The Australian Government's reforms of the family law system are not going well. The 2018 discussion paper is a forerunner to the final report. It uses the term "family violence" 775 times, while mentioning "shared care" only twice, and making no references at all to "false allegations".

18 January 2019

Dr Andrew Lancaster, Director of childsupportaustralia.com, shows just how biased the Family Law System Review is. While the Australian Government emphasises the potential for family violence ad nauseam in the discussion paper, it doesn't address the basic concerns of parents, especially fathers, who go to court with the simple objective of securing reasonable contact with their children.

Unfortunately, the biases of the Australian Law Reform Commission extend to their treatment of public submissions. They are still yet to publish many submissions, choosing instead to cherry-pick those which support their particular agenda while not releasing others. The voices of the Mums and Dads who are affected by the (mis)management of family law cases are not being heard.

You can see Dr Lancaster's critique in the video below. Go to 15:19 of the video for a summary. Also, for discussion of the people responsible, see 20:19.

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The Review of the Family Law System by the Australian Law Reform Commission. It's all about FAMILY VIOLENCE!! No reform, just more of the same family violence rhetoric.

We look at the Commission's discussion paper and explain what they've done wrong. The Australian Government has well and truly stuffed up again. They've let down the kids, mothers and fathers of Australia.

You can check out our submissions to the Review here: https://childsupportaustralia.com/submission-family-law-review/

The Review itself can be found here: https://www.alrc.gov.au/inquiries/family-law-system

We're extremely disappointed in the ALRC's discussion paper and hold little hope that the final report will be any better. The people producing the report are crony insiders and are doing nothing but trying to expand Australia's domestic violence industry.

Lawyers, judges, academics, consultants, NGO administrators, lobbyists, mental health professionals, etc. All of them are living off the misery they foster by continuing to prevent real solutions to difficult family law problems.

It will be interesting to see what response we get from the Attorney-General to the email below.

Letter to the Attorney-General

31 January 2019

Political cost of the Family Law System Review

Dear Attorney General,

The ALRC's Family Law System Review is not going well. Please refer to this critique, which is starting to be shared across social media:

Family Law System Review | Critique

The Review might well go down as the most biased and close-minded review in the history of the Australian Government. It's hard to think of any review that's been conducted in such a scheming, unprofessional, unprincipled manner.

I can tell you that the reactions among separated parents range from outraged to demoralised.

I realise that the Review is following a narrow Terms of Reference (what's the excuse for that?) but the level of bias is completely uncalled for.

Community reactions to the final report will not be positive at all. This is with the obvious exception of industry insiders. They benefit from a dysfunctional family law system. And they also appear to be the people responsible for guiding the Review.

Could you tell me when all public submissions will be published, and not just the few which have been hand-selected by the ALRC? When is this likely to happen?

I've worked on large reviews of this nature before, and it really should take no time at all to release submissions. We actually produced a detailed summary of submissions for the Australia in the Asian Century white paper in far less time than it's taking the ALRC to simply show submissions. Ditto for the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

Please do not refer this correspondence to the ALRC for them to reply. I have no interest in what they have to say at this stage. I've asked them about publishing submissions a long time ago. Their response was, in my view, dishonest. And they still haven't acted.

Hoping that you'll do something about the conduct of the ALRC before the election and certainly before any final report is released to the public.

Sincerely,

Dr Andrew Lancaster

Response from the Attorney-General's Department

My notes

This is the response from Christian Porter. The delegate, J Taylor, appears to be brain-dead as they seemingly haven't processed the content of my original email.

It's one of the more deplorable tactics of public servants. They send you a formulaic, condescending response without having the courtesy to acknowledge the legitimate points you make.

They still insist on calling the Review "comprehensive". One thing the Review most certainly is not is comprehensive. What a sick joke that is.

The Review, which is nearing completion, still hasn't addressed issues that include:

  1. how to better accommodate shared care where appropriate
  2. establishing fast, effective interim solutions during protracted court processes where mediation has not worked
  3. measures to minimise the harmful effects of dishonesty and false claims of domestic violence
  4. how to better allow self-represented litigants to help themselves
  5. methods to enable parallel parenting where parents appear to have communication difficulties.

Each of these are major, major issues with huge potential for beneficial reform. But they seem to be essentially untouched by the Review, and none are properly identified in the Terms of Reference.

By calling the Review "comprehensive, they're saying that they're covering everything. If that were so, then it should be the last review for a very long time. But we all know the Review is achieving very little and leaving a huge amount of real work to do in the future. To keep calling it "comprehensive" is irresponsible and, frankly, dishonest. It is nowhere near comprehensive and anyone can plainly see that.

I've personally cleared hundreds of ministerial response letters as a Commonwealth public servant, and can honestly say that none were as pathetic as this from J Taylor. He or she would be collecting a large public servant salary and for what? For being weak and pathetic and doing nothing useful in this instance. They appear to be acting as gatekeeper to prevent the Attorney-General from hearing the truth.

They've directed me back to the ALRC, a dodgy organisation that I've already contacted before – as I made known in the email. This is called buck-passing. They send people round in circles, thus preventing any kind of real response or action.

Here's the response:

11 February 2019

Dear Dr Lancaster

Thank you for your email to the Attorney-General, the Hon Christian Porter MP, dated 31 January 2019, concerning the review of the family law system by the Australian Law Reform Commission. The Attorney-General has asked me to reply to you on his behalf.

You have expressed your concerns about the conduct of the review and asked for action by the Attorney-General to address these concerns. The ALRC review is the first comprehensive review of the family law system since the Family Law Act 1975 came into operation. The review commenced on 1 October 2017, and will report by 31 March 2019.

The terms of reference for the review are broad and far reaching, focusing on key areas of importance for Australian families. These include ensuring the family law system prioritises the best interests of children; appropriately addresses family violence and child abuse; and supports families, including those with complex needs, to resolve their family law issues quickly and safely, while minimising financial burden.

While the ALRC is within the Attorney-General’s portfolio, it is conducting the review independent of Government. As such, any concerns or questions relating to the process for the review should be forwarded directly to the ALRC. You can access ongoing information about the review, provide any feedback you have about the process and follow its progress at the ALRC website: www.alrc.gov.au/inquiries/family-law-system.

Thank you for taking the time to write about your concerns.

Yours sincerely

J Taylor
Director
Family Law Branch