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Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 Senator HUMPHRIES

Senator HUMPHRIES (Australian Capital Territory)

Senator HUMPHRIES (Australian Capital Territory) (21:25): I am very pleased to contribute to this debate on the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011, such as my opportunity will be, given that the debate is to be truncated by the guillotine. Like Senator Fisher, I was a participant in the inquiry by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee into this legislation. I think that the legislation represents a very significant piece of change to the law.

Like Senator Fisher I hesitate to call it reform, although I have to acknowledge that some parts of the legislation are valuable, do improve the state of the law and do make it easy to use for those people who require access to the Family Court. I echo the concerns of colleagues on this side of the chamber in this debate: significant changes in the law will be enacted by the Senate tonight in a shortened debate. We will not have time to consider amendments put forward by the Greens and by the coalition. We will not have key opportunities to consider issues in the legislation which are critical and which have been extensively debated in the public arena and in specialist circles and which were subject to intense debate before the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee or to consider issues around which there is a rich vein that the Senate ought to be explore. We will not deal with them tonight except by a simple vote on the floor of the Senate.

In her contribution, Senator Wright advocated for her amendments. Maybe she has put forward, on behalf of the Greens, some wonderful amendments to this legislation. I am afraid we will not get the chance to find out, because Senator Wright and her colleagues in the Greens have joined with the Labor Party to ensure that there will not be a committee stage on this bill. We will not have a chance to debate the amendments that the Greens are putting forward, wonderful though they might be.

I ask senators to consider what we are dealing with tonight. These amendments, in effect, go to the framework of family law in this country. The Family Law Act 1975 was a seismic change in the landscape with respect to personal relationships in this country. It was very significant legislation. We can all have different views about this, but it was undoubtedly an iconic piece of law reform. Tonight, we are dealing with that legacy. We are dealing with that great change in the law and the consequences and the developments that we have dealt with in the succeeding 35 or so years. But we are dealing with it tonight in an entirely unsatisfactory way. We are going to rush this through the Senate. We have important amendments to consider, but we are going to rush this through the Senate because of the deal that has been done between the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens.

I wonder what the ghosts of people like Lionel Murphy, Lionel Bowen, Bob Ellicott and others who were involved with those great debates would think, as they look down on this debate, about the way the Senate is dealing with that legacy legislation and the changes we are making to it, supposedly to bring it into contemporary use and to address the needs of 21st-century Australia. What would they make of it if they saw this debate going on? I do not think they would think very much of it, but that is the way it is being handled tonight.

I will address some of the issues in this legislation and point out what I believe would be some of the advantages were the Senate to adopt the amendments put forward by the coalition. I want to affirm, though, that the coalition very much values the essential elements of the legislation as it now stands and believes that our amendments underpin those important valuesvalues that were described in the 2006 amendments moved by the then Attorney-General Philip Ruddock as the shared parenting reforms. We stand by a central feature of that legislation, which was that the paramount consideration of the courts was the best interests of the child when it came to issues relating to the care and maintenance of that child. We stand by the presumption, displaced only on substantial and exceptional groundsfor example, on the basis of what is in the best interests of the childthat there should be equal shared parental responsibility in the raising of a child and in the direction made by parents in the course of a child's life. We stand by the recognition in the lawagain, I emphasise, subject to a child not being exposed to harm or having its interests otherwise detracted fromof the benefit to a child of having a meaningful relationship with both of its parents. Those principles are in the legislation. They have been there for some time. The level of emphasis placed on those principles has varied from time to time, but those values are core to the way that our Family Law Act works today, and we believe on the coalition side that they ought to be retained and not detracted from.

It is fair to say that the 2006 reforms did require the court to take into account a parent's willingness to abide by those principles dealing with the behaviour of a parent and the parent's attitude towards another party to the marriage or relationshipagain, subject to the child's best interests. I heard a suggestion in the course of the debate by Senator Crossin that, for example, in some way the reforms of 2006 weakened or watered down the central focus on the court making decisions that were subject to the child's best interests. That, of course, is completely untrue. The paramount consideration before the court remains what is in the child's best interests. The extent to which other considerations can apply subject to that overarching qualification is what, in a sense, the 2006 reforms and this legislation debate.

Much of the bill enacts appropriate, balanced refinements of the law, but it is the view of the coalition that some of the amendments do undermine the shared parenting principles. Accordingly, the coalition has moved amendments to protect those principlesprinciples which we were responsible for in the first place. I want to touch on a few of those in a few minutes given I do not have an opportunity to put these issues in the course of a committee stage debate.

The issue of a friendly parent provision reflects the fact that coalition senators in the course of the inquiry believed that the bill, to some extent, undermined the principles of shared parenting by repealing those provisions in existing paragraphs 60CC(3)© and 60CC(4)(b), which take account of a party's willingness to facilitate another party's involvement in the child's welfare. It is hard to represent those changes as anything other than an attack on that key principle of shared parenting. We were not persuaded that parties to proceedings are not disclosing concerns about family violence or child abuse for fear of being found to be an unfriendly parent. That was not the substantial weight of the evidence before the committee, in our opinion. We consider that the provisions should be preserved as they stand now, more or less, in order to ensure that that important principle is not detracted from.

On the question of a new definition of family violence, the coalition senators who took part in the inquiry certainly endorsed the objective of giving greater recognition to the breadth of behaviours comprising family violence in our community. However, we did not consider in this inquiry that the net should be cast so wide as to capture all human behaviours, which is what the proposed definition effectively would do. Professor Richard Chisholm, a former judge of the Family Court, gave very strong evidence that there were problems with proposed new subsection 4AB(1). I note that Senator Wright quoted approvingly of the evidence given by Professor Chisholm.

I hope she listened, therefore, to the suggestion that we perhaps should consider a different approach towards this particular provision than the one the government is proposing to the Senate. Professor Chisholm said that the new subsection was overinclusive and captured any behaviour that caused a family member to be fearful. I think he gave the example of a family member who rushed into a room to say: 'Fire! Fire! Get out of the house now.' That kind of behaviour would be captured as being behaviour that would cause a member of the family to be fearful, even though it obviously is not appropriate to characterise that as something which could be called family violence. Coalition senators believe that such a provision undermines the objective of the bill as it makes no allowance for the intent of the party giving rise to this 'fear'. Professor Chisholm proposed an alternative provision, which I would commend to the Senate. We will not have a chance to debate those sorts of provisions because the debate has been truncated.

Other senators, including Senator Mason, have made reference to the absolutely preposterous proposal to remove section 117AB of the legislation that allows the Family Court to make an order for costsa rare thing in the Family Courtwhere a party has deliberately come forward and knowingly made false allegations of abuse and family violence in the course of Family Court proceedings. We are not talking about allegations which are made which cannot be substantiated on the balance of probabilities. We are not talking about claims that are contested before the court which the court considers in all the circumstances to be made out or not to be made out. We are talking about a finding by the court that a party to the proceedings has deliberately set out to mislead the court by making false allegations of abuse or family violence. The court has the power under the present framework of the law to make an order for costs against the party making false allegations.

It is preposterous that this bill proposes to take that power away from the Family Court on the basis that some people have misunderstood what that provision means or that some people have supposedly failed to make allegations that there had been violence in a relationship for fear that they might be ordered to pay costs.

Senator Wright said that there was evidence that this was a widespread problem. With great respect, that was not the evidence that was presented to the committee. The evidence was that it was rumoured to be an issue. Nobody could actually come forward to the committee and tell us that they actually had a case where it had occurred. No-one provided that evidence and the Family Court representatives themselves who came before the committee said that they did not have any evidence of such practices going on. On that basis, the government proposes to remove the capacity of the court to punish a party, in effectnot through an order to award a child to another party, not to take away from the best interests of the child, obviouslyand to send the signal that deliberately false allegations should carry some consequence, should resonate through an order for costs. To suggest that that should be removed from the legislation is just outrageous. I think the government's approach to this issue is completely misconceived.

The coalition is also concerned about the timing of the commencement of the legislation. The Family Court itself expressed a preference for the substantive provisions of the bill to apply only to those applications filed after the commencement date of this legislation. Has the government done that? No, it has not. It is applying the provisions to earlier litigation, with the potential effect that parties will have to go back to the court and amend their pleadings before the court because the law changed after the proceedings had commenced. I would have thought that was quite an unsatisfactory state of affairs, but that is what the legislation the government is putting forward does. We do not have a chance to debate this issue properly, because again this amendment cannot be considered in the course of tonight's debate.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order! The time allotted for consideration of this bill and the four other bills listed on today's Order of business has now expired. The question is that this bill be now read a second time.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
Some excellent commentary from Mason, humphries, Xenophon and Fisher (somewhat surprisingly). The way this has been rushed through with no debate is a good indication that the government knows their legislation cannot stand the scrutiny that such a debate would impose.

Make no mistake, this legislation is not anything to do with traditional ALP values, or about children. It is purely a creation of the radical feminist Emily's List women who own the ALP through the white collar Unions. The Greens support it because their constituency is primarily women in either the 18-24 or over 45 age groups and that demographic has been brainwashed into the view that all men are violent, even if their own lack of personal experience of any such violence doesn't support the contention.

I would also like to take exception to Mason's remark, when he said
Senator Mason said
There is absolutely no excuse for domestic violence or sexual abuse of any kind against women, or children, or in some instances, against men.
I wonder if the Senator could clarify what specific instances of domestic violence or sexual abuse against men he regards as excusable?

I'll be advising my son to seek a vasectomy as soon as he reaches adulthood.
i watched this last night also. i know very little as to how the parliment work and was wondering what happens now? i think it was something about a third reading.. what does that mean.

thank you in advance.
Here you go

File:Legislative Process in Australia flowchart.png - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

192 views (81 KB)

Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

Craigo, I believe repartnered_mum is really asking how soon can she make an allegation of child abuse or paedophilia to remove her ex - no evidence required, allegations don't have to be reasonable and no penalties for false allegations.

Now on your mark, get set and … first one to the courthouse gets custody of the kids and the house, assets and future income … go
Srldad101. That wasn't actually what I was asking. I was asking about the stages in which this bill may be passed. Sorry if you miss read it. I am not intending on going through court anytime soon as I don't need too. I am currently going through mediation. I dislike the idea of court and it will be a last option for me. I also get that a lot of parents get the bad end of the stick in court, but I'd prefer if you didn't take that out on me. I read the chart that was posted and still don't understand it. That's ok though, I'm sure I will learn about one day.
RM, the legislation will now be passed to the governor gemeral for royal assen, having achieved a majority vote in both houses. The third reading stage is not required other than as a formality if there are no amendments.

It will then be gazetted and become law on the date specified.

Good luck with the mediation. I reckon you've got the right idea in staying away from Court - nothing good ever happened there.
thankyou craigo for the information.

i have seen how horrible the court system is, and like i said it will be my last point of call.
Mr Secretary

Ms Caroline Overington of The Australian published an article "Shared Parenting is Dead…" today
Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian

She is looking for a representative of a father's group for a radio interview on 4GB this afternoon regards the Family Law reform - I volunteered you and Craigo, cheers
What are the details, SRL dad? I saw that article and I thought it was terribly sad for everyone, including the mother who is being validated in her neurotic behaviour. That poor litle girl...
I called the Australian on (02) 9288 3000 to make a comment on the article. They patched me through to Caroline directly, who asked me if I could suggest someone for a radio interview. Presumably if you call above number you're it.
I left a message on Ms Overington's phone, but she doesn't seem to be interested.
srldad101 said
Craigo, I believe repartnered_mum is really asking how soon can she make an allegation of child abuse or paedophilia to remove her ex - no evidence required, allegations don't have to be reasonable and no penalties for false allegations.
Be aware that S117 is still intact. The court CAN make orders and in fact do. Section 117 of the Act allows family courts to make cost orders in response to false statements/allegations in appropriate cases.  This power was affirmed in Claringbold & James (Costs) [2008] FamCA 57. What has been removed is s117AB the mandatory component. Thus leaving it to the Judicial officer to make a determination.


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
srldad101 said
Mr Secretary

Ms Caroline Overington of The Australian published an article "Shared Parenting is Dead…" today
Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian

She is looking for a representative of a father's group for a radio interview on 4GB this afternoon regards the Family Law reform - I volunteered you and Craigo, cheers
Yes I saw that and I have a feeling this is a very old case and I am looking into it. Thanks for raising that article. I don't accept that simply because the mother has such hostility to the other parent that the child has to forgo all the relationship until they are 18. I am not quite a Federal Magistrate yet but when I get there, some of these cases will come under significant scrutiny and reversal of the "lives with" parent role might shake a few of these wayward parents up. There has to be some other way or process that resolves these seemingly intractable cases..

 


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
A list of the Emily's List MPs who were responsible for pushing through this Bill, which does so much damage to the principle of equity before the Law and to evidenciary requirements, supported by the Public Sector unions and the ACTU, all of which are run by women who claim to be either members or supporters of Emily's List

ERROR: A link was posted here (url) but it appears to be a broken link.
http://www.emilyslist.org.au/our-mps

Kate Lundy ACT Senator
Gai Brodtmann ACT Current Member for Canberra

Sharon Grierson NSW Current Member for Newcastle

 Julie Owens NSW Current Member for Parramatta

Tanya Plibersek NSW Current Member for Sydney

 Janelle Saffin NSW Current Member for Page

Jill Hall NSW Current Member for Shortland

Sharon Bird NSW Current Member for Cunningham

 Justine Elliot NSW Current Member for Richmond

 Trish Crossin NT Senator
Jan Mc Lucas QLD Senator
Claire Moore QLD Senator
Kirsten Livermore QLD Current Member for Capricornia

 Anne McEwen SA Senator
Penny Wong SA Senator
Carol Brown TAS Senator
Julie Collins TAS Current Member for Franklin

Lisa Singh TAS Senator

Julia Gillard VIC Current Member for Lalor

Catherine King VIC Current Member for Ballarat

 Jenny Macklin VIC Current Member for Jagajaga

Laura Smyth VIC Current Member for LaTrobe

Louise Pratt WA Senator

In addition, the current ALP president and 3 out of the 5 candidates for the next ALP president are all Emily's List members and promoted as such by the organisation.

When the next election is called, I urge you all to examine whether a candidate in your electorate is a member of Emily's List and to place those candidates last on the ballot. Make no mistake, this group is a seriously dangerous and unaccountable force in Australian Left politics and has a strong anti-male agenda.

As they say on their home page

Emily's List said
2010 is an exciting year for EMILY's List Australia. We have record numbers of talented progressive women in Parliaments across the country, many holding important ministerial positions within Labor Governments
where they are impacting directly on public policy for the common good of women.


and
Emily's List said
Our mantra is "When Women Support Women, Women Win".


This bill is a clear example of what they are referring to. In the brave new world that these people want to create there need be no evidence for a judge to make a decision as long as it favours a woman, there need be no evidence for an allegation made by a woman about a man to be accepted and there must be no penalties for women who tell lies about men. That's "women supporting women"...to fight a war against men.

What a noble cause...



Secretary SPCA said
srldad101 said
Mr Secretary

Ms Caroline Overington of The Australian published an article "Shared Parenting is Dead…" today
http://www.theaustrali...ry-fn59niix-1226204169231

She is looking for a representative of a father's group for a radio interview on 4GB this afternoon regards the Family Law reform - I volunteered you and Craigo, cheers
Yes I saw that and I have a feeling this is a very old case and I am looking into it. Thanks for raising that article. I don't accept that simply because the mother has such hostility to the other parent that the child has to forgo all the relationship until they are 18. I am not quite a Federal Magistrate yet but when I get there, some of these cases will come under significant scrutiny and reversal of the "lives with" parent role might shake a few of these wayward parents up. There has to be some other way or process that resolves these seemingly intractable cases..
 
The case referred to in the article is not as cut and dry as the article would have it seem and as evidenced in the Full Court decision dated 20/10/2011 (I am yet to read the FM judgment - apparently it is some 90 pages long) the Federal Magistrate was clearly not happy handing down such a decision.  Some of the aspects not covered in the article include allegations of sexual abuse made by the father against the mothers partner, allegations of sexual abuse made against the father, emotional abuse of the child by BOTH parents and YES a mother who blatantly refused to facilitate any form of relationship between the child and father and made it clear she would not follow any Orders made that would facilitate that time.  Very very sad for that child!!!!

Full Court Judgment
Summerby & Cadogen [2011] FamCAFA 205 - 20/10/2011

http://www.familycourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/FCOA/home/judgments/Full_Court/FCOA_judge_fcjudgements_2011_FamCAFC_205

    

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
Craigo

In my humble opinion the Emily Prime Movers behind the Gillard's "Hate Men" laws in the Senate were

Trish Crossin (NT, former status for women & chair of FVB committee),  
Jacinta Collins (VIC),*
Kate Lunday (ACT) *
Louise "transman" Pratt (WA) on FVB committee
Catrina Bilyk (TAS),
Carol Brown (TAS)

Chris Evans (WA) maybe not on Emily list but as leader of the Govt & former shadow minister for family he was directly responsible for the guillotine motion on Monday night.

Evans & Ludwig then listed the FVB with 4 other Bills on the 1/2 sitting day of Tuesday (Dane Royalty visit). This allowed 2hrs debate for 5 Bills after the news cycle. Orwellian misuse of power.

And why aren't we hearing anything from the media or repeal in blood pledges from Mr Abbott?

Suspect ALP Right Faction involvement in particular David Feeney but also Arbib who created this far Left monster
 
srldad your post 23rd nov at 855 made me fall off my bloody chair warn us before you make us laugh like that!

the government in whole is in a real bad state. we're only seeing the family law reforms there are many other reforms on other subjects being raced thru because the greens and ALP will never get to run with the ball again the way they have this time round.
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