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Men & Fathers Health Summit

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We welcome you as a delegate, or parliamentarian, to the inaugural Men & Fathers Health Summit at Parliament House Canberra. Your presence here today is open testimony to the need to turn the tide of men’s ill health in Australia.

Our challenge today will be for us to be very open and honest with each other, to hear not only each other's words but also each other's hearts. The 12pt Plan and National Strategic Conference on Fatherhood (August 2003) were born out of the ability to listen and walk in one another's shoes, to show honour and respect for one another.

These are the keys to the positive outcomes we wish to achieve for the mothers, fathers and children of our nation. The 12pt Plan was launched in a true bipartisan fashion when a Mark Latham MP said, "We don't want a men's movement that blames women, we want a men's movement that works with men and women to develop better identity, better relationships, a stronger fathering role in our society and to develop win-win outcomes, where as a society across both genders, we can make advances and make successful changes."

The Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation is a Harm Prevention Charity. Fatherlessness is a source of harm to children and families that carries a significant health cost. Dr Bruce Robinson estimates the cost of fatherlessness to Australia to be in the vicinity of 13 billion dollars per year.

The goal of the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation is to promote excellence in fathering and increase the number of children growing up with an involved, committed, responsible and loving father. Healthy men make healthy fathers. Healthy fathers produce numerous beneficial health outcomes for their children but men’s poor health is becoming a great burden to our children.

Children are losing their fathers disproportionally to their mothers. Men’s suicide is reaching epidemic proportions and the overall health situation with indigenous men is far worse than for non-indigenous men.

The government is to be congratulated on its announcement of the formation of a National Men’s Health Policy. Thanks to Senator Cory Bernardi and the members of the Senate Select Committee into Men’s Health for their report.

There is a clear consensus emerging amongst the delegates at the Men & Fathers Health Summit that the government needs to set up an office to action and fund a broad-based preventative health strategy for men and fathers. It is our hope that both the government and the opposition will take up many of the recommendations found in this document.

Special thanks to James Adams, Fathers4Equality for collating this document.

We appreciate the sacrifices made in coming to this forum; we all lead very busy lives. We look forward to your contribution to the health of men, boys and fathers in Australia.

The Men & Fathers Health Summit is all about your passion, your willingness to listen, your creative ideas and openness to change.

Yours for positive change
Warwick & Alison Marsh

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The Fatherhood Foundation is a Harm Prevention Charity listed under Subdivision 30_EA of the Australian Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 with Tax Deductible Status (DGR) for donations.