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How are court cases being monitored after July amendments

I happened to get the tail end of one of the posts in Fathers4equality forums relating to monitoring by the family court, of case outcomes… I did see a note comment to the effect

Geoff Holland said
 Why the hell isn't the SPCA and all other men's groups demanding that the Attorney General's office generate comprehensive statistics on the Family Court system outcomes and make them public ?????

The Shared Parenting Council executives spent countless hours in Canberra, Sydney and other locations with members of the AG's office and met with the Attorney and senior drafters during numerous events and seminars, meetings and conferences. We also met and talked to the Courts, some justices and the deputy chief justice also on occasions. Michael Green and I infact met personally in chambers with Justice Faulks. We atended court and participated in various cases.
The list of meetings, minutes, hearings and submissions fills many boxes at my offices.
So I can absolutely assure you we were and are still are in amongst the action.
One of the assurances we got from the Attorney was in relation to monitoring as prior to the new legislation things were quite abominable and simply not going to do it for us. The court outcomes were generally not posted and there were few if any statistics we could rely on.
I can also say to you the situation has changed dramatically since June 30 and we are seeing the following:
- First time judgements appear to be posting on both the Family Law web site and FMC sites in a regular manner. Austlii also and LexusNexis seem to be getting additional material.
- Also the Attorney has instructed the court registry to maintain statistics on case outcomes and these are being collated in Canberra.
Justice Bryant has instructed the courts to take the following steps in relation to compliance regimes:
-         Engagement of the AIFS on data collection systems.
-         Collection of data on a range of categories of final parenting orders as follows:
-         Parental Responsibility Orders
-         Parenting Orders, made after contested proceedings, in the nature of `lives with' orders, and `spends time with' orders;
-         Parenting Orders, made by consent, in the nature of `lives with' orders, and `spends time with' orders;
-         In adjudicated matters, the reasons for making the determination (for example, family violence, sexual abuse, drug & alcohol issues);
-         Relocation cases
-         Magellan matters; and
-         s 60K (family violence) matters

In my view I think the Courts and the AG has taken our requirements on board and implemented more than we originally asked for.
The next step is to get the first information stats out. We will be working on that once some statistics are compiled into a reasonable presentation format.
There is much anecdotal evidence and some first hand evidence that things have dramatically improved for blokes in the court system where they are seeking more time focused parenting outcomes. Especially so for SRL's (Self Represented Litigants) where they have taken advice from the, all too few master groups supporting SRL's.
We have not been successful in some cases that is clear (For example the disgraceful performance in the recent Woods case judgement WA) and there have been some other, in our view poor decisions since July 1. But we simply cannot overturn 30 + years of entranced mother focused order making in one quarter.
Even Justice Bryant herself has indicated these things will take time to change.
In summary we believe, as a direct result of the SPCA submissions and those of other groups along with specific submissions from the Member for Riverina Ms Kay Hull, that things have changed.
Let me address the last point I read in the post as to making a soap box in Canberra and a megaphone from the lawn.
The Shared Parenting Council of Australia with all its knockers and detractors and denizens of doom around has continued to steadfastly work to develop a close working relationship with all major players in Government, the training institutes, the courts, Registrars and various other parties.
I can tell you that as I write this email we have our committed members Ed Dabrowski Federal Director Perth in Coffs harbour with Lindsay Jackel State Director from Melbourne covering the important DIDS Conference. We have Jim Carter the State Director for ACT covering the CSA / Fam court think tank and conference on Wednesday to discuss roll out of the new possible Child Support regime and how the CSA is to deal with shared parenting.
We are also seeing Michael Green on his way to Washington and he is giving a keynote address at the Children's Rights Council conference. The SPCA is working with teh CRC on a range of documents and issues both for here and coming out of the UN.
I have recently returned from New Zealand and addressed various groups and earlier attended a seminar with the Deputy Registrar Newcastle Court.
I think the SPCA is definitely the hell out there !!

Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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