|This an initiative sponsored and supported by
Men, Fathers, and Children International (MFCI)
A call for help from down under, if you get a spare moment, please
In media interviews, Australian Family Court Chief Justice Justice Alistair Nicholson
expressed bigoted and extremely biased opinions about fathers. Such a man is not
part of the solution to the problem, he is the problem!
What the media said about it
What you must do about it
Links to statistics that pertain to domestic violence and to the
consequences of fatherlessness:
Use those stats in your letters. Don't use them all, but you may want to show the
links in your messages.
When you send a letter to Justice Nicholson, make sure you send a copy to the Attorney
General, the media, and to your Member of Parliament. It is important that you
indicate at the bottom of your letter to Justice Nicholson the parties who you are sending
copies to. You don't have to identify their addresses for that. Their names
and titles are sufficient.
To Get Chief Justice Nicholson removed from the bench. He shouldn't even be
permitted to practice law in traffic court. It will probably be impossible for him
there as well to mete out equitable justice to fathers. A large portion of traffic
offenders are fathers!
Please pass on any additional information and media names and address details to Lloyd
Gorling <email@example.com> and David
Roberts <firstname.lastname@example.org> for
international distribution and action.
570 Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Fax: 613 9602 2105
Additionally, please consider writing to the Federal Attorney-General Daryl
Williams. Complain about Nicholson's focus on disparaging fathers, being biased
toward women and neglecting the best interests of the child. Enclose examples of your love
for your child(ren) and of their desire for you.
Canberra ACT 2600
NB: When emailing, send only text, no attachments & be brief.
See example of a good letter sent.
Letters to the Editor
Jennifer Campbell, Editor
GPO Box 4162 SYDNEY NSW 2001
Fax1: 612 9288 2824
Fax2: 612 9288 3077
Letters to the Editor
250 Spencer Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
Fax: 613 9601 2414
Tel: 613 9670 1601
Caroline Milburn <email@example.com>
The Australian Financial Review
Letters to the Editor
GPO Box 506
SYDNEY NSW 2001
Fax: 612 9282 3137
Letters to the Editor
PO Box 14631
MELBOURNE CITY MC VIC 8001
Fax: 613 9292 2944
Tel: 613 9292 3666
Millions of fathers complain about bias of the courts. Nicholson responds
that they are doing a good job, and only sinister fathers who treat women and children as
entitlements complain. What chance would any father have in an appeal in the face of
such blatant judicial bias? Society is collapsing around him from the effects on
children of fatherlessness, while Nicholson fiddles
with ignorant nonsense that belongs on a psychiatrist's bench, not on a judicial
bench. Nicholson has violated the first rule judicial conduct, which is to maintain
an unbiased judicial demeanor. Any father who now appears before him, should demand
that he recuse himself based on his public comments. He is no longer fit to sit on
any Family Court bench.
Only a small minority of 0.2% complain, but we are "clogging the courts" with
pro se appeals. Which is it Nicholson? Are fathers dissatisfied with the
bigotry and ignorance your comments reflect a miniscule minority, or are we clogging the
courts? According to the latest research of Dr. Sanford Braver, 75% of divorced
fathers are not satisfied with their treatment by courts such as his, versus only 10% of
mothers. If he thinks the courts are clogged now, just wait to see what happens if
he is not fired soon.
Every father in Australia who is dissatisfied with his case
should immediately file a pro se statement of appeal of his case. Just send a letter
to the court that heard your case, state the reasons for your dissatisfaction, lack of
visitation enforcement, oppressive child support, etc., or whatever else happened in your
case, and state that you want the case re-heard. Let them figure out the legal
technicalities, but stop sitting in the back of the bus and instead demand that your
dissatisfaction be heard.
Did it ever occur to Nicholson that perhaps they get so many pro se cases because so
many fathers are so beaten down that they can't afford attorneys? Furthermore, why
would fathers want to funnel money into a system so rife with the blatant bias evident in
Nicholson's comments? As long as Nicholson remains in his present position,
confidence in the Australian judiciary can only continue to erode.
send letters of protest to every newspaper around Australia and New Zealand, by
both mail and FAX. Could you fellows down under send media addresses and FAX numbers
to everyone on this list? Hard copy is far more effective than email with the media,
but send an email if that's all you can do.
David A. Roberts,
Media Reports about Nicholson's outrageous comments
Nicholson was just on TV interviewed on the ABC's 7:30 Report tonight (Wed 21 Oct 98)
stating, amongst other things, that the only reason men were so upset (and he mentioned
that this was an international thing with the US, UK & NZ being named) was that they
didn't like women gaining equality. This a typical feminist plea to the fury of
"backlash." It is being used to paint fathers as reactionary and only
self-interested. Additionally, he scoffed at claims the fathers' concern was about
bias on the part of the FC and himself.
Please write and tell him that your complaint is related to your
humanity (love and care for) and concern for the best interests of your child(ren).
Let him know about your love for your child(ren) and his/theirs for you.
The Age (Melbourne)
Wed 21 October 1998, p2
Family Court chief raps 'sinister' men
by Caroline Milburn (Law reporter) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The most vitriolic critics of the Family Court were sinister men who wanted to change
the law to disadvantage women, the court's Chief Justice said last night.
Justice Alistair Nicholson said the court's harshest critics were men's groups that
believed the family court system had treated them badly.
"To many of these people, women's emancipation has either not occurred, or should
not have done so," he said. "A feature of their rhetoric is a complete
absence of concern for children other than as objects of their rights and entitlements.
"They frequently engage in the grossest form of harassment of their former
partners and their children."
Justice Nicholson said men's groups were increasingly blitzing federal members of
Parliament with allegations of court bias, complaints about child support issues, custody
and access. Their allegations painted a false picture of the court, given that the
groups represented a minority of its clients.
"When you only hear one side of the story it is all too easy to conclude that
there has been glaring injustice," he said. "When the transcipt of the
case is obtained, a very different story usually emerges. I am tired of listening to
armchair experts, some of whom are in the media, who listen to one side of the very
complex story and jump to a conclusion of injustice, or worse."
He said many men involved in property disputes found it difficult to accept that a
women's contribution as a homemaker and parent was valued as highly as their economic
contribution to the family.
The Chief Justice was speaking at the opening of the court's national conference.
He said the men's groups alleging bias against men overlooked vital statistics. Half
of all couples with children involved in a marriage breakdown made their own custody
arrangements without going to the court. Ninety-five per cent of cases that went to
court were resolved before going to trial. The court received complaints about 0.2
per cent of its cases, and 40 per cent of fathers gained custody of children in cases
where both parents wanted the children to live with them.
The number of people appealing against decisions without being represented by a lawyer
had jumped by 40 per cent and many of them were men being egged on by the men's
groups. "These obsessive people are taking up an enormous amount of court time,
and they are directly causing delays in the system," Justice Nicholson said.
Sydney Morning Herald
Wednesday 21 October 1998
Our new poor law: a court in crisis
The following is an edited text of the "State of the Court" address by the
Honourable Alastair Nicholson, AO, Chief Justice of the Family Court:
The most strident critics of the court emanate from groups of men who regard themselves
as having been badly treated by the Family Court system.
Many of their concerns relate to child support issues over which this court has little
or no control. Others relate to enforcement of court orders for contact and there is an
overall concern that the system is in some way loaded against them.
In the property area, many men find it difficult to accept that a woman's contribution
as a homemaker and parent is valued as highly as their economic contribution.
There are no doubt many cases where the end result is one that is not as satisfactory
as each party would want. There are no doubt some where opinions could differ as to the
result. There is a natural tendency to blame the institution, in this case the court that
has the task of deciding what should happen when people are unable to agree about their
children. It is rarely recognised that the problem is not one of the court's making but
that of the people involved.
There are unreal expectations as to what a court can do. A court cannot make people act
contrary to their nature or experience. A court cannot make children want to go on
contact visits. A court cannot create assets or income where none exist.
All courts can do and the judges who make them up, is to do their best in each case to
arrive at the fairest result possible.
In this country there is very much a culture, if unsatisfied with a Family Court
decision, to complain to a Member of Parliament. Federal members tell me, and I have no
reason to doubt them, that most of the complaints that they receive from constituents
relate to Family Court matters or child support matters. The better informed realise that
this inevitable, but others begin to feel that there must be something wrong if this
volume of complaints occurs. The pressure groups are well aware of this and do their best
to swell the volume. When you only hear one side of the story it is all too easy to
conclude that there has been a glaring injustice. When the transcript of the case is
obtained, a very different story usually emerges. I am tired of listening to armchair
experts, some of whom are in the media, who listen to one side of a very complex story and
jump to a conclusion of injustice or worse.
As I said at the 1995 conference, there is a more sinister element at work. I have
absolutely no doubt that there are many persons associated with men's groups in particular
who have an agenda to change the law to the disadvantage of women. To many of these
people, women's emancipation has either not occurred or should not have done so. A feature
of their rhetoric is a complete absence of concern for children other than as objects of
their rights and entitlements. They frequently engage in the grossest form of harassment
of their former partners and their children. Many demonstrate in strident terms outside
the court. Some even stand for Parliament, with a signal lack of success.
These people undoubtedly do themselves and their children a great disservice. There are
issues relating to men and families that deserve to be aired. There are people who could
receive better and more caring results from the system. More could no doubt be done but
these people actually stand as an obstruction to change. Their own bitterness and their
inability to look beyond their own cases and the supposed injustices that they
have suffered, stand in the way of any sensible dialogue.
The reduction in legal aid has led to a new difficulty over and above the difficulties
already facing the court.
I do not believe this to be a jurisdiction where self-represented persons can do
adequate justice to the case that they wish to present. Apart from the normal difficulties
that such persons would have in an ordinary court, the nature of family law is such that
it is almost impossible for persons to examine or cross examine their former partner in an
objective, effective or meaningful way.
When there are allegations of violence or child abuse the position becomes even more
difficult and if the child is not represented there is no meaningful cross-examination of
the witness by anyone. It is impossible for the judge to do so without appearing to be
In the area of case preparation, the court's carefully crafted case management
guidelines become useless because of the inability of lay persons to prepare written
material that satisfies the guidelines, and affidavits often contain a mish mash of
irrelevant material - often of a scandalous nature.
Settlement negotiations become almost impossible as neither party has access to
independent and skilled advice. This in turn prolongs litigation and further clogs the
This not only a problem at first instance but also on appeal, as discussed
Family law is in crisis in our community and one of the prime reasons for this the
reduction in legal aid that has occurred over recent years. I should indicate at the
outset, lest I be thought politically partisan, that the decline in the availability of
legal aid to family law commenced prior to the election of the Coalition Government in
1996, although there can be no doubt that the Coalition accelerated this process. Prior to
that time however, the family law share of the legal aid pie had steadily declined and I
made a number of protests to the former Government about that fact, to no avail ...
The ready availability of legal aid was an essential concomitant to the Family Law Act
at the time of its introduction as a reading of the act of 1975 makes clear. It also makes
sense, because the conferring of rights upon people in marriage and other relationships
and their children quickly becomes meaningless if there is insufficient funding to enable
them to enforce those rights. That is precisely what we are seeing today.
There is a wealth of anecdotal evidence of those problems and every judge registrar and
counsellor present would, I suggest, have plenty of harrowing anecdotes.
I am particularly concerned about the failure to provide aid at all levels including
the appellate level. Let us not forget that appellate decisions are decisions that are
likely to shape the law and are binding on all judges at first instance as well as
magistrates applying the act, and yet the court is consistently being deprived of the
assistance of counsel. It has been a fundamental of our system of law that such cases
require counsel to ensure that all relevant matters of law are considered by the court.
What we are now seeing is a serious breakdown of the system. If it is unfair for a trial
to proceed in a serious criminal matter without legal representation, how much more so is
it in a case involving the welfare of the child?
Unfortunately it is necessary to once again make reference to the issue of family
violence which continues to devastate so many of the families with whom this court comes
into contact. The killing of women outside the Dandenong and Parramatta registries late
last year reinforced the concerns we all have about the prevalence of family violence and
made us all painfully aware once again of how fragile are the lives of many who seek our
Unfortunately, however, the fact that more is known about the dynamics of families and
the factors which are conducive to domestic violence does not necessarily mean that we
have improved measures to combat it. Moreover, the various surveys, which show high levels
of community acceptance of domestic violence - by both men and women - are extremely
disturbing and indicate that the intergenerational transmission of violent behaviour to
children is obviously continuing.
In a stark reminder of the extent of family violence in our community there were 8,632
cases last year in the Family Court of Australia where separate interviews were requested
and held because of family violence. These interviews are offered when there has been a
history of violence in the relationship and one of the parties indicates that they are
worried about their physical safety and are afraid to be in the same room as their former
The focus for both the court and community agencies is clearly on the provision of a
range of services for families, many of whose members are dysfunctional, at least when
they present to us ... One matter of obvious concern is the possibility that delay may
exacerbate violence and another is the continuing reduction in legal aid, which may also
have this effect. The cost to innocent people of current legal aid policies comes high
even if the Government saves money.
An example of a letter sent
Please note the FAX number for Chief Justice Alastair Nicholson is 613 9602 2105.
A copy of fax just sent to Chief Justice Nicholson, fax 03 9602 2105 (his chambers)
(International: 613 9602 2105)
To Chief Justice Nicholson
How dare you refer to myself or any other father or mother in Australia as sinister or
anything other than fantastic and loving parents who wish to be involved in their
children's lives in a meaningful way.
Comments from a WISE judge:
"Although the dispute is symbolized by a 'versus' which signifies two adverse
parties at opposite poles of a line, there is in fact a third party whose interests and
rights make of the line a triangle. That person, the child who is not an official
party to the lawsuit but whose well-being is in the eye of the controversy, has a right to
shared parenting when both are equally suited to provide it. Inherent in the express
public policy is a recognition of the child's right to equal access and opportunity with
both parents, the right to be guided and nurtured by both parents, the right to have
major decisions made by the application of both parents' wisdom, judgement and experience.
The child does not forfeit these rights when the parents divorce."
Presiding Judge Dorothy T. Beasley,
Georgia Court of Appeals,
"In the Interest of A.R.B., a Child," July 2, 1993
I demand an apology from yourself concerning the statements you made about caring and
devoted parents who want nothing more than to be responsible and loving parents. That is
all we ask as our children deserve it. It is their right under the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is also in our children's best
interest. Sole custody and sole residence has never been in the best interest of the children. If you
are not satisfied this the case I will gladly send you psychological literature to back
this statement up.
Bruce Young BPsych (Hons)
0412 129 411
bruce 0412 129 411 & 07 47721839