Page 291 - Week 01 - Thursday, 11 February 2016

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and will reflect the spirit of the ACT’s government commitment to advancing reconciliation across all aspects of government. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Bill, as a whole, agreed to. Bill agreed to.


Motion (by Mr Gentleman) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Lone Fathers Association of Australia

MR COE (Ginninderra) (4.49): I rise this afternoon to speak about the Lone Fathers Association of Australia. The Lone Fathers Association was established here in Canberra in the early 70s by Mr Barry Williams, together with other men with similar concerns and issues, to help lone fathers and to lobby government for reform. I met with Mr Williams a couple of months ago at the association’s premises in Kingston and was impressed by his strength of commitment and his resolve to assist Australian families.

Mr Williams’s work in the area began in the early 70s when he became a lone father with four children, the youngest of whom was just 13 months old. Mr Williams discovered there was little support for men who were caring for children and it was largely through his efforts, initially driven by his own circumstances, that awareness has increased and reforms introduced gradually.

Since beginning in Canberra, the Lone Fathers Association has spread around the country, with branches in cities such as Mackay and Launceston. The organisation is now well known for its family law advocacy as well as providing a range of resources and assistance to those in need.

The phones at their offices ring around the clock, often with calls from people who are extremely distressed, sometimes suicidal, due to the trauma of their families breaking up. In recognition of Mr Williams’s work in support of families over several decades, Mr Williams was awarded the medal of the Order of Australia in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday honours list. The citation for the award records Mr Williams’s honour as being awarded for service to the community, particularly through support of families. Mr Williams was also the ACT Senior Australian of the Year in 2005. The awarding of the OAM followed the awarding of the British Empire Medal to Mr Williams in 1980 for his efforts in lobbying on behalf of lone fathers and their children and assisting lone fathers on an individual basis.

The Lone Fathers Association has also received a notable achievement, the Volunteer Achievement Award from President Obama, for their contribution to family law and suicide prevention. This award recognised the work of Mr Williams and his longstanding national executive, including his vice president, Jenny Wilson; secretary, Faye Stacey; and treasurer, Nita Shaw.

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