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Nation moved - father and son reunited

By Warwick Marsh - posted Thursday, 16 September 2010

The whole nation has been moved by the story of a brave and resolute father who set out to find his little boy lost, or should I say, abducted? This same father cycled 6,500 kilometres through eight different countries throughout Europe to find his son. His son, who had been secretly abducted by his mother on April 24, 2008, and removed from Australia under false pretences. For two and a half years Ken Thompson, a former deputy fire commissioner, looked in vain for his long lost son and set up a media and web trail that encompassed the world.

Ken’s dreams came true this week in Amsterdam when young Thompson met his father for the first time in almost three years. Ken told me on the phone what happened. “My six-year-old came over to me and asked for help with this puzzle he was playing with. I was overjoyed because even though he had forgotten what I looked like, he remembered who I was. This will be slow work. I am letting him lead me because it’s all about building my relationship with him again. I am very emotional, but Andrew is being looked after well and I am confident things will work out alright.”

Ken Thompson is reported as saying in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald that, “he bears no malice towards his wife and while deeply anguished by the events of the past two and a half years, simply wants to be a dad to Andrew, to begin his life to love him and to give him back the human rights that were taken away from him”.


Speaking about human rights for fathers and their children seems to be a lost cause in modern media with the prevalent anti-male views. Thankfully Robin Bowles, Ken Thompson’s media contact, is on the ball. This is what she had to say about an earlier Sydney Morning Herald article:

I have just phoned to complain about the story by Joel Gibson in the SMH today headlined “Found, but will he be a little boy lost in the court system?”

This story shows the reporter made no attempt to check the sweeping comments made by Ms Freda Briggs in regard to the mother's attitude and the jurisdiction of the Family Court. No attempt appears to have been made by Gibson to check with Dutch or Australian consular authorities here or in Holland about whether Ms Briggs's suppositions/predictions are correct. In fact I can tell you from discussions I have had with Melinda Thompson's sister in law and her mother during which I was told that Melinda was very aware of the Hague Convention and its ramifications and had done quite a bit of research to ascertain which countries she might flee to that were NOT signatories to the Hague Convention, where she might be safe from having Andrew returned to his home and family. In addition I am aware of a phone call, made by Melinda Thompson to Ms Briggs, after her flight from Australia, which Ms Briggs received while in the company of another person, seeking advice about what steps Melinda might take to avoid being repatriated under the Hague Convention. I have been told that Ms Briggs has told Ms Thompson and Caroline Overington of The Australian Newspaper that there was a possibility that Japan might be a safe haven.

If Gibson had picked up a phone and contacted the Dutch authorities, the Attorney General's Department in Canberra, Ken Thompson, myself (as Ken's contact for the media), checked the find Andrew website or done any proper journalistic research at all he would have found that Ms Briggs knew NOTHING about what is happening in Amsterdam.

It is articles like this, written as you told me, 'in a hurry' that give journalists the bad name some of them absolutely deserve. The whole article is crap. The carers DO speak Andrew's language, (which language anyway? he's been living overseas for two and a half years at pre-school, his grandmother told me, and school). Every second person (including police) speaks English in Holland.

And ''For a child to be subjected to such trauma can be devastating. The previous children have suffered from mental illness that the psychiatrists thought could be lifelong,'' Briggs says.

Who brought this 'trauma' on Andrew? His mother, by taking him from all he knew and loved. By enrolling him in a school under a false name. By lying to him about his father. By trying to enlist the help of people like Ms Briggs, who gives her opinion 'Unfortunately the system in my experience' without ANY knowledge of this particular situation except for the phone call and letter she received from Melinda, after Melinda abducted Ken's son. (The letter, by the way, ended up in the hands of the media and was extensively reported).

Finally I would like Mr Gibson to contact me for the real story, if he'd like to report facts instead of suppositions and speculations. My number is 0394156396 or 0418102732. If he's going to be a proper reporter when he grows up, he should learn how to properly research a story that has such impact on the people he is writing about instead of writing it 'in a hurry'. Deadlines are not more important than the truth.

Robin Bowles rightfully poses the question, “Who brought this trauma on Andrew in the first place?” Trauma is the correct name for it. That is what artificially induced fatherlessness causes. Its effects are well documented by the social sciences. Let me repeat these pertinent statistics from a previous On Line Opinion article:

  • 63 per cent of teen suicides come from fatherless homes. That’s five times the national average. Source: US Dept of Justice;
  • 80 per cent of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes. Fourteen times the national average. Source: Justice and Behaviour;
  • 85 per cent of children with behavioural problems come from fatherless homes. Twenty times the national average. Source: Centre for Disease Control;
  • 71 per cent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. Nine times the national average. Source: National Principals Association Report;
  • 75 per cent of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centres come from fatherless homes. Ten times the national average. Source: Rainbows for all God’s Children;
  • 85 per cent of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes. Twenty times the national average. Source: US Dept of Justice.

Since writing that article I came across an erudite article called "Feminism and the Family" by Dr Janice Crouse. This is what she had to say:

When there is no father in the home, there’s trouble. Often there is a boyfriend or a series of boyfriends, but even when there is not, regardless how heroic that mother is - and many are struggling heroically and try their best for their children - the absence of the father in the home is a loss that has dramatic and serious impact on both boys and girls. Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania conducted a longitudinal study of the impact on boys ages 12-22 when there is no father living in the home with the boy. What they found is astounding. When boys that age grow up without a father in the home, they are 300 times more likely to get into trouble with the law than are boys whose fathers are in the home. Not having a father in the home is the single most important variable when it comes to a boy getting into trouble with the law. Father absence is a more significant predictor of outcome than ethnicity, poverty, religion, or socio-economic group.


It would seem that government departments are equally complicit in spreading lies and anti-male propaganda.

Thankfully as detailed in a recent Herald Sun article, the South Australian Ombudsman is also on the ball. Journalist Laurie Nowell reported in an article called "Feminists 'Tilt' Figures":

The issues of child protection and domestic violence have been hijacked by politically motivated feminist cliques, according to a coalition of men's groups.

The claim came after an ombudsman's report found bureaucrats guilty of "unreasonable and wrong administrative action" after failing to correct false and misleading information that promoted the idea men were overwhelmingly responsible for domestic violence.

South Australia's Office for Women presented erroneous statistics, such as 95 per cent of domestic violence involves a male perpetrator and a female victim, the ombudsman found. Raw data show that, overall, at least one in three victims is male

Men's Health Australia spokesman Greg Andresen said the SA Ombudsman's report should make the Gillard Government think twice about rolling back the shared parenting reforms introduced to family law by the Howard government - which effectively guarantee fathers some level of access to their children in the event of marital breakdown.

"The picture seems to be emerging of offices of women around the country - who advise state and federal ministers - having taken deeply feminist lines on domestic abuse and child protection," Mr Andresen said.

"These bureaucrats have a strong feminist perspective - and that's probably appropriate for people concerned with women's issues.

"But the problem is that when governments roll out programs relating to children, what gets rolled out is a program for women, not one that has equal regard for men and women.

"The conventional wisdom among these people is that the only perpetrators of domestic violence are men and the only perpetrators of violence against children are men.

"There is a wealth of research that shows that men are almost as likely to suffer domestic violence or abuse."

Space does not allow me to tell the stories of the father who was put in gaol for sending a birthday card to his daughter, or the father of good character who was banned from seeing his daughter for five years. Tragically most of these recent stories have taken place under the 2006 changes to Family Law which were supposed to bring equity for fathers and families. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Yes, this nation has been moved by the story of Ken Thompson and his heart warming reunion with his son. Unfortunately not everyone’s heart has been affected. It would seem that our feminist friends in the media, the legal system and the commentariat are still in need of a heart transplant.

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About the Author

Warwick Marsh is the founder of the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation with his wife Alison. They have five children and two grandchildren and have been married for 34 years.

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