More consultation needed on Family Court reform

Labor has today called on the Attorney-General to address the government’s woefully inadequate consultation on its family court plans, and release the secret consultant’s report on which the plans are apparently based.

THE HON. MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
MEMBER FOR ISAACS

MORE CONSULTATION NEEDED ON FAMILY COURT REFORM

Labor has today called on the Attorney-General to address the government’s woefully inadequate consultation on its family court plans, and release the secret consultant’s report on which the plans are apparently based.
 
The Attorney-General’s announcement of the planned reforms stunned many in the family court sector, who have first-hand knowledge of how the system works and where improvements could be made. They were not consulted. In fact, according to what the government has said, only two people were consulted – the chief judges of the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court.
 
For such a sweeping change to an established system, which affects many thousands of lives including young children, this is just not right.
 
I have written toMr Porter, urging him to use the time between now and the Spring sittings of Parliament to release an exposure draft of legislation, to allow for proper consultation and feedback on the government’s plans. It is only right that those with a stake in the system have a say on how and why it should be changed.
 
As well, it is imperative that a PwC report which seems to contain much of the detail on which the government’s plans are based be made public. It’s important that any assumptions contained in the report be thoroughly tested, and its conclusions examined.
 
The family court has existed as a stand-alone body since the Whitlam government created it in 1975. If such radical structural changes are to be made, they must be done with complete openness and transparency.
 
I look forward to Mr Porter’s response.
 

TUESDAY, 19 JUNE 2018