Free TV denies banning Dads 4 Kids’ Father’s Day advertisement

Claims of censorship, and retaliations of ‘fake news’, have broken out over an advertisement from lobby group Dads 4 Kids that Free TV Australia refused to air in its current form.

The Weekend Australian and The Daily Mail reported today that the advocacy group Dads 4 Kids: Fatherhood Foundation had been knocked back from airing a television commercial that promoted Father’s Day.

The clip shows father’s singing a lullaby to their children and only depicted heterosexual couples throughout the advertisement.

Online publisher The Daily Mail said that the “touching advertisement” had been knocked back for being too political in the lead up tho the vote on marriage equality.

The advocacy group said they were simply trying to encourage fathers to put family first and were not making on comment on the marriage debate through the advertisement.

“It is extraordinary that this is where we have come to as a country; we can no longer celebrate Father­’s Day without being forced to look at it through the lens of the same-sex marriage debate.” the group said in a statement.

“There are lots of dads out there who, while they may be doing it tough, are doing their best for their kids, and the team at Dads4Kids wants to honour and encourage dads to put their families and children first.

“To be clear, it was and is not our intention to enter this debate at this time through these advertisements.”

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott told The Weekend Australian that the situation was the latest example of how the “thought police” would operate in the “brave new world of same-sex marriage”.

“If you don’t like political ­correctness, vote no, because it’s the best way you have to stop it in its tracks.” Abbott told the newspaper.

Pro-marriage equality Liberal MP Time Wilson said the advice was ridiculous and should be ignored.“If you don’t like being bullied by activists, vote no,” Mr Abbott told The Weekend Australian.

George Christensen from The Nationals said the decision to not air the commercial was “a suppression of free speech that went along with changing the definition of marriage.”

The Queensland MP asked if allowing marriage equality would lead the use of terms like mother and father, and husband and wife, being banned from public use in the name of political correctness.

Free TV denies censoring the advertisement

Free TV, the body that coordinates the approval of public service announcement advertisements across free TV networks, denied the advertisement had been refused.

The industry body said it had simply asked the organisation to add an authorisation tag on the end of the commercial to be inline with requirements of the broadcasting act, and Dads 4 Kids had chosen to withdraw the advertisement.

Free TV highlighted that recent rulings from the Australian Communications and Media Authority now meant that broadcasters not only had to consider the content of the advertisements, but also the content of websites that the advertisements encouraged audiences to visit.

Dads 4 Kids have reportedly claimed that they couldn’t afford to re-cut the advertisement to required authorisation statement, and say they have had to take their website offline: “to protect ourselves and our families from the expected response”.

On Saturday night the site was re-launched with the group’s statement declaring that they were not part of the political debate over same-sex marriage.

Organisation has a long history of anti-LGBT campaigning

While the group claim they had no intention of entering the marriage equality debate and their video was just a simple promotion of Father’s Day. The group is a keystone organisation in the fight against marriage equality.

A video from the group outlining their goals is hosted on video-sharing service Vimeo.

In the clip the group claims that children who grow up in families where the biological father does not reside in the home are more likely to suffer from mental illness, commit crime, take illicit drugs, have poorer health, have lower educational outcomes, more likely to be physically abused and more likely to grow up in poverty.

The video, that has been online since 2011, claims that children who grow up without their father account for 63% of teen suicides, 70% of juveniles in state operated institutions, 71% of high school drop-outs, 75% of children is drug abuse centres, 80% of rapists and 85% of youths in prison. 85% of children with behavioural disorders and 90% of homeless youth.

The group also promoted the statistics in their 2013 Media release ahead of Father’s Day.

Identical statistics were promoted by The Marriage Alliance in 2015 in their Father’s Day campaign. At the time OUTinPerth tracked back some of the statistics and discovered that they appear to be pulled from a wide variety of academic reports, some more than three decades old.

In 2004, at the time of the Howard government introducing the Marriage Amendment Bill which inserted the clause that marriage in Australian could only be between a man and a woman, Dads4Kids joined up with The Australian Christian Lobby and the Australian Family Association to form The National Marriage Coalition.

The website at the National Marriage Coalition now redirects to The Coalition for Marriage, the umbrella group for the NO campaign in the current postal survey.

In 2009 Dads4Kids made a submission to the Senate Inquiry into a bill for marriage equality. In their submission the group described the push for same-sex marriage as a “blatant attack on the rights of the children of Australia to superimpose the rights of 1.6% of the adult population.”

Dads4Kids said that all children should be raised by their biological mother and father, and homosexuality was the result of ‘gender disorientation pathology’, suggesting that a lack of role models was the cause of people being same-sex attracted or transgender.

The group also suggests that gay couples are more likely to have psychological stresses, be less likely to maintain long-term relationships, have high levels of domestic violence, and struggle with monogamy.

Dads4Kids also argued against rainbow families saying that gay men were more likely to die from HIV/AIDS and lesbians were more likely to have alcohol and drug abuse problems than heterosexual women.

The group’s submission to the senate committee said if marriage was not a union of a male and a female it would lead to the destruction of the nation.

Graeme Watson

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