Remembering Barry Williams – Fighter for Australian dads (

John Stapleton

05 March 2024, 10:45 AM

1977 Protest Barry Williams

One of the greatest fighters for Australia’s many separated dads, Barry Williams, founder of the Lone Fathers Association, has passed away aged 85.

His funeral will be held in Canberra this Wednesday at Norwood Park Chapel in Canberra.

Warwick Marsh of Dads4Kids fame writes: “Barry Williams (18 April 1938 – 23 February 2024) has saved more men from suicide than anyone else I know. He has also been the greatest advocate for single fathers, their children and their families in the history of our nation.

“In the early seventies, Barry Williams became acutely aware, as a single father to four young children, including a 13-month-old baby, of the lack of support for men and fathers.

“As a result, Barry established the first branch of The Lone Fathers Association in 1973 in the Australian Capital Territory. Over the next five decades, Lone Fathers branches were established in every state of Australia. The phones in their offices would ring around the clock, often with calls from men who were extremely distressed, sometimes suicidal, due to the trauma of their families breaking up. The anti-male bias in the Family Law system exacerbated the problems and multiplied the trauma.

“The Lone Fathers Association has grown to become perhaps the longest and most successful family law reform organisation in the world, helping both men and women throughout Australia by providing advice, help and direction, and free legal support.

Lone Fathers have also played a crucial role in suicide prevention in Australia over the last five decades. Barry has personally helped save thousands of men’s lives.”

Few Australians are aware that the Labor government railroaded major changes to Australia’s Family Law Act last October. In a tried and true manner, the government held an extremely short and poorly publicised inquiry, thereby minimising community input, before ramming through legislation which took away any notion of shared parenting or so-called shared parenting responsibility from the Family Law Act.

Barry Williams was a tireless advocate for reform of Australia’s family law and child support systems, which he viewed as extremely destructive towards fathers, children and the country’s social fabric and would have been extremely disappointed to see these changes, regarded as retrograde across Australia’s fatherhood movement.

The Bill removed the objects section of the Act which stated that family court decisions should encourage the participation of both parents in their children’s lives. The aim of involving both parents was first introduced some 20 years ago by the conservatives after massive public backlash over the extremism of Australia’s family law, the well acknowledged fact that the highest rates of suicide in the country are directly related to mistreatment of fathers during family law and child support matters, and the desperate concerns not just of fathers but mothers, sisters, daughters, grandparents over the extreme damage the court system was inflicting on the nation’s children.

As prominent social commentator Bettina Arndt wrote: “Chances are most people reading this wouldn’t even know the Family Law bill had passed. Men across Australia wouldn’t have a clue that their rights as parents are now far more precarious, their chances of being a proper father after divorce severely reduced. The likelihood that fathers will end up as victims of false allegations is also much increased.”

Sue Price of the Men’s Rights Agency, a woman who has herself been an enormous help to thousands of distressed fathers, said Barry Williams served as the beacon of hope for countless separated fathers and their children as he took on the mantle of President of the Lone Fathers Association.

“His dedication and advocacy were born from a keen recognition of the need for a collective voice for those navigating the complexities of family separation,” she said.

“Under his leadership, the organisation swiftly became a notable force in Canberra, championing the rights and needs of fathers facing the challenging terrains of family court, domestic violence, false allegations, and child support issues.

“With a steadfast commitment to the cause, Barry’s influential lobbying efforts resonated within the political corridors of Canberra, yielding significant results that have helped reshape the dialogue and policies affecting separated families. Inspired by his vision and tenacity, similar chapters of the Lone Fathers Association emerged across various states, united by a common mission to advocate for justice and support for fathers and their children in distress.

“Though Barry has since passed, the legacy of his words and the impact of his work continue to influence and guide the Lone Fathers Association. His contributions have laid a strong foundation for ongoing advocacy, ensuring that the Association remains a stalwart defender of paternal rights and the well-being of children in the complex aftermath of family separations.

Vale Barry Williams. We will never see the likes of you again.