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Your last opportunity to amend the legislation

The Australian House of Representatives had the Second Reading of the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 last Thursday. The Bill seeks to wind back the shared parenting reforms made in 2006 under the Howard Gov

The Australian House of Representatives had the Second Reading of the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 last Thursday. The Bill seeks to wind back the shared parenting reforms made in 2006 under the Howard Government under the guise of protecting women and children from family violence. Our view is that it does not include valid measures that will stop instances of family violence from occurring.

The vote that  took place on the 30th May was about rejecting the Coalitions attempted changes to the Family Law Family Violence Bill.

The bill has now gone to the SENATE where it will be voted on after July

The Bills progress can be found on this page

The three amigo independents, Windsor, Oakshott and Wilkie voted with the Government against the Coalition amendments.

Bob Katter did not vote and Crook from WA voted with the Coalition.

IF you want another chance to discuss the legislation then please contact your local federal members.

Last edit: by Secretary SPCA


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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For the politically ignorant what does one do? Do we want to lobby the Senate or the House? Phone a local opposition member? Email a local labor member? Write to Tony Windsor?

Voting List

Here is the VOTING LIST

Question put.
The House divided. [3.43 pm]
(The SpeakerMr Harry Jenkins)
Ayes …………………. 74
Noes …………………. 72

AYES
Adams, DGH                    Albanese, AN
Bandt, AP                         Bird, SL
Bowen, CE                        Bradbury, DJ
Brodtmann, G                   Burke, AE
Burke, AS                         Butler, MC
Byrne, AM                        Champion, ND
Cheeseman, DL                Clare, JD
Collins, JM                       Combet, GI
Crean, SF                          Danby, M
D'Ath, YM                        Dreyfus, MA
Elliot, MJ                          Ellis, KM
Ferguson, LDT                 Ferguson, MJ
Fitzgibbon, JA                   Garrett, PR
Georganas, S                     Gibbons, SW
Gillard, JE                         Gray, G
Grierson, SJ                      Griffin, AP
Hall, JG (teller)                 Hayes, CP (teller)
Husic, EN                         Jones, SP
Kelly, MJ                          King, CF
Leigh, AK                         Livermore, KF
Lyons, GR                        Macklin, JL
Marles, RD                       McClelland, RB
Melham, D                        Mitchell, RG
Murphy, JP                       Neumann, SK
Oakeshott, RJM                O'Connor, BPJ
O'Neill, DM                      Owens, J
Parke, M                           Perrett, GD
Plibersek, TJ                     Ripoll, BF
Rishworth, AL                  Rowland, MA
Roxon, NL                        Rudd, KM
Saffin, JA                          Shorten, WR
Sidebottom, PS                 Smith, SF
Smyth, L                           Snowdon, WE
Swan, WM                        Symon, MS
Thomson, CR                   Thomson, KJ
Vamvakinou, M                Wilkie, AD
Windsor, AHC                  Zappia, A

NOES
Abbott, AJ                         Alexander, JG
Andrews, KJ                      Andrews, KL
Baldwin, RC                      Billson, BF
Bishop, BK                        Bishop, JI
Briggs, JE                          Broadbent, RE
Buchholz, S                       Chester, D
Christensen, GR                Ciobo, SM
Cobb, JK                           Coulton, M (teller)
Crook, AJ                          Dutton, PC
Entsch, WG                       Fletcher, PW
Forrest, JA                         Frydenberg, JA
Gambaro, T                       Gash, J
Griggs, NL                         Haase, BW
Hartsuyker, L                    Hawke, AG
Hockey, JB                        Hunt, GA
Jensen, DG                        Jones, ET
Keenan, M                         Kelly, C
Laming, A                         Ley, SP
Macfarlane, IE                   Marino, NB
Markus, LE                       Matheson, RG
McCormack, MF               Mirabella, S
Morrison, SJ                      Moylan, JE
Neville, PC                        O'Dowd, KD
O'Dwyer, KM                    Prentice, J
Pyne, CM                          Ramsey, RE
Randall, DJ                        Robb, AJ
Robert, SR                         Roy, WB
Ruddock, PM                    Scott, BC
Secker, PD (teller)             Shultz, AJ
Simpkins, LXL                  Slipper, PN
Smith, ADH                       Somlyay, AM
Southcott, AJ                     Stone, SN
Tehan, DT                         Truss, WE
Tudge, AE                         Turnbull, MB
Van Manen, AJ                  Vasta, RX
Washer, MJ                       Wyatt, KG

PAIRS
Emerson, CA              Irons, SJ

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
 
This only adds up to 148 of the 150 members?

You can contact a Senator or Member in a number of ways:
  by phone
  by fax
  by post
  by email (if a Senator or Member has an email address) or by using the contact form which some Senators and Members prefer to use.

The Parliament site [above] provides a number of contact lists for both Senators and Members

For Senators.
ERROR: A link was posted here (url) but it appears to be a broken link.
http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/senators/index.htm
 For Members.
ERROR: A link was posted here (url) but it appears to be a broken link.
http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/index.htm

Find your electorate (Australian Electoral Commission website) Find my electorate

It is likely the independents don't realise that the Family Violence bill is the American VAWA: The WMD of families, masquerading here as protecting children. Send with your objection VAWA Feminist Pork  the Hate-Men Law Time to Defund Feminist Pork - the Hate-Men Law -- October 2005 Phyllis Schlafly Report
 and VAWA costs taxpayers at least $112 billion each year How Our Tax Dollars Subsidize Family Breakup | Parental Rights
My latest information is that it has left the House of Representatives and is with the Senate. The Senate enquiry concludes at the end of June and unless there is any outcome from the Senate report then we will have to a accept that this outrageous piece of legislation will pass into law.

It will absolutely become an election issue that is for sure where we have the parties now divided. Previously Family Law had been dealt with in a manner that delivered Bi Partisan (Both Parties) support. This bill could have had amendments made that would have allowed such support. In the end there were just three issues that, IF dealt with, would have brought a satisfactory conclusion to this matter.

It is a shameful day on this Government for the imposts that they will now deliver to one of the partners in any separating family. Time will tell and we will be watching the stats.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Upcoming Public Hearing
8 July 2011
Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee
Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 [Provisions]
CANBERRA: Committee Room 2S3, Parliament House, 9.00am - 5.00pm
Contact: Julie Dennett (02) 6277 3560

Members
Senator Crossin (Chair), Senator Barnett (Deputy Chair) and Senators Furner, Ludlam, Parry and Pratt

Participating members
 Senators Abetz, Adams, Back, Bernardi, Bilyk, Birmingham, Bishop, Boswell, Boyce, Brandis, Bob Brown, Carol Brown, Bushby, Cameron, Cash, Colbeck, Coonan, Cormann, Eggleston, Faulkner, Ferguson, Fierravanti-Wells, Fielding, Fifield, Fisher, Forshaw, Furner, Hanson-Young, Heffernan, Humphries, Hurley, Hutchins, Johnston, Joyce, Kroger, Ludlam, Macdonald, McEwen, McGauran, Marshall, Mason, Milne, Minchin, Moore, Nash, OBrien, Payne, Polley, Ronaldson, Ryan, Scullion, Siewert, Stephens, Sterle, Troeth, Trood, Williams, Wortley and Xenophon

My understanding is that this Senate committee will possibly make recommendations for amendments which are then passed back to the House.

To rub salt into the wound the safety in family law feminist group, safetyinfamilylaw.com, presumably government funded, offered free bus trips from Sydney to Canberra to support the bill.
I also have to admit I am quite politically ignorant.
Are you saying that in your opinion this Bill should not be passed?
There are some very significant problems with the Bill.

It is supposed to reduce violence and specifically family violence but so far I have not seen a single measure that will lead to any reduction in physical violence. Even the Minister for Status of Women, Kate Ellis, has criticised individuals and groups who claim that separated mothers routinely made false allegations of violence and child abuse to gain tactical advantage in family law disputes. She OR her advisor's seem completely out of touch with reality. (See http://flwg.com.au/news/pg/news/view/936/index.php&filter= )

There are many threads and posts on the site that go into what the problems are. I have attached our submission to the Senate enquiry. If you want to take some time out to get up to speed then go to the Senate committee web site and review many of the submissions.

Whatever your views you have just a few weeks to do anything about this Bill. I would be interested to have your response after you have read through our submission and have a better appreciation of things. Unfortunately the people that this bill will affect are most noticeable by their absence in this debate

Attachment
SPCA Submission - Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 - 12 May 2011 with Errata


Attachment

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Thank you for providing the attachments. I am looking forward to reading these.

I will let you know my thoughts and response once I have had a look through, until then I can't make any judgement…
It is remarkable that such far-reaching amendments which can only make a grossly unjust system worse have not been noticed. The only plausible explanation is that no one knows what is happening…until it happens to them - and then any objections will be silenced by an AVO. Even then they cant believe it. I would not want to be in Family Court if these amendments pass. Thank god for this excellent submission from Messrs Greene, Butler and Dabrowski.

One issue not mentioned in the submission is the "and other Measures" in the Bill, in particular, the amendments to the Bankruptcy Act. Does the AG expect a flood of bankruptcies by false allegations? Is the profit of the family law industry to be further protected by preventing discharge of family court debt by bankruptcy for 12 years instead of 7? Is this bill about protecting children or profit?

It is not my intent to hijack this forum, and if this post is inappropriate please delete, however if the reader is interested in registering their protest to these amendments please consider joining a growing grassroots opposition on  Facebook with 4000+ likes Support Mick who climbed The Sydney Harbour Bridge.

This guy has managed the most successful peaceful public demonstration, in particular against Family Law, in Australian history. I note MPs Rod Oakshott, and George Christensen and independent Senator Nick Xenophon perusing public opinion there.
srldad101 said
….
One issue not mentioned in the submission is the "and other Measures" in the Bill, in particular, the amendments to the Bankruptcy Act. Does the AG expect a flood of bankruptcies by false allegations? Is the profit of the family law industry to be further protected by preventing discharge of family court debt by bankruptcy for 12 years instead of 7? Is this bill about protecting children or profit?
Thank you very much for bringing that to attention. We did not deal with it because we had enough problems dealing with the parenting provisions that will break up future families and reduce the possibility of parental involvement by one parent anyway. I did happen to be reading some material relating to property matters and I also noticed that in relation to Child Support payments the outstanding child support assessment is not discharged by bankruptcy so it will be payable even after the bankruptcy has been concluded. If the bankrupt is an employer who is liable to remit child support payments they have priority over all other unsecured AND secured debts. After ASIC had difficulty in dealing with OneTel the Government then moved to close loop holes in transferring of funds when bankruptcy. I suspect the measures passing are in line with extending provisions in the bankruptcy Act but I have not had a chance to look closely into that. All our current efforts are to preserve what little is in the FLAct that supports substantially the equitable sharing of parenting responsibilities.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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The Family Violence debate hits the air tonight on ABC radio Tony Delroy's nightlife.

"Wednesday June 22nd: Is family law looking after children? Richard Spence from the Benevolent Society and child protection expert Professor Freda Briggs explore this sometimes contentious issue"
Tony Delroy's Nightlife from ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

I have a bad feeling Briggs & Spence both support the Family Violence Bill - protect children by removing parents. Doesn't it seem more likely this would put the majority of children at increased risk?

Current status of the Family Violence Bill

Hi to Everyone

If passed by Parliament, in its present form, the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 will significantly reduce contact by children with both parents after divorce/separation.

The Bill was passed by the House of Representatives on 30 May 2011, without any change. There is a Senate Committee Inquiry scheduled for 8 July 2011 in Canberra. The Committee are then supposed to give their report on the Bill to the Senate by 16 August 2011. It will be then voted on by the Senate. Once signed by the Governor-General, the Bill will become law.

All submissions are public documents and they can be located at:



The NCPP(EP)/FLRA submission dated 28 March 2011 is number 1 on the list. Chisholm's response dated 13 April 2011 and our response dated 14 June 2011 can be both found at item number 203 under the same heading.


A copy of our response dated 14 June 2011 is provided below.

Regards

John

____________________________________________________________


The Response to the Senate Committee by the Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting) dated 14 June 2011.

The Committee Secretary,
Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs,
PO Box 6100,
Parliament House.
CANBERRA. ACT 2600.
Fax: (02) 6277 5794
Email: legcon.sen@aph.gov.au 

Attention Ms Julie Dennett

Dear Ms Dennett,

Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 - Reply to Professor Richard Chisholm.

We thank the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs for the opportunity for us to make a response to the comments made by Professor Richard Chisholm to our submission (referred to, in your letter dated 20 May 2011, as Part 2 of Professor Chisholm's submission).

1. Introduction.

We submit that the following organizations have already made general submissions to the Senate Standing Committee. The submissions either seek that the Standing Committee rejects the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 or seek that the Standing Committee has the Bill heavily modified.

    1. Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)
  15. Fairness In Child Support
  44. Dads in Distress Support Services
  45. Mr Roger Smith
  55. Mr David Hardidge
  60. Men's Health Australia
  61. One in Three Campaign
  68. Professor Stephen Brown
  76. Mr Eric Sanders
  95. Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation
108. Mr Simon Hunt, Family Law Action Group
109. Mr Gordon Cramer
145. Mr Dale Williams
146. Joint Parenting Association
150. Mr Matthew Hopkins
151. Mr Alberto Carvalho
152. Mr Alexander Stewart
155. Mr Howard Beale
156. Mr Cameron Smyth
157. Salt Shakers
161. Mr George Potkonyak
167. Richard Hillman Foundation
170. Men's Rights Agency
171. Mr John Stapleton
184. FamilyVoice Australia
190. Lone Fathers Association of Australia
204. Shared Parenting Council of Australia
215. Mr Michael Fox

We do not propose to re-state and analyze the overall issues in this particular response to Part 2 of Professor Chisholm's submission. We believe that the Senate Standing Committee would already have sufficient information on the more significant issues from the above submissions.

At first glance, we note there appears to be many more submissions supporting the Bill (in a ratio of approximately 2:1)

However we submit that many of the submissions supporting the Bill would appear to have been actually written by the same author. This is particularly with regard to the submissions commencing with the words "I am writing to express my support".

2. Professor Chisholm's Concerns about our Comments on potentially erroneous family violence accusations.

Professor Chisholm seems to be concerned that we believe that potentially erroneous family violence accusations would become paramount when deciding whether or not children are to have contact with both parents

We refer the Senate Standing Committee to Item 17 of the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011, viz.
Subdivision BABest interests of the child: court proceedings

17 After subsection 60CC(2)

(2A) If there is any inconsistency in applying the considerations set out in subsection (2), the court is to give greater weight to the consideration set out in paragraph (2)(b).
We also refer to the corresponding reference in the Explanatory Memorandum for the Bill, viz.
Item 17: After subsection 60CC(2)

29. Item 17 inserts new subsection 60CC(2A) which requires the court, when determining what is in a child's best interests, to give greater weight to the primary consideration that protects the child from harm in cases if there is inconsistency in applying the considerations. Section 60CC(2) of the Act provides that the two primary considerations are: (a) the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child's parents; and (b) the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence. Where child safety is a concern, this new provision will provide the courts with clear legislative guidance that protecting the child from harm is the priority consideration.
It is clear that this proposed change "after Section 60CC(2)" would effectively mean that potentially erroneous family violence accusations would become paramount when deciding whether or not children are to have contact with both parents.

This is despite Professor Richard Chisholm's claims to the contrary.

3. Professor Chisholm's Concerns about the accuracy of the Statement that the bill undermines the 2006 amendments.

Professor Chisholm states in his summary that "nor do I think it is accurate to say that the bill undermines the 2006 amendments (leaving aside the emotive word 'sabotage')".

We agree that the 2006 amendments did not say that there would be a rebuttable presumption of equal-time shared parenting. The amendments merely stated that there would be a consideration of "equal-time shared parenting".

However many separated parents (perhaps incorrectly) believed that this is what the legislation said. That is, they believed that the Family Court would genuinely consider that the "rebuttable presumption of equal-time shared parenting" as a starting point.

By shear weight of numbers "equal-time shared parenting" has became more and more the norm since 2006. Very often, this has occurred without having to go to Court.

This new piece of proposed legislation is a "Trojan horse". This is the term aptly used in Parliament by a National Party member of the House of Representatives, the Honourable George Christensen MP, on Monday, 30 May 2011, to describe this Bill

This is also despite Professor Richard Chisholm's claims to the contrary.

As such, we still believe that Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 will adversely undermine the changes made in the 2006.

4. Our Concerns

We have been concerned with the ultra-conservative thinking of Professor Richard Chisholm for some time.

We would refer the Senate Standing Committee to a 33-page paper prepared by the then Family Court judge, Richard Chisholm. The paper is titled "The Paramount Consideration". It was given to the 10th National Family Law Conference in Melbourne in March 2002.

The Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 is about the Best Interest of the Child Principle also referred to as the Paramountcy Principle.

In that paper, Richard Chisholm discussed the "strong view" and the "weak view" of the Paramountcy Principle. In his conclusion, Professor Chisholm came down on the side of the conservative "strong view" of the Best Interest of the Child Principle. (As a disclaimer, it is noted that Richard Chisholm does refer to a case in which the undersigned was a party. This is on pages 27 and 28 of the paper).

We believe that this thinking is reflected in Professor Chisholm's Family Courts Violence Review, which formed the basis of this Bill.

We submit to the Senate Standing Committee that parents after separation are not concerned about "weak views" and "strong views". They are concerned about having a significant amount of contact with their children after separation.

If passed by Parliament, this Bill will certainly adversely affect that desire.

Therefore, due to the lack of consideration of these adverse consequences of the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011, we again submit that the Bill should be rejected in its entirety.

Yours faithfully

John Flanagan
Deputy Registered Officer,
Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting).
2332.au/ 

Attachment
I listened to the show last night - I thought it was very good and very unbias. It was interesting that they too consider a panel a way for the future (I wonder if they have been reading this forum) :)

"When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure"
Some material in via email

A referenced quote attached to the article…

The Gillard government is about to make changes to the Family Law Act under the guise of reducing violence, but many, such as Nationals MP George Christensen, believe the (changes) are a Trojan horse. Christensen, in a recent speech to Parliament, claimed under these changes a father could be accused of violence if he stopped his 13-year-old going to a party where there would be alcohol without adult supervision.


Letter to the Editor, Wollongong Mercury, June 24, 2011

Law puts dads at risk

Although Men's Health Week has just finished and the number of stories published about Mens' Sheds has been heartening, we need to give greater heed to men's health and well being.

Alarming figures released this year from Dads on the Air about male suicide are frightening. Dads on the Air claims more than 30,000 men have committed suicide since a Labor federal government brought in no-fault divorce laws in the 1970s.

These figures are supported by information from Mens' Health Australia, which this year claimed fathers separated from their children (many by the Family Court) are five times more likely than other men to commit suicide.
Graphs show men's suicide is high during those years when they are fathers (as well as the over 60s).

Organisations such as Dads in Distress exist because many fathers sadly take their lives after they have been separated from their children, and the Dads in Distress website has testimonials to some of those men.

The Gillard government is about to make changes to the Family Law Act under the guise of reducing violence, but many, such as Nationals MP George Christensen, believe the (changes) are a Trojan horse. Christensen, in a recent speech to Parliament, claimed under these changes a father could be accused of violence if he stopped his 13-year-old going to a party where there would be alcohol without adult supervision.

These family law changes need to be rejected. They will only cause male suicide and domestic violence to escalate as injustice leads to violence.

Bob Patrech, Figtree (NSW)



Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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