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Post #51404 by Director SPCA on October 6th 2014, 1:22 AM (in topic “Emerging Issue 136 Child Support Overpayments”)

Emerging Issue 136 Child Support Overpayments:

It is not acceptable that DHS allow child support overpayments to occur.

DHS acknowledge that many employers have rigid payroll processing time frames. Employees are aware of payroll closing times for any leave applications or other pay related purposes. DHS should therefore also be aware of these closing dates and ensure that the necessary written instructions are communicated to employer payroll offices using email, fax, mail or other means to ensure receipt before the payroll closure date. A phone call from a Child Support Officer to an Employer's Payroll Officer should be sufficient where time is off the essence and payroll close-off is imminent. This can always be followed up with the necessary paperwork afterwards.

The problem is that DHS has no single person monitoring each case. They rely on automated systems. It is a system design failure that does not provide pre-emptive action (by the child support IT systems) to prevent an overpayment. Nor is the IT system providing an alarm notification to the SCO in order to take action.

For DHS to leave the problem in place and accept that 20% of overpayments are not remedied, that is, paid back in a timely fashion or not at all, is simply a derogation of duty and is not acceptable in my view.

DHS apply a rigid and blunt approach to the commencement of child support payments and garnishee. The payer, once identified, has little recourse but to start paying or having pay deducted automatically. That is, payers have little or no control over the transfer away of their personal income.

DHS hold payers to this high standard and scrutiny and automated deductions, with or without payers' approval.

The same high standard and rigour needs to apply to the prevention of overpayments, that is, garnisheeing more money than should legally be taken. And overpayments, when they occur, should be held and returned to the owner, and not transferred to the payee which makes recovery difficult and more often than not, impossible.

The IT Systems within DHS should be interlinked with Centre-link to enable recovery of over paid monies from Family Tax Assistance 'A' and related benefits. In the absence of automated systems to pre-emptively warn of impending overpayment and generate and send the necessary letter to employers, Child Support Officers should review daily their case files looking specifically for signs that the danger of overpayment is imminent, in order to act early enough to notify employers' payroll.

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Post #36672 by Director SPCA on June 1st 2011, 12:37 AM (in topic “Minister for the Status of Women misled the Parliament”)

Minister for the Status of Women misled the Parliament: Fathers stereotyped as fugitive and irresponsible

New Section 18 Paragraph 60CC(3)( c )

( c ) the extent to which each of the childs parents has taken, or failed to take, the opportunity:
 (i) to participate in making decisions about major long-term issues in relation to the child; and
 (ii) to spend time with the child; and
 (iii) to communicate with the child;
 (ca) the extent to which each of the childs parents has fulfilled, or failed to fulfil, the parents obligations to maintain the child;

The new section 18 Paragraph 60CC(3)( c ) is retrospective, backwards looking at the marriage and the parenting roles, whereas the previous section was forward looking, aspirational and cast an eye over the willingness of parents to foster the child's relationship with the other parent. Clearly under the new provisions, if dad was out working and mum was at home with the kids, the father will be deemed to be absent, uninvolved, uncaring, detached, not doing the parenting. Father absence from the home will be all the judge needs to find against fathers. It creates a controversy and contest as to who was the better parent, rather than accepting the truth that the best parent is both parents and every child has a mother and a father.  At any time in the intact family, the deal both parents agree works best in their circumstances is often a division of labour which requires one to work outside the home. What's wrong with that? the sacrifice that parent makes to be away from home earning a wage to sustain the family should not be turned against that parent as a weapon and reason to doubt his fitness to parent and depth of relationships. The truth is that many working fathers arrive home every night and relate to their children daily. Post separation the deal is off; parents live separate lives and re-negotiate their working schedules. An opportunity for a father to spend more time now with his children than was possible previously is an opportunity to be embraced in the best interests of the child and to enable a meaningful relationship to flourish.

The new section in the Bill is an old radical feminist rant that in the 2002-2006 reforms was dismissed for being a cynical power grab, adversarial and unhelpful to future parenting responsibilities.
We can expect the number of orphaned children to increase as mother's claim property rights over 'her' children, no longer his children or their children jointly.

This is such a cynical, possessive and evil provision that if passed, will need to be repealed as soon as possible to limit the impending harm to children and parents (read fathers) segregated from their children for the feminist crime of being "absent dads".

Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton said…

"What is called matriarchy is simply moral anarchy, in which the mother alone remains fixed because all the fathers are fugitive and irresponsible.."

which is exactly how fathers will be treated should the new provision become law.

It was disappointing to see the intellectual weakness of the gang of 3 Independents who voted in Federal Parliament in favour of such a flawed and destructive Bill.

And true to form all Laborites fell in line like clicking soldiers in a single voting block in their radical feminist war on fathers and the natural family.

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Post #35473 by Director SPCA on March 27th 2011, 1:51 AM (in topic “Proposed Revision of Paragraph 60CC (3) (c ) designed to find fault in parents”)

Proposed Revision of Paragraph 60CC (3) (c ) designed to find fault in parents

In a recent news topic published on the FLWG and widely reported last week, the Secretary of the Shared Parenting Council of Australia made a number of comments about the proposed legislation that the Federal Attorney General has introduced.
Wayne Butler, Secretary of the Shared Parenting Council said
Existing Section 60CC appears to have been left intact; which is an area where we had fully supported the existing Act.

    60CC
    Primary considerations
    (2) The primary considerations are:
    (a) the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the childs parents; and
    (b) the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.

However it is s60CC (3) (c ) that is problematic and deserves scrutiny and revision to the existing section.

    Paragraph 60CC (3) (c )

    (c ) the willingness and ability of each of the childs parents to facilitate, and encourage, a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent;

Is a fundamental and principal of the 2006 reforms that must be preserved.

The new provisions are:

    18 Paragraph 60CC(3)(c )
    Repeal the paragraph, substitute:
    (c ) the extent to which each of the childs parents has taken, or
    failed to take, the opportunity:
    (i) to participate in making decisions about major long-term issues in relation to the child; and
    (ii) to spend time with the child; and
    (iii) to communicate with the child;
    (ca) the extent to which each of the childs parents has fulfilled, or failed to fulfil, the parents obligations to maintain the child;

failed to take, the opportunity?
I agree and comment further

The Governments proposed revision of 60CC(3) will support the power imbalance which occurs during separation when one parent removes the children, often geographically far from home and denies contact to the other parent, usually the father. The opportunity to spend time with and communicate with the child is denied yet could be claimed or construed to mean a level of disinterest by the parent toward the welfare of his children. This clause would ignore a parental abduction by projecting the fault (of removal and denial of contact) onto the the alienated parent, and then proceed to further limit that parents time lived with his children even though he is powerless due to the abduction.

This clause is not bound by time limits; in fact it expands time and would allow judges to inquire into the pre-separation marital and parenting arrangements and the division of labour within the privacy of the home and family. These arrangements are private, agreed between the spouses and operate at the time in the best interests of the children and parents alike. However many of these arrangements are null and void after separation as both parents must re-design their lives, negotiate new living and work arrangements centric to their childrens needs. The new clause 60CC(3) would unjustly penalise parents and children by a retrospective judgement of past parental involvement and orders would be made that tended to repeat those arrangements into the future. Significantly for fathers who work, the court would use past parenting time and involvement to restrict future parenting time. The judgement and ordering of reduced parenting time based on the parents previous sacrifices to support the family denies the new reality of both fathers and mothers having a fresh opportunity to shape their working lives around being present for and residing with their children.

]The original section the willingness and ability of each of the childs parents to facilitate, and encourage, a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent is forward looking, aspirational, testing the degree to which both parents are focused on their childrens needs and fundamental best interest to stay in relationship with the other parent.

The new clause the extent to which each of the childs parents has taken, or failed to take, the opportunity: is couched in the negative, and is designed to tease out reasons why the parents and their children should not enjoy shared parenting time post the separation. The clause is self defeating by finding reasons to fail the parents for carrying out their past joint parenting arrangements and parenting patterns.

Edward Dabrowski

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Post #29947 by Director SPCA on May 23rd 2010, 10:07 AM (in topic “I am worried my ex will not bring our sons back from interstate”)

I am worried my ex will not bring our sons back from interstate:

Dear Noz,
I feel for you because you seem to be between a rock and a hard place when wanting to trust the father but his past performance makes you wary and apprehensive…and rightly so.
Making demands of you like for a new set of clothes and his reference to the children and he being a 'unit' and that you couldn't change that, would leave most parents a little uneasy I think.
Where does his anger come from…? is it the AVO that he resents….is it the lack of contact….does he blame you for the lack of contact….does he blame himself because he wants to be more available but perhaps can't handle greater parenting…perhaps the alcohol is getting in the way?….was his violence toward you precipitated by the break up or had he gone through life carrying anger from childhood or other legacy experiences?

How long has it been since the father spent any time with his sons? If this is the first trip after many months or even years of physical separartion then I think it would be best that you accompany your boys and arrange they meet their dad in a very public place with you in sight of them. I really think that the AVO should not be breached and from what you said it appears to be in place currently for your protection and the boys protection too. Do you know if the violence related to the AVO was related to the heat of the break up or does it run deeper than that? I think I would feel uneasy about allowing my children to set of on a trip if the substance of the AVO is still a major concern. You should either leave it in place because the protection is still warranted or go through the process to have it dismissed…only you are close enough to your personal situation to make that call !

I feel that if you sense you must ask the father to put in writing a promise to return your boys, then before the visit goes ahead, you need to have greater dialogue with him and come to a conclusion after more discussion. His comments to you that made you uneasy might just be him grasping to stay connected ( and he sees you as hostile to this). Never the less, his comments have a tone of desperation and defiance which I think made you apprehensive initially, so go with your gut feeling as to whether or not their father can be trusted before sending your boys interstate. If it were me then I would do more work to engage their father and have discussions and perhaps even a meeting before sending the boys. But the AVO would need to be dealt with and perhaps an undertaking in writing from him is needed before dropping the AVO and letting interstate visits occur.

So far, with the information given, I have talked about fears and apprehension that you must be feeling. On the positive side, the father does keep in contact by phone which is encouraging…less encouraging if you are constantly facilitating the calls because he has forgotten or hasn't bothered.

If this was the first interstate trip the boys do alone in the past five years and the father only ever had phone contact, then short of any other information about your history, I would not be allowing the trip before you had more evidence of the fathers positive intentions and itinerary with your children. Only you can engage with your Ex to work out a plan moving forward for greater contact one step at a time. If you feel the interstate visit is too big a leap, then take a step back and work with your Ex to rebuild trust sufficient for you to leave them alone with him.

As parents we have to know when to let go and learn to deal with our feelings towards letting our children take risks and asserting their greater personal autonomy.
However you still want to protect them and I think in your case the father might be difficult to deal with given past history of alcohol and violence … in which case you need to exercise extra caution and judgment.

I feel for you because to some extent all parents have to make these kinds of choices but in your case concern for safety is greater than most and you must act with that in mind.
Don't feel pressured to decide an all or nothing weekend trip away for the boys. Try to agree with the father a gentle return to some contact where he gives you more reasons to be assured of his intentions and your children's welfare. If this is too difficult to do then seek professional help and engage him in a process that restores physical contact incrementally, perhaps with supervision from a third person if really necessary. Hopefully contact would then be happening on a regular basis. His decision to relocate interstate hasn't helped in this regard but off course economics and job availability as well as life style reasons influence where people live. Still it would be better if he tried to live closer to make the contact more regular.

In short, you must confront your fears and also face facts…not easy I admit, so take your time and don't rush to agree anything until you have greater assurance of your children's safe return.

Regards
Federal Director

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