Dr. Helen 2009-10-02 06:06:00 | Dr. Helen Smith

Dads on the Air (28 Jun 2011): What Makes Us Tick?

With special guests:

  • John Flanagan and
  • Hugh Mackay.

The author of an interesting new book, ‘What Makes Us Tick?’is Hugh Mackay, who is widely regarded as Australia’s preeminent social researcher and he joins us today to discuss his latest book. Hugh Mackay has spent most of his working life exploring why we do the things we do, ranging from the television programs we watch or the politicians we vote for, to the decisions that shape our lives – who (or whether) to marry, where to live, whether to have children, what job to do.

Written as part reflection, part psychological analysis, ‘What Makes Us Tick?’ is a highly personal account of the things Mackay has learned from the experience of listening to people talk about their dreams, their fears, their faith, their hopes, their disappointments, their frustrations and their fantasies. It makes for a most interesting interview and is definitely a must listen.  

We open the show with a long overdue interview with well informed John Flanagan, who is the Deputy Registered Officer of the Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting). John speaks with passion about the proposed new Family Law amendments and claims that if passed by Parliament in its present form, the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 will significantly reduce contact by children with both parents after divorce/separation.  

John makes the point that at first glance, there appear to be many more submissions supporting the Bill (in a ratio of approximately 2:1), but has observed that when studied more closely, many of the submissions supporting the Bill would appear to have been actually written by the same author.

He suggests this is particularly the case with regard to the many submissions commencing with the words “I am writing to express my support”. If this should be correct, surely some questions need to be asked such as, 1. is there a process of verifying the authenticity of submissions?,  2. what that proccess might be?, and 3. how does the  AG propose to answer these claims of subversion of the political process?.


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Dads on the Air (21 Jun 2011): Dads and Children

With special guests:

Our first guest today is a Dad who has personal experience of what has become a type of epidemic in our community, namely the international abduction of children by a parent (IPCA).Ken Thompson was able to find his son Andrew and return to Australia after a three year search.

For many parents, particularly when the abducting parent goes to a non-Hague convention country there is unlikely to be any reunion.

It is estimated that at least 300 Australian children are abducted in this way every year which is an enormous toll on the community, the parents and the abducted children.

Ken brings us up to date with what is happening to help combat this practice which although being a criminal offence in the US and the UK does not appear in the Australian criminal law.

Ken gives some practical advice on what vulnerable parents should do to protect their children and also focuses attention on the upcoming Senate Inquiry.

Our second guest is David Vernon a Canberra based author who is the editor of Men at Birth. A second edition of this book was released in May 2011 and David came onto DADS ON THE AIR to discuss what he found after hearing about the birthing experiences of 23 men.

Compared to earlier generations, David Vernon believes men’s attitudes have changed:

More than ever before:

  * Many men now want to be part of that moment when the baby is born – to be with their partner, sharing the creation of their new family.

  * More men are attending ante-natal classes with their partner. They plan to attend the birth and are motivated to know what to expect.    

* Men are usually surprised by the reality of birth – and how tough and intense it can be for their partner.    

* Men realise that they do have a real role in  supporting their partner – and that she is often relying on them for them to help if there is a crisis or tough decisions need to be made.    

* Men are keen to know more about birth — not just the mechanics but how they can do ‘their bit’ to bring a new life into the world.

 David tells us

‘It is my hope that men who read Men at Birth, by becoming familiar with birth, will be able to let go of any excessive anxiety they may have about their upcoming experience. By becoming familiar with birth they will be better prepared.’

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Dads on the Air (14 Jun 2011): Psychiatry and One Man’s Story

With special guests:

  • Prof. Miles Groth and
  • ‘Tom’.

Our first guest this week is AmericanProfessor Miles Groth, who is full professor in the Department of Psychology atWagner College, Staten Island, New York. He trained as a psychoanalyst in New York, where he has lectured residents in psychiatry on integrating existential analysis with traditional inpatient treatment. He has been in private practice since 1977.

Dr. Groth studied at Franklin and Marshall College and Duquesne University, and completed his PhD at Fordham University. He is the author of three books, and co-editor of Engaging College Men: Discovering What Works and Why, chapters in five books, twenty-six articles and fifty book reviews in nineteen different peer-reviewed journals. He is past editor of the International Journal of Men’s Health co-founding editor with Diederik Janssen of Thymos: Journal of Boyhood Studies.

Professor Groth will be in Australia soon to present at the Australian Institute of Male Health and Studies’ firstMale Studies Symposium in Adelaide in June, at the Adelaide Convention Centre, where his topic will be ‘The Boy is Father to the Man’. As part of his presentation, he will speak about the state of the nuclear family, in particular the missing father and the effects of this on boys’ lives.

We then speak with “Tom” (not his real name for legal reasons), who tells his own story of how he was dispossessed of his children, by a legal system that he once foolishly believed to be fair and just, as it adjudicated the sensitive issues surrounding parental separation.

He made the mistake of trusting a system which has built a huge industry out of personal misery, and appears to have as its main objective the need to create the greatest amount of conflict possible, in order to fleece the greatest amount of the family wealth from warring parents.

Not taking it laying down however, “Tom” has embarked on a personal mission to warn an unsuspecting community, of the destructive practices employed by the divorce industry, and tells of the tactics he is using to expose such practices. Well worth listening to, especially for all those who are at a point where perhaps they feel there is nowhere else to go, and that there is nothing they can personally do.


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Dads on the Air (07 Jun 2011): Hypocrisy Of Our Political Leadership

With interesting comment by:

  • Ian Purdie and
  • Ray Lenton.

When the ‘Social Inclusion’ Minister Tanya Plibersek MP spoke in Parliament last week of her disappointment at the “meowing attack” on her colleague, she followed with “As the Minister for Social Inclusion, I don’t think it’s right that half our population should feel excluded by this type of language.” All of which on the face of it sounds perfectly reasonable.

The hypocrisy of her comment however, defies logic in the face of her enthusiastic support for the sexist language of the blatantly gender divisive and bigoted, annual ‘White Ribbon’ campaign. This multi-million dollar taxpayer funded campaign, of  ‘Social Exclusion’, which excludes half our population and serves to stigmatize them all as violent abusers and sexual predators, is vigorously promoted by this Minister without the slightest concern or empathy for the underlying damage it inflicts on the nation’s decent fathers, sons, brothers, male partners and families.   

Without doubt, the vast majority of Australians are concerned at the level of all violence and abuse in our communities and certainly do not condone the behaviour of the perpetrators.They also fully support the obvious need to protect all of the victims.

It is therefore not surprising, that so many people vigorously object to the spectacle of hateful, openly sexist, Government sponsored, scare campaigns, which appear to be ideology driven and seem specifically designed to drive a gender divisive wedge into the debate. Most thinking Australians consider such campaigns to incite hate, social division and exclusion, rather then promote social inclusion and harmony. 

The Violence and Abuse victim community and their supporters, comprising all men, women and children, now looks forward to an apology from the ‘Social Inclusion’ Minister, for her sexist language and behaviour in relation to that campaign, and hopes such gender discriminating campaigns in future take account of all the available evidence, and presents any and all such evidence in gender neutral terms.

Furthermore it is hoped that in future, misleading and selective cherry-picked advocacy research, provided by cherry-picked advocacy researchers in support of such campaigns, is better scrutinized by our elected representatives for accuracy, quality and soundness, in order to better protect the community from the subsequent damaging outcomes of bad policies.    

The question must be asked what the underlying motives of this Government are, when such gender or race hate campaigns are allowed to establish such a foothold and flourish in a modern society, which claims to pride itself on being socially inclusive, multi cultural and anti-racist. Surely only a balanced and truthful approach can provide for a sound and reasoned outcome and lead to better policy development.    

Of particular concern is what the confusing, double standard message of such covert hate campaign, may be sending to the nation’s young boys. On the one hand for some it could become a self fulfilling prophesy, for others it will undoubtedly create deeply felt feelings of unworthiness and lead to depressive illnesses.   

Is it fair to expect our young boys to treat everyone equally, while at the same time ask them to silently accept all their fathers, brothers and themselves, being unfairly labeled as violent thugs by the opposite gender?

Does our society really wish to continue down this bigoted path, or are we intelligent enough to see the hypocrisy of such direction and demand social justice and equality for all, irrespective of race, ethnicity or gender? To teach no respect is to receive none!


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