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  • Abolish the Family Court? Please explain
  • By MikaiPerkins and TimHaines
  • The Sydney Morning Herald
  • 27/07/2016 Make a Comment (4)
  • Contributed by: Anon ( 2 articles in 2016 )
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The head of Australia's Family Court has warned against "simplistic" reforms to the troubled system, saying the vast majority of cases are complex and involve family violence, mental health and substance abuse issues.

Pauline Hanson's One Nation party is calling for the Family Court to be abolished and replaced with a family tribunal made up of people from "mainstream Australia".

Chief Judge Diana Bryant

"Respected" members of local community, social and health groups would be invited to participate, according to the party's policy.

Joint custody should be the option of choice, and there should be recognition that "a child's standard of living following divorce cannot be maintained at pre-divorce levels", the policy says.

One Nation sentor Pauline Hanson.

But Chief Justice Diana Bryant told ABC Radio National on Thursday the main issue for the Family Court had been a lack of federal funding to employ new judges, which would tackle the glacial progression of cases.

The funding shortfall has seen waiting times balloon to more than two years; a situation Justice Bryant said was "unacceptable".

The idea of a tribunal may have some merit for simple matters that did not involve making orders, she said, but could run into constitutional hurdles.

"I'm actually in favour of people putting this on the agenda ... but I think we have to be fairly careful about looking for simplistic solutions to complex problems," she told the ABC.

Newly elected senator Derryn Hinch

The British family court tribunal system is presided over by judges, and members that are non-legal experts in relevant fields, like child psychologists.

One Nation is not the only voice calling for Family Court changes.

Professor Patrick Parkinson, a professor of law at the University of Sydney.

Family violence advocate Rosie Batty, and the Women's Legal Services Australia in May launched a campaign calling for reforms, including domestic violence training for court staff and judges.

Ms Batty also wants an end to victims, overwhelmingly women, being directly cross-examined by abusers in court.

New senator Derryn Hinch has also called for a senate inquiry into the Family Court and child welfare agencies.

In Australia, only about 5 per cent of Family Court cases make it as far as a trial, but of these, about 85 per cent involve family violence, mental health or substance abuse issues.

Over the past 10 years courts have been dealing with more complex situations which take longer, but in the same period the government had not put more money into courts, said Justice Bryant,

Australia's family law system is "almost dysfunctional", with families caught for years in expensive, long-winded battles, says Professor Patrick Parkinson, the former chair of the Family Law Council.

"We desperately need solutions to this problem and we shouldn't reject them out of hand simply because it's One Nation," Professor Parkinson says.

"The easiest thing in the world would be for me to criticise One Nation, everybody does. But let's look at what they have said."

Abolishing the Family Court is constitutionally impossible, he says, but an alternative courtroom to deal quickly with property matters, for example, might be a sensible option.

One Nation's family court policy on child support is clearly influenced by the concerns of men's and father's rights organisations, he said.

But a lot of these issues have already been aired in last year's senate inquiry into child support, and did not need to be rehashed again, he said.
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    By:joshua from Victoria , Australia on November 5, 2016 @ 7:51 pm
    Really need to make DNA testing mandatory to stop fraud and CSA need to be watch and should not be able to garnish peoples wages and not have access to people bank account it ok for them to clean people accounts out but if a normal person did so they're would be charge with theft and child support should be cap and family law court rooms should have surveillance cameras
    in all court rooms and lawyer's should be abolished as they're nothing more then money hungry parasites.
    By: from , on September 14, 2016 @ 11:25 pm
    This also goes on in the Guardianship and Probate courts to our elderly. Fraud guardianship take overs with the judges and attorneys ignoring your power of attorney to railroad you into the system all for these officials for their own financial gain. The Giffen's of PINECREST MIAMI, Florida has been isolated from their family the last four years. . All based on lies . This is all corruption. and it must stop. Thousands of our elderly have died already in Miami this is a very agresive practice that the attorney's do every day . This is how they become rich and keep the money flowing.

    By:Loving dad from Kansas, Usa on September 13, 2016 @ 4:28 am
    It should be AUTOMATIC 50/50 CUSTODY when divorce is filed, PERIOD! UNLESS, factual documentation shows abuse to children.
    You would see more people working out their issues in therapy- way too much Family Of Origin issues- and wrongful blaming.
    Kids need both parents raising them for the best balanced upbringing.
    By:Leonor Arango from Florida, USA on August 29, 2016 @ 12:57 am
    This is a well designed page.
    I concur with everything, and add given the current circumstances, the Heads Of State exposed for the largest Pedophile and Slave Ring in history.

    I am going one up, Justice Scalia Found Out and look. I connect Beloved Senator Nancy Schaefers death to this, her and her husband murdered Mysteriously.

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