ERROR: A link was posted here (url) but it appears to be a broken link.Editor ABC Online Michael Lermontov Midgley writes…
I refer to the ABC TV Lateline interview, Shared care system under family law spotlight, broadcast on August 27, 2009, and would like to make the following remarks:
Under the Family Law Reform Act 1995, the Family Court is constituted to uphold 2 childrens rights: Firstly, that to be protected from violence and abuse - shared by everyone in society - and, secondly, that to be known and cared for by both their parents when both are suited to fulfill a parenting role. Further, as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Australia has recognised these rights to be minimum human rights and promised to the international community to uphold them.
If, as former Chief Justice of the Family Court Alistair Nicolson suggested in the ABC interview, there's a risk that violence may be overlooked in the quest for shared-parenting responsibility, that is not, as he goes on to say one of the problems about the legislation, but rather a statement about the competence of the Court to discharge it.
In 1993, during his term as Chief Justice of the Court, the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia circulated a paper in private amongst the legal profession called Protecting children after Bieganski how much is enough?, written by the recently retired Chair of the Section, Ian Kennedy. The paper describes in detail systemic abuse of children and parents throughout the family law professions, with the exception of the legal profession. Other insiders have said that everyone has been involved, including the lawyers and judges.
It may be that if Nicholson was genuinely concerned to improve the quality of justice available in family law, he would have directed his attention a long time ago to the quality of people responsible for its administration.
I would like to suggest that if the ABC were to shine a beam of light behind the closed doors of the system, it would expose a scandal on a scale unheard of in Australian social history, affecting up to 40% of all Australians.
If you would like further details, I would be glad to provide some.
Michael Lermontov Midgley.
August 29, 2009.