Reference source: Sydney Morning HeraldThe Sydney Morning Herald
5 May 2007
Child-hiding dad wants court changes
AAP - The father who sparked a nationwide search for his children when he failed to return them from an access visit plans to campaign for courts to better honour the rights of children.
Murray Robertson, 59, created national headlines this week when he gave himself up to police after being on the run with his three children for six weeks.
The children, Bokkie, 10, Matilda, nine and seven-year-old Barney have since been reunited with their mother, Philippa Yelland.
Mr Robertson handed himself in to police in Launceston last Thursday after The Family Court took the unusual step of publicly naming his children and releasing their photographs.
Speaking from Tasmania, Mr Robertson said he would go to the Family Court in Melbourne on Monday to appeal to the chief justice to give greater credence to the wishes of children.
Mr Robertson said courts failed to adhere to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Australia was a signatory.
Murray Roberston saidI have been given a "rare opportunity" by the events of the last week to speak for the hundreds of thousands of children at the centre of custody disputes, and bring to the attention of the public the courts "over simplification" by asking children to choose between parents.
This is not about custody, the children put me second on their list. Number one on their list is their home, their friends, their school, the waterfalls and camping spots nearby. That is where they want to be.
He said guidelines issued by the Family Court for child representatives were also ignored by the legal fraternity.
Admitting he had "no idea" when he would next see his children, Mr Robertson said he had received widespread support over his actions of the last week.
Murray saidEither one parent or another is given custody, and the children then become effectively a prisoner of that parent. If that parent wishes to … they are given an absolute right to enforce everything that they want to and the child still has no right.
He denied being a member of the religious movement The Family, but confirmed he had attended its church services and had friends in the group.
He said he planned to take his message to Canberra and Brisbane after campaigning outside the Family Law Courts in Melbourne on Monday.