Local Sydney Time: 10.30am to 12 midday Tuesday June 2 2009
USA Eastern time: 8.30pm to 10pm Monday June 1, 2009
USA Pacific time: 5.30pm to 7pm Monday June 1, 2009
UK GMT time: 12.30am to 2am Monday night (Tuesday morning) June 2, 2009
With special guest:
Ray Barry is the Religious Affairs Co-Ordinator with Fathers 4 Justice (F4J) and Party Leader for the Equal Parenting Alliance (EPA) in the UK. This is a must-listen interview, succinctly summing up the state of Family Law in the UK and the challenges that lie ahead.
Ray joined F4J shortly after it was formed. At present he co-ordinates all campaigns and correspondence relating to Religious Affairs and has a 2:2 Degree in Theology after spending just over a year at priest training college. He has also worked on press liaison for the group and was involved in the initial planning for the York Minster and Buckingham Palace protests. As well as planning, he has taken an active role in protests, including climbing on to the roof of his local church, and holding a Family Law Lotto poster in front of TV cameras during the National Lottery draw.
The civil rights group Fathers 4 Justice was founded in December 2002 by Matt O'Connor after he experienced first hand the injustices of the secret family courts as he struggled to see his two boys Daniel and Alexander after a traumatic divorce. Started as a vehicle for social change, F4J quickly became the high-wire act of protest groups, whether powder-bombing the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, scaling the balcony at Buckingham Palace in a Batman Costume, invading the Pulpit at York Minster during a General Synod Service or taking the National Lottery Draw live off air on BBC1 in front of ten million viewers.
But behind the headlines and dramatic protests is a new creed for family law enshrined in their documents "Family Justice On Trial - Opening The Door On Closed Courts" and "Blueprint for Family Law in the 21st Century." These pioneering, ideas-led documents set out radical and visionary frameworks for a fair, just, open and equitable system of family law.
F4J campaigns not just in the name of the father, but in the name of all parents, grandparents and children seeking equality in family law. The achievements of F4J to date are best described by the Times Newspaper who in January 2006 wrote:
"F4J caught the spirit of the times: they reflected the zeitgeist, and they changed it... for all the flaws within F4J, the issue of fatherhood has a currency that would have been unimaginable three years ago... when historians look back on British Society at the start of the third millennium, they will accord a small but important chapter to the men in tights."
In just a few years F4J has not only effected "climate change", but it has also succeeded in discrediting the secret courts and undermining public confidence in them. The result has been to force the government to advance proposals to open up the secret family courts to greater scrutiny and propose tougher enforcement of contact orders.
The Equal Parenting Alliance is a relatively new UK political party, formed in February 2006 which aims to promote a system of family justice in the UK that puts the needs and interests of children first. It can hardly have escaped anyone’s attention over the last few years that there is a great deal of disquiet about the operation of the family justice system in the UK. Indeed, the EPA shares the view that there is an awful lot to complain about.
The EPA thinks the family justice system should respect the right of children to normal parenting by their two parents above the rights or wishes of either of their parents alone. The current system does not do this. To give the most obvious illustration of this, it allows one parent to easily eliminate the other parent from a child's life, if they wish. The EPA believes this is fundamentally wrong and bad for children. The EPA will lobby until family law is changed to operate fairly and for the benefit of children.
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