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We cant afford the price of smashed families

Andrew Bolt finally wakes up - comments please

Andrew Bolt Blog  
Monday, February 20, 2012 at 03:31pm

Bolt is the most influential media commentator in the country. He rarely makes a family law comment. It is important that we take this opportunity to make it known to an unaware public that Gillard has in fact underhandedly repealed shared parenting despite her government's protestations otherwise. And that the Emily's list "National Plan" will be the social policy disaster of the 21st century equivalent to  "no-fault" divorce of the 20th.

Have Your Say at We cant afford the price of smashed families

"Professor Patrick Parkinson knows a bit about family breakdown and its consequences. He was chairman of the Family Law Council and the Child Support Scheme, as well as of a review of NSW law the led to Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998.

 His new paper, Another Inconvenient Truth: Fragile Families and the Looming Financial Crisis for the Welfare State pleads for an acknowledgement of a basic truth too often howled down:

This article examines the emerging financial crisis for governments around the western world arising from the growing fragility of family life and the increase in births to mothers without a partner living in the home. The costs of family instability are not just borne by individuals. They are to a very significant extent borne by taxpayers, who provide income support for many parents and their children, pay substantial administrative costs in ensuring income transfers through the child support system, and bear more of the costs of caring for the elderly than would be necessary if a greater number of marital and quasi-marital relationships remained intact.

 The growing costs to the public purse arising from ex-nuptial births and the breakdown of parental relationships are simply unsustainable when taken together with the existing governmental debt burden, growing environmental problems, ageing populations, and the problem of decreased fertility in developed countries. Action therefore needs to be taken by governments to support programs and services that have the goal of promoting safe, stable, and nurturing relationships between children and adults and to eliminate perverse incentives to choose family forms that may not be optimal as a context for raising children

 Encouraging marriage as the preferred context for raising children will no doubt generate some objections, particular from those who celebrate diversity in terms of family form, decry any differentiation as discrimination, and privilege individual autonomy [radical feminism] above collective responsibility. The problem of fragile families is, without doubt, an inconvenient truth. However, the evidence is compelling that two parents tend to provide better outcomes for children than one, and that the most stable, safe and nurturing environment for children is when their parents are, and remain, married to one another

 To say that marriage makes a difference is neither to denigrate other family forms nor to attribute blame. It is to recognise what is best for children, and that while governments should support all children, in all family forms, and help parents and children affected by family breakdown, it ought to do so in such a way that does nothing to undermine marriage".

Destroy the Family, destroy Society I.V. Lenin.

 And a trillion dollar CO2 tax provides the means to rebuild it into a 1970s radical feminist dream of an androgynous, gay inclusive, equality oppressive, fully working but unworkable, left voting Marxist Union.

 Last year Gillard underhandedly repealed shared parenting of one's own children after separation with her Family Violence amendments. These introduced an infinitely elastic definition of family violence to effectively remove the presumption of innocence for Men. They also repealed all penalties for false allegations and protections against poisoning the child's mind supposedly to encourage "unknown" victims to come forth.

In reality, the amendments are feminist pork to Emily's List for women's votes and a disgraceful pandering to the multi-billion dollar divorce-family violence industry to keep their gravytrain alive and well. The "weak" shared parenting reform of 2006 caused litigated divorce (profit) to drop 22%. (50% in countries implementing equal shared care)

Gillard has since announced $2.4B and 20-41% pay increases to female dominated social services for collectivised child-rearing and state-subsidised daycare which ensures fathers will have as little contact with - or authority over - their children as possible even when mothers work. Children are the levers for social change. Forcing Mum's to work significantly reduces parental influence. Children are isolated into another Gillard inspired machination - the building education "revolution" - which provides the indoctrinal means for irreversible social change. How often have we heard her mantra "for OUR children's future".

"How our tax dollars subsidize family breakup". There are massive hidden economic and social costs in this ideological feminist dream -

  • A study by Institute for American Values found divorce and single parent childrearing cost taxpayers at least $112 billion each year or more than $1 trillion over the last decade. This estimate includes the costs to federal, state, and local government of the justice (19.3) & health (27.9) systems, unemployment benefits & welfare programs (16.3), housing assistance (7.3), child welfare (12.0), education assist (6.9) and foregone tax revenues (22.3) at all level of government. In my professional opinion proportionate scaling translates this to $12Billion/year for Australian taxpayers

  • Family breakdown and single parent homes is more closely linked to all our major social ills - poverty, violent crime, substance abuse, child abuse, suicide, depression, underachievement and more - than to any other factor. From this inevitably follows generational family dysfunction and abuse with all the concomitant cost increases in welfare, law enforcement, healthcare and education in a self-perpetuating, ever-expanding cycle.

  • The insidious nature of the Family Violence amendments is that by encouraging litigation to remove the father all these costs will increase while at same time destroying the basic economic unit of modern society, the working family, which generates the wealth to meet those costs and not just today but in future generations. I point out that welfare is now the 5th largest item in the Australian GDP.

  • Child support/enforcement is presented as a way to recover welfare costs by forcing deadbeat dads to support children they abandon. In reality, it has become a lucrative incentive for divorce, effectively bribing mothers to separate with the promise of a tax-free windfall and ongoing benefits subsidized by taxpayers. Far from saving money, child support enforcement loses money and  far more serious  subsidizes divorces and fatherless children that generate additional welfare costs.

  • Further, mothers are not only enticed into divorce with promises of lucrative support payments; they are also coerced into it through threats of losing their children themselves. Mothers are now ordered to divorce their husbands on pain of losing their children through spurious child abuse accusations. Intact middle-class families now live in fear of a visit from the dreaded child protective services with the possibility of losing their children.

Last edit: by srldad101

Samba are you anywhere????? Samba care to read this?

lets just hope that WHEN the libs get back in they will repeal this nonsense that the gillard government put in place.
It's not labor we should be worried about. It's obvious the Greens will benefit from Labor's woes but I have to mention they are not split like Labor is on some matters and have even more profeminist perspective femnasties behind them.
Fairgo raises a very important point and we are indeed lucky that the greens did not get their last minute amendments over the line in November!!
Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia, Australian Greens Whip) (19:50) said
The Greens support the intent of the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill.

In 2006, when the Howard Government brought in their so called reforms to the Family Law Act, the Australian Greens expressed our strong concern and opposition to many of the amendments. In fact, we moved many of our own to address those issues. We were particularly concerned about the reforms that affected the best interests of the child, the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility and also the definition of domestic violence.

Specifically, we were concerned with the aspects of the bill that sought to privilege parents' rights over parental responsibilities and children's rights.

The notion of equal shared parenting presented in this bill, we believe, reflected a commodification of children that failed to address the best interests of the child based on individual need and circumstances. We were also concerned that the definition of family violence adopted in the bill and then, of course, in the act failed to address the complexity and multidimensionality of this issue and, in so doing, did not provide adequately for family members at risk of family violence, particularly women and children.

We were also concerned about the implications of some of the other amendments, specifically the cost orders for false allegations. I outlined these concerns at the time quite extensively, but I would particularly like to remind the chamber of a specific comment I made expressing concern that:

Provisions which require consideration of specific types of parenting arrangements, whether they call for equal or substantially shared time, necessarily direct attention away from a free and open consideration of what arrangements may be in the best interests of the child in any specific case.

That is why the Greens believe that a presumption of equal shared responsibility should not be introduced and that each case should be considered on its own merits.

We were concerned at the time that:
 the two-tiered approach of having primary and additional considerations when determining the best interests of the child does not consider the best interests of the child. The Greens support the retention of the current structure of the act. We are concerned that the child's views will be relegated to the list of additional considerations, effectively putting the parent's desire for access ahead of the child's need for security.

I canvassed those issues extensively at the time. We are not surprised that, since then, these so-called reforms have come under harsh criticism from lawyers, advocates and parents for placing the rights of the parents over the best interests of the child.

We believe that the reforms have put many children and their families in dangerous situations. That is why we welcome the government's efforts to address these problems and undo someunfortunately, only some of the mistakes made by the Howard government. Later, I will go into our concerns that this bill does not go far enough.

We support the prioritisation of the safety of children in family law proceedings and the changes to the definitions of family violence and abuse. Importantly, as we have advocated for over five years, the bill places the best interests of the child as the primary consideration in parenting matters.

The definition of abuse has been expanded to include psychological harm, neglect and, notably, exposure to family violence, and a definition of family violence has been placed in the act. The friendly parent and mandatory costs orders provisions, both of which have raised great concern as a major disincentive for reporting family violence, are also being repealed. These changes, and many others contained within the bill, represent very important steps forward in protecting the best interests of children and victims of family violence. The Greens support these changes; however, we believe they do not go far enough.

In our dissenting report of the inquiry by the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee into the 2006 amendments, the Greens recommended that the definition of family violence not be amended and considered that the proposed tests were not adequate.

We further recommended:
Upon completion of the Australian Institute of Family Studies review; the Government should work closely with State and Territory Governments to formulate a comprehensive, effective and uniform definition of family violence.

I am therefore very pleased that the government has revised the flawed approach of the 2006 changes.

I commend this bill for recognising that exposure to family violence is a form of abuse. It is an important step in improving the protection of children and prioritising their safety. However, the Australian Greens believe that exposure should be included in the definitions of family violence and of abuse and that the definition of family violence should be clarified to ensure that the parent victim is not held responsible for the exposure.

The Australian Law Reform Commission notes:
There has been a considerable amount of research documenting the fact that exposure of children to family violence causes long term emotional, psychological, physical and behavioural issues.
It urged the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee inquiry into this bill to include exposure in the definition of family violence and abuse, as certain behaviour can constitute both.

It must also be made clear that victims of violence must not be held responsible for not being able to remove children from the violence. This recommendation is supported by the Australian Law Reform Commission and Women's Legal Services Australia. We seek assurances from the government that it considers this to be implicit in the changes it is making.

While we are pleased that the government is addressing the best interests of the child, we were concerned that, because some of the bill's other provisions were not being amended, the way in which the changes had been drafted presented inconsistencies about whether the best interests of the child or maintaining a meaningful relationship with parents prevails. This issue was raised in the committee inquiry by a number of witnesses and in a number of submissions. So we are pleased that the government is seeking to amend the bill to ensure that this is clear.

The Australian Greens were concerned that the changes do not go far enough and that the changes do not go to the issues of perceived equal shared parenting and equal shared parenting responsibility. A large number of submissions, including those of professors Rhoades and Dewar and of the WLSA, recommended removing the two tiers of factors present in section 60CC and creating a single list, of which child safety would be the first consideration and be given priority.

The government amendments address that. We would have liked to see them go a little bit further.

The Australian Greens support the fact the government has recognised that it is absolutely essential that the best interests of the child are given primary consideration.

That is why we find it very concerning that the government took a step back from the amendments that, as I understand it, they were originally considering around addressing equal shared parental responsibility, which the 2006 changes introduced into the act. We believe that the government has not gone far enough in addressing this issue and that having that in place still puts at risk the best interests of the child. As I said at the time:

While 'equal shared parental responsibility' and 'equal time' are not one and the same, they are inter-related in a way that creates an unacceptable formula in the bill
I said 'bill', but it is now obviously in the act.

The concept has moved from a 'presumption of equal time' to a presumption of 'equal shared parental responsibility'.

I acknowledge that. I went on:
However, we are concerned that with a starting point of a child spending 'equal time' or 'substantial and significant time' with each parent this will be a de facto presumption of equal time.

The operation of a presumption such as this, de facto or otherwise, is likely to lead to an inappropriate and harmful focus in determining what is best for children.

Evidence to the committee inquiry clearly pointed out that that is in fact what happens. Starting from a presumption of equal time, regardless of what is said about it not being that, that is in fact what happens.

Subsections 61DA(1) and (2) of the act required the court to presume that it is in the best interests of the child for the child's parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that a parent has engaged in abuse or family violence. There are numerous problems with this provision. Professor Chisholm, an expert in this area of law, who presented a submission in person at the inquiry, has explained that aspects of the legislation, including ESPR, are 'unnecessarily complex and confusing, making it hard for people to focus on the best interest of children'. While the act does not create a presumption of favouring equal time, it can easily be interpreted that way, as it is the only outcome the act specifically mentions. Professor Chisholm notes:
On this, as on other matters, I believe that the Act is subtly incoherent, sending out inconsistent messages. Not surprisingly, the AIFS Evaluation and other reports reveal that it has caused considerable misunderstanding.

As I pointed out, that was raised a number of times.

According to evidence given at the inquiry, the presumption of equal shared care is meant to be rebutted by family violence, but it is not given due weight, especially at an interim stage where the family violence allegations are unlikely to be considered or tested. These concerns are supported by the AIFS evaluation which found that, of parents who had set up arrangements after the 2006 reforms, those with safety concerns were no less likely than other parents to have shared care-time arrangements.

It is self-evident that failure to adequately consider family violence can lead to negative outcomes. Data provided as part of the inquiry indicates that the reforms have been successful in producing an increase in shared care arrangements since the legislation came into force. At the same time, however, the research indicates that a significant number of these arrangements are characterised by intense parental conflict and that shared care of children is a key variable affecting poor emotional outcomes for children. Further evidence from the Family Law Council stated that there is no clear evidence on the benefit of shared parenting arrangements.

They said:
The recent research that has been released, including reports by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Cashmore and others and McIntosh and others, indicates that shared parenting arrangements of themselves offer no independent benefit to children compared with other types of arrangements where children see their non-resident parent regularly and there are no concerns about safety, violence and conflict.

It became increasingly evident throughout the hearing process that a flexible approach is needed, tailored to the circumstances of each family, not a one-size-fits-all requirement of shared responsibility. Parenting arrangements should always be governed by the best interests of the child and should be determined on a case-by-case basis. Evidence indicates that the presumption of ESPR does not necessarily equal the best interests of the child. We believe that these provisions should be repealed.

In fact, I have got amendments to do that, because that would complement the other amendments that the government has made. This is not to say that we do not think shared parenting arrangements work. We are not saying that. We are saying you need to work those out in the best interests of the child, and there is still a part of this act that is inconsistent with the changes that the government wishes to make.

Finally, the Australian Greens draw attention to a recommendation made by the Women's Legal Service Australia when we were holding this inquiry into this bill.

Over 50 per cent of parenting matters in the family law courts involve allegations of child abuse and/or family violence. As such, the WLSA recommends implementing a risk management framework to identify and explore issues of family violence and child abuse at the initial stages of application. Such early risk assessment 'would contribute to ensuring that the matter proceeds through the most appropriate court division and ensuring less adversarial and earlier resolution of issues' as well as assisting 'agencies to ensure that appropriate referrals can be made and safety planning undertaken for women and their children when necessary'.

The Australian Greens recognise that implementing a risk assessment framework would present a significant and broad reform of the family law system and related government policy.

However, we believe that this suggestion is worthy of support and we recommend that it be explored further in any other amendments that are made to the Family Law Act.

We will be supporting this law reform. We believe they are significant reforms. As I articulated earlier, we believe that they address significant flaws in the Family Law Act. They do not go far enough. I was concerned, and am still concerned, that the government did not proceed with as full and extensive a set of amendments as we had at first anticipated they would. Having said that, these amendments will make a real difference to the safety of families, and the safety of children in particular, and put the best interests of the child at the centre of things rather than sublimating the interests of the child to the de facto presumption of equal shared care, which actually then prioritises a parent's rights above the best interest of the child. This redresses those flawed amendments. Having said that, we will be supporting this legislation. However, we will be moving amendments specifically to improve the definition of family violence and also, as I said, to remove the shared parental responsibility provisions that are currently in the Family Law Act.
Secretary Spca said
The Greens draconian policy around family law would remove what little comfort is left for parents who do not get an opportunity to spend time with and know their children.

The mean spirited angry psychologically challenged ex parent, who withholds contact is one thing, but to suggest the removal of the only thing left for those parents who effectively have nothing in the way of a relationship with their children is, in my view scandalous and shame shame on you Senator SIEWERT. The withholding of contact for no good reason should have been included in the definition of family violence. Many submissions to the Senate suggested this was so.

The Greens amendment to repeal 61DAwould simply eradicate or exclude good parents from children's lives. It has nothing to do with family violence.

The misguided Greens Senator tells us that these changes, and many others contained within the bill, represent very important steps forward in protecting the best interests of children and victims of family violence. I see little in the Bill that will reduce or stop family violence. Where does the Senator suggest any real measures that would do so? In fact the eminent Professor Bala who was recently in Australia, and whom I attended at Sydney Uni, suggests concerns about the value and extending definition of Family Violence to include repeated derogatory taunts. Is this really violence? Will it now simply lead to much more litigation around the wrong issues and put violence as the only main issue on the table?

What about the new amendments that require courts to look at and consider AVO and any other State based violence orders? Will we now just focus only on these issues and not important other best interest principles?

How the Greens Senator can stand there in the Senate and suggest that one parent, the other parent, should not have some, or any, idea of what is going on in Schooling, Medical care, Religious upbringing and the other few MAJOR issues in their children's lives that have been specified in the Act, is completely scandalous and you should resign. Tell that to the desperate fathers and mothers who have no contact whatsoever or the father forced to have to pay for a three hour block but have only a meagre 45 minutes contact in a run down contact centre, simply because the mother won't give 1 second more. What about the unemployed father who cannot get a job as he is funded by legal aid and is desperate to see his child. Loosing legal aid is not an option he could bear to face as it means the end of his hope for contact.

If you have little else to do one day, please feel free to attend court with me and review why 61DA is such a critical part of the ACT and why it gives some hope to parents who for no good reason cannot see their children
Greens amendments as submitted to the Senate

Liberal party amendments and Amendments to be moved by Senator Brandis on behalf of the Opposition in committee of the whole.

Final changes by Labor party on the night.

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
i hope the greens do not get to dictate our government next time round either.

we should have had a re election. how is it that a few independants and a minority party have so much clout in our government.
The trend is not looking good as with every election the greens are getting a higher primary vote although the Carbon Tax might have a negative effect next time round if people see that it came from them. The current internal problems in the Labor party will only send more votes to the greens. The Liberals will have to attack both parties to win the next election. I think we need to focus on opposing the greens and exposing them for who they are. I'm not opposed to sustainable living etc… or gay marriages etc…. but I do draw the line with their profeminist perspective. This needs to be drawn out as the every day person wont like it either. If anything the Labor Christian voters will not move to the greens just on the gay and lesbian issues. I see the greens more as leaches in our society as they represent academics who think they can manipulate the people or workers and and business to their own ends. It would be a lot easier to discredit the greens than Labor.

Last edit: by Fairgo

Im a little confused as to which of the original post is actually Bolts article. Are you able to post a link please. :)

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

 I see the Greens in Australia becoming more like the Greens in Germany; that is to say two parties - one concerned with the environment and one that is a traditional far left wing party. My family members that are involved with Labor politics greatly dislike being held ransom to Ober Grunenfuhrer Bob.

I think it is good thing that the Greens have some power - it shows them for what they really are.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas. 
Im a little confused as to which of the original post is actually Bolts article.

Can someone PLEASE post a link please.

"When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure"
Click the hyperlink "We can't afford the price of smashed families" and Bolt's article opens in new window

Last edit: by srldad101

Also see new post - Emerging Financial Crisis.

Monti - If so then they will be like the Labor party which I think is split in a similar way. I wonder what the profeminists in the Labor party don't agree with the profeminists in the Greens?
Thanks for the link tip.
Interesting article, but I do not see how Andrew Bolt actually agrees with everything that was stated in the paper exert. There are some points in the paper that I agree with (i.e. no more baby bonus) but I do not see how reverting to the archaic patriarchal times of yesteryear will help todays society.

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