We are excited to share with you that there will be a Kids First Policy Forum in Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 26 June 2013. The purpose of this forum is to share and discuss ideas for policies that will make Australia a better place for our kids to grow up in. In particular, there will be a focus on the importance of fatherhood in our society and how men can better help their families flourish.
We would like to invite you to participate in this forum - firstly, through prayer and secondly, through your possible attendance.
There will be representatives present from groups that support and promote the natural family and who took part in the recent World Congress of Families 7 (WCF7) in Sydney.
We also hope there will be a good number of men's movement leaders and those who are active in promoting fatherhood.
In addition to the huge success of WCF7, there have been other interesting indicators that the time is ripe for such a policy forum.
Firstly, an article which seems to support the natural family appeared in the Weekend Australian Magazine during WCF7. This article was in fact the feature story and used the above photo of the family on the magazine cover. The article called 'The Life of a Modern Aussie Family' presented a charming and down-to-earth picture of a Brisbane family with a Mum and a Dad and three kids. The Carmichael family story was very positive overall and didn't grapple with big issues. But interspersed throughout the story were 21 short statements of social trends which are relevant to Aussie families. These statements, which used statistics from the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, were simply left for the reader to interpret. The underlying message seems to be a concern for the challenges that Aussie families face. (Read this article here).
Secondly, President Barak Obama said some inspiring things about families in his USA Father's Day address last Sunday. After openly sharing that he never really knew
his own father, President Obama pledged
"I want to do what I can as President to encourage marriage and strong families.
We should reform our child support laws to get more men working and engaged with their children. And my Administration will continue to work with the faith and other community organizations, as well as businesses, on a campaign to encourage strong parenting and fatherhood."
The White House summarised the Father's Day address saying "President Obama had said that nothing substitutes for the love and support of the presence of a parent in a child's life". While we do not agree with some other policies of President Obama we can support many of the things he shared in his Father's Day address. (View the full address here).
Key to the success of this Kids First Policy Forum will be the participation of our federal politicians throughout the day. Gathering in Parliament House will allow us the opportunity to speak with MPs and Senators from different political parties when they are able to join us. With the Federal Parliament rising next week we have this one last opportunity before the federal election to remind our politicians of the importance of the natural family
as expressed in the WCF7 Declaration and more specifically the importance of fatherhood
in Australian society.
Mrs Mary-Louise Fowler, the Chair of the WCF7 Local Organising Committee wrote yesterday that "The WCF7 has left us with a superb body of information and policy proposals to benefit the family, much of which is captured in the WCF7 Declaration. The Declaration is a strong statement which can be used as a basis for good public policy. It is imperative therefore that we disseminate this information as widely and quickly as possible and impress on leaders in many fields, but especially our politicians, to study the WCF7 Declaration and to find ways to implement it." (Read the WCF7 Declaration here).
The Kids First Policy Forum
will be held from 10am-5pm
in Parliament House, Canberra
on Wednesday 26 June 2013.
As part of the forum there will be a special lunch-time presentation by Justin Hunt, the director of 'Absent'. He will also show a short excerpt from the documentary and hold a Q&A time. This movie, which is now touring Australia, powerfully presents the importance of fatherhood and the tragedy for children of its absence. This Australian premiere of 'Absent', sponsored by Dads4Kids, is gaining massive momentum with excellent responses from those who have seen it. (Check the list of screenings).
During the forum, a short policy presentation will be given on the need to put our children first in Australian society by supporting such things as:
- motherhood, fatherhood, marriage and strong sexual integrity in order to protect women and children,
- life-affirming policies,
- educational choice,
- equitable law reform, and
- more preventable and better health policies.
It will affirm the importance of our Judeo-Christian heritage as the underpinning of our democracy and the foundation for good policy for the betterment of all.
The meeting room for the Policy Forum can take about 70 people and it would be good to fill the room so as to impress on the MPs who attend the importance of the issues raised.
If you are interested in coming to join us, please email Mrs Wanda Taylor or phone or fax her on 02 6347 5254 or mobile 0428 475 254 by 5 pm Friday 21st June. (This early reply is required due to Parliament House security requirements).
In your email please state why you would like to take part in this forum and what organisation you represent or belong to. Space and finances are limited to put this event on so we cannot promise that everyone who applies will be able to attend, but please apply anyway.
While this Kids First Policy Forum will refer a great deal to the WCF7 Declaration and, possibly, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which it refers, and even the Canberra Declaration, we must not forget that the values and ideals expressed in these three declarations largely come from a Judeo-Christian foundation.
And so as we wait for the day of Christ's return, let us look forward to the fulfillment of the words of God found in the closing verses of the Old Testament.
"See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse"
Let us pray that Australia will be a land where fatherhood, motherhood and families will flourish.
Yours for the kids of Australia,
Warwick & Alison Marsh, David & Marilyn Rowsome
Kids First Policy Forum
PS. We realise that very few of our Canberra Declaration supporters will be able to come to Canberra but we ask you, most of all, to pray for us on 26 June 2013 because prayer is the most powerful force in the universe. Your prayers can change history. We thank you for them in advance.
If you can join us for the Australian inaugural Kids First Policy Forum please RSVP as above
by 5pm Friday 21 June 2013.