Deadbeat dads have been put on notice after a government crackdown has led to almost 1800 fathers being stopped from leaving the country—just as they’re about to fly out.
Some of Australia’s richest (and most irresponsible) fathers have been banned from boarding their first class flights over the last year until they coughed up a whopping $9.9 million they collectively owed to their families. Immigration and child support officers have teamed up to stop the men who have failed to financially support their children for months in a new effort by the government to make deadbeat dads a thing of the past. While the travel ban policy has been in place since 2001, it’s the first time the files of those who owe child support have been matched with ATO data and cross-referenced with frequent traveller information—plus, another crack team was created to hunt down the debt dodgers.
One unnamed mining magnate, who lives part of the time in Europe, was stopped at the check-in for his first-class flight out of Sydney over a six-month debt. He was forced to cough up $22,000 before he was able to leave.
Another dad who lived overseas returned to Perth for a short visit. Before he could return, he was nabbed for a $100,000 debt. And it’s not just airports that officials are targeting—one man had started sailing from Melbourne but was stopped before he reached international waters and ordered to pay his $8000 debt.
It’s a move that many are celebrating, while others are frustrated that more isn’t being done about the dads who aren’t frequent flyers.