Welcome to the Australia Talks Family

Using the above menu will direct you to our initiatives aimed at enhancing the lives of children and families across Australia.

the conversation

Out of a passion for families and children, 47 leaders from across the diverse Christian community gathered for 2 days to be confronted by the challenges for children in families today and to begin a conversation and a shared journey towards a better future.

Through a listening process – to each other, to the ‘voices’ of our community, and to God – they dreamt together of a better future that moves beyond words and vision to practical outcomes.

Expand the sections below to explore some research or summaries of our conversations.

what does healthy functionality in a household look like?

A summary of the responses from small group discussions:

  • Respect for each member for who they are and for the contribution they make
  • Good communication – regular open conversations and problem solving
  • Caring and looking after each other
  • Strong connections internally and with the local ‘village’
  • Healthy boundaries owned and implemented with grace
  • Children empowered to be given a voice and safe place to speak
  • Parents working in partnership
  • Shared values that are lived out and passed on
  • Parents setting and working towards goals (priorities) for their family
  • A peaceful, secure place that is a home rather than a house
  • Social, moral, physical, emotional & spiritual needs being met
  • Love and belonging leading to interdependence
  • Quantity time together that creates quality time
  • Commitment to a spiritual faith that is a natural part of the every day
  • Owning a commitment to mission, serving and contributing to their community.
  • Training up in life skills
  • Intentional and regular fun together

what are the factors challenging a higher level of healthy functionality within households and family groups?

  • Technology – The influence of technology and social media on values & community
  • Community – Mobility disconnects us from local community | Loss of community | Lack of support structures | Globalisation
  • Family relationships – Stability of marriage/ relationships | Lack of time together as
    a family | The importance of both quality and quantity time
  • Consumeristic society – Providing material goods = good parenting | Raising self-centred children rather than self-controlled children | Perceived entitlement | Challenges of affluence/ poverty/social disadvantage
  • Church responsibility – Immobilised churches | Loss of respect for the church | Loss of impact on society i.e. salt/light | disempowerment of families in discipling children
  • Disempowerment of families – Professionalism of passing on skills | outsourcing | Handing over authority from parents to “experts”
  • Values – Consistency of values and action | Haphazard passing on of values | Competing values

a snapshot of 'family life' in Australia

From figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (unless otherwise stated)

family structure 2011

  • 84% of families are couple families
  • 73% of children aged 0-17 lived in intact families
  • 18% are single parent families (88% with mothers)
  • 9% are step/blended families
  • Average household size 2.6 persons
  • 33,700 same-sex couple households (0.7%)
  • 12% of same-sex couples had children of any age
  • 46,680 grandparent families (~1%)

families & employment 

  • Both parents were employed in 63% of couple families with dependent children (2007).
  • Neither parent employed in 5% of couple families with dependent children (2007).
  • 10% of dependent children live in households where no one was employed (2007).
  • 63% of all mothers with dependent children are in the work force (2010).
  • 50% of all mothers with children aged 0-4 years are in the work force. (2000).


  • One in four children aged 5-17 years are now overweight or obese (2008).
  • 7% of Australian children aged under 15 had a mental health or behavioural issues (2005).

child abuse & neglect 2008

  • Notifications increased by 6.2% to 207,462.
  • Substantiations of notifications increased by 1.7% to 32,641.
  • Care and protection orders increased by 8.5% to 35,409 (increased by 47% over last 5 years.) Child Protection Australia 2008–09 is the thirteenth annual comprehensive child protection report.
  • 1 in 4 girls; 1 in 7 boys are sexually abused in Australia. NAPCAN website

children in out-of-home care 2009

  • Number of children increased by 9.3% to 34,069. (44% increase in the last 5 years)
  • 47% in foster care
  • 45% were in relative or kinship care
  • 5% were in residential care.


  • 63% of children enter adulthood without experiencing poverty
  • 10 % of children are persistently poor.
  • Indigenous children are 2.5 times more likely than white children to ever experience poverty and 7 times more likely to be persistently poor.
  • Being poor at birth is a strong predictor of future poverty status.

THE URBAN INSTITUTE Brief 14, June 2010

marriage & divorce 2011

  • 121,752 marriages (0.5% increase from 2010)
  • 70.1% of all marriages performed by a marriage celebrant
  • 78.2% of couples cohabited before marriage (23% in 1980)
  • Median age: 31.4 years for men 29.3 years for women
  • Median length of marriage to divorce was 12.5 years.
  • 48.935 divorces (2.6% decrease from 2010) involving 43,867 children (48.3%).
  • Median length of marriage to divorce was 12.2 years.
  • Median age: males 28.3; females 25.8

The question was then posed …

How can the Christian church work together to do more to improve levels of functionality within families?

The following initiatives were generated in response.

The ATF Declaration

Australian communities will be strong when the families within them are strong. Strong families provide safety, acceptance and belonging where each member is cared for and nourished, experiencing the freedom to fail, forgive and grow, so that they will be empowered to love and serve others.

In the past 50 years there has been a massive shift in the way that families are definedand in family relationships. Families of all types are subjected to unprecedented pressures from within and without, but we recognise that the gift of family is a primary way through which God provides all that people need: physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. Family relationships are still the primary building blocks for children and young people, so it is appropriate that the Church invest time and resources to help families thrive.

We acknowledge that …

  • culture influences daily life and our view of family.
  • having too much, or having too little impacts the health and stability of families
  • technology both brings families together and drives them apart
    media influences the identity of families, their expectations, and what they achieve
  • schools, social services and charitable organisations (church and secular) are deeply involved with families
  • parents and carers who lack confidence in thei ability to teach and guide their children,often outsource this responsibility to the education system, to external experts, and to the church.
  • some churches have failed to empower parents as those with the primary responsibility for a child’s spiritual formation, and assumed that role for themselves, providing activities that segment rather than draw together families.
  • the Church as a whole needs to work together as one body to intentionally love and serve the Family better.

In light of this:

We commit to an ongoing collaborative sharing of our resources and ideas across denominations and throughout the nation.

We will stand together with the Christian community and other like-minded groups in the community, harnessing the strength of numbers, to elevate the value of family, connect the generations, support carers and encourage community interaction, in order to develop and grow healthy functioning families.

Participants and supporters of ATF

The following people have indicated their support of these initiatives as either participants in the original conversations or as encouragement for the initiatives and general directions of ATF.

If you would like to endorse this initiative, please consider adding your name and a comment of support to our website.

Add your support here

Viral Video Campaigns

The following YouTube clips are just a sample of available clips for use in encouraging families. The first 4 below are by Focus on the Family Australia. The last one is by Domio Australia. We love their work! If you love them too, please consider supporting them by sharing and using them in your context. Help them go viral!

If you would like to endorse this initiative, please consider adding your name and a comment of support to our website.

Add your support here

10,000 BBQues

Roll Up Your Garage Door …

australiatalksfamily supports National Families Week as one means to encourage safe ways for our ‘villages’ to help protect and raise our children, so …

The national search is on for 10,000 Christian churches and households to connect with the people in streets, parks and communities across Australia through the simple act of hosting a barbie or street party.

The Australian church has been absent for too long from the annual National Families Week, so let’s flood our communities with the presence of Christians connecting with their neighbours.

National Families Week is Australia-wide, encouraging families and organisations to host events to get to know other families. In 2014, over 100,000 people become involved in tea parties and BBQues, dinner in the street or at a local park.

What an opportunity for church families – what a secret treasure that can be hooked into – with churches encouraging families, small groups, in fact any type of household – to show hospitality in their street. Host a BBQue in a park in the street. Roll up garage doors, spill out onto the driveway. Invite households in the street to enjoy spending time together.

Imagine the impact if our Christian churches said, “Let’s do this” and actively promote this opportunity to Christian families to reach out to community families. Who knows what doors will open up as a result?

Now in its second decade, National Families Week is 15-21 May 2015 – Log onto their website
www.familiesaustralia.org.au/familiesweek/ and register your event and … roll up your garage door.

As well as ideas on the familiesaustralia website, access more resources below to help run and promote an event.

If you decide to hold a BBQue (where and when??) or would like to endorse this initiative, please consider adding your name and a comment of support to our website.

Add your support here

Denominational Press Release

Text for your denominational emails, newsletters and notices.

Roll up your garage door

This pdf is low res and not for printing. It has the text to adapt to your needs. Thank you for helping to promote these important ministries.

Organisational Press Release

Text for your organisational emails, newsletters and notices.

Roll up your garage door …

This pdf is low res and not for printing. It has the text to adapt to your needs. Thank you for helping to promote these important ministries.


Download a high -res, DL-sized postcard for printing.

Roll up your garage door

This pdf is high-res for printing. Print 3-up on A4 or add it to your newsletter.


Find ideas to adapt and implement in your context.

Roll up your garage door …

This pdf is low res and not for printing. It has the text to adapt to your needs. Thank you for helping to promote these important ministries.


Current Australian research is shouting to us that our current ‘GIFT generation’ of young people (Google, iDevice, FaceBook, Twitter), which is more connected and more isolated than generations before them, is walking away from church and/or faith in their early adolescent years. A brief survey of some authors from across the Western world reveals that this concerning trend is not limited to our shores.


“Despite all our incredible children’s, youth and young adult programs, we have not been able to stop this mass exodus from our churches. We have not just lost one generation, we are losing several.”
David Sawler, Goodbye Generation (USA)


“More than 50,000 young people each year are leaving the Christian faith and deciding that they have ‘no religion’.”
Phillip Hughes, Christian Research Australia

Read more about the 3 year partnership journey towards the beginning a a solution here>

If you would like to endorse this initiative, please consider adding your name and a comment of support to our website.

Add your support here