Broken Families

There are a great many single adults who would very much like to have a family of their own. With rates of marriage declining sharply over the last three decades, about 30% of young adults today may not experience a marital relationship at all. Some will live together with another person in a marriage-like cohabiting relationship, but these relationships have much higher rates of breakdown. Added to those who will never find a long-term partner are those who have lost a long-term partner through separation and divorce, or widowhood. One of the greatest problems our society is now facing, and will face to a greater extent in the coming decades, is loneliness. 

At the same time as the marital family with children has declined as the normal adult family form, civic organisations of all kinds have also declined. Churches, other religious communities and local sports associations are amongst the few remaining forms of connection beyond the family and the workplace.

How do we build better communities of care and support for people, particularly those who feel isolated and lonely? Britain has appointed a Minister to be responsible for responding to loneliness and has developed a national loneliness reduction strategy. There have been calls for such a role in Australia. 

We also need to consider how better local communities can better support parents with children at home who are struggling.


In Australia, as in other Western countries, there has been a sharp deterioration in adolescent mental health over the last decade. Around 40% of young women, and 20% of young men, now have an anxiety disorder. Around 20% of young women, and 10% of young men now have an affective disorder such as depression. These patterns in Australia are mirrored in other parts of the Western world.

Dr Michael Schluter

Dr Michael Schluter on the importance of relational thinking

Dr Michael Schluter CBE, founder of the Jubilee Centre and Relationships Foundation in the UK, gave this video message at the commencement of the Building Right Relationships Colloquium, organised jointly by Publica, Alphacrucis University College and the Lachlan Macquarie Institute in October 2023. Michael introduces the importance of relational thinking for public policy and identifies five factors that matter to the formation of relationships in a community.

loneliness disability

One Day You Will Feel Lonely

Learning from people with disability about loneliness and social isolation. In August 2023, Australia had its first-ever Loneliness Awareness Week, the result of a growing body of evidence indicating that loneliness is a significant societal issue requiring attention. Australia is not alone.

Couple Relationships

Couple Relationships

Author: Paul R. Amato Overview Many changes have occurred in Australia since the establishment of