A Voice for the Injured: Bettina Arndt and Australian Family Law

Kate Gleeson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article analyses the nature and effect of the campaign against the Family Court led by social commentator Bettina Arndt from 1995 to 2006, in the context of the men's rights agenda and the politics of anti-feminist backlash. It documents the changes to Australian family law and the workings of the Family Court under the Howard government, as a result of this campaign, in order to understand the politics of backlash in the context of Wendy Brown's States of Injury theory of 1995. In this analysis, the conservative men's rights agenda is understood as a reaction to structural and economic adjustments associated with neoliberal reforms, especially labour market regulation. But this context, of structural adjustment, is distorted in the rhetoric and focus of campaigns characterised by anti-feminist backlash, such as that directed at the Family Court in Australia. The example of Arndt and her championing of men's rights in this arena is presented as a means by which to compare the different experiences and traditions of feminism in Australia and America, and the associated politics of backlash in each nation, all of which have had a profound influence on Arndt's outlook and work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-397
Number of pages23
JournalAustralian Feminist Studies
Issue number78
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


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