Objectives and PurposesThis Association is a non-profit Association whose purpose includes:
- To promote the family as the fundamental social unit of society;
- To encourage and support parents, to jointly and equitably share the rights, duties and responsibilities of parenthood;
- To promote the fundamental rights of children to maintain frequent and continuing contact with both their mother and father following parental separation or divorce and to experience and enjoy, the love, guidance and companionship of both their parents in an equal and shared manner;
To ensure on going reforms to the Family Law Act which must be revised, shortened, simplified as suggested in the 2006 amendment reports, and be based on the core principles of the paramountcy of the long-term welfare of children; a presumption that children can expect to have a significant, substantial or equal time relationship with their parents after parents separate; expand the existing rebuttable presumption of shared parental responsibility to allow an excluded parent to have more interaction with important family decision making, provide for gender equality; a requirement to prove that a parent is unfit before allowing a child to be denied access to that parent, even temporarily and section 121 must be amended, as a priority to remove secrecy, and a lack of transparency which is not in children's best interests.
Notes: It is acknowledged that parents have different capacities or interests in effecting a shared time arrangement. However it is expected that the parents will declare such time they are able to accommodate and implement such arrangements within 12 weeks of separating.
- To advocate the enactment of Commonwealth and/or State legislation which establishes a presumption in favour of both shared residence (not implemented) and shared parenting responsibility (implemented in 2006);
- To bring to the attention of relevant Commonwealth and/or State authorities the social and legal circumstances of separated families, and to ensure their interests are safe-guarded in the implementation of legal and administrative systems affecting them;
- To raise public and official awareness of social policy which acts against the best interests of children, and exposes them to unacceptable risk of emotional or physical harm;
- To advocate the right of children to the continuing emotional, moral, physical and financial support of their mothers and fathers following separation or divorce;
- To advocate the enactment of Commonwealth and/or State legislation which encourages the continuing involvement of their mothers and fathers in the support of their children following parental separation or divorce.
- The SPCA supports a national Family Commission - with separate Finance & Parental Care sections, expertise in appropriate disciplines, and potentially under the auspices of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal â(EUR-)" This should replace our various Family Courts (Family Court of Australia, Family Court of WA, and Federal Circuit Court). Demonstrated failures to adhere to orders and decisions should be referred automatically to the local court for expedited rulings and enforcement.
- Promotes a change to the way allegations of drug abuse, alcohol and substance, sexual abuse or domestic violence should be dealt with. These need to be urgently and independently dealt with by authorities and a local court, adhering to proper standards of evidence.
- Promotes the idea that there should be an immediate, substantial shift of resources from the family court system to mediation and collaborative, educational processes, enabling families to be better informed of, and to make use of, such services at low cost.
- Promotes the concept of and implementation of a 'Families Commission' where disputes about parenting and property matters are first taken to a hearing at the Family Commission - involving both parents, other family members, family friends, and other, relevant evidence, but no lawyers except in some limited circumstances - should take place within 28 days of initial application and should result in substantive rulings.