Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Advocacy Groups Stand United for Royal Commission

Advocacy Groups Stand United for Royal Commission into Family Law System

SOME of Australia’s most vocal and divided advocacy groups have come together with a unified voice to demand a royal commission into the dysfunctional Family Law System.

In an unprecedented move, men’s and women’s rights groups, child protection and sexual and domestic violence advocacy and support organisations, have put their differences aside to find common ground on an issue which is devastating the lives of vulnerable children.

Bravehearts Founder Hetty Johnston AM, said the collaborative approach was a positive step to bring about urgent reform, following the Prime Minister’s decision to deny a Royal Commission into the Family Law System.

“This is history in the making and we applaud these groups for seeing what the Prime Minister cannot – that a Royal Commission is the only framework capable of reforming the Family Law System,” said Mrs Johnston.

“It speaks volumes for how dire the situation has become, when people with strong and opposing views, set aside their differences of opinion for a common goal to help protect children from this toxic institution.

“It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t agree that a Royal Commission is the only legal framework capable of overcoming the constitutional, legal and jurisdictional hurdles, of getting to the truth on how to fix it.

“We have said all along that this has nothing to do with gender and parents and everything to do with children who are caught up in the crossfire. These kids are casualties of war in situations they often don’t understand and are being traumatised by the decisions made in a system where their human rights are blatantly violated.”

Anti-domestic violence campaigner and 2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, said the lack of transparency in the current system was leading to more children being harmed.

“There’s a lack of transparency and a 'cloak of secrecy' around the family law court which is allowing a toxic culture to permeate,” she said.

“Egregious decisions are being made by so-called experts and children continue to be harmed as a result. This must be addressed as a matter of high priority by the government. I support Bravehearts and its call for a Royal Commission into the dysfunctional family law system.”

President of Lone Fathers Association Barry Williams, said the Family Court was ‘failing to do its job’ and believed a united approach was required.

“We’re an organisation that doesn’t discriminate against women and puts children first – that’s the most important thing,” said Mr Williams of the organisation he founded 44 years ago.

“This government is failing the rights of those children due to an unaccountable family law system, which is failing to do its job. We must reform this system and turn focus to the best interests of children by way of educating and supporting fathers, mothers, grandparents, relatives, and extended family.”

Tyrell Moore is the founder of Sole Fathers United. A former Youth Justice Worker with the Department of Human Services in Victoria, Mr Moore said the mental health of children and parents continued to be threatened due to outdated legislation and a lack of accountability.

“I’m a strong advocate on family law reform, particularly around the 1975 Law Act, which is outdated and does not serve its original purpose. The system oversees orders which are in essence just a piece of paper and there’s no repercussions for perjury where parents lie to the detriment of the safety of children,” he said.

The National Council for Single Mothers and Their Children, said it’s aware of children who are forced to return to their ‘place of abuse and to the hands of their abuser’.

“We stand with Bravehearts and their call for a Royal Commission into the family law system,” said the organisation’s CEO Terese Edwards.

“Our system ignores, and can penalise the voices who seek to protect, while it trivialises the breadth; the impact and the prevalence of abuse.

“The family law system is a powerful entity and it has a duty to ensure that safety is granted primacy above every other consideration, and in all of its deliberations. A Royal Commission is required to shine a light on the dark workings of a system that has failed too many.”

Bravehearts recently obtained constitutional legal advice which contradicted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Attorney General George Brandis’s reason for rejecting a Royal Commission –the same Attorney General who voted that paedophiles should be able to keep their passports and therefore an opportunity still existed to engage in child sex tourism.

Mrs Johnston said the current Parliamentary Inquiry into a ‘better family law system to support and protect those affected by family violence’ is a ‘toothless tiger’.

“Unfortunately this Committee lacks the power to fully investigate the truth, to ask the hard questions of those holding the positions of power who need to answer them,” said Mrs Johnston.

“This Committee, however well-meaning and genuine its members may be, found itself incapable of hearing Chief Justice of the Family Court Diana Bryant or Chief Judge John Pascoe, because it felt it risked offending the Doctrine of the Separation of Powers.

“Only a Royal Commission can overcome these hurdles. But instead, the government is wasting tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on quick fix solutions that tinker at the edges of this totally broken system.

“Diana Bryant continues to deny that systemic issues within the system are putting children being at serious risk. This culture of denial must shift, and new leadership which focusses on the best interests of the child cannot happen soon enough.”

A petition for a Royal Commission led by a desperate mother whose daughter Abbey took her own life following family court decisions has attracted almost 90,000 signatures:

Organisations supporting Bravehearts calls for a Royal Commission

Luke Batty Foundation; National Child Protection Alliance (NCPA); Project Karma, Victims of Crimes Assistance League (VOCAL); Help Family Law; Lone Fathers; Single Mums; FACAA (Fighters against Child Abuse Australia); WEAVE - Women Everywhere Advocating Violence Elimination Inc (Australia); Justice for Children Australia; Australian Paralegal Foundation; National Council for Single Mothers and Children; Sole Fathers United Inc; Australian Christian Lobby Group; Child Protection Party; Heal for Life; Baptist Union of Victoria; Tablelands Sexual Assault Service (TAS); Centre for Human Dignity; Queensland Alliance for Kids.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Auckland Transport: Successful Bridge Repair Opens Two Additional Lanes To Traffic

The opening of two additional lanes on the Auckland Harbour Bridge this morning will help relieve some motorway congestion for motorists heading home to the North Shore tonight. More>>


Statistics New Zealand: COVID-19 Sees Record 12.2 Percent Fall In New Zealand’s Economy

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12.2 percent in the June 2020 quarter, the largest quarterly fall recorded since the current series began in 1987, as the COVID-19 restrictions in place through the quarter impacted economic activity, Stats NZ said ... More>>


Climate: Scientists Release ‘Blueprint’ To Save Critical Ecosystems And Stabilize The Earth’s Climate

A group of scientists and experts produced the first comprehensive global-scale analysis of terrestrial areas essential for biodiversity and climate resilience, totaling 50.4% of the Earth's land. The report was published in Science Advances ... More>>


MPI: Independent Review Launched Into Assurances For Safe Transport Of Livestock By Sea

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has launched an independent review of the assurances it receives for the safe transport of livestock by sea. MPI Director-General Ray Smith says Mike Heron QC has been appointed to lead the review, which is expected ... More>>


Computers: New Zealand PC Market Grows Nearly 40% Due To Work From Home Demand

COVID-19 had large impacts on demand for PCs as businesses prepared for lockdowns by purchasing notebooks to mobilise their workforce. In the second quarter of 2020, New Zealand's Traditional PC market experienced a 39.7% year-on-year (YoY) growth ... More>>


University Of Auckland: Whale-Watching By Satellite – Follow Their Travels Online

Scientists have successfully attached satellite tracking tags to six New Zealand southern right whales, or tohorā, and are inviting the public to follow the whales’ travels online. Part of a major research project involving the University of Auckland ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Kiwibank Admits System Failures And Agrees To Pay Customers $5.2 Million

Kiwibank has entered into a settlement agreement with the Commerce Commission after reporting that it failed to have in place robust home loan variation disclosure policies, procedures and systems. In a settlement dated 27 August 2020, Kiwibank admitted that ... More>>

Ministry of Health: Public Transport Distancing Requirements Relaxed

Physical distancing requirements on public transport have been reviewed by the Ministry of Health to determine whether they are still required at Alert Level 2 (or below). The Ministry’s assessment is that mandatory face covering and individuals tracking ... More>>


NZHIA: New Zealand Hemp Industry Set To Generate $2 Billion Per Annum And Create 20,000 Jobs

A new report says a fully enabled hemp industry could generate $2 billion in income for New Zealand by 2030, while also creating thousands of new jobs. Written by industry strategist Dr Nick Marsh, the report has prompted calls from the New Zealand Hemp ... More>>


Stats NZ: One In 14 Employed People Report High Risk Of Losing Jobs

About one in 14 workers say they expect to lose their job or business by mid-2021, Stats NZ said today. A survey of employed people in the June 2020 quarter showed 7 percent felt there was a high or almost certain chance of losing their job or business ... More>>

ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast: NZ Economy Doing Better Than Expected, But Challenges Remain

August lockdown estimated to have shaved 8% off NZ’s weekly GDP, and 0.5% off annual GDP Economy now expected to shrink 5% (year-on-year) by end of 2020 Unemployment rate now expected to peak at 7.2% The latest ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast is less ... More>>