Reform to the Family Court is heading in the wrong direction

Posted by on June 13, 2017

Reform is certainly crucial, but first we need to admit we’re heading in the wrong direction.

 

The Turnbull government announced in May that it will embark on reviewing the family law system. It’s about time; this will be the first review since the system started in 1976.

In a statement, Attorney General for Australia, Senator George Brandis, announced a “comprehensive review 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 problem is, the reforms, predictably are set to follow a fierce feminist agenda.

Included is an investment of $12.7 million to establish ‘Parenting Management Hearings’ for self-representing litigants. Those managing the hearings will run inquiries and gather evidence to formulate their decisions.

Crucially, however, this will take away the right to a fair trial. Isn’t that at the very heart of our legal system? Nope. We can no longer say that everyone has a fair trial under the law.

In particular, men facing the “silver bullet” – false accusations of abusing their children made my vicious exes – will not get a chance to prove their innocence.

Isn’t the danger, then, that custody will swiftly be awarded and father’s denied the right to see their children?

Harry Speath believes so. “These reforms are heading in the wrong direction,” he tells MLO. “False accusations will result in mostly men having no chance at attaining custody. This is not in the best interest of the children. Children who are alienated from one parent – or whose children are kidnapped, as is the situation in my case, are known to need extensive, life-long psychological care. The damage it does is immense.”

Speath hasn’t seen his children in well over two years. Daughter Serena, 8 and Thomas, 7 disappeared on December 5 2014 after their mother picked them up from his home in Brisbane. Speath has recently returned from a visit to New Zealand following up reports of a possible sighting. Unfortunately, the leads didn’t produce the result he hoped for – finding his children.

“The government must stop in its tracks,” he says. “It’s time to take seriously the damage that is being done to children’s lives. They should not always solely be with the mother, that’s just not true. In my case, access was granted by the court but unilaterally denied by the mother who refuses to make any contact.”

“If the government is serious about reforming family law it must start with fixing a system that fuels a war between the sexes. Ex partners are encouraged to fight nasty. It turns into a battle. We have to move past that and see the damage it is doing to children’s lives.”

Last September The Australian reported on new domestic violence laws in Western Australia, which “pose an insidious threat to fundamental rights of citizens of this state.”

The new legislation means that if a woman claims she fears violence, a restraining order will be issued. Often these are granted “without admissions”, which means no evidence is required. “Such restraining orders can be used to evict a man from his home, to deny contact with his children.”

The suggested reforms now rumbling will ensure he isn’t entitled to a fair hearing before he is denied access to his children, let alone shared custody.

How has this happened?  There is a total lack of due process here.  When did legal rights get cast aside in favour of gender politics?

The government and major parties are still holding firm to the belief that pursuing this route, under the guise of “keeping women safe”, will ensure votes. 

Men and women all need to wake up and see the injustice that is occurring here. Fast. 

Reform is certainly crucial, but first we need to admit we’re heading in the wrong direction. 

 

What should happen?

Working with the system that is already in place, Speath has outlined his suggestions for reform. “I’ve worked with the system that’s there. This won’t fix everything but it will certainly be a good step in the right direction, and stop most parents fighting. For the kid’s sakes,” he tells MLO.

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