By Dwayne Grant, Gold Coast Bulletin

Italian Family custody Battle


LIKE many Australians, Sue Price was appalled by this week’s harrowing footage of an international custody dispute playing out at Brisbane Airport.

While most public criticism has centred on the Family Court and Australian Federal Police for forcing four sisters to return to Italy against their will, the Men’s Rights Agency director has set her sights on the mother at the centre of the controversy.

 “That (situation) was entirely her fault and creation,” Price said of Thursday’s happenings.

“She deserves an Academy Award.

 “I know it’s hard, I know it’s difficult, but her behaviour was the cause of a lot of this … if she
had been sensible and controlled herself as a parent should do, it would have been much easier for the children.

 “The media has pandered to the mother by reacting to her theatrics and that’s made it worse.

It’s turned out to be the ultimate disaster … (and) the ones who suffer most are the children.”

 The graphic scenes of AFP agents manhandling two of the sisters, both teenagers, through
the airport as their distraught mother shouted to them was the latest chapter in a bitter and public custody battle.

 The four sisters attracted international media attention in May when they went into hiding to
avoid a 20ll Family Court order to return to Italy, where they are the subject of a custody dispute.

 The sisters, who hold dual Italian-Australian citizenship, travelled to Australia with their
mother in 2010 for a one-month holiday and stayed on.

 Price” whose Men’s Rights Agency supports the essential role fathers play in their children’s
lives, said the overwhelming public support for the girls’ mother reinforced how fathers were often unfairly treated in custody battles.

 “If a man had acted as she did (at the airport) he would have been arrested,” she said. “They
aren’t portrayed as sympathetically as mothers … the media portray them as the bad guys.

 “One thing that has been mistaken in this case right from the beginning is the Family Court was
not ordering the children to live with their father. It was ordering them back to Italy under the
Hague Convention so the (custody) hearing could take place in their country of residence.

 “If it hadn’t, it would totally have trashed the notion of Australia being a signatory to the
Hague Convention.”

 All four sisters have now left Australia after a pilot reportedly refused to take the oldest pair
because of their behaviour.

 Their great aunt yesterday said the family was now considering a legal challenge in the Italian courts.

 ‘We’re never going to stop,” she told ABC Radio. “These children want to be here. These children want to be with their mum.”

 Lone Fathers Association of Australia president Barry Williams, who founded the group after gaining custody of his own four children in the 1970s, said the emotional impact on the father
had largely been ignored in coverage of the case.

 “The mother might have been distressed, but how do you think the father felt when he was told
his kids weren’t coming back to Italy?” he said. “It makes you cry at times when you’ve got a person on the phone who can’t see their kids even though they’ve got a court order in their hands.

 “I’ve been doing this 40 years and have seen so much trauma … I’ve seen so many suicides over
this issue. “They’re sending blokes around the bend and to their deaths.”


  • foursons says:

    And the girls will need an Academy Award too by the end of this battle, thanks to this outragious mother for what she is putting these girls through and after seeing her behaviour.
    Why didn’t she go through the proper chanels and resolve the custody in Italy. She deserves to loose them now. I can imagine the lies that have been told. This poor father and his family in Italy obviously have been hurting but no one gives HIM media time. He is doing the right thing, he would protect his daughters from all this. Why can’t we listen to his side of the story? I have seen the damage first hand a lying mother can course.
    Father’s have hearts too.
    Mother of Four Sons.

  • elivince says:

    I write from Italy, I’m the sister of this lovely man and father,I usually do not leave comments on the blog also if a read it because of this matter. I really wish to thank you for this article, it is the only one who take care of the pains of this man, my brother, father with a big heart, man whit so much courage to face all the PUBLIC injuries against him, beloved father that never said one word against this ‘mother’ because of the love of his daughters,.a great example of dignity even for his biggest sister. So thank you for this article that made me move and cry again for my brother and wha t I suffered. best regards EV

    • elivince says:

      He suffered, sorry

    • admin says:

      Welcome Elivince. We have been appalled by the mother’s, grandmothers and great grandmother’s behaviour. Thankfully the Australian Family Court decided to uphold the principles of the Hague Convention and return the girls to Italy.
      The next article in this saga from the American Fathers and Families website will interest you and many Australians. Hopefully, once this is distributed, the media and the mother’s cheer squad will think again.
      Your brother behaved impeccably in the face of unrelenting innuendo and accusation. Not once did he criticise the mother’s behaviour or her attempts to delay the return of the children.
      We all felt for him and wished we could do more to support him, but we did not wish to inflame the situation more by joining in the affray.
      Please keep in contact.
      Sue Price
      Men’s Rights Agency

  • elivince says:

    Thank you Sue, if it is possible please link me the other article, if not possible here I think you could know what is our Facebook page,I am really interested in. we deeply love this girls and they are the only important things now, no matter anything else and we are trying to do our best for their happiness and welfare. I hope one day,when everyone and everything will be settle, we will be able to talk about our experience, and share it with other fathers and give them a real help.Best regards and again thank you, EV

  • admin says:

    Hi Elivince, You are probably well aware of the expose article on the USA Fathers and Families website by now, if not, I have placed it on the MRA site here:
    with the link also to the Families and Fathers url.
    Kind regards
    Sue Price

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    • admin says:

      Hi Amanda,

      Thank you for analysing the media coverage of the 4 Italian girls and their return to Italy. Perhaps you might like to read the further commentary written by
      Robert Franklin Esq from the US Fathers and Families organisation –
      He goes on to detail further information about the mother’s and her family’s behaviour.
      We also received an email from the father’s sister. It’s on our site if you wish to read it.
      As a point of interest, I was at the Family Court on the day the final decision to return the girls to Italy was handed down and when talking to one of the female journalists afterwards, she expressed concern that she and her colleagues (who were gathered outside) felt that the media had created much of the drama and ensuing difficulties that had occurred, by supporting the mother without question.
      I was obviously pleased to hear that some self analaysis along those lines was taking place.
      Unfortunately, we see many instances of ‘different treatment’ of men and women in describing similar events.

      This gender-based treatment flows through to all levels of our society; the Family Court where fathers are often regarded as uneccessary in their children’s lives apart from providing financial support; government policy in regards to family, social welfare and education – father’s views are ignored; in sentencing where a man will, undoubtedly, receive a longer jail term for the same offence than a woman; and particularly in how the community views a man – especially with his children. Many fathers tell me of their acute discomfort when in a park or outdoor setting playing with their children – they are stared at, watched and generally regarded with suspicion. Some women have been reported as approaching the children to ask them if they are okay.

      Over the past thirty years men have been portrayed as the perpetrator and women the hapless victim! So much for feminism – clearly off the rails when one group of women casts another group as victims in order to raise funds/status for their own agenda.

      I often quote Dr Catherine Hakim who wrote, that “we must stop presenting women as ‘victims’, or as “an undifferentiated mass of mindless zombies whose every move is determined by other actors and social forces… Women are responsible adults, who make real choices and are the authors and agents of their own lives.” (Hakim C., “Five Feminist Myths about women’s employment” British Journal of Sociology 46(3): 429-455)

      Sue Price

  • admin says:

    Watch Media Watch’s (Episode 37) view re Courier Mail’s reporting on the Italian girls from last night ABC TV:

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