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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.”


5 comments

  1. SteveFitz

    FAMILY LAW

    “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

    https://www.alrc.gov.au/inquiries/family-law-system

    “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.

    https://www.alrc.gov.au/inquiries/family-law-system/terms-reference

    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”.

    https://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/family-law-system-ip

    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.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/may/30/coalition-to-overhaul-family-court-system-in-bid-to-improve-efficiency

    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

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