we’re on on the stakeholders what a coordination with stakeholders of child support. Theresa and I did always agree and stuff like that. She’s not just one-sided like some other groups are but yeah, I’d recommend if you’re a lady and you join the Council of Single Mothers and their Children, yeah.
ADAM BALDOCK: Brilliant.
BARRY WILLIAMS: National Council of Single Mothers and their Children.
ADAM BALDOCK: Good, good to have a representation for the other side too which is brilliant.
BARRY WILLIAMS: Well it’s important that all sides get heard you know?
ADAM BALDOCK: Agree, agree. So Barry, last question in this round and it’s one I asked all of my people, it’s my favourite question because you’ve got older children which we alluded to earlier. What’s the one thing that you would tell your children to help them succeed in life?
BARRY WILLIAMS: I would tell them to be positive. I hate low waist, they’re not lo way which I‘ve always told my children. And respect – if you’ve got a partner respect her she is the love of your life. Respect her and treat her and never attempt violence that’s the main thing. I don’t support violence in any shape or form.
ADAM BALDOCK: Brilliant.
BARRY WILLIAMS: And I’d also told my kids to respect other people’s views.
ADAM BALDOCK: Yeah, absolutely. Good answers and a good way to end to moving to the close of the show. So Barry tell us where the dads of the world can access and get in contact with you and Lone Fathers Association.
BARRY WILLIAMS: Well, the best idea is we got a web and we got a site up there but it gets hacked so many times by a – I think they’re desperate people when they got to hack someone’s website that’s trying to help people. I don’t want to call them crooks or something. They can write to me, they could send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or they can send a letter to me at PO Box 492 Canberra City, 2601. And if they want to join us they can send a letter with their address and phone numbers and that and a cheque for $30 and we’ll send them a receipt and I’ll send them out a new newsletter. Our new newsletter we will be go to the printers on Monday and it’s got a lot of stuff of what’s going on, what we expect is going to happen and stuff like that. And yeah and they can do it that way and they will be put on the books as they’ll have rights and voting rights if they come to a meeting anything like that.
ADAM BALDOCK: Brilliant. And I’ll have links up on the Fired Up Dads website as well that will go through to Lone Fathers and have all the details to get in touch with Barry. So Barry, thank you so much for spending time with me today and discussing the matters that we have. It’s clearly a complicated subject and a complicated industry and I take my hat off to your devotion over 40 plus years. I think the awards you’ve been given are well deserved and I wish you all the best for the future.
BARRY WILLIAMS: That’s really the one thing Adam, it wouldn’t have happened unless I had these dedicated people behind me and that’s all my committees and branches and presidents and other people that support us.
ADAM BALDOCK: Absolutely. And full credit to them as well.
BARRY WILLIAMS: And I want to thank you for your time spending with me to because it’s important that you get applaud to because you’re getting our voice out there.
ADAM BALDOCK: Yeah, I appreciate that Barry but you know it’s what you do that’s most important and I am honored to be able to circulate your initiative out there. So –
BARRY WILLIAMS: Well I got a couple of men here patiently sitting here to see these.
ADAM BALDOCK: Good stuff, good stuff. So Dads of the world, if you enjoyed what you heard today, please head on over to firedupdads.com. You can get the show notes and other resources for today’s episode. It’s been great spending time with you the dads of the world and Barry Williams from Lone Fathers Association. So have the best day ever and we’ll look forward to seeing you next time on Fired Up Dads.