29 February 2012
The Australian Government will be introducing a Bill in March 2012 to provide certainty to people who have orders of the federal family law courts in de facto property and maintenance matters.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said the Bill will correct oversights in 2006 and 2009 where Proclamations were not made to bring into effect changes to the Family Law Act. The Bill will also remove the need for these rare type of proclamations to be made in the future in relation to the Family Law Act.
Ms Roxon also encouraged people who have orders which might be affected by the lack of Proclamation to continue to comply with them.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon saidThis legislation will put people in the same position they would have been if these Proclamations had been made on schedule
I welcome statements by the Opposition and the Greens that they will support this legislation and look forward to its early passage through the Parliament.
The Bill will retrospectively validate de facto property and maintenance orders made by the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Magistrates Court between 1 March 2009 and 10 February 2012 in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Norfolk Island.
Ms Roxon saidThe legislation will eliminate the need for anyone to go back to court to seek new orders
It will also apply to orders made by those courts between 1 July 2010 and 10 February 2012 in South Australia.
A Proclamation under section 40 of the Family Law Act 1975 has been made setting 11 February 2012 as the date from which the federal family courts could exercise this jurisdiction, ensuring there is no doubt about the validity of orders made after 10 February 2012.
Orders in relation to marriage and children are not affected. Likewise, de facto property and maintenance orders made in Western Australia are not affected as Western Australia has not referred its powers in these areas to the Commonwealth.
The Proclamation should have been made in early 2009 to enable the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Magistrates Court to validly make these orders.
The Bill will also retrospectively validate certain orders of the Family Court made on appeal from Family Law Magistrates in Western Australia between 1 July 2006 and 21 October 2011. This will address any concerns about the validity of those orders stemming from a similar Proclamation not made in 2006.
Further information can be found at www.ag.gov.au
Media Contact: Attorney-General's Office - (02) 6277 7300