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Royal Commission findings could fix broken family law system

Family Law Reform Council: Media Release

PROTECTIVE parents and law reform advocates called for concrete action today in the wake of the National Apology to survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

Family Law Reform Council Co-Director, Mishka Hudson, has demanded the urgent application of the findings of the Royal Commission to Australia’s family law system.

“Most child sexual abuse occurs in family contexts,” Ms Hudson said. “This was not addressed by the Royal Commission, and not directly encompassed in the PM’s National Apology speech.”

During his delivery of the National Apology to victims of child abuse in Canberra today the Prime Minister acknowledged that “the many survivors who were abused in their own homes” were not covered by the Royal Commission. In response, Mr Morrison announced the establishment of a national research centre aimed at understanding the impacts of child sexual abuse and developing “best practice for training and other services.” However, he stopped short of mentioning the family law system.

In his response to the apology, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the findings of the Royal Commission must apply to all Australians, not only those who were abused in institutions.

“We are sorry that the abuse of children is still going on right here in this country … Too many Australian children are still living unsafe lives,” Mr Shorten stated. “We hear you now,” he said.

Mr Shorten continued, “the words of this apology must come with action,” noting this is “the true test of our words.”

However, Ms Hudson expressed concern at Mr Shorten’s description of children escaping institutions to report abuse, only to be returned by police to these abusive situations. “Do our leaders understand that this occurs every day to Aussie kids under Family Court recovery orders?” she asked. “Do they fully comprehend that parents and children who report abuse to our police and child protection departments are ridiculed and disbelieved when they explain their case is before the Family Court?” she asked.

When sexual abuse occurs in the home, child protection issues are commonly dealt with by Australia’s family law system, including the family courts, state police and child protection departments.

“The family law system is in crisis,” said Ms Hudson. “It is critical that the work of the new research centre applies, directly and urgently, to our family law system, including our family courts, police and child protection departments”.

“The vast majority of Australians would agree that children need to be protected from sexual abuse, wherever it occurs,” Ms Hudson said. “Our Prime Minister said, ‘I believe you. We believe you. Your country believes you.’ If this is so, the Government will take action to protect all Australian kids, immediately, by applying the findings of the Royal Commission directly Australia’s family law system.”

“We need concrete action to protect Australian kids – right now, today.”


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  1. SteveFitz


    “We need concrete action to protect Australian kids – right now, today.” Powerful and provocative words. There is nothing more painful than seeing your children hurt and damaged when there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s heart rendering and it cuts deep, and it persists.

    Since we are on the subject of Family Law I am going to deflect a bit. Although, the theme is still the same – It’s about protecting innocent children.

    This is my experience, not your experience. My ex-wife was a lovely, dark hearted, English lady here for the gold rush handed up on a silver platter by the Family Law Court – She initiated divorce proceedings while I was away on my annual golf trip – As you would, I had a nice house and she wanted it. Anyway, her barrister – Ex-registrar of the Family Law Court turned family-law lawyer – What’s his name? Galinos – Marcus Galinos. Made out that I initiated divorce proceedings to manipulate the man/women statistics and my lawyer went along with everything he wanted. He put a warning on the top of my file that he would go after me if I exposed him.

    It’s all about shonky lawyers making a dollar and they have over-run and corrupted the FLC. They are laughing at you… They will destroy you and your family and tear out the hearts of your innocent children for a buck. Something that’s worthless compared to your family. Because there is no federal corruption watchdog these unscrupulous lawyers, together with their cohort magistrates, get away with murder.

    Here’s the problem: Besides the lawyers, the Family Law Court only sanction what the woman wants opening the door for unscrupulous women to use their children as a weapon to acquire money, assets, power and control over their children, husband and society. The same thing that drives the human condition in a world ravaged by greed. What these women don’t get is that it’s a trap… The intention is to put you down and keep you down and suck as much money out of you as they can. Use your brains girls. The only thing in life worth fighting to the death for is your own family so, who in their right mind would throw it away?

    A man and a woman is a man and a woman. When the children come along they becomes a family. So, who does the family belong to. It belongs to the children and no one has a right to take that away from them. If you hate each other that much and can’t work your way through that to find respect, you still have an obligation to your children so please, wait until they are 18 before you smash each other’s face in.

    What family is about: Two people working together can build an empire and pass that on to their children – Their children add to that and pass that on. The wealth accumulates, and the family becomes financially independent. Two people working against each other lose everything including their children. All is lost for a number of generations for that family. And, the damaged children and their children have to start over. There is only so much room at the top and the intention is to put you down and keep you down and, woman fall for it… 90% of divorces are initiated by woman and it’s not because all men are bastards – It’s because some women don’t think ahead. The damage done to the poor innocent children is terrible – It’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen – The most painful and the most persistent. And all for what? For nothing, because those women who destroy their families for money and assets end up with nothing!

    A vow is no vow at all if it’s forgotten or broken – It’s not that hard to remember.. Give in to each other a bit, find a middle ground and get on with it. Kids Rule – Build that empire. If you are honest with yourself and each other who knows what might happen. Don’t let society beat you down – Fight back and fight for your family. Fight to protect the future of your innocent children.

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Article 16 (3) – “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State”.

  2. ChristopherJ

    Yes Steven, we can all see that the law system exists so that its members can earn a good living. And, I have first hand experience that the lawyer bills can get mind bogglingly big when families break up. Sacked my last one, when she couldn’t keep the bill for a simple negotiation below $3k.

    There’s usually some assets like super and houses to divvy up and that’s what both sides’ lawyers are trying to get their cut of. Sorry you got screwed, mate, and the affect of your break up on your family. The break up part is common in marriages today and it is sad when children are involved – my eldest son is mid 20s with 3 year old and his ‘family’ has broken. Most of us have experience or know someone…

    Nevertheless, it’s a difficult subject for Aussies to discuss, as we are talking about the state taking children from their parents. I think Aussies understand that ‘social services’ need to intervene in some families if they suspect children are at risk of sexual abuse, or violence. But, generally Aussies would prefer to stay out of family ‘business’.

    So, where does this end and begin? There must be a million kids or more living in poverty in Australia tonight, bit hungry, bit cold, bit worried, some even homeless. Their parents have probably made bad choices, couldn’t cut the thrust of modern Australia. /s

    Are they abusing their children, or are we by turning a blind eye to their plight?

  3. king1394

    There is also the ‘fear’ of abuse or in some cases the power to play the abuse card. There are far too many instances where children are denied a meaningful opportunity to spend time with the other parent because one parent has made claims that the child would be at risk with that parent. Unfortunately, sometimes, a parent may coach a young child make accusations. As said above, there can be a lot at stake.

    But what it should all come back to is the child. Children should be listened to and I hope there are people skilled enough to interpret their stories and make decisions that heal and help the child to regain their trust in the world

  4. SteveFitz

    Christopher – “Are we turning a blind eye to the plight of children?” and, King – “What it should all come back to is the child”

    No truer words and, as pointed out by Kaye Lee: We should ask this question on all issues – “Is this best for our children.”

  5. Kyran

    “Family Law Reform Council Co-Director, Mishka Hudson, has demanded the urgent application of the findings of the Royal Commission to Australia’s family law system.”
    That’s all well and good, out here in the real world. The ALRC was doing a study on the nexus under our last AG, Brandis. On the 9 May 2017, the Turnbull Government announced

    “its intention to direct the ALRC to conduct the first comprehensive review into the family law system since the commencement of the Family Law Act in 1976, with a view to making necessary reforms to ensure the family law system meets the contemporary needs of families and effectively addresses family violence and child abuse.”
    The then AG, Brandis, released the Terms of Reference on 27 September, 2017.

    Which notes many significant matters to be addressed, including:
    “the jurisdictional intersection of the federal family law system and the state and territory child protection systems, and the desirability of ensuring that, so far as is possible, children’s matters arising from family separation be dealt with in the same proceedings;”
    Family law is fraught with issues that require urgent addressing, often when those involved are emotionally, mentally and physically vulnerable. Some of the matters particularly referenced;
    – family violence and child abuse, including protection for vulnerable witnesses;
    – collaboration, coordination, and integration between the family law system and other Commonwealth, state and territory systems, including family support services and the family violence and child protection systems;
    – whether the adversarial court system offers the best way to support the safety of families and resolve matters in the best interests of children, and the opportunities for less adversarial resolution of parenting and property disputes;
    – families with complex needs, including where there is family violence, drug or alcohol addiction or serious mental illness;
    These are only some excerpts of the issues the government announced in May, 2017, and started addressing in September, 2017. It heralded a look at a national approach to THE major issue in contemporary Australian society.
    This is not intended as a dissertation on domestic violence, its obvious link to family law or the need for an holistic approach. The foregoing was to demonstrate that this is a significant matter that impacts, one way or another, nearly every Australian – man, woman and child. Naturally, it would take time. “The ALRC should provide its report to the Attorney-General by 31 March 2019.”
    On the 14 March, 2018, the ALRC released the “Review of the Family Law System—Issues Paper”.

    A period of nearly two years was allowed for a thorough review of a system that is desperately important to Australians. Half way through that process, the government says they will change the legal system. Before the facts or evidence are collated. Before any evaluation or analysis is done. Before any recommendations are made.
    On the 30th May, the government announced it was going to overhaul the family court system.

    Within hours, it became apparent that there was something ‘iffy’ about the whole thing. So many questions remain unanswered. Not the least of which are ‘motive’ and ‘intent’. There does not appear to be any dispute the Family Court needs changing – long waiting lists, ineffectual backup services, under-resourcing, orders, even jurisdiction across other courts.
    Yesterday’s apology didn’t negate the need for such enquiries, it accentuated them. This government negated the enquiry in May, with a casual apology in October.
    I mean no disrespect to those who have suffered the traumas of child abuse and only hope the apology was of some consolation or comfort. I can only hope you will understand my opinion that an apology for your suffering, your trauma, your abuse, cannot become a permission for its continuance.
    By any measure this is a shambolic government. That doesn’t demean the apology. It does require they act. In that, I have no confidence whatsoever.
    The FLRC need to catch up with the ALRC. “Royal Commission findings could fix broken family law system” could have worked, before the 30th May. It might even have worked after the apology.
    They both need to bin this government as anything other than a distraction.
    Thank you FLRC and commenters. Take care

  6. Annie Williams

    I am finding that it is me as a mother and my teenage children who are suffering the most with the FLC system. After nearly nine years my former husband is now for the past year, pursuing me through the courts yet it was he who left and moved interstate for another woman. We had a life full of domestic violence, not always physical, but cerfainly threatening physical violence, was sometimes physically violent, and verbal abuse, bullying, emotional, demeaning, financial abuse etc every day until he had all the power and I had none. The FL system doesn’t care because there are no police reports. The system is a joke. It is a witch hunt against me.

    We now live in poverty while he is a millionnaire. There is no justice and no end in sight despite my daughter being 17 this year and my son is 15 shortly and is just starting an apprenticeship. I was told that if my son gets an apprenticeship “it’s all over’ meaning the orders will be discharged. Not so… it seems the father’s high conflict will lead us to a trial. The next court date is early April 2019 to be listed for trial.

    He and his mistress/girlfriend/wife still make malicious allegations to child safety and CPIU demanding the children be removed from my care, and still denegrates my parenting claiming I am not capable of looking after my children citing (nonexistent) mental illness,, they are being molested and sexually abused in my home (yet, we live on our own), I am a religious extremist, the children are home educated and vegetarian, but he still wants them to live with me. So why is he really doing this?

    Any evidence I have (SMS, emails, voice recordings etc) are not considered admissible evidence in court. Neither is testimony from the children. The report writer was obviously biased toward the gentle speaking conman and the ICL liaises with the report writer for solutions. How is that independent? It is not.

    We should not even be in the system. He wants the orders changed so he has the children for half of the school holidays. He already has that. He returns to work and leaves the children in the care of his girlfriend/wife in another city. My children sleep on the floor together in a small office at her place. It has been like that for years. So why is the court entertaining his appllication? If the judge read the initial affidavits at all the case would likely have been dismissd. Yet, they read barely anything until the trial. One judge gave his personal opinion which overrode the law and refused to dismiss the case. I learned later that this is called discretion. I have 18 months before one child turns 18. The father will probably keep me in court until that very day.

    The FLC cares zero about mothers and children. The FLC does nothing until a trial and then only accepts “admissible evidence,” Gone are the days when judges judge in righteousness.

    The government is weak preferring to uphold socially acceptable practices for votes and appeasing immoral adherents (or is it purse holders?). That is why there is no directive for a Royal Commission into the Family Law System, because child abuse, impoverishing mothers, neglectlng and despising chiildren, dismissing family violence, only have independent experts as admissible evidence, is all part of the plan to destroy whatever family unit is left.

    Hundreds of thousands of people in Australia are outraged with the FL system. Yet the governmemt is not moved to demamd a Royal Commission. We have ask why. Who is really pulling the strings here? Children continue to be abused and many die and tens of thousands more die inside but the governemt does nothing. Still no Royal Commission. Mothers and children are starving and living in poverty. The governmemt still thinks that is okay. The mothers are the ones who have to justify their existence and jump through degrading hoops to receive meagre welfare support. It is the mothers who have to sell tbeir homes to pay for court cases they did not initiate because they do not qualify for legal aid. The government and FL system consents to them being homeless to satisfy the father’s wicked intent. Everything is fine so long as all calls for a Royal Commission are ignored. There is no one brave enough to shoulder the fallout.

    What do we do?

    The answer is: breathe. Every moment, try to breathe. Every day mark the calendar and count the months then days when this might all be over. Then do what is not socially acceptable or admissible in court… keep praying, love compassion, act humbly and walk with Elohim knowing that justice may never be served.

  7. Stephen Fitzgerald

    Hi Annie – My heart goes out to you and your innocent children. When you are involved in emotional issues it’s hard to step back and look at the larger picture so, I’ll try to do that for you. Knowing how the world works makes it easier to navigate.

    There are two types of people, givers and helpers and users and takers. That leads to us living in a world ravaged by greed where one part of society feeds off another. To top it off, we have an adversarial legal system that thrives on conflict. For the average person, conflict arises in a couple of key areas. That would be Will disputes and Divorce proceedings. That’s where lawyers make the big bucks and they push it for all it’s worth.

    Keeping that in mind, realise that the Family Law Court (FLC) is a federal jurisdiction and we have no federal corruption watchdog so, corruption can run rampant at a federal level without fear of consequences. This then opens the door for unscrupulous lawyers to manipulate and use that system to feather their own nest.

    Some years back a FLC judge handed down a decisions against a father who took umbrage so he killed the judge. From that point, the FLC refuse to make a decisions one way or the other for fear of reprisal. They will only sign off on what the parties agree to.

    This opens the door for unscrupulous layers to push a dispute and it’s got nothing to do with fairness or justice. Its about beating each other into the ground, over an extended period, until one party gives in. That’s what’s happening in your case. Don’t listen to it and don’t believe the attacks on you, it’s just a strategy. Point that out at the next FLC hearing and also point out that your primary concern are your children and that you have no intention of getting involved in mud slinging.

    Irrespective of what your ex-husbands lawyers are saying, the FLC in on your side. You are the mother and you have the responsibility of the children until they are 18 or finish higher education and you will not deviate from that. Also point that out to the FLC registrar.

    Keep in mind that you don’t need a lawyer to represent you. They will just try to scare you into submission with threats of ‘in court’ exorbitant fees which again, is part of the strategy to get you to give in.

    Once again, the FLC will not pass judgement against you, they will only sign off on what you agree to. Be strong and stand your ground. You have the power and we, along with all of society, are with you.

  8. Annie Williams

    Hi Stephen – Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comment. I found it encouraging and insightful.

    I am not sure that we will be agreeing on anything soon (for the judge to sign off on). The last amendment to the orders in January 2019, he went through all the fuss of demanding extra days to spend with the children…they sacrificed Army Cadet promotions and activities, Pathfinder camp, Duke of Edinburgh, and paid employment, to see their dad. Then he returned to work in another city “to save his leave” and left them in the care of his girlfriend/wife. Now we have strife after she took my daughter to a doctor and made many false claims, which allegedly made the doctor so concerned that she will make a notification to NSW child safety. (We live in QLD).

    Perhaps this is just my season to be humble… nothing happens without a reason. It can be exhausting as we are really fighting a war on the front line, and I am battle weary (from the poison attacks not mud-slinging). I once served in the military for a long time, and yet, the battles were not as raging as this one is. I guess the worst of it is not understanding why my former husband is doing this and what is the point of him pursuing me through court when he left us nine years ago and my children are almost adults? Court orders have been in place for more than 5 years. I can speculate… Narcissist ranks pretty high! So does rigid regimentality! And strategy…

    What I have done is to let go of the rattling restraints of the past. I have moved on from his deceit, and the eyes that always desired violence… I don’t have amnesia from the pain of the past or present, but like Job, the waters around my ankles I will never see again. The poem Invictus once gave me strength at a tortuous time in the army, as it does now, many years on.

    My goal is to facilitate the children’s best interests. That means the father is to highly regard their part-time jobs, apprenticeship, Army Cadets, Pathfinders, Duke of Edinburgh and other leadership activities. He should stop sending one-way flights and then threatening contravention proceedings against me when they refuse to board the aircraft. Given their ages and interests and activities, I refuse to give any make-up time. We don’t have any time to give. He should just move on with his life and leave us alone. Guess we’ll see if a judge will tear shreds off me for holding my ground…

    One day, there will be something to look forward to… a day of great celebration… if I can afford the cheesecake!

  9. Stephen Fitzgerald

    Hi Annie – Your children are young adults and can make up their own mind where they wish to be. Your husband and the FLC can’t force them to do anything against their will. That would be seen as coercion and a form of abuse irrespective of the access orders they may have forced upon you. If your ex-husbands primary concern was the children he would be living nearby so the kids could drop in and see him whenever they felt like it. Trying to control the children and manipulate you through fear reflects his true nature. Once again, point that out to the FLC when the opportunity presents itself.

    Humans have evolved for survival and that’s the main course. Happiness and fun is the desert dished up when times are good. Don’t worry, the cheesecake is on it’s way but, it takes a long time unless you can be somewhat stoic. Then it becomes a matter of how we choose to feel and that, my dear, is our one true freedom.

    Your children are nearly at the age where they will move on and start their own life. The less scars inflicted upon them the better they will fair and the more chance they have of fulfilling their own ideals and asperations. Always put the kids first and protect them. It’s about them, not about you or your husband. Keep reminding yourself that the world is theirs now.

    You strike me as being an intelligent, warm, compassionate and loving person. The right man is out there looking for you and the sooner you can put this behind you the sooner you can move on and the sooner you will find your soul mate.

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