Campaigns and advocacy

Child safety and wellbeing

Families Australia has been at the forefront of efforts to devise Australia’s first-ever national policy roadmap to tackle child abuse and neglect – the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020. In 2007, Families Australia led in establishing, and continues to coordinate, the Coalition of Organisations Committed to the Safety and Wellbeing of Australia’s Children (the ‘NGO Coalition’), which is Australia’s largest grouping of NGOs and researchers working in the area of children’s wellbeing and protection, to assist on the National Framework.

Key resources

  • National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-2020 here external link
  • National Framework second three-year action plan (2012-2015) here external link
  • Child Aware Approaches fact sheet here
  • Child Aware Local Initiative brief here
  • Latest Australian Government child protection report here external link
  • NGO/Academic Coalition here
  • The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Report of Case Study No. 1: The response of institutions to the conduct of Steven Larkins here

Supporting Forgotten Australians

Forgotten Australians are those who were raised as children in orphanages, Children's Homes, institutions or other forms of out-of-home care in the 20th Century. In 2004, an Australian Senate inquiry revealed a history of neglect and cruelty, of abandonment and exploitation that left approximately 500,000 Australians, as well as many child migrants, physically and psychologically scarred.

The Forgotten Australians seek recognition and support for the maltreatment that many suffered. A national peak, the Alliance for Forgotten Australians, was established in 2007. Families Australia provides secretariat and support services to the Alliance for Forgotten Australians.

Key resources

  • Alliance for Forgotten Australians website here external link
  • Apology to the Forgotten Australians 16 November 2009 here external link
  • Senate report, Forgotten Australians: A report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children, 2004 here external link
  • Senate Report, Lost Innocents and Forgotten Australians Revisited, 2009 here

Mental health and families

Families Australia has embarked on a major campaign to highlight the needs of families affected by mental health issues. In 2011, Families Australia and Orygen Youth Health convened a national roundtable in Canberra on ‘Mental Health: 21st century challenges for Australian families’. That gathering, attended by politicians and community leaders, called for more to be done to improve cooperation and service integration across the mental health field and for greater ulitisation of families as partners in addressing mental health issues.

Key resources

  • Families Australia’s report (2011), ‘Mental health: 21st century challenges for Australian families’ here.
  • National mental health reform agenda here external link
  • Mental Health Council of Australia here external link

Grandparents and kinship carers

Families Australia, in conjunction with Grandparents Australia, has been a strong advocate for greater recognition of, and support for, grandparents and kinship carers, especially those with primary caring responsibilities for grandchildren.

Key resources

  • National Action Plan for Grandparents and Kinship Carers (2010) here
  • Families Australia’s report (2007), ‘Grandparenting: present and future' here
  • Grandparents Australia website here external link

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians continue to experience significant disadvantage and marginalisation. In partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-run member organisations, such as the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (a Families Australia founding member), Families Australia advocates for improvements, such as increased health spending, universal provision of high quality, culturally appropriate early learning and school education services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families and child welfare and family support programmes. In particular, Families Australia works to highlight the needs and interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children.

Key resources

  • Reconciliation Australia website here external link
  • National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-2020 here external link
  • Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care website here external link

Substance misuse

The lives of multitudes of Australians and their families have been, and are today, being ruined by illicit and licit substance abuse. Families Australia has long advocated greater support to be provided to families affected by substance misuse.

Key resources

  • Families Australia's submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry here
  • Families Australia’s evidence to Parliament here external link
  • Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia website here external link
  • Supporting families: the role of Family Drug Support article by Tony Trimingham here

Work and family

More than 1.7 million Australians (twice as many as 1982) work 50 hours or more per week. Fathers employed full time spent on average 52 hours per week in employment-related activities – this is among the longest working hours in OECD countries. These are some of the facts that underpin the difficulty that many Australian families have in balancing work and family. Families Australia has been advocating a range of measures to improve the balance.

Key resources

  • Families Australia-Australian National University 2nd ‘National Work, Families and Wellbeing’ Forum May 2006 here
  • Families Australia’s submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into work and family, 2005 here

Violence against women

Families Australia proudly supports the White Ribbon Day campaign which highlights the need to eliminate violence against women and children. Families Australia’s CEO Brian Babington is a White Ribbon Day Ambassador.

Key resources

  • White Ribbon Day website here external link
  • 1800 Respect website here

National Families Week

National Families Week is the nation’s major annual celebration of the vital role of families. National Families Week has been celebrated every May since 2003 to coincide with the UN International Day of Families on 15 May. Each year, more than 100,000 people get involved in community-level events around Australia. Families Australia runs National Families Week on behalf of the Australian Government.

Key resources

  • National Families Week homepage here
  • Other key facts about Australia’s families here