Thursday Nov 16 19:34 AEDT
Estranged parents would win the automatic right to have their children DNA tested to determine paternity under changes being considered by the federal government.
Prime Minister John Howard says he'll consider changing the law so that men asked to pay child support have an automatic right to a DNA test to prove paternity.
Mr Howard's comments follow a push by Liberal MPs Alby Schultz and Sophie Mirabella to ensure men are not forced to pay to support children that are not their biological offspring.
Their call comes after the High Court ruled Melbourne man Liam Neil Magill was not entitled to $70,000 awarded by a lower court for damages he sought from his ex-wife for the pain he suffered when DNA tests revealed two of her three children were not his.
Mr Magill paid child support for all three children for eight years after the marriage broke down.
Mr Schultz and Ms Mirabella have called for legislative reform to address the problem of paternity fraud.
Mr Schultz on ABC radio today saidI just cannot believe that we have allowed a system to evolve over the years … that affects paternity to the point where, even in an environment where a father proves the children are not his, he's deemed to be the father and is forced to pay for them because it might upset the mother who has deceived him by having an affair with another male and bearing the other male's child
Mr Howard speaking to reporters in Sydney saidMen should be entitled to "all the available medical science" to prove paternity, and I am willing to examine the need for law reform.. I think it's an issue that should be examined (but) I'm not going to give a tick,
Mr Howard also saidI think people are obviously, when they believe … their position is in doubt, I think they're entitled to all the available medical science to establish their position.
Whether that means that you need changes is not something I'm properly advised on.
I'm quite happy to look at it because people are entitled, if there is doubt on these matters, to have the situation clarified.