Australian judge protects oil rig fathers

15 April 2003

Father and daughterIn a landmark ruling, that could have implications for off-shore-working-fathers in other parts of the world, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission has ruled that keeping fathers away from their families for extended periods of time is ‘not in the public interest’. Commissioner Dominica Whelan refused to allow Esso and its contractors to shift oil-rig workers to a 14-days-on 14-days-off roster, from an existing seven-day cycle, saying it was widely now accepted that ‘the role of fathers is vital in the family’. Whelan added: ‘In this day and age … fathers are not simply content to be the person who takes the children to the odd footy match and on an occasional camping trip.’