Australia – DADSontheAIR – Democracy At Work – The Political Busker from New Zealand, Ben Easton, Neil Humphreys, Sue Price and Michael Woods

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Democracy At Work

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 10:30AM

 

With special guests:

  • Neil Humphreys
  • Sue Price 
  • Michael Woods and
  • Benjamin Easton.

This week we range across a wide variety of subjects, talking first up with the ever lively author of a new book on becoming a dad, Be My Baby Neil Humphreys. From the cheery to the rational, we then talk with Sue Price, the founder of the Men’s Rights Agency, arguably the most articulate supporter, of the rights of men in our modern society.

This is followed by a fascinating interview with academic Dr. Michael Woods  UWS, as we take a revealing look at the way the real statistics on Domestic Violence and Child Abuse have been kept from the general public, and how many Government Policies appear to be formulated based on inaccurate information.

We close the show talking with Benjamin Easton a Political Busker, who is participating in a demonstration outside the Bank of New Zealand, protesting their outrageous portrayal of all men as bashers and all women as victims, clearly themselves the victims of domestic violence hysteria. Somewhere along the line they forgot that half their customers are male and most of them object to being portrayed as Neanderthals.

 

But first up the fun: When Neil told his mother he was having his first baby, she suggested he should “write his usual bollocks” and turn the journey in to a daddy’s diary. Almost a year later, in November 2008, Be My Baby: On the Road to Fatherhood, was released in Singapore and across South-east Asia. will be launched in Australia in early 2009.

Being an eager first-time parent, Neil hit the bookstores and libraries and noticed that many of the titles were written from the mother’s perspective and he wasn’t having that. There’s always room on the bookshelf for a sentimental journey to fatherhood from a soppy first-time dad, he thought. There are tears, laughs and far too many trips to the toilet, but Neil insists that it is one journey that every man and woman should try and take at least once in their lifetime.

When two lines appear on the pregnancy test kit, Humphreys’ world was turned upside down. He was excited but clueless and urgently needed some direction. After all, his biggest responsibility to this point had been a pet hamster and he lost that twice.

From the moment his doctor tells him to book an obstetrician’s appointment, he knows he is out of his depth – he doesn’t know what an obstetrician is. Humphreys deals with parents who mock his sex drive, midwives who question his usefulness, friends who share only horrific birth stories, strangers who rub his wife’s belly and folks who seem to know everything there is to know about pregnancy – but often don’t have kids of their own. How will he deal with his parental insecurities? What’s the secret to being a decent dad? Will he drop his baby at the birth?

Both funny and poignant, Be My Baby is a frank account of Humphreys’ quest to be a good father.

As always Sue Price calls a spade a spade, and following 15 years of fighting for the rights of fathers to remain part of their children’s life, in a blatantly sexist Family Justice system, calls for more people in the wider community to start speaking out against these injustices. If the nation’s fathers and their children are ever to achieve justice in this country, they will need to become more active in communicating and raising awareness in our communities.

Next we speak with Dr. Michael Woods about recently released figures from the Department for Child Protection in WA, which show the number of mothers believed responsible for “substantiated maltreatment” has risen from 312 to 427. In the same period – 2005-06 to 2007-08 – the number of fathers reported for child abuse dropped from 165 to 155.

A breakdown of all family-based child abuse shows an increase from 960 to 1505 last year.

Michael Woods, of the University of Western Sydney, said the data “debunked a common misconception about fathers and violence”.

Dr Woods, who is also a co-director of the university-based Men’s Information and Resource Centre said: “The figures undermine the myth that fathers are the major risk for their children’s wellbeing. “The data is not surprising. It is in line with the international findings regarding perpetrators of child abuse.”

He said previous practices of lumping together de factos, live-in boyfriends and overnight male guests with fathers as male carers had “skewed beliefs” about who abused children.

 

We conclude the show by going live to talk to Benjamin Easton, who will be taking part as we talk with him, in a demonstration outside the Bank of New Zealand. He lost a court case against the bank claiming damages because of their discriminatory domestic violence advertisements, which portrayed all men as bashers.

In proceedings of July 7th, brought by the Bank of New Zealand against Wellington ’s Political Busker, Benjamin Easton, to strike out or dismiss Easton ’s proceedings against the Bank, the Busker claims that the proceedings are far from insignificant and didn’t warrant the lack of recognition or interest by the country’s national media.

Easton argues: In what would appear to be inconsistent with the medias’ absence at the proceedings the Honorable Justice Randerson, Chief High Court Judge adjudicated over the proceedings. It seems unlikely that a proceeding involving one of New Zealand’s largest banks pitted against an unemployed political Busker could be seen by the Court as frivolous or vexatious if New Zealand’s top High Court Justice is appointed to administer proceedings. It seems even less likely that there is no merit in the proceedings where the Justice respectfully thanked Easton as well as the Bank for the submissions and has reserved his decision on whether or not to strike out Easton’s action against the Bank.

The proceedings are about whether or not the Bank’s decision to fund an advertisement entitled New Zealand’s Biggest Morning Tea in June 2008 was a decision against the public interest. The Bank argued that funding a television advertisement depicting European fathers assaulting children in a bid to gain funds for battered women, does not make them culpable with any possible act of discrimination against dads. Additionally the Bank argued that Easton had no standing to bring a judicial review against them on grounds of the Bank’s constitution and that regardless they made no mistake in facilitating the advertisement. Easton countered again saying that the Bank’s claim that the advertisement could be considered lawful cannot compete with the straight forward obligations with which the Bank is bound to comply.

“If the media had shown the courage to turn up to the proceedings”, says a deferent Easton “they would have identified on behalf of a truth starved public that the Bank has acted badly where blatantly not following their international commercial obligations in marketing. They would have shown the courage to prosecute a Bank in the court of public opinion rather than leaving the job to an unemployed and unknown political Busker”. Easton philosophically claims his campaign is not over although it is obvious that the financial loss from whatever he has to give to the Bank each week will further inhibit a heavily restricted income.

“It is pretty mind numbing really”, concludes Easton, “that I’m the only one out there with enough courage to tell the public that the Bank has completely abrogated their public responsibility and the Bank is considered responsible, for that lack of public recognition to hit me for costs on a matter called principle.”

 Listen Now (MP3)

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